Canadian supporters (pictured) celebrate after a win over visiting Belize in World Cup Qualifying on September 4, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
VANCOUVER – Canada faces a difficult month of March in World Cup Qualifying, but -- by all accounts -- there will be plenty of home support to help push it forward.
With a pair of fourth-round games against first-place Mexico (2W-0D-0L, 6 points) next on the schedule, the Canadians know that results will be hard to achieve. Defender Adam Straith, however, hopes the squad gains momentum from hosting the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion in the opener on March 25 at BC Place in Vancouver.
“We generally put in good performances at home,” said Straith, who played the entire 90 minutes in a win over visiting Honduras (1-0) and a draw at El Salvador (0-0) to kick off Group A play. "We don't really lose at home. Getting that game at home first builds our confidence.”
It seems Canadian fans in Vancouver have also gotten the message as Canada Soccer has started selling tickets in the upper bowl of the venue that seats, at full capacity, upwards of 54,000 fans.
More than 20,000 packed the lower bowl of that same stadium in November for the victory over Honduras, which had the players and coaching staff raving about the turn out.
“We want to thank our fans for the terrific support and we are extremely pleased to be opening additional inventory to enable the Canadian soccer community and fans to attend the match and cheer for Canada,” said Canada Soccer President Victor Montagliani. “We continue to call on all Canadians to get their tickets today to ensure that we have a sea of red on match day.”
Canada impressed after picking up four points from the two November games. Doing the same or better against Mexico will be even more of a challenge.
"Mexico is a bit of a different beast,” Straith admitted. “That's a team that, it's quite obvious to say, is the best team in the group. We really need to be a lot better at home. Hopefully, we can do that and that will lead into the big one away (on March 29).”