Canada head coach Benito Floro (pictured) answers questions at a press conference on March 22, 2016, in Vancouver. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
VANCOUVER, Canada – With ticket sales surpassing the 50,000 mark for Friday’s World Cup qualifier against visiting Mexico (2W-0D-0L, 6 points), Canada is hoping that the impressive level of fan support can help push it to victory at BC Place.
In fourth-round, Group A play, the Canadians (1-1-0, 4) will move into first place with a win over the current CONCACAF Gold Cup champion, which is riding a 15-game unbeaten streak.
“For us, it’s a good surprise. It’s very nice news to know that we are going to have a very big crowd supporting us in this fundamental game for our desire to get to the Hexagonal,” said Canada head coach Benito Floro. “It is a big motivation for the players and the staff to create a very nice atmosphere to help the players to be convinced of the possibility to win the game.”
These are heady, though cautious, times for Canada. Its recent success (unbeaten in 11 of 13 games since the start of 2015) has led to a surge fan attention, enthusiasm and optimism. The team, however, was in an identical position four years ago at the same stage of the tournament and missed out on a place in the final qualifying round.
“It’s very hard to compare with other coaches from the past,” said Floro in regard to what may be different from previous campaigns. “The players have been very successful and we’re trying to get commitment to increase our level.”
BC Place features a retractable roof that could either be open or closed depending on weather conditions. In November against Honduras, Canada made it a priority to keep the roof open, so that it could take full advantage of the very late fall weather.
The spring climate in Vancouver is quite fair, but not hot. As a result, the Canadians aren’t overly concerned about the roof’s positioning. They just want to please the home crowd.
“If it’s raining or it’s snowing, it’s no problem,” finished a smiling Floro.