Canada's Julian de Guzman (#6) and Tosaint Ricketts (#11) jump to block a Honduras shot during their World Cup qualifier on November 13, 2015, in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
VANCOUVER -- Canada has traditionally relied on an organized defense to remain competitive in the international arena. While scoring on a consistent basis remains an enduring challenge, a strong back line was always a proven pillar of stability.
That was the case once again at BC Place on Friday night, when a spirited Canadian side rebuffed some early pressure to register a 1-0 win over visiting Honduras in a fourth-round World Cup qualifier.
“Our flat four today played defensively correctly,” said Canada head coach Benito Floro after the game. “More important than that, they played the ball well and sent the ball well and just made one mistake in the first half.”
That one mistake was a pass from Adam Straith meant for fellow defender Marcel de Jong, which was intercepted and led to a decent scoring chance. After that shot failed to find the target, the Hondurans were basically limited to shots from distance that made goalkeeper Milan Borjan’s evening a relatively straightforward one.
“When the team plays that well, you just relax and you do your job,” said Borjan. “Today, everybody did their job. I think we played amazing defense. We scored a goal which is positive for us. We just need to go to El Salvador and try to bring back three points.”
The next task for Canada, which has posted shutouts in four of its five 2018 qualifying games, is to maintain consistency when playing away. Obtaining results in Central America has not been an easy task for Les Rouges. Here are the scores of their last four World Cup Qualifying games played in the region:
September 8, 2015: Belize 1, Canada 1
October 16, 2012: Honduras 8, Canada 1
September 11, 2012: Panama 2, Canada 0
October 11, 2008: Honduras 3, Canada 1
Canada’s last WCQ win in Central America came against Guatemala, 1-0, on November 17, 2004.
Straith acknowledged that the win over Honduras was vital and expressed his desire to end the Central American drought in San Salvador, finishing: “We still have five games left, but this is a fantastic result. We’re going to look to build off it, obviously. We have a quick turnaround and look forward to Tuesday now.”