Scott Arfield (pictured) looks to make a play during a Canada training session on August 30, 2016, in Orlando, Florida. (Photo: Canada Soccer)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras --
Few will forget the 8-1 loss Canada suffered four years ago when it was on the precipice of reaching the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The North Americans needed just a tie to advance, but the Hondurans had other ideas.
“There were a few boys that were in that squad that were involved in it,” said midfielder Scott Arfield. “It was very well documented after that game. Obviously it was an experience you don’t want to go through again. For us new boys, we have to try to breathe a bit of fresh air back and try to forget about that.”
Arfield has earned three caps for Canada since opting to play internationally for it over Scotland. He’s never experienced the sort of passion for which Honduran fans are known and will be in new territory like never before when Canada steps onto the field.
The team had a short training session Thursday at the Olimpico Metropolitano just a few hours after flying in from Orlando, where it had its preparation camp.
The Canadian players were out in the direct sunlight and they lost a lot of sweat. Conditions are expected to be similar Friday as temperatures will hover around 95˚F at the time of the 3:00 p.m. kickoff, with the possibility of a thunderstorm.
No matter what, though, it’s going to be a very challenging 90 minutes for the Canadians, who are seeking redemption at the location of a humbling setback.
“The Hondurans get behind their team,” said Arfield of what he’s anticipating from the atmosphere. “We’re under no illusions about how tough a game it’s going to be. Added with the blistering heat, it’s always going to be difficult so we’ve got a game plan which I think we’ve been working on all week. We need to use the ball and use our heads.”
Canada will head out immediately after the game to Vancouver, hoping its World Cup dreams will remain intact.
- Honduras (1W-1D-2L, 4 points) sits second in Group B over Canada (1-1-2, 4) on goal difference (-1 to -4).
- Also, on Friday, Mexico (4-0-0, 12), which has already sealed first place, will visit El Salvador (0-2-2, 2).