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By Aldwyn McGill
Canada broke its 16-game winless streak and gained a level of respectability from its come from behind 3-1 win against Jamaica at BMO Field in Toronto. The Canucks had the momentum on the slick field which seemed to have affected the early play of the Reggae Boyz. But the fast playing surface was not the only area of concern for Jamaica German coach Winfried Schäfer. He was missing key players, and faced the experience of Julian De Guzman, Atiba Hutchinson and Patrice Bernier in Canada’s midfield. From the opening whistle they were an instant headache for him and the Jamaica team. As a result the 122nd ranked Canucks began the game structurally better than the 85th ranked Jamaica.
In spite of Canada’s advantage in the positional play it was the Reggae Boyz which looked the more dangerous of the two on offense and gave the Jamaica fans the first opportunity to celebrate. It was from Defender Kemar Lawrence free kick that sailed over the Canada wall of defenders that gave Jamaica the early 1-0 lead. But Jamaica celebration was short lived.
David Edgar equalized from a half volley just one minute later. His grounder found its way through heavy traffic from a corner and managed to beat the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Andre Blake in the Jamaica net.
The timing of the equalizing goal was critical for the enthusiastic Canadian supporters to have gotten into the game and for their team to pick up the tempo.
It was nice to watch the home fans at BMO Field participating in a goal celebration. The 12,000+ fans at the International game was a far cry from the customary 22,000+ at Toronto FC games but at the least they went away happy with the victory.
It also tuned out to be a much needed win for Canada Spanish Head Coach Benito Floro who celebrated a double whammy. It was his first outing at BMO Field and his first match against a CONCACAF opponent.
Before the Jamaica friendly on Tuesday Coach Floro’s team had been outscored 9-2 since he took over and that was not sitting well with Canadians fans who are still struggling to get over the team humiliating 8-1 loss to Honduras in the world cup qualifiers two years ago.
Canada had scored just one goal in thirteen (13) games and three goals in its previous 15 outings under Floro.
While the win against Jamaica ended Canada 16-game winless streak Canada’s problem is still in its inability to convert scoring chances on a consistent basis.
Canada started better than Jamaica but luckily it was Jamaica which squandered several good scoring chances this time around.
If it was not Jamar Loza missing a header wide, it was Alvas Powell missing from well inside the box to let Canada off the hook in the second half.
The price Jamaica paid was Marcel De Jong winning goal in the 68th minute that gave Canada a (2-1) lead it never relinquished. De Long free-kick was from almost the same spot that Lawrence scored for Jamaica in the first half and no sooner than Jamaica missed another scoring opportunity, it was Tosaint Ricketts who capitalized with an open net insurance goal after Jamaica goalkeeper mishandle the ball on a routine save from a Simeon Jackson long-range shot.
Needless to say the goalkeeping duel was won by Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan who came up with big saves while Blake had more than his share of problems in the Jamaica net.
The 3-1 Canada win extended Canada lead in the all-time series against Jamaica with eight wins, four losses and four draws.
Canada is scheduled to play its next friendly on November 18 against Panama in Panama City. While Jamaica plays Japan its International Friendly on October 10, 2014, in Niigata, Japan
Teams:- Jamaica — Andre Blake, Upston Edwards (Nicholy Finlayson 73rd), Wes Morgan, Nyron Nosworthy, Alvas Powell (Keithy Simpson 69th), Kemar Lawrence, Evan Taylor, Je-Vaughn Watson, Simon Dawkins, Jermaine Anderson (Jamar Loza 46th), Deshorn Brown (Omar Holness 79th).
Subs not used: Ryan Thompson, Kenardo Forbes. Booked: Powell (12th)
Coach: Winfried Schäfer
Canada:- Milan Borjan, Andre Hainault (Dejan Jakovic 46ht), Doneil Henry, Julian De Guzman (Adam Straith 72nd), Tosaint Ricketts, Atiba Hutchinson, David Edgar, Marcel De Jong (Karl Ouimette 88th), Issey Nakajima-Farran (Simeon Jackson 56th), Patrice Bernier (Kyle Bekker 46th), Randy Edwini-Bonsu (Dwayne De Rosario 85th).
Subs not used: Kenny Stamatopoulos, Ashtone Morgan, Pedro Pacheco Melo, Marcus Haber, Quillan Roberts, Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare. Booked: None
Coach: Benito Floro
Referee: Juan Guzman (USA)
Assistant Referees: George Gasner (USA), Eric Boria (USA)
Fourth Official: David Gantar (Canada)
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