RECAP: Canada blanks Cuba in CONCACAF Nations League – Canadian Premier League

RECAP: Canada blanks Cuba in CONCACAF Nations League - Canadian Premier League
Canada finds goals hard to come by in CONCACAF Nations League rematch with Cuba
Canada survived heat, a hard pitch and a physical Cuba side in a 1-0 win in CONCACAF Nations League A play Tuesday, just three days after running roughshod over the Cubans in Toronto.

Despite losing centre back Doneil Henry to a second yellow card in the 55th minute, the Canadian men had 82 per cent possession at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex and completed 696 passes to the Cubans' 93.

"It was a tough game. The surface was not the best but I think we fought hard," said Davies. "We're happy to get the three points."

RECAP: Canada blanks Cuba in CONCACAF Nations League

Davies, who had a fine game despite absorbing plenty of punishment from the Cubans, scored with a powerful left-footed blast from just inside the penalty box after a Cuban turnover at midfield. It was the Bayern Munich teenager's fourth goal in 15 national team appearances.

They are trying to crack the top six in the region to make the so-called Hex round of World Cup qualifying, the most direct route out of the CONCACAF — which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean — to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"He wouldn't be at Bayern if he didn't have that quality," said goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who captained Canada for the first time. "The kid is just amazing. He's a wunderkind."

While Canada controlled Tuesdays game, the Cubans were more disciplined in defence — sitting deep with two lines of four and content with the occasional counter-attack by forward Maykel Reyes, who had a stint with Mexicos Cruz Azul in 2018.

Playing at a neutral site, a revamped Canadian roster found itself dealing with a Cuban side that was decidedly more stubborn and physical despite reportedly losing players to defection on the trip to Canada.

El Nuevo Herald, a Florida newspaper, reported that three of Cubas starters Saturday — defender Alejandro Portal, midfielder Andy Baquero and forward and captain Yordan Santa Cruz — had defected after the game.

The Cubans chopped down Canadians as needed and Guatemalan referee Mario Escobar content to let them play.

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands — Canada survived heat, a hard pitch and a physical Cuba side in a 1-0 win in CONCACAF Nations League A play Tuesday, just three days after running roughshod over the Cubans in Toronto.

Canada, ranked 78th in the world, thumped No. 179 Cuba 6-0 on Saturday at BMO Field with captain Junior Hoilett recording a hat trick and Jonathan David, Jonathan Osorio and Henry also scoring.

Playing at a neutral site, a revamped Canadian roster found itself dealing with a Cuban side that was decidedly more stubborn and physical despite reportedly losing players to defection on the trip to Canada.

"We knew on this pitch and (with) the conditions, the goals weren't going to be as flowing," said Canada coach John Herdman.

Despite losing centre back Doneil Henry to a second yellow card in the 55th minute, the Canadian men had 82 per cent possession at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex and completed 696 passes to the Cubans 93.

"But I was really happy with how the players responded," he added. "I think we controlled the game, even down to 10 men."

Canada, ranked 78th in the world, thumped No. 179 Cuba 6-0 on Saturday at BMO Field with captain Junior Hoilett recording a hat trick and Jonathan David, Jonathan Osorio and Henry also scoring.

Tuesday's game was shifted to the Cayman Islands capital when the stadium in Havana did not pass CONCACAF scrutiny.

While Canada controlled Tuesday's game, the Cubans were more disciplined in defence — sitting deep with two lines of four and content with the occasional counter-attack by forward Maykel Reyes, who had a stint with Mexico's Cruz Azul in 2018.

Share All sharing options Share All sharing options for: FT: Canada 1 – 0 Cuba: Preview and Game Thread Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio looks on in Canadas 6-0 win over Cuba Saturday night. (Tagwa Moyo/Shuttersworth) Game Thread 94 – FT – Canada grinds out a result, unsatisfactory as it is. 6 points in 2 games.

Canada had 72 per cent possession in the first half but only put one shot on target. The Cubans had one first-half scoring chance but the ball hit the side of the goal.

67 – I know the tragi-comic exploits of Doneil Henry is fast becoming a modern Canadian classic, but in all fairness – Herdman maybe shouldve seen it coming? He was being targeted by the Cuban forwards nearly every attack, and he was on a yellow coming into the second half. Some of us at WTR HQ even suspect the Ref forgot he was on that yellow.

The Canadians wanted a penalty for handball in the 46th minute but didn't get it. Herdman introduced Osorio in the 52nd minute in a bid to help open up the Cubans.

Toronto FC defender Richie Laryea is also expected to make his second-straight start for Canada after the 24-year-old made his national team debut Saturday night, while forward Jonathan David, who has scored in ALL seven of his starts for the national team, is likely to lead the attacking charge with Hoilett absent.

With Henry off the field, Herdman brought on centre back Derek Cornelius and removed striker Cycle Larin in the 60th minute. Liam Millar replaced Davies in the 79th minute.

Canada will have to do without their recent captain and hat-trick hero Junior Hoilett, who left Canadas camp earlier this week to return to England for family reasons, according to Canada Soccer. The Canadians will also be without midfielder Russell Teibert and Max Crepeau, who both sustained minor injuries.

Herdman rang in the changes with only goalkeeper Borjan, defenders Henry and Richie Laryea, midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye and forwards Davies and David remaining in the starting 11.

7 – Still befuddled that Jonathan Davids jersey from Saturdays game is already in the CanSoc hall of fame over something as arbitrary as most goals in a calendar year. Thats the kind of award you see at a telemarking firm, not sports.

Hoilett, who plays for Cardiff City FC, returned home after the Toronto game to deal with a family matter.

37 – CONCACommentators having a full-on casual NPR chat about life, death, taxes, and soccer during the game. Love it when the actual game intrudes and they give it the absolute minimum lip service and return to the debate.

In came defenders Steven Vitoria and Sam Adekugbe, midfielders Will Johnson and David Wotherspoon and Larin up front.

The 24-year-old Larin started up front with the 19-year-old David on the right flank and 18-year-old Davies on the left.

TORONTO, Ont. — Just three nights after a very one-sided 6-0 victory, Canada will face Cuba once again Tuesday night in Concacaf Nations League A action, this time in the Cayman Islands. Lets relive the moment:

Cuba made four changes from its starting 11 with goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez dropping to the bench in favour of Nelson Johnston.

El Nuevo Herald, a Florida newspaper, reported that three of Cuba's starters Saturday — defender Alejandro Portal, midfielder Andy Baquero and forward and captain Yordan Santa Cruz — had defected after the game.

Canada currently tops Group A with six points, ahead of pointless Cuba and the U.S. (who have yet to play). The Canadians face the Americans – Oct. 15 in Toronto, Nov. 15 on the road – in a pair of contests that will likely decide who moves on to the Nations League final four. The top team from Group A, along with the winners from the other three round-robin groups, advance to the tournament semifinals next June.

David Urgelles and Orlendiz Benitez reportedly left before the Toronto game. They were not listed on Saturday's or Tuesday's official roster sheets.

In some ways Im happy to go down to 10 men. Im happier for this team to have that level of adversity. We had adversity in the Gold Cup [this summer] and we were criticized for not having the composure and the calm in that moment. I think the team showed that leadership and a step forward tonight that we can manage some tough moments, Herdman offered.

CONCACAF did not immediately respond to a question about possible defections. The Canadian Soccer Association referred questions to CONCACAF.

Canada's next Nations League game is Oct. 15 against the 22nd-ranked Americans at Toronto's BMO Field. The Americans will host the Canadians on Nov. 15.

The winner of the three-team group advances to the CONCACAF Nations League final four. The top two in the group also automatically qualify for the 2021 Gold Cup.

Three days after hammering Cuba 6-0 at home, Canada had a much tougher time of it on Tuesday, settling for a 1-0 win over the Cubans in a neutral venue encounter in the Cayman Islands. Alphonso Davies scored for Canada, who played most of the second half with 10 men after defender Doneil Henry picked up a second yellow card for dissent.

The Canadian men currently stand eighth in CONCACAF, behind Mexico (No. 12 in the world), the U.S. (22), Costa Rica (44), Jamaica (52), Honduras (67), El Salvador (68) and Panama (74).

Canada dominated the first half with 78 per cent possession, but found it difficult to break down Cuba in the final third of the pitch. Larin snatched at a pair of half chances, and beyond Davies goal, the Cuban goalkeeper was never seriously tested by the Canadian attack.

They are trying to crack the top six in the region to make the so-called Hex round of World Cup qualifying, the most direct route out of the CONCACAF — which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean — to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The pitch is bubbling, theres a level of frustration on the field, you cant get your rhythm or tempo that theyre used to playing on MLS pitches every week – and then the heat. It all sort of gets the emotion going. Its a real learning moment, Herdman said.

El Salvador was beaten 1-0 by the 155th-ranked Dominican Republic on Tuesday and Panama lost 2-0 to No. 174 Bermuda on Sunday — upsets that are good news for the Canadian men.

"We're definitely in the fight for that Hex and it's only the first round," said Herdman.

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