Costa Rica inflicts Canada’s first loss and takes lead in repechage fight

Canada is not yet qualified for the World Cup. But it’s kind of. On Friday they lost to Costa Rica 1-0, down a player from the opening round, their first loss in the Concacaf Qualifiers, but to stay out of Qatar would require a very unlikely combination of results to occur. Anyway, they will have one more chance to definitively seal their place against Jamaica at home next Sunday.

The calculation is as follows: Canada has 25 points and 13 goals to score. Two laps to go. He could be overtaken by Mexico, who are 22 years old and close their campaign against Honduras and El Salvador. And it can also be for the United States and Costa Rica at the same time, as long as the Costa Ricans win the direct confrontation with the Americans. And Costa Rica should still withdraw 11 goals in Canada. And the United States, five.

Probably not. Panama’s tie against Honduras, in a game that ended early, virtually sealed the Canadian standings. And it was also great for Costa Rica, who took fourth place in the repechage zone, one point ahead of the Panamanians. In addition to the United States, Costa Rica will face El Salvador next Sunday. Panama has a more difficult schedule: the North Americans away and then host Canada in the final.

Colorado Rapids midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye will sleep with a swollen head. He should have been sent off in the 15th minute when he launched a hard tackle on Ronald Matarrita. Even checking the video assistant, the referee took a teaspoon and showed only yellow. But, 20 minutes later, another foul generated the second caution and left Canada with one player short.

Late in the first half, Gerson Torres scored with Joel Campbell and crossed into the bar for veteran Celso Borges to head in the game’s only goal. Costa Rica had a golden chance to widen shortly after the break, with Joel Campbell entering the box at the end of a defensive throw. But he struggled finishing and allowed goalkeeper Milan Borjan to keep the ball.

From that moment, the pressure was total from the visitors. Even with a man down, the Canadian team showed why they dominated Concacaf qualifying. The opportunities abounded. Anthony Contreras blocked one with his body, Stephen Eustáquio missed a great chance and Keylor Naves saved a low kick from Richie Laryea. On the rebound of this play, Tajor Buchanan hit the bar with a header and then sent the second rebound to the moon.

Laryea demanded another intervention from Navas from outside the box, and David hit the post – although he looked like he was done with his arm – before the final whistle. A small disappointment for Canada, but not a big one. You will have the chance to end a great campaign with the ranking in front of your fans next Sunday.

Elmer Hayward

"Pop culture fan. Coffee expert. Bacon nerd. Infuriatingly humble communicator. Friendly gamer."

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