Canada got another opportunity today to show the kind of football coach Carolina Morace wants her girls to play, beating an inexperienced Cuba team this afternoon 2 – 0. It was Canada’s second group stage match in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for summer’s under 20 world championship.
The coach should have a more satisfied look on her face than was the case following Wednesday’s match
In the tournament opener against Costa Rica, Morace didn’t get the kind of performance she has repeatedly said she is after. Although they did leave Cementos Progreso Stadium in Ciudad Guatemala with the minimal victory, it is the Costa Rica side that dominated the ball, showed nicer ball-on-the-ground short passing movement, and charge over the tempo of the match.
These are the things Morace wants all Canada teams to come accustomed to in their approach to the game.
It will take time to convert our Canadian talents from the long outmoded Pellerud era’s direct football – basically chasing down long balls – which relied on speed and physical strength to employ. Apart from lucky breaks it never could displace technical skills to control a match.
In the opener, Canada actually got away lucky, as Costa Rica dominated possession and created more chances. It was a lone defensive lapse and a nice bit of ball movement around the box that allowed Canada to notch the only goal they needed to take the maximum three points from what, on this day, was the more attractive side. Important tournament experience will do that for you.
In today’s match it was Canada who dominated possession and had numerous scoring opportunities. Chelsea Stewart finally put one by Cuban keeper Lucylena Martinez in the 59th minute and Jenna Richardson who put the game out of reach in the 87th. It was a solid performance for Canada in all areas of the field, but player-of-the-match honours must go to Martinez. The Cuban keeper kept her team in it until late and the score line respectable.
The result pretty much assures Canada a spot in the final four. The top three finishers get a ticket to Germany and the FIFA World Championship. Next match puts our girls up against host Guatemala in a Sunday afternoon match which should draw a good sized, enthusiastic crowd. In all international competitions, the home side always puts up a stiff fight and Sunday will be no different.
You can watch both matches in high quality streaming video on demand. Sunday’s match is also available live.