Olympic Qualifying: Canadians know what's at stake
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Just more than 12 hours after picking up a famous 2-0 victory over the United States in Olympic qualifying and making waves north of the 49th parallel, the Canadian Under-23 team was back on the field at Lipscomb University for a light training session Sunday morning.
To put it mildly, the win was unexpected. And now instead of battling for second place in Group A, Canada are in the driver’s seat, on the hunt for a win that would see them through to the semifinals at the top of the group.
They’ll look for just that in their final game on Monday against Cuba – group whipping boys of thus far.
“They know exactly what we have a lot to do and there’s no time for celebration,” said Canadian coach Tony Fonseca, who stressed he doesn’t want his team to get complacent. Fonseca has even suggested the players remain off social network sites like Twitter so as not to get carried away ahead of Monday's group-stage finale (6:30 pm ET, Sportnet One, CONCACAF.com).
“There’s nothing to be celebrating about, to be honest with you,” Fonseca offered. “We got three points, we have four now. We need at least one more.”
The mood was very light at Sunday’s session. Sounds of laughter and sights of players joking with each other and with staff members were everywhere, but the players know their job isn’t yet done.
“I haven’t seen anything of Cuba,” said captain Nana Attakora, who called Saturday’s game the biggest win he’s experienced in a Canadian jersey. “I just know they get red cards for fun. But teams like that I think are the hardest teams to play against — the teams that are undisciplined. They’ll run everywhere, push you everywhere.”
Forward Babayele Sodade of the Seattle Sounders missed training on Sunday after suffering a knee injury in the first half of Saturday’s game. Canadian staff said there was still no update on his condition, though Sodade later tweeted that his tournament was over.
Fonseca also confirmed they’re still awaiting the FIFA report in regards to the red card shown to forward Randy Edwini-Bonsu. Amidst a great deal of confusion near the end of the game, Edwini-Bonsu was issued a straight red after being substituted.
As a result of the card, Edwini-Bonsu will miss at least Monday's game against Cuba.