Olympic Qualifying: Canada win tempered by late red
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, Canada’s under-23 team experienced it all in 90 minutes against the United States.
The Canucks shocked the region with their upset of the tournament with their 2-0 win over the US on Saturday night. But the joy of victory was tempered by a late red card issued to striker Randy Edwini-Bonsu, who was a menace all evening.
“CONCACAF officiating at its finest,” Edwini-Bonsu told MLSsoccer.com as he walked to the team’s dressing room after the game.
Canada were literally seconds away from wrapping up the three points when Panamanian head office Jafeth Perea brandished the red card to the diminutive yet speedy forward. With the card, Edwini-Bonsu will miss Canada’s final group-stage game against Cuba on Monday, where a draw is enough to get them through to the semifinals.
“I didn’t know as well, so I only saw the fourth official calling the referee and giving him instructions to give the red card to [Edwini-Bonsu],” Canadian coach Tony Fonseca said in his postgame press conference. “But I didn’t see anything, I didn’t hear anything. Honestly, I don’t know what happened.”
Fonseca was incensed as he walked to the team’s dressing room. He was followed moments later by Stephen Hart, coach of the Canadian senior men’s national team, who was also clearly in disbelief.
Perea also made a puzzling call earlier in the second half. Just as Canada were about to bring on Toronto FC’s Matt Stinson in place of starting right back Andres Fresenga, Fresenga went down seemingly with cramp.
He had been down earlier for the same thing, but Perea believed Fresenga was wasting time and issued a caution.
“The red card, especially being [Edwini-Bonsu] — he’s so important to this team,” said Canada captain Nana Attakora. "I don’t know what happened yet but it’s tough, especially that he wasn’t on the field. It’s not like he took a red for any positive reason — it’s a silly red."