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Canada's Hart pleased, still befuddled by lack of goals

Canadian head coach Stephen Hart

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

TORONTO – For a team that only played their second game of 2012 on Sunday, Stephen Hart was pleased with the organization in his Canada team in its 0-0 draw with the United States at BMO Field.

Lars Hirschfeld’s goalkeeping was solid and the defense was composed while the midfield and attack were able to open the Americans and create chances.

WATCH: DeRo, Hart pleased with performance

“The first half we showed good discipline, good organization, but we were sloppy with the ball at times – a little bit maybe nervous,” Hart said in his postgame press conference. “But I was very pleased the way we played the second half. The objective was to work on certain things as a team I think we need to do to go forward.”

It’s been almost exactly a year since the US beat Canada 2-0 in Detroit to open the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. On that day, the Americans were obviously the stronger side. And while Canada did trouble the American goal on occasion, Sunday’s game was a more consistent performance.

“I thought today we were way more patient,” Hart admitted. “We showed better discipline as a unit and played for each other better today.”

The one glaringly obvious fact from their last two games against the Americans is the same old refrain from many Canada games over the years: the distinct lack of scoring.

It wasn’t from a lack of chances. Even though the play had already been whistled dead for a few seconds after what was a soft foul by David Edgar on Edgar Castillo in the 34th minute, Nik Ledgerwood had Tim Howard beaten on a tidy finish from a tight angle.

But in second-half stoppage time, Simeon Jackson should have had the ball in the net. Dwayne De Rosario did a good job winning space on the left side before crossing the ball to Jackson for what should have been a tap-in from just a few yards out, but the Norwich City man fired wide. Canada know they can’t afford to miss those chances when World Cup qualifying resumes on Friday in Cuba.

“We need to score,” said Hart with a laugh. “We will continue to work on certain things. I thought we were a little bit hasty, especially on the counterattack. The final pass wasn’t decisive enough where sometimes it was a little short.”