Yallop: Canadian nat'l team is "always playing catch-up"
From a professional standpoint, Honduras’ 8-1 walloping of Canada in World Cup qualifying Tuesday was a fine result for San Jose Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop, who contributed defender Víctor Bernárdez and midfielder Marvin Chávez to Los Catrachos’ cause.
But on a personal level, it was a bitter pill for Yallop, who earned 52 caps for the Canadians as a player and coached them from 2004 to 2006. The loss knocked the Canadians out from a seventh straight World Cup since they made their only appearance, in 1986.
“Just watching it, it was really disappointing,” Yallop told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “The way they’ve gone through qualifying, to concede any amount, let alone eight, it’s a disappointment. We’ve all had games like that, if you’ve played or coached. They picked the wrong time to get taken apart.”
The Canadians needed only a draw on the road, but New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengtson scored in the seventh and 16th minutes to set the ball rolling.
“The two early goals set the tone, and it’s 4-0 at halftime, so any real chances of getting back have gone,” Yallop said. “Knowing that you’re out of the World Cup was maybe playing on the players’ minds. The way the Hondurans came out, they were going straight for the win. And they just kept going and going.”
Yallop said that he felt Canada “had a good chance of getting through” heading into the match, but acknowledged their inability to punch home a goal at home against Honduras — a victory there would have made Tuesday’s game moot and put Canada among CONCACAF’s last six teams — was the result that stung most deeply.
“I’ve looked at the last couple of years and been very encouraged,” Yallop said. “It’s just that putting it all together in qualifying is very difficult. If you look at the overall Canadian setup, it’s always playing catch-up, and it’s not one of the favorites to qualify. We’ve always got that in the back of our mind.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.