Despite winless 2013, Canada insist no reason to worry as Gold Cup approaches

EDMONTON, Alberta – It’s now five games and counting as Canada remain outside the win column in 2013.

And with Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Costa Rica ­– the final official friendly prior to this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup – it’s difficult to say whether the rebuilding Canadian national team program is actually making progress. But for interim head coach Colin Miller, who’s been in charge for three of the five games this year, the team is on the right track.

“I can definitely say there’s success,” Miller emphatically stated in the postmatch press conference. “I thought this was a very positive performance in possession. I thought the lads completed a lot of passes. Set-plays wise, I thought Costa Rica were under pressure for every set piece.” 

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All of Canada’s games this year have been against opponents above them in the FIFA World Rankings. And, with the exception of the camp in March in the Middle East, have been with up-and-coming Canadian talent just getting their feet wet.

But don’t take too much stock in the results, said Miller – or the faces involved.

“I don’t think there’s anything to be negative about at all, other than result, which is not what we wanted going into Gold Cup,” said Miller. “But you may find that a lot of these players are not around at the Gold Cup.”

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Veteran midfielder Julian de Guzman captained the team Tuesday night and is expected to be a part of that Gold Cup team. He admitted there should be a bit of a concern that Canada are still winless heading into the most important part of the year.

But at the same time, he notes, the program is a rebuild after a disastrous conclusion to the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign. The little bits of success in the development of younger players will eventually pay dividends with success in the on-field results.

“You’re going to see more of a complete side going into the tournament and that’s the goal going into the Gold Cup is having a stable side,” said the former Toronto and FC Dallas man. “As long as people are fit and ready to step up to their game, I think the expectations will be at a higher level and the wins will eventually come.”