HAVANA – It could be the final World Cup qualifying campaign for one of Canada’s all-time greatest goal scorers, and it’s one that Dwayne De Rosario wants to end at Brazil 2014.
The D.C. United player is one of the biggest names on both the Canadian team and in MLS. And as Canada start the round in CONCACAF qualifying here against Cuba on Friday (2 pm ET, Sportsnet), losing this game is not an option for the 34-year-old.
“Right now I’m focusing on coming here and getting three points,” admitted De Rosario on Thursday after the team’s only training session at Estadio Pedro Marrero. “I’m not even thinking about losing.”
Although Canada have been tripped up in this round of the competition in their past three attempts at qualification, this time they've been haned a favorable first two games – they open against Cuba, the lowest-ranked team in the group, followed by a home game in Toronto four days later against Honduras, a team Canada beat in Montreal just after the last World Cup in September of 2010.
Though Canada will certainly be favorites heading into the opener here on Friday, one of the biggest challenges their opponents will present is the fact that they are a relatively unknown quantity.
“We don’t know too much on the opponent, but we could imagine that they’re going to be very athletic, very quick,” said De Rosario. “It’s a big field, so we have to keep that in the back of our mind in approaching the game tomorrow – but we also have to play our game.”
What has plagued Canada in past World Cup qualifying occasions are poor starts and dropping points right off the bat. Having experienced that with Canada in the past, De Rosario knows how crucial a good opening game can be.
“We’re just looking forward to kicking off our World Cup qualifier campaign on a positive note,” he said. “It’s all about managing the game and hopefully we’ll be able to keep our minds and stay focused and stay positive.”