The Canadian national team opened their World Cup qualification campaign earlier this month with decisive victories over Puerto Rico and St. Lucia. If Josh Simpson has his way, Canada will be even more dominant when they meet those same two sides in early October.
“We scored seven goals and only had one scored against us in our first two matches, which is positive, but I believe we can get even better,” the 28-year-old midfielder told media in a conference call on Thursday.
The Canadians overwhelmed their Caribbean opponents in the opening two games, though they lacked the finishing touch at times and were missing a bit of a killer instinct in the early goings of each match.
Simpson hopes that won’t be the case next time.
“We’re going to be a little more dangerous,” he said. “Personally, I’d like to be a lot more dangerous in the next two games.”
Simpson scored a pair of goals in Canada’s 4-1 win against St. Lucia in Toronto on September 2, and four days later, he was lively but did not figure into the scoring as the Canadians won 3-0 in Puerto Rico.
While he did not find the back of the net in Bayamon, he was quick to praise his teammates who did, especially strikers Simeon Jackson and Tosaint Ricketts, who both came into the game off the bench and scored late markers to put the result out of reach.
“When you do get called to [start] on the bench, and then you come off the bench, you’ve just got to make your opportunity count,” Simpson said. “That’s exactly what those guys have done.”
While happy with the contributions of his attacking teammates, Simpson said that the team will miss having Atiba Hutchinson in the lineup for the foreseeable future. Hutchinson re-injured a knee in the St. Lucia match, after having undergone off-season surgery to repair an injury originally suffered back in June during the Gold Cup.
PSV Eindhoven, Hutchinson’s club side, confirmed that the Canadian midfielder would miss considerable time and said that he may need a second surgery in the near future.
Despite the bad news about Hutchinson, Simpson said that Canada will “just have to get on with it.”
"I think of Atiba as our top player," Simpson said. "It's unfortunate for him, but I hope he can do everything he can to get himself fit and of course we're going to need him in the next round."
- MLS LIVE