TORONTO — After a frustrating couple of scoreless matches, Canada found goals in bunches en route to a 4-0 rout of St. Kitts and Nevis at BMO Field on Tuesday night.
The big win to close out the second round of World Cup qualifying was just what the Canadians needed.
“We wanted to come out to BMO and show — on Canadian soil — that we could get the job done,” striker Tosaint Ricketts said after the match. “Tonight, there was just a little more passion. We already qualified [for the third round] and everyone was still giving 100 percent. That’s what I like to see from my teammates."
A hardy crowd of 10,235 at a chilly BMO Field showed full appreciation for the effort, which sealed an undefeated run through a group that also included Puerto Rico and St. Lucia. Despite the seemingly comfortable advancement — Canada topped Group D by a five-point margin, having only given up one goal while scoring 18 — coach Stephen Hart said after the match that there was still much work to be done ahead of next year’s third round of CONCACAF’s qualification tournament.
“If you look at all the games [of the current round], our ball possession at times could be better,” Hart said. “We’re in a situation where we’re creating chances, but I still think that final pass could be a little better measured.”
“We have to take those chances,” he added, emphasizing that lack of finishing has plagued his team throughout the year and could cause problems when the opposition gets better in a few months’ time.
To that end, the Canadian Soccer Association announced Canada’s third-round schedule immediately following the match, with the Canucks set to kick off the next phase on June 8, 2012, at Cuba. The Canadians will also face off against Honduras and Panama in 2012, with the top two teams advancing to the final CONCACAF round — the “Hex” — the following year.
For Dwayne De Rosario, who scored the second goal of Tuesday’s match, the real work begins now.
“You’ve always got to improve, you’ve always got to work on all aspects of the game,” De Rosario explained. “Hopefully we get good friendlies next year so we can continue to grow and work on the things that we need to work on as we prepare for the next round of qualifiers, because it’s going to be a lot more intense, a lot more difficult, and we’ve got to be mentally and physically prepared.”
The D.C. United star also achieved a personal milestone on Tuesday night, drawing level with former national team coach Dale Mitchell on the all-time Canadian goal-scoring chart. De Rosario attributed the achievement to the teammates who have shared the field with him throughout the years.
“I’d definitely like to thank the players,” De Rosario said. “Dale’s a great player and he’s been a great role model for us in Canada. He’s held the title for a long time and to be along the same lines as that is a great feeling.”