NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Not even a last-minute red card to Randy Edwini-Bonsu could put a damper on the Canadian players’ joy after a famous 2-0 upset of the heavily favored United States side at the 2012 CONCACAF men’s Olympic qualifying tournament.
More than 10,000, mostly American supporters were on-hand at LP Field for Saturday's, and for the most part, they were in full voice.
But when Toronto FC’s Doneil Henry put in Canada’s first goal on a header from a Phillipe Davies corner kick, the stadium went silent.
“There’s no better feeling than that,” Davies said after the match. “We’re playing in America, and we beat them 2-0 — great.”
The vast majority of people, including many people from Canada, gave the team little chance in the game against American team that was much stronger on paper and in the qualification tournament as a whole. But after this one result, suddenly anything is possible.
“It makes it special that everyone wrote this team off from the beginning,” said captain Nana Attakora as he left the Canadian dressing room. “We all believed in each other and [head coach Tony Fonseca’s] tactics and it worked.”
There is still work to be done. Canada haven’t punched their ticket to next week’s semifinals in Kansas City, Kan., just yet. Their final game comes Monday against Cuba, and the sheer delirious emotion of beating the United States, which a Canadian team has only done once previously in Olympic qualifying.
Canada need at least a point to advance and could even move on with a loss depending on how the result in the US-El Salvador game turns out. But that scenario isn’t something they want to think about.
“The coaches told us we can’t get overconfident,” admitted Attakora. “We still have a game on Monday, and if we lose that game, this game is meaningless. We can enjoy it for tonight but tomorrow we need to get ourselves level-headed and ready to put in work on Monday.”