The Canadian Under-20 team hopes that its next trip to Mexico is slightly more fruitful than the one that ended this past weekend.
The young Canucks completed an eight-day camp on Sunday with a second match against their host counterparts – a 1-1 draw coming on the heels of a 3-0 loss to the Mexicans on Friday. When they return to Mexico next February, it will be for the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
The score line from Friday was a bit flattering to the Mexicans as Canada were able to create scoring opportunities that they were unable to convert. Mexico’s second goal in that game also came off a Canadian error.
Sunday’s performance was certainly an improved showing, as Canada were able to rally after falling behind 22 minutes into the game. The Canadians fought back in the second half as Real Valladolid midfielder Keven Aleman (above) drew a penalty early, then stepped up to convert the spot kick.
Aleman – who was once with the Toronto FC Academy – was also a standout performer in Canada’s participation at last year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup, which Mexico hosted. Four other members of that Under-17 team were included in the U-20 camp.
Games against a top-level opponent such as Mexico is a good indicator of where Canada are in their development, especially with qualifying in seven months' time. El Tri finished in third place at the last edition of the tournament, and their Under-17 team is the defending world champion.
"Going forward, we have lots from which we can build," Canadian U-20 coach Nick Dasovic said in a press release. "There were some good performances by lots of individuals. We are looking forward to build on this camp towards next year's qualification process.”
The qualifying tournament starts in mid-February in Puebla, Mexico, and doubles as the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. In addition to Mexico and Canada, 10 other countries will be vying for four spots for the 2013 U-20 World Cup.
Canada haven’t participated in the U-20 World Cup since hosting the 2007 edition of the tournament.