EDMONTON, Alberta – With five weeks to go before this summer’s Gold Cup, Canada's friendly on Tuesday night’s against Costa Rica (8 pm ET, SportsNet in Canada) is the last chance to impress for less-established players before the tournament.
According to interim head coach Colin Miller, the result is the priority. He will only assess this brief camp depending on the team's performance.
“If we’re doing the right things, if we see that we have made progress, that we have the right attitude, then I think that will be a success,” Miller said at the conclusion of the team’s final training session at Commonwealth Stadium on Monday. “We’re wanting to win the game of course, but if we do well, if the result is not favorable but the team plays well, then there’s something positive to come out of this camp.”
With a number of spots on the Gold Cup squad potentially up for grabs, this may be the only opportunity for a number of the players to play their way on, so there’s been no lack of motivation or drive from the players.
Even the coach may be auditioning. At this point, Canada could go into the Gold Cup without a permanent head coach. With limited options to come in on short notice, even on an interim basis, Miller may be the man at the helm this summer.
“I suppose it is possible,” Miller said. “But I can assure you no one from the [Canadian Soccer Association] has spoken to me about my availability. I’m sure they’re looking at full-time head coaches rather than someone that’s part time.”
Up against Costa Rica on Tuesday, Canada will face a team of a similar makeup to their own. Just as Canada features a mix of veteran and younger talent, Los Ticos look very much the same as they rest their bigger-name players ahead of next month’s World Cup qualifiers.
Toward the end of their training session on Monday, Canada worked a lot on defending set-pieces and made it pretty clear that knowing their defensive assignments will be a big priority.
“We have to be as attack-minded as we possibly can without giving up silly opportunities against a quality side,” said Miller.