EDMONTON, Alberta – Jairo Arrieta’s first-half penalty kick stood up and kept the Canadian national team winless in 2013 after Costa Rica prevailed 1-0 on Tuesday night in an international friendly at Commonwealth Stadium.
The result gives Canada just one draw and four losses through five friendlies this year as they continue their preparations for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Despite the hosts holding the advantage in possession and shots for large portions of the game, Arrieta’s work inside the first quarter-hour stood up as the decider. The Columbus Crew striker won the spot kick himself after going down from contact with Samuel Piette just 15 minutes in, and buried the ensuing spot kick past the hands of a diving Milan Borjan.
Canada managed to create a number of chances, but none of them really troubled Patrick Pemberton in the Costa Rica goal. Just two minutes after conceding, Issey Nakajima-Farran got on the end of a Nik Ledgerwood cross from the right side but his shot missed just high.
The Canadians got two more decent chances on the stroke of halftime, with Kyle Bekker the provider in each instance. The Toronto FC rookie swung in a corner kick that club teammate Doneil Henry missed with his header. Bekker then swung in another well-placed cross off a free kick that Andre Hainault was first to, but the ormer Houston Dynamo defender also put his header just wide of the target.
With Canada pushing for the equalizer in the closing minutes, each side had a man sent off in the 75th when Ledgerwood and Costa Rica defender Christopher Meneses got into a shoving match.
The Canucks made one final push in second-half stoppage time, as Henry had another chance off a corner kick. But as was the case for Canada all night, his header went wide with the final whistle coming just seconds later.