PASADENA, Calif. – It was already going to be a tough ask for the Canadian team to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, but after yet another setback for the program, it might just be impossible. It’s certainly improbable.
Sunday’s game at the Rose Bowl against Martinique was Canada’s best chance at three points, but after being thoroughly outplayed by the tiny French department and conceding a the game-winning goal in the final seconds of extra time, the remaining two fixtures against Mexico and Panama become all the more daunting.
With the team’s confidence likely as low as it can be, they’ll have to work some kind of miracle to pick themselves up and challenge Mexico, who lost 2-1 to Panama in their group opener, on Thursday in Seattle.
“We know it’s a difficult game, but if any Canadian player needs motivating to play against the top country in CONCACAF, then there’s something fiercely wrong with them,” interim head coach Colin Miller said in his postgame press conference. “So I’m hoping just the fact that it’s a big fixture against Mexico, a powerhouse in CONCACAF, that we have motivation from the guys to pick themselves up.”
"Canada is rebuilding" has been the mantra of this team ever since their spectacular elimination from World Cup qualifying last year, but with a lack of depth in many positions, it’s becoming clear just what a mammoth task lies ahead for the program.
Miller’s job will be done after this tournament as Benito Floro takes over, but as someone who’s worn the jersey for Canada and has come through the ranks himself, Miller cares deeply about where the national team goes from here.
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“What happened today was not because of what happened over the last week to 10 days. This is a combination of a lot of different things going on for years in Canada,” he said. “This is a massive rebuilding process at the moment. It will be some time before we get to fix it.”
If 8-1 to Honduras was the lowest point in the program’s recent history, the loss to Martinique may not be far off. But unlike last October, Canada do have a chance at redemption on Thursday in Seattle to at least show the players are willing to fight.
“I’m not expecting miracles by any stretch, but I think that for spells we did well this afternoon in possession without being too penetrating if you like,” Miller said. “But we have to be better against Mexico.”