SEATTLE – Just last year, defender David Edgar was the understudy of the Canadian national team's backline. With former captain Kevin McKenna marshalling the defense from the center, Edgar had less of a responsibility when it came to organization, shape and timing.
In Canada’s first Gold Cup game on Sunday, Edgar found himself alongside youngster Doneil Henry in the middle of the defense and the Burnley FC man had the burden of being the elder statesman thrust upon him.
There were a number of nervous moments but the only blemish on the scoreboard was the goal they conceded in the final seconds as Canada lost 1-0 to Martinique.
“I feel as if we defended quite well,” Edgar said prior to training on Wednesday. “I think we also created our own problems at the back with just silly unforced errors. Barring the wonder-strike at the end, which was an excellent strike, it’s a nil-nil game and a clean sheet and we go away from that with a point.”
Attacking prowess isn’t something that’s a strength in this iteration of the Mexico team, but any side wearing the green of El Tri should still be a bigger threat than anything Martinique could muster, so Edgar knows he and his mates will be in for a challenging night on Thursday (11 pm ET; Fox Soccer/UniMas in US, Sportsnet World in Canada).
Canada have to show nerve at the back knowing full well that if they can frustrate the Mexican attack, it could give the team a boost at the other end. If they can make it a "first goal wins" type of game, anything can happen.
“We need to keep our discipline defensively, more so than we did in the first game and just [eliminate] those unforced errors in keeping the ball," Edgar offered. "When you get a chance to break a team like Mexico you need to keep the ball and get your breath back and expose them.”
The team learned no harsher lesson than at the Rose Bowl that defensive focus can’t slip for even a second over the course of 90 minutes.
“It’s going to be a real battle and we’re going to have to stick together for the 90 minutes and be disciplined,” Edgar said. “It’s going to have to be a disciplined performance.”