No goals. No wins. Nothing seems to be going right for the Canadian national team these days.
Despite creating a number of quality scoring chances, including earning a penalty kick that went unconverted, against the Czech Republic on Friday in Olomouc, Les Rouges had to settle for yet another shutout loss in a 2-0 setback in an international friendly.
For those still counting, that’s nine straight games – 842 total minutes – of goalless play for Canada. And still, not a single victory in 12 games this year.
Dwayne De Rosario came closest to breaking Canada’s agonizing streak after earning a penalty kick in the first half, but their misery was prolonged when goalkeeper Petr Cech dove to his right to turn aside his effort.
De Rosario, whose option was declined by D.C. United last month, was one of four players without a club to take part in Canada’s latest training camp. But the 35-year-old was the only one to see the field against the Czechs, as head coach Benito Floro chose to trot out what he deemed his first-choice lineup.
Much like in their last friendly against Australia on Oct. 15 – in which they conceded in the first minute – Canada were on the back foot from the start against the Czechs, though Ondrej Celustka kindly waited until the third minute to put the home side in front.
But as they did against Australia, Canada responded well in the early going, generating a number of scoring opportunities, including De Rosario’s penalty and an earlier chance by Tosaint Ricketts that was well saved by Cech.
And then, like in the Australia friendly, the second half was dominated by a carousel of substitutions while Canada’s opponent gradually gained strength before increasing their advantage. Tomas Horava made it 2-0 late in the second half, even as Canada continued to press for a long-awaited breakthrough.
With veterans such as Atiba Hutchinson and Julian de Guzman unavailable, Pedro Pacheco took on a large share of the midfield duties, though domestic products Jonathan Osorio, Russell Teibert and Kyle Bekker also patrolled the middle of the park. D.C. United’s Kyle Porter was forced into duty in the first half when Simeon Jackson departed with an injury.
Youngster Caleb Clarke earned his first cap for the senior national team when he entered the game for De Rosario, but didn’t have sufficient time or opportunity to end Canada’s string of scoring futility. Montreal Impact defender Karl Ouimette, also with the national team for the first time, did not enter the game.
Floro is likely to test Ouimette and the other youngsters in Canada’s next game, a friendly against Slovenia on Tuesday (noon ET, Sportsnet One).