They had to come from behind twice to do it, but Canada are headed back to the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the second consecutive time.
Eric Gordon’s second goal of the game was the winner as Canada's U-17s rallied twice to top their Jamaican counterparts 4-2 on Saturday in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship quarterfinals, booking a spot in the big show this fall in the United Arab Emirates.
Toronto-area native Gordon got his head on Marco Bustos cross in the 76th minute and, while Jamaican goalkeeper Nicholas Nelson made the original save, Gordon was unmarked and tapped home the rebound from close range before getting mobbed by his teammates.
He also assisted on Canada’s insurance goal in the 80th minute when his cross from the right flank was headed home by Toronto FC Academy product Jordan Hamilton.
Khalil Stewart scored both Jamaican goals while Hanson Boakai scored Canada’s second goal.
It took just five minutes for Stewart to get Jamaica on the board when he sprinted past the Canadian defense into the penalty area before smashing a powerful effort past goalkeeper Marco Carducci.
After that, the Canadians controlled much of the possession but couldn’t create many quality chances before Bustos, a Vancouver Whitecaps Residency product, took a hard left-footed strike that nailed the post in the 32nd minute. Just six minutes later, it took a good second effort from Gordon to get things equalized.
In the 38th minute, Gordon was on the end of a long cross from the right and, after seeing his high, looping header come back off the bar, he followed the play in and helped the ball over the line surrounded by a number of Jamaican defenders.
In the 45th minute, Stewart was at it again, giving his side a 2-1 lead at the hald. The Jamaican brought the ball up the left side before cutting in on Ian Fernandes and hitting a right-footed shot that was deflected in.
In the second half, Hamilton came on and it wasn’t long before he made an impact. He sent a cross in from the left side to Boakai who tapped in from close range and Canada had the game tied with just less than a half-hour remaining.
It was Boakai’s second goal of the tournament after he also scored the equalizer in Canada 1-1 draw with Costa Rica that qualified them for the quarterfinals.
Canada next face host nation Panama in the CONCACAF semifinals on April 17. All four semifinalists qualify for the U-17 World Cup.