In their first match since a historic trip to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Canadian men’s national team eased past 10-man Curaçao, 2-0, in Concacaf Nations League A (Group C) action Saturday evening, securing a berth in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup this summer.
The victory sets up a high-stakes encounter with Honduras on March 28 (8 pm ET | OneSoccer) at BMO Field, home of Toronto FC, as a win or draw for Les Rouges means they would top the group and advance to June’s Nations League Finals, a four-team, single-elimination tournament.
Jonathan David opened the scoring for Canada via an assist from Toronto FC fullback Richie Laryea, continuing his fine form with Lille. The striker is a legitimate Ligue 1 Golden Boot contender with 19 goals in 27 league matches for the French side.
Then, after Curaçao defender Juriën Gaari was sent off for a second yellow card infringement, former Orlando City SC striker Cyle Larin doubled Canada’s lead. Like David, the 27-year-old is in form, netting five goals in eight matches for La Liga’s Real Valladolid CF since joining the Spanish club in January from Club Brugge on loan.
Expectations are high for John Herdman’s side in this competition, as they hope to build off a historic Concacaf World Cup Qualifying cycle and strong performance at the 2022 World Cup, which featured promising outings despite finishing bottom of Group F – a mix that included semifinalists in Morocco and Croatia.
With their impressive showing on Saturday, Canada made it clear they certainly intend to continue where they left off.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Canada started off 2023 strong, picking up all three points in Curaçao and ending a three-game road losing streak in the process. Perhaps more importantly, though, the win keeps them on track to finish atop their Nations League group, just as long as they can get the job done at home against Honduras.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Richie Laryea’s assist to set up Jonathan David was a thing of beauty. There aren’t many players that would have the confidence to look off Alphonso Davies’ overlapping run in this situation, but the 28-year-old had no fear.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Richie Laryea. The Toronto FC defender, on loan from Premier League side Nottingham Forest, was one of six Canadian players to play the full 90 minutes, and he was lively for all 90 – on both sides of the ball. An industrious shift worthy of a MOTM nod.
- CAN: Tuesday, March 28 vs. Honduras (8 pm ET) | Nations League