Canada were made to work for their second win of the final round of Concacaf qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. Panama scored in just the fifth minute and frustrated the hosts, even after Canada tied the game through a Michael Murillo own goal.
Despite Panama employing just about every trick in the book to eat up the minutes and kill any possible momentum, Alphonso Davies’ wonder goal deflated the visitors' hopes of stealing a point and Canada cruised to a 4-1 win at BMO Field.
The Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper didn’t have much to do after giving up the early goal. He was there when needed to claim balls in the air.
Miller was caught too far forward in the lead-up to Panama’s goal. And Los Canaleros kept trying to exploit that side the rare times they could advance.
None of the Canadian defenders showered themselves in glory on Panama’s goal. Blackburn had all kinds of space to put Panama in front.
No heroics needed saving a goal as he did against Jamaica on Sunday. Johnston had the freedom to venture forward into the attack a few times and was a nice extra option to have going forward.
Laryea got into it with Panamanian players after the final whistle. He didn’t stand out too much but did provide a fine cross for Buchanan’s goal.
Wotherspoon got himself into a scoring position in the 36th minute but skied his effort. One would think this spot goes to Atiba Hutchinson when the Besiktas man is included in the squad.
The debate rages on over whether his going down in the first half should have been a penalty. In the end, it wasn’t given but Eustaquio was influential in the heart of the Canadian midfield. He repeatedly made the little passes to open space for teammates.
Osorio logged a high pass completion rate but many of them were safe balls. He has the ability to influence games but needs more consistency.
Eventually rewarded for all his hard work with Canada’s third goal. Buchanan did just about everything that was asked of him while Canada were searching for answers. He drew fouls, created chances and found space to exploit.
Davies’ goal is one of those “where were you” moments in Canadian soccer history. Davies took a nothing moment with a ball seemingly heading out of bounds and turned it into a goal. He kept the ball in play and then bought himself some space for the lovely cutback shot to put Canada in the lead. All his abilities were on display: speed, poise, finish. It’s a moment Les Rouges fans could look back on as being pivotal as they look to reach their first World Cup since 1986.
David’s confidence certainly needed that goal in the second half after he failed to take advantage of two glorious opportunities early in the first half. He’ll need to bottle that feeling of finding the net heading into tough games against Costa Rica and Mexico next month.
Herdman’s faith in his young attackers was eventually rewarded by Davies, David and Buchanan all coming good in the second half. After the hour, it was a nervous time for Herdman staring another home draw in the face. But Canada’s position is much more comfortable heading into a crucial month.
Adekugbe provided stability down the stretch to the left side of the Canadian defense. A good option to have in reserve but deserves a start at some point.
Kaye was steady after coming in. He set up a Buchanan shot that was blocked in the 68th minute as he entered the game just a minute before Davies played hero.
Came on late with the result beyond all doubt.
No time to make an impact for the in-form Toronto FC man.
The CF Montréal midfielder made his entrance late with the game already decided.