They say you never forget your first time, and indeed, it was a memorable debut for Canada in the Concacaf Nations League on Sunday.
John Herdman’s side defeated the U.S. Virgin Islands 8-0 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida in the first of their four qualifying matches for the inaugural CNL competition.
Lucas Cavallini, Cyle Larin and newcomer Jonathan David each scored a brace, while Jonathan Osorio and Junior Hoilett also found the back of the net.
Given the USVI’s status (ranked 199th in the world), we’ll apply a golf-style handicap to our rankings; assume that a similar performance would have been worth an extra point or two against stronger opponents.
Milan Borjan (5) - Had very little to do, unsurprisingly. Goldberg from The Mighty Ducks probably could have kept a clean sheet in this game.
Alphonso Davies (5.5) - We didn’t see full attacking Phonzie, as he was playing a wingback role for much of the game, but he did do good work to set up both of Larin’s goals.
Derek Cornelius (5) - A pretty low-key debut for the 20-year-old defender, who did enough to repel the occasional USVI counterattacks as they arose.
Doneil Henry (5) - Not much excitement beyond a potential penalty-kick decision in the first half that was waved away by the referee.
Liam Millar (5.5) - Playing as a right-sided wingback, he had less freedom to boss the game than in his debut back in March, but still made some good connections with teammates, particularly Arfield.
Samuel Piette | USA Today Sports Images
Samuel Piette (5) - Had a bit of trouble on a few occasions with the size of some USVI players, but otherwise did well to sit in front of the two-man defensive line (yes, that’s not a typo).
Jonathan Osorio (6.5) - Clearly intent on making up for lost time with the national team, he set the early pace with lots of energy and a nice headed finish on Canada’s first goal.
Scott Arfield (5.5) - Lived up to his billing with the captain’s armband, putting his high work rate to good use as Canada looked to consistently switch the play.
Junior Hoilett (5.5) - His left-sided connection with Davies is blossoming, which is music to fans’ ears; had some good individual runs as well.
Lucas Cavallini (6) - Showed great instincts to clean up a rebound and score his first, and added a second before subbing off at halftime. Not much more you can ask for in 45 minutes of work.
Jonathan David (6) - A dream debut for the 18-year-old, who was always buzzing around the net and scored a pair for his troubles before subbing out in the second half.
Cyle Larin (6) - A big statement for Larin, who has struggled at times for Canada, but coolly finished a pair after entering as a sub, to re-open his national-team scoring account.
Marcel de Jong (5) - Came on late, allowing Davies to move further up into the attack; showed one of the game’s rare feisty moments, picking up Canada’s only yellow card.
John Herdman, manager (5) - He sure did go attack-minded, playing what looked like a 2-5-3 formation. What else can be said? The true tests will come against sterner opposition.