In their first game on home soil in almost two years, the Canadian men's national team battled to a 1-1 draw with Honduras at Toronto's BMO Field to begin the final stage of World Cup Qualifying on Thursday evening.
Les Rouges had a golden opportunity to snatch a late winner in the 90th minute when a cross eventually dropped to a wide-open Richie Laryea, but the Toronto FC defender skied his effort, leaving both teams forced to settle for a point apiece.
Honduras opened the scoring in the 40th minute after Tajon Buchanan, trying to recover, fouled Andy Nájar in the penalty area. Alexander López stepped up to the spot and convert the penalty kick to make it 1-0 for the visitors.
However, Canada were rewarded a penalty of their own in the 65th minute. Junior Hoilett, who checked into the game at halftime, got in front of a sliding Maynor Figueroa and was taken down in the box, leaving the referee pointing to the spot for the second time. Up stepped Cyle Larin for a straight-up-the-middle finish, tying the game at 1-1 and creating a pressure-filled last quarter of the game.
Los Catrachos came close to taking the lead minutes later, but a diving Milan Borjan – at full stretch – deflected a Deybi Flores’ header off the woodwork and out to keep the score level in the 74th minute.
The match was Canada’s first on home soil and in front of fans since a historic 2-0 win over the US men's national team in Nations League play on Oct. 15, 2019.
- 40' – HON – Alexander López (PK)
- 65' – CAN – Cyle Larin (PK)
- THE BIG PICTURE: Canada will be left disappointed they couldn't come away with three points at home against a team they'll likely be contending with for qualification. There are still plenty of matches remaining in the Octagonal round, a 14-match slog while chasing a spot in Qatar 2022. Honduras, on the other hand, will be content with the point away from home as they turn their sights to El Salvador on Sunday.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Away goals are crucial in Concacaf, and Thursday evening was no different. The game changed in the 40th minute when Buchanan took down Nájar, resulting in a penalty shot that was tucked away by López. From that point on, it felt as though Canada were playing catch up against a stingy Honduras defense.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Milan Borjan was great for Canada in this one. If he wasn’t pumping up the crowd, the veteran keeper was making crucial saves, including an impressive diving stop in the second half that kept this one square.
- CAN: Sunday, September 5 vs. United States | 8 pm ET (FS1, UniMas, TUDN in US; OneSoccer, TSN in Canada)
- HON: Sunday, September 5 vs. El Salvador | 8 pm ET (Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, Paramount+)