Despite going down early, the Canadian men's national team found a way to start their Gold Cup campaign with a bang. Canada scored three goals in the span of 10 minutes to grab a 4-1 win over Martinique in their opening group stage match.
Coming off the back of five consecutive clean sheets, Canada let Martinique break their recent run of form with a sloppy mistake from Mark-Anthony Kaye only 10 minutes into the match. The LAFC midfielder received a pass from Kamal Miller and wanted to send the ball back toward his goalkeeper but Emanuel Rivière intercepted his attempt. The former Newcastle United striker slid to get to the ball before Maxime Crépeau and rolled it slowly into the far post and in for the early opening goal.
But Canada was not behind for long, fighting back and found the equalizer courtesy of Cyle Larin. The former Orlando City striker, fresh from a flurry of goals scored in World Cup qualifying, towered over the Martinique defenders to head the ball in off a corner kick situation.
The floodgates opened from there and Canada had their go-ahead goal a few minutes later. Tajon Buchanan made his way from the left flank all the way to the edge of the six-yard box and made a cut-back pass for Jonathan Osorio. The Toronto FC midfielder tapped in the ball from the top of the six-yard box and into the lower right-hand corner of the net to give the Canadians their first lead of the afternoon.
Stephen Eustaquio scored his first goal in red and white to bring Canada's lead to two goals. Buchanan once again outmanned his opponent along the left flank and left the ball for Junior Hoilett inside the box drew. With his back to the net, Hoilett passed to a wide open Eustaquio at the edge of the box to try his luck on goal. The FC Paços de Ferreira midfielder armed a low shot towards the left-hand corner and brought the score to 3-1.
Martinique tried to cut the lead to one in the second half on a corner kick opportunity. Stéphane Abaul found the end of the cross and tried to volley a shot past Crépeau but Buchanan hopped in to block the attempt and clear the ball to safety.
Canada struck a fourth time in the dying embers of the match, taking advantage of a terrible back pass from Martinique. Lucas Cavalini intercepted the ball and sent a cross all the way to the right flank for Theo Corbeanu. The young Wolverhampton Wanderers winger tapped the ball in an empty net to notch his second goal for Canada.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Canada did not panic or deflate after giving up a goal to Martinique early in the match. The Canadians had faith in their ability and 10 minutes were enough to not only find the equalizer but push their opposition out of reach to start their Gold Cup campaign on the right foot. Martinique will be disappointed not to have taken advantage of the early lead much longer than a few minutes. On the bright side, Martinique’s star striker Emmanuel Rivière took no time to break the ice and will look to add to his tally before the end of the group stage.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Tajon Buchanan led the way from his left flank and gave the ball to Junior Hoilett. With his back to the net, the Canadian veteran drew enough Martinique players to give way for Stephen Esutaquio to score his first Canadian goal. This concluded in a span of 10 minutes where Canada went from being 1-0 down to 3-1 up.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Tajon Buchanan had to step up following Alphonso Davies’ injury that ruled the Bayern Munich player out of the Gold Cup and he did just that. The New England Revolution player is continuing on his hot run of form and was instrumental in Canada’s comeback in the match.
- CAN: Thursday July 15 vs Haiti | 7:30pm ET (FS1, TUDN, OneSoccer in Canada) | Concacaf Gold Cup Group Stage
- MTQ: Thursday July 15 vs USA | 9:30pm ET (FS1, UniMas, TUDN, OneSoccer in Canada) | Concacaf Gold Cup Group Stage