The Canadian men's national team's celebration will have to wait, as Les Rouges couldn't overcome a first-half red card to Mark-Anthony Kaye in a 1-0 away defeat to Costa Rica on Thursday evening in Concacaf World Cup Qualifying.
With Panama's 1-1 draw against Honduras, Canada could have punched their Qatar 2022 ticket with a draw or victory. Instead, the result ends a remarkable run to start qualifying after going unbeaten through their first 11 matches. As it stands, head coach John Herdman's group still occupies the top spot in the Octagonal standings with two matches remaining to officially clinch a spot in the country's first World Cup since 1986.
Canada were dealt a major blow in the 34th minute when Kaye was sent off due to a second yellow card after receiving an initial caution for a challenge that went to Video Review just minutes earlier.
Les Rouges nearly kept the match scoreless through the halftime break, only to concede the opener in first-half stoppage time. Costa Rica's Celso Borges applied the finishing touch, converting an expertly-placed header back across goal off a cross from Gerson Torres.
Canada pressed hard for an equalizer in the second half and nearly found one in the 73rd minute, as Richie Laryea was denied by a snap save from Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Tajon Buchanan then had two looks at a rebound, the first of which went off the crossbar, before the follow-up sailed high.
Jonathan David had Canada's last big chance in the 88th minute, only to see his late close-range effort also denied by the woodwork.
- 45'+1' – CRC – Celso Borges | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Previous performances afforded Canada some margin for error, but it's still a missed opportunity at Estadio Nacional. They're in good shape atop the table and will look to complete their bid for history in their next match against Jamaica on Sunday. Meanwhile, Costa Rica are quietly the hottest team in the Octagonal, with this giving Los Ticos four wins in their last five matches. They now hold sole possession of the fourth-place spot on the table, putting them right in the mix with two matches to play – and even putting pressure on the US and Mexico.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Canada did well to not fold after Kaye's red card and certainly had their chances in the second half. This final last-gasp effort from David was just inches from what would have been a dramatic leveler.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Ex-Toronto FC defender Richie Laryea was massive with his team down a man, nearly finding a leveling goal while providing a menacing presence down the left side.
- CAN: Sunday, March 27 vs. Jamaica | 4 pm ET (Paramount+, OneSoccer, Sportsnet) | Concacaf World Cup Qualifying
- CRC: Sunday, March 27 at El Salvador | 5:05 pm ET (Paramount+) | Concacaf World Cup Qualifying