TORONTO — Tosaint Ricketts’ dramatic injury-time goal lifted Canada to a 2-2 draw with Ecuador at BMO Field on Wednesday night in the Canucks' final warm-up before next week's Gold Cup.
Ricketts (pictured above), who was a late attacking substitution for Stephen Hart’s side, potted his first international goal after receiving a quick Julian de Guzman free kick on the edge of the Ecuadorean penalty area, catching the visitors flat-footed as they argued with the referee.
The late strike capped off an exciting match in which both teams looked confident in moving the ball around.
Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Terry Dunfield opened the scoring in the 24th minute after receiving a nice pass from Josh Simpson, who had beaten a pair of defenders the left wing. Dunfield found himself all alone from 25 yards out, and sent a laser into the upper right corner of Marcelo Elizaga’s goal.
The strike was Dunfield’s first for Canada at the senior level.
Will Johnson nearly doubled Canada’s lead a minute later when a Canadian flurry resulted in the Real Salt Lake midfielder sent in alone on goal. Johnson mis-hit his one-timed shot across the face of goal, forcing a good save from Elizaga.
The play was fairly even for much of the first half, with Canada having more of the scoring chances. Ecuador didn’t really test Milan Borjan until the 37th minute, when the Canuck 'keeper was forced to make a point-blank save on Christian Benítez inside the six-yard box.
Ecuador looked lively in the second half while pressing for a goal, although the Canadian back line held steady. The South Americans’ constant pressure paid off in the 62nd minute, when Benítez nodded home a corner kick to send the large contingent of Ecuadorean fans into raptures.
The away supporters had another goal to celebrate only two minutes later, when Michael Arroyo sent in a screamer that was a carbon-copy of Dunfield’s opening strike after dribbling around de Guzman.
Ecuador were content to pass the ball around at the back after going up, tempting their hosts to attack. In the end, the strategy back-fired when Ricketts delighted the home fans and leveled the score just before the final whistle.
Canada now prepare for their Gold Cup opener on June 7, when they take on the United States at Ford Field in Detroit.
CAN - Terry Dunfield, 24’
ECU - Christian Benítez, 62’
ECU - Michael Arroyo, 64’
CAN - Tosaint Ricketts, 90+2’
CAN - Terry Dunfield, 37’ (Caution)
Canada -- Milan Borjan, Nik Ledgerwood, Kevin McKenna, Dejan Jakovic (Andre Hainault, 39’), Marcel de Jong, Will Johnson (Jaime Peters, 79’), Terry Dunfield (Julian de Guzman, 46’), Atiba Hutchinson, Josh Simpson (Rob Friend, 58’), Dwayne De Rosario, Simeon Jackson (Tosaint Ricketts, 85’)
Ecuador -- Marcelo Elizaga, Geovanny Caicedo, Frickson Erazo, Christian Noboa (Édison Méndez, 52’), Michael Arroyo (Joao Plata, 90+1’), Walter Ayoví, Christian Benítez, Segundo Castillo, Jaime Ayoví, Néicer Reasco, Luis Saritama (Oswaldo Minda, 78’)