TORONTO — Two relative newcomers to the Canadian set-up were the heroes Wednesday night as Canada drew Ecuador 2-2 at BMO Field.
Terry Dunfield and Tosaint Ricketts each opened their accounts for the national side, and both were understandably elated.
“I’ve been waiting and dreaming of this day for 29 years,” Dunfield told the assembled media after the match. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder made his third appearance for the Canadian national team Wednesday and got himself on the score sheet with a scorching shot from outside the area that gave the Ecuador ‘keeper no chance.
Dunfield celebrated his first Canada goal in much the same way he did when he scored his first MLS goal — by jumping into the arms of a throng of appreciative supporters.
“The fans were going crazy over there and I just wanted to go over and celebrate with them,” said Dunfield, who beelined to the stadium’s rowdiest corner with his teammates in tow. “It’s a great feeling having ten other guys follow you in, as well.”
As elated as Dunfield was to notch his first international goal, Ricketts was just as happy with his strike, an injury-time stunner that brought Canada level.
“It’s always good scoring,” Ricketts said, “but the first one for Canada — I can’t describe the feeling right now.”
The 23-year-old striker also celebrated by running towards a specific corner of the stadium — the one where his family and friends were seated. Before Wednesday — like Dunfield, it was his third appearance in the red and white — Ricketts had not played a senior national team game in Canada.
Despite the joy surrounding the goal-scoring exploits of a couple of relative new faces, coach Stephen Hart was less than pleased with a Canadian performance that saw the side blow an early lead.
"Even though at times we played [well] in spurts it was not good enough on the day," Hart said.
Hart was especially critical of his team’s lack of ability to take a bigger lead in the first half when they took the play to the visitors.
“We created some chances in the first half, but it’s the same old story,” said Hart. “No team dominates for 90 minutes. In your period of domination, you have to take your chances. Even when the score was 2-1, we had two very good chances and we failed to take them.”
The coach said that finishing will be high on his list of things to focus on in the days leading up to Canada’s Gold Cup opener against the United States in Detroit on June 7.
"When we went into those attacking phases and we lost the ball, we lost our shape a bit,” Hart said. “We have to do better and maintain a balance, even when you attack. That’s a matter of positioning and playing to your task."