Gold Cup: Keven Aleman pledges his future to Canada with first senior appearance

SEATTLE – Keven Aleman won’t be another one that got away.

When the former Toronto FC Academy product came on for Kyle Bekker in the 82nd minute of Canada’s 2-0 loss to the Gold Cup on Thursday night the Costa Rica native became cap-tied, meaning he won’t join the ranks of players who have swapped Canadian colors for other nations.

“If I didn’t think we would go forward, I wouldn’t stay here,” Aleman said after the game. “The program is playing on well and the players that are staying are very good and I’m happy to stay on board and I’m just happy.”

READ: Mexican team theatrics damper Canadian effort

Owen Hargreaves, Asmir Begovic and Jonathan de Guzman have all disappointed Canada supporters in the past by abandoning ship, meaning that no one was about to take Aleman’s future for granted. Born in Costa Rica but raised in Toronto, he was eligible to play for both countries.

The 19-year-old played for Canada two years ago at the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico and was also a member of the Under-20 team that came within one game of reaching this year’s World Cup in Turkey.

“It feels great especially playing with a very good side in a very good stadium,” Aleman said of getting his first competitive run out at the senior team. “It feels great coming out for 10 minutes. I think I did well so I’ve just got to stay positive, keep trying.”

Canada return to action on Sunday against Panama in Denver (6:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer).

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.