The streak continues.
The Canadian national team has now gone goalless in its last eight international matches, after being held off the score sheet in a 3-0 loss to Australia in an international friendly at London’s Craven Cottage on Tuesday afternoon.
Les Rouges found themselves on the back foot from essentially the beginning of the match, as Australia opened the scoring less than a minute into the game. Striker Joshua Kennedy headed home off a chip from Mark Bresciano, following some sloppy play on the defensive end.
Canada did have two great chances to end their string of offensive futility in the opening 45 minutes, but goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak – making just his second start for the Socceroos – was up to the challenge both times. Simeon Jackson slid into the area and connected on a cross in the sixth minute, but Langerak dove for an excellent stop, then relied on his reflexes to parry away a close-range header from Tosaint Ricketts in the 29th minute.
The Canadians actually created the better scoring opportunities in what was a very even first half. David Edgar – customarily a defender, but starting in central midfield in place of the injured Atiba Hutchinson – did well to break up Australian attacks and create several chances for teammates on the attacking side.
His strong showing was all the more important after fellow midfielder Julian de Guzman left the game in the 25th minute after seemingly picking up a minor injury; he was replaced by Toronto FC’s Kyle Bekker.
For the second half, head coach Benito Floro opted for youth over experience, with Russell Teibert, Jonathan Osorio and Stefan Cebara subbing on for Dwayne De Rosario, Iain Hume and Nik Ledgerwood, respectively. But the young Canadian side – which included Adam Straith and Doneil Henry paired in central defense – soon began to show its inexperience against the World Cup-bound Australians.
In the 52nd minute, Dario Vidosic doubled the Aussies’ lead, redirecting a low header past Milan Borjan from close range. The Canadians appealed for offside, but the officials were uninterested.
Floro used his six allowed subs to their full potential, also giving minutes to Ashtone Morgan and Samuel Piette in the second half. Australia took full advantage of the pup-blooding Canadian approach, asserting themselves in attack and shutting down Canada’s few attempts at offense before they could materialize.
Australia’s third came in the 79th minute, when Mathew Leckie out-jumped Straith and headed home a cross from New York Red Bulls defender David Carney. By then, Australia had fully taken the game by the throat, with the Canadians seemingly content to limit the damage.
With Canada’s schedule clear for the rest of the year, it appears the national team will end 2013 with three draws and eight losses from 11 international games, with just one goal scored and a minus-15 goal differential.