Given that 2013 will go down as one of the worst years in the history of the Canadian men’s national team, it makes sense that head coach Benito Floro is focusing on the future.
Presuming that Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Australia is Canada’s final game before the new year, 2013 will be Canada’s first winless calendar year since 1994, and with only one goal scored in 11 international matches.
So it’s no surprise Floro gave plenty of minutes against Australia to a host of youngsters whom it’s hoped will factor into brighter days ahead for Canada. The short-term reality, however, is that the team is experiencing some severe growing pains.
“In the second half, the young players did not play well because the opponent was very physically powerful,” Floro told reporters in London after the match. “[But] we need to give them international experience.”
One of the veterans who started the match, Dwayne De Rosario, agrees that getting into real-game situations is one of the best ways to see what young players have got.
“It’s the best opportunity for them to learn,” said De Rosario, Canada’s all-time goalscoring leader. “We lacked in the [physicality] department because a lot of those guys aren’t getting minutes [with their club teams] and you could see that.
“Australia was a lot sharper today, but I think the experience guys got today was something they could build on moving forward.”
But if Canada are to have better results than they did in 2013 next year and beyond, Floro knows that it’s not simply a matter of throwing young players into matches and hoping for the best.
“We have two problems," he said. "The first is a question of physical preparation, but that depends on the clubs where they’re playing, and the other is technically.
“The only way we can help is tactically. We need a lot of camps, we need the same technical direction from the young players because we need to advance from this camp to the others and to have international experience.”