TORONTO – A win was a long time coming for Benito Floro’s Canada, and a win is exactly what Les Rouges found at BMO Field on Tuesday night with Canada defeating Jamaica 3-1 to bring to an end a two year, 16-game winless streak.
Floro’s team made its home debut – its eighth game under the new manager – in this international friendly, one that saw Floro call up much of Canada’s first-choice roster for the match. Meanwhile, Jamaica featured a number of MLS names, including Andre Blake, Je-Vaughn Watson and Deshorn Brown.
Canada made its home-field advantage felt in the first half, but the game’s opening goal came right at the half-hour mark from a well-placed free kick by Jamaica. The chance was given after Julian de Guzman came in with a rough sliding tackle outside the box.
Evan Taylor stood over the ball but it was Kemar Lawrence who took the shot, running through the ball and putting a perfect curl on his effort; Canada 'keeper Milan Borjan got a hand on the shot but couldn’t palm it away.
But it didn’t take long for Canada to find a response. Just one minute later, they won a corner kick. Montreal Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier opted to send the ball not into the box but well outside it, where defender David Edgar met it with an audacious volley. The ball skipped twice, weaving through the mass of players in the area and beat Blake on his left hand side.
The two teams went into the dressing rooms locked 1-1 at halftime, but Floro made two changes for the second half: Toronto FC’s Kyle Bekker entered the match for Bernier and former D.C. United defender Dejan Jakovic came in for another former MLS regular, Andre Hainault. Simeon Jackson came into the game for Canada soon after, in exchange for Montreal’s Issey Nakajima-Farran.
It was Jackson’s introduction into the match that opened up the scoring chances for Canada, but once again, it was Jamaica who threatened first; Jamaica broke with pace and numbers, forcing Borjan out to try and make a save, but the Canada ‘keeper was left hanging with a wide open net. Canada’s defenders rushed to fill the hole and cleared the effort from inside the box.
Just past the hour mark, Canada won a free kick when Jackson was brought down outside the box. Bekker and Marcel De Jong stood over the ball, and De Jong struck an almost identical free kick to Jamaica's opening score, beating Blake on the near corner to give Les Rouges a 2-1 lead.
Several minutes later, Blake failed to properly catch a cross into the box, dropping it to the foot of Tosaint Ricketts, who tapped in the goal with ease to give Canada a third on the night. Dwayne De Rosario and Karl Ouimette came into the match with a loud cheer each, rounding off the night as Canada proudly claimed a much-needed win.