With just one game left in the group stage at the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship, Canada remains undefeated – and sits in a prime position to reach this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Canada defeated St. Lucia 3-1 on Monday night to run its record to 3-0-1 at the tournament, which is being played in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Duwayne Ewart scored his third goal of the competition for the Canadians, while Daniel Sagno scored his second and Jean-Yves Ballou Tabla notched his first.
Head coach Sean Fleming fielded a familiar starting XI against St. Lucia. Matthew Baldisimo (Vancouver Whitecaps Residency), the team captain, was back in the XI after Kosovar Sadiki played in his place against Mexico on Friday. Andrew Dias (Toronto FC Academy) made his first start, in place of Gabriel Boakye, while Ballou Tabla returned to the lineup after being suspended for the Mexico match.
Canada finds itself level on points with Mexico in Group B, but sitting in second place on goal differential. The final group-stage matches, taking place on Thursday, will see Canada face Panama and Mexico battle Costa Rica.
If Canada defeat Panama – who have been eliminated from World Cup contention – and Mexico fails to defeat Costa Rica, the Canadians will win the group and qualify directly for this year’s U-17 World Cup in Chile (Oct. 17 to Nov. 8).
If Canada doesn’t win the group, they are still guaranteed a one-game playoff against one of Costa Rica (whom Canada defeated 3-2 earlier in the group stage), Mexico (whom Canada drew 1-1), the United States, Jamaica or the host nation, Honduras.
Canada has qualified for the last two U-17 World Cups, after previously going 16 years without reaching the tournament.
Canada lineup vs. St. Lucia: Luciano Trasolini (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency); Kadin Chung (Whitecaps Residency), Matthew Baldisimo (Whitecaps Residency), Andrew Dias (Toronto FC Academy), Thomas Micoski (North Toronto Nitros); Duwayne Ewart, Munir Saleh (Whitecaps Residency), Harrison Paton (Fulham U-18 Academy), Jean-Yves Ballou Tabla, Tristan Borges (Toronto FC Academy); Daniel Sagno (Whitecaps Residency)