Cyle Larin’s first career goal for his national team was the icing on the cake Monday, as Canada breezed to a 3-0 victory over Puerto Rico in a friendly in Bayamon.
The 19-year-old Orlando City striker’s goal in the 77th minute came after tallies from a pair of Edmonton boys, Tosaint Ricketts and Randy Edwini-Bonsu (whose goal was also his first for the senior national team) and plenty of pressure from the Canadian team. The last time Canada won 3-0 on the road was on Sept. 6, 2011 – coincidentally, also in Puerto Rico.
While Milan Borjan started in goal for Canada, 20-year-old Toronto FC goalkeeper Quillan Roberts got the chance to earn his first senior-team cap when he came on in the 84th minute. The youngster, who scored for Canada at the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, preserved the clean sheet for his country.
The win came three days after a 1-0 victory over Guatemala in Fort Lauderdale, giving Canada their first two-game win streak since the summer of 2012. It’s also the first time since Oct. 12, 2012 that the Canadian team scored multiple goals from open play in the same game.
While the Puerto Ricans are hardly world-beaters – No. 160 in the most recent FIFA rankings – the result did represent a rare CONCACAF road victory for Canada, their last one coming in Cuba on June 8, 2012. The result also means Canada remains undefeated (three wins, one draw) against CONCACAF opponents under Floro, who took over as manager in August 2013.
The momentum boost is exactly what Canada was looking for ahead of a big year that includes the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the beginning of their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign. Canada’s next two matches will come in June, as they begin their quest towards Russia 2018 with a home-and-away against No. 181-ranked Dominica.
If all goes according to plan in those two games, Canada will head into a crucial Gold Cup (in which they will attempt to earn a berth in the 2016 Copa America Centenario) riding their first four-game winning streak since 2009.