HOUSTON – After 16 minutes the Canadian attack looked like Saturday might be the day when the goals would come. The players were connecting passes and created four shots to test the Jamaica defense.
The remaining 74 minutes were not as kind.
With the Houston humidity wearing on them, the Canadians ultimately fell into a shell, creating just three chances in those final 74 minutes. And they were punished just moments before the final whistle as a Rodolph Austin header in the 91st minute, clinched a late 1-0 win for the Jamaicans at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Canada head coach Benito Floro was still generally positive about the performance, despite the fact that it represented Canada's second straight Gold Cup match without a goal.
“It is not good play in the second half, but it is a good performance," Floro said after the match. "It is true Jamaica has a different level than us. What matters for us is to understand this is good experience.
“It was only a difference of a little bit of quality. One thing that was really bad was our set pieces; I’m not happy with that. But talking about touching the ball, combining, our team played well.”
Tosaint Ricketts had the best chance of the match for the Canadians in the 12th minute, but his shot on goal was stopped by Jamaican goalkeeper Dwayne Miller, who came off his line to cut out the angle.
“The first half we had opportunities in the beginning and couldn’t put them away," team captain Julian de Guzman said. "From then on we were fighting the rest of the way.
"Being able to shoot and get those chances, you have to be composed. A lot of times with the ball we gave it away too easily. A lot of times we had chances to just keep the ball and maintain possession.”
After the strong start, Canada’s attack failed to threaten despite being gifted plenty of space to create. De Guzman felt they struggled to maximize it.
“Jamaica gave us a lot of opportunities to get forward,” De Guzman said. “Whenever we did, we were able to get forward and cross in, but it wasn’t enough. There were too many times we gave the ball away.
“There were a lot of opportunities that we could’ve been in situations where we take an extra touch or move the ball around. We lacked a little bit of composure going forward and that’s why we weren’t able to maintain possession and become a threat.”
Canada will hope to finally get on the board in the friendly confines of BMO Field in Toronto, where they will close out Group B action with a match against Costa Rica (8:30 pm ET on FOX Sports 1 and UniMas in the USA and Sportsnet One in Canada).