TORONTO – With Canada failing to find the back of the net in either of their opening two matches, the country is in serious jeopardy of not scoring a single goal for the second consecutive Gold Cup.
Benito Floro's side enters the Group B finale against Costa Rica at BMO Field on Tuesday night (8:30 pm ET, FOX Sports 1/UniMás/UDN in the US; Sportsnet One/Sportsnet World in Canada) on a 478-minute Gold Cup scoreless run, not having scored a goal in the tournament since Dwayne De Rosario buried a penalty kick in Canada's final group stage match at the 2011 tournament.
To make matters even worse, the last time Canada scored a goal in open play during a Gold Cup match was back on July 10, 2009, when Sporting Kansas City's Marcel de Jong scored against Costa Rica.
"I knew I had scored against them, but I didn't realize it was the last goal from open play" de Jong told MLSSoccer.com after the team's training session in Toronto on Monday.
That goal was 872 minutes and three-plus tournaments ago, a drought of epic proportions that's continued in the 2015 tournament with a scoreless draw against El Salvador and a 1-0 loss to Jamaica.
"We do well in the defensive part from what I've seen, and we get forward at times," said team captain Julian de Guzman on Monday. "I think the difference maker will be putting away our chances, because we do get chances. If we can improve that one little detail, I think it'll make a big difference for the entire team and help us get through to the next round."
Unfortunately for the Canadians, that 'one little detail' has plagued the country for years.
"It's a matter of just believing in ourselves," said de Guzman. "We're capable of getting the chances, creating the chances, It becomes harder on ourselves when we miss chances we feel we should have scored."
Despite the team's track record, or what the critics say, Floro does not seem fazed.
“Everyone can have an idea about how to play. But we have created a structure that depends on the quality of the players,” Floro told the media on Monday. “We don’t have the skill or competitiveness of others, but we resolve that with a structure, which means a formation with good balance to allow us to attack.
"For example, our forwards, wingers, and fullbacks are constantly trying to get into a 2-v-1 [situation], but if we don’t have a strong base, that would be impossible.”
The tactician has made it clear that he does not intend to change a whole lot for Tuesday's match, and will look to ensure that the team is steady at the back first and foremost. The question still remains though, where are the goals going to come from?
"Let's see if I can do it again," de Jong said. "It's been a while since we scored. Hopefully, we can get one tomorrow and a win, too."
Truth is, Canada – who likely need a win against Costa Rica to advance to the Gold Cup quarters – may need something spectacular to finally end the drought and get rid of what is becoming an increasingly dark cloud hanging over the team.
"This is everything or nothing, we know what we have to do and I think everyone is motivated and ready to go," said de Jong.