TORONTO – It obviously wasn’t the Gold Cup that Canada’s dynamic pair of MLS youngsters had hoped for. But for Cyle Larin and Tesho Akindele, their debut in the regional tournament was still a worthy experience, despite The Reds being left without a goal or a ticket to the knockout rounds after their scoreless draw Tuesday against Costa Rica.
Neither Larin, the No. 1-overall pick by Orlando City SC of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, nor Akindele, last year’s MLS Rookie of the Year with FC Dallas, started against Costa Rica after both featuring in Canada’s first two matches. Akindele didn’t see any action against Costa Rica.
"I haven't score a goal yet this tournament, so it's definitely time to give someone else a chance," Akindele told MLSSoccer.com. "I think it would have been more frustrating if we had no chances. Every game I feel we could have scored, and if you give the same players the same chances they'll score. I'd bet anything on it."
Unfortunately for Canada though, the likes of Akindele and Larin, who have been dynamic for their clubs, were unable to replicate their strong domestic form for their country.
"Things are changing, and we want to do better," said a disappointed Larin. "We want to be looked upon as a good soccer country and a team that can compete with the likes of Costa Rica, and that's the goal."
Despite the scoreless draw, Canada did have their chances against Costa Rica and looked a much more aggressive side than they showed in their previous Gold Cup matches.
"We played with a lot of confidence today, and I think once we play with confidence, we'll do well in attack," Larin said.
Canada will now turn their attention to World Cup qualifying, where they hope to have a little more luck finding the back of the net.
"It's just about looking to build on these performances, and when the games come in September for the World Cup qualifiers, we're ready," Akindele said. "This is an experience I wouldn't trade for anything."