The Canadian national team embarked on a new era in their history on Thursday in promising fashion, defeating Mauritania 4-0 in a friendly played in Marrakech, Morocco.
The win comes in Canada interim head coach Michael Findlay's first game in charge, following the departure of Benito Floro after the country failed to qualify for the hexagonal round of 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Canada cleared their lines with the first big chance of the game, as Doneil Henry helped head a dangerous Mauritania cross over the crossbar in the 13th minute.
Henry was involved in the next big event, in the 23rd minute when he conceded a penalty on Harouna Sy. But Canada goalkeeper Simon Thomas kept the game scoreless when he saved Abdoul Ba’s spot kick.
After the first half ended scoreless, Canada took control of the game after the restart, and in the 52nd minute took the lead, as Tosaint Ricketts tapped in a low cross from Junior Hoilett.
They doubled the lead just three minutes later, as Steven Vitoria headed in a corner kick, his first career goal for the Canadian national team.
The rout was on just before the hour mark, as Marcus Haber scored to make it 3-0 for Les Rouges.
Ricketts added to the goals with his second of the night in the 80th minute.
- 52' – CAN – Tosaint Ricketts (Junior Hoilett)
- 55' – CAN – Steven Vitoria (Tosaint Ricketts)
- 58' – CAN – Marcus Haber (Maxim Tissot)
- 80' – CAN – Tosaint Ricketts (Fraser Aird)
- Full Box Score
- GOOD RESULT FOR CANADA: After hitting the wall once again this time around in World Cup qualifying, Canada don't have competitive games to look forward to until next year's Gold Cup. And while a comfortable win in a friendly won't wipe away the recent disappointment, it is a good sign and appears to show some progress for the CanMNT, too. After all, the last times these teams met, in 2013, they played a scoreless draw and then Mauritania beat Canada 1-0. It may be measured progress, but it's certainly a start.
- PENALTY STOP CRUCIAL: In the end, even if Mauritania had converted the penalty in the first half, it may not have made a difference in the final scoreline. But Mauritania were stronger in the first half, and Canada really only wrestled control of the game in the second half, when they turned the game into a cakewalk. So Thomas' save, while likely to be overshadowed by the goals, was arguably the turning point of the match.
- RICKETTS CLIMBS UP SCORING TABLE: Ricketts has been a solid addition to Toronto FC this season, as an experienced scorer who's chipped in two goals to date in just over 350 minutes of play in MLS. Serving as the captain for Canada on Thursday, he also worked his way up the scoring chart for his country with his brace, moving into sixth place all-time.
Tosaint Ricketts now one goal back of Ali Gerba for fifth on the ALL-TIME scoring list for #canMNT— Daniel Squizzato (@DanielSquizzato) October 6, 2016
- CAN: Tuesday, October 11 at Morocco (Time, TV: TBD)