Familiar frustrations dogged the Canadian national team on Sunday, as they struggled to finish their scoring chances and were punished by El Salvador via a 1-0 loss in an international friendly at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas, an event benefiting victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Denis Pineda, a 23-year-old winger based in Portugal, netted the game's only goal, dispatching a far-post cross from Alexander Larin with 15 minutes left on the clock.
A youngish Canadian side led by Orlando City's Cyle Larin enjoyed more of the ball against the Central Americans and carved out several decent looks at goal, inspired mainly by Scott Arfield, but were unable to beat Cuscatlecos goalkeeper Derby Carrillo.
- 75' - SLV - Denis Pineda
- QUIET CYLE: Starved of service and unable to take matters into his own hands, it was an anonymous afternoon for Larin. A look at his Opta actions shows that though he was tidy with his passing, the Orlando star did not produce a single shot of any sort in his 52 minutes on the pitch, nor did his replacement, Montreal's Anthony Jackson-Hamel. That's a serious concern given the importance of that lone striker role in the 4-1-4-1 formation Zambrano fielded.
#CanMNT couldn't get the CFs (Larin, AJH) involved too much. Sure, experimental XI, but it emphasizes how valuable Cavallini is in the XI.— Peter Galindo (@GalindoPW) October 8, 2017
- WELCOME BACK, ARTIE: El Salvador coach Eduardo Lara honored Alvarez's return to the fold with a starting role in his hometown, and the Fire's crafty veteran flashed some of his trademark trickiness in an inside-out winger role along the right flank. There was also a pleasing bit of symbolism as he made way in the second half for Alexis Cerritos, the 17-year-old D.C. United academy prospect whose father Ronald was a star in MLS's early years.
- KRIS, CAPPED: From Canada's perspective, it's possible that the most meaningful long-term takeaway from this occasion will be the debut of Kristopher Twardek. The 20-year-old winger is climbing the ranks at England's Millwall and was convinced to switch his international allegiance to Les Rouges after featuring for his father's land, the Czech Republic, at youth levels. Now he appears to be fully on board with the CanMNT.