Canada Player Ratings: Whitecaps' Rusty Teibert leads the way in St. Kitts

It was squeakier than fans may have hoped, but Canada sewed up a spot in next summer’s Gold Cup with a 1-0 win over Saint Kitts and Nevis in Concacaf Nations League qualifying on Sunday.

It’s Canada’s third straight victory, following an 8-0 win over the US Virgin Islands in September and a 5-0 defeat of Dominica at BMO Field in October. But Sunday’s affair, played at Warner Park in Basseterre, St. Kitts, provided John Herdman’s side with a much steeper challenge than those two prior games.

A competitive first half concluded with Atiba Hutchinson heading home a picture-perfect cross from Russell Teibert to, as it would turn out, decide the match.

Despite some moments of individual magic from the likes of Alphonso Davies and Ballou Tabla, the Canadians couldn’t sustain a sufficiently cohesive attack to pad their advantage. But the slim lead never seemed in grave danger, as Les Rouges coolly saw things out against a dogged and determined home side.

Canada wrap up qualifying against French Guiana at a to-be-determined Canadian venue on March 26. That match will decide whether they will compete in League A or League B of the inaugural CNL competition next year.

RATINGS

Milan Borjan (6.5) - Faced hardly any stern tests on goal, but did help his side’s cause with useful distribution and his customarily reliable handling.

Alphonso Davies (6) - Playing in the left back position exposed a few moments of defensive naivete, but he compensated with his famous footwork, which nearly netted him a couple of goals late on.

Zachary Brault-Guillard (6) - Eager to join the attack, particularly in the early going, but also confidently kept the opposing attack at bay along the right side of defense.

Derek Cornelius (6) - Showed good strength in the air and a developing connection with central defensive partner Doneil Henry in their trickiest assignment to date.

Doneil Henry (6) - For a man who often finds himself at the center of big moments (and not always the good kind), this relatively uneventful night was a welcome occurrence.

Samuel Piette (6) - Seemed slightly unsettled by the patchy playing surface at first, but grew in assertiveness and precision as the game moved along.

Atiba Hutchinson (6.5) - Calm and collected as ever as Canada’s midfield engine, particularly when thumping home the seventh goal of his decorated national-team career.

Junior Hoilett (6.5) - Drew plenty of attention from opponents with his lateral movement, earning multiple free kicks and creating space for teammates in 70 minutes of action.

Russell Teibert (7) - Earned an assist on Hutchinson’s goal and could have had several more, with quality delivery to teammates throughout the night.

Ballou Tabla (6) - Full of stepovers and tricky runs, but didn’t find himself intimately involved in dangerous scoring opportunities in his 65-ish minutes of play.

Lucas Cavallini (6) - Exerted loads of energy over his 75 minutes of play, mostly on pressing the opposition and tracking back (albeit with an occasional surplus of aggressiveness).

Lucas Cavallini (No. 19) with SKN's Atiba Harris | Canada Soccer

Jonathan David (6.5) - Did what was asked in his 25 minutes, running at a tired SKN defense and nearly finding his fourth Canada goal, foiled only by the crossbar.

Liam Millar (5.5) - Got a 20-minute run-out that was more functional than flashy, helping to shepherd his side to its one-goal in with good possession play.

Cyle Larin (5.5) - Like David, he came on to help kill off the game’s waning minutes, and helped prevent the opponents from building much out of the back.

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