El informe del sofa del Sur: El Salvador vs Canada

scr_header_840x500Well, we finally Fucked Honduras. That’s a start and a very satisfying one, but beyond any sense of mild vengeance, the important thing it gets us is 3 points. Mexico very much did their bit by beating both El Salvador on Friday and then Honduras earlier today, so as it stands Canada remain in a glorious second place, get a result here, and it will be a very satisfying series of results.  Seriously, Canada could potentially be 6 points clear of 2nd place, with only 4 games left to play after tonight.

Generally Canada needing a result in an away game against a good team is not a recipe for confidence, but really this is as good an opportunity as we’ve had in a long time and probably as good as we’ll get for a long time as well. Frankly, El Salvador are a mess. A good chunk of their first choice team is on strike, and all reports suggest a good chunk of their supporters are as well. They’re fresh off a hammering against Mexico (though really, 3-0 away in Mexico isn’t all that bad really) and really are there for the taking for any decent team.

Canada actually looked like a decent team on Friday, a defensively competent one with a couple of dangerous players at the very least. Can they do the same again? Can the defence keep their nerve in front of a hostile (if smaller than usual) crowd? Can the midfield be as energetic and just plain everywhere as they were on Friday amid the suffocating heat (probably, I’m stereotyping weather!) Can Junior Hoillet put in another exciting showing on the left, concacaf flopping included? Can Cyle Larin score another goal he knows absolutely nothing about? I’m tentatively positive about the first few questions at least, where any goals might come from is the real burning question here.

Anyway, here’s your lineup and it’s exactly the same as Friday, still no David Edgar, and no rotation of those that went 90 minutes 4 days ago? Alright then. Congratulations to Julian de Guzman for passing Paul Stalteri as Canada’s most capped player tonight with his 85th appearance.

Well, the USA vs T&T game is on my tv so we’re missing the start. To the game: 0-0 late on in the USATAT game, and now it’s over. 0-0 it is, probably both teams will be ok with that result. Now go to the Canada game damnit! Nope, first we have some post game analysis for the US game. Seriously?  Booooooo. And now some commercials?  Boooooo. Not impressed with BeIn sports here at all. And now an el clasico ad. And then a commercial for BeIn Sports itself.  We’re already watching you for fucks sake, go to the game you fucks. Then back to the studio to tell us ‘the other game went a little long, but we’ll now join the match in progress’, then they go to another fucking commercial. Ridiculous. 10′ Finally we join the game.   Before now, this sounded a bit exciting, but no need to show us that.

Crowd seems sparse, but whistly.

17′ Hoillet breaks through but there’s basically a defender and goalie who get to the ball at the same time as him and so his shot is blocked.  A goal kick is given, which seems wrong, but I didn’t pay that much attention, so it may well be right.

22′ Corea dribbles down Canada’s left, eventually some random Salvadoran blazes the ball well over, a fitting tribute to Captain de Guzman on this historic day.

24′ Not much really happening here, Canada playing very counter attacky. Ricketts goes up for a long ball and clashes heads with a random Salvadoran. Both down getting treatment. Nice little water break for everyone else.

27′ Canada attack down the left, some patient passing eventually gets Hoillet into the box but nothing comes of it.  Pitch seems terrible. super bobbly, and very slow, whenever someone dribbles, they seem to catch up to the ball too soon, making everything look quite ungainly really.

32′ Canada passing it around the back and getting whistled by the crowd.  Love it.

34′ Great chance for El Salvador coming in from the right wing, they shoot to the far post, Borjan comes out and gets a touch that send it bouncing just wide of the post. First big moment for Borjan in these games.

38′ Half chance for Hutchinson to get a long shot off, He dillies and dallies and nothing comes from it.

42′ Hoillet cross, Larin goes for it with the goalie, wins the header but the goalie gets a touch hits the bar, and it bounces over. Bah.

43′ Yellow card – Will Johnson with a smart foul to stop a fast El Salvador attack, booked for his troubles.

44′ Free kick, about 35 yards out, hit right at Borjan, bounces before it gets to him, but no bad bounce so easy enough.

45+1. Johnson in space, about 25 yards out lets one fly, juuuuust over the bar. Decent effort.

Half time: 0:0. A few chances here and there, probably more for both sides than there was on Friday. I wouldn’t confidently predict anything from this game, but all in all, not a bad half from Canada. Not bad at all.  My main half time thought:- a nagging sense that I’m spelling Hoillet wrong. And I am. One L and 2 Ts. Hoilett. Ok then. oops.

Just now noticing this from before the game.


2nd half underway. No subs are being talked about so presumably none happened.

48′ De Guzman set free down the left wing, it goes about as well as you’d expect, a cross is partially blocked and comes to nothing.

49′ Yellow card to Dustin Corea for a foul on Hoilett.

54′ Corea comes in from the right, gets a shot off from just outside the box. Borjan saves. Doesn’t look particularly pretty doing it, but job done.

59′ Again, long spell of possession from Canada gets whistles form the crowd, eventually leads to a cross, but Larin is beaten to the header.

61′ Canada with a free kick about 30 yards out. Ouimette for some reason decides to shoot. An easy save.

62′ Sub: Pena off, Burgos on for El Salvador

Sloppy and choppy so far in the 2nd half. Lot of finicky free kicks from Mark Geiger

64′ Sub: Jiminez on for somebody from El Salvador.

66?’ The clock has gone from the broadcast so I’m guessing time now, De Jong has a stupidly ambitious shot, comes to nothing.

68?’ Yellow card to an El Salvador player for fouling Hoilett. Aggressively ‘falls down’ and makes additional contact with Hoilett after the foul, sneaky bugger.

69′ Clock’s back so I’m back to being accurate: Yellow card – De Guzman. deserved it.

69′ Burgos has a shot, De Guzman’s it way too high.

71: Subs Johnson off, Piette on, and Edgar on for De Guzman. Not sure what that means formation wise. Bus parking?

72′ Hutchinson with a half chance, further up after those subs, but his dribble into the box had a way too heavy touch, ball runs through to the goalie.

77′ De Jong or Piette, someone with a man bun, gets a bit of a break, with Larin ahead of him, but his pass is terrible, partially intercepted and nothing comes of it. Disappointing.

80′ Hutchinson looking good out there, but very very tired, then gets a bit of a hospital ball from Hoilett and gets fouled hard. That won’t help

81′ Sub – Hoilett off, Akindele on. If he can play like he did as a sub against Seattle this’d be great.

82′ Yellow Card.  Hutchinson takes a free kick that bounces off a player not giving him 10 yards. That player gets booked.

83′ Free kick into the box, Jakovic almost gets there but he doesn’t. Goal kick.

88′ Chance for Akindele, gets ball on left, cuts inside, cuts inside, makes space for the shot, blasts it over. Bah.

90′ Salvadoran blasts a shot from a long way out, well over the bar.

91: Larin gets behind the defence, shoots from about 10 yards out, he’s very wide, and the shot is into the side netting. Bah.

Full Time 0-0.

Well, much like the 2014 cycle really isn’t it? 2 games, a 1-0 win and a 0-0 draw. In isolation, tonight’s not a bad result at all for Canada, but in the context of the group and the games to come, you can’t help but think this is the game we’ll look back at with regret. 2 games against Mexico, can’t see us getting anything there, then El Salvador at home, hopefully that’s 3 points, so it’s 7 points plus whatever we can get IN HONDURAS.  Will 7 points be enough? We’d need help. Let’s hope El Salvador and Honduras play to a couple of ties in the next chunk of games and Mexico beats them both in the chunk after.

Anyway, back out of context, and a good solid professional game from Canada. Didn’t get many chances but didn’t give many up either and 0-0’s probably about right. In central America, even against a weakened team, that’s not a terrible result. 2 games, 2 clean sheets, 1 (very lucky) goal. #FloroBall.   We’re giving ourselves a chance, which is something.

Man of the Match : I’d go with Hutchinson. Played his part in keeping things tight, and later on when he was going forward looked quite dangerous.

Goat of the Game : I feel like Ricketts was particularly anonymous tonight.

Ref Rating : 4 out of 5.  Didn’t have anything major to do, and he didn’t do the Geigershow thing and do something major anyway. Second half was chippy with a lot of fouls, but vast majority of them deserved the call.

I Am Not The Gaffer, But… :No complaints really. We are what we are right now. 4 points from 2 games can’t be sneezed at, 2 clean sheets warms my heart a lot and we’re always going to struggle to score goals so it’d be churlish to complain about that.

In Case You PVR’d It : If you like watching Canada be defensively solid, then have fun. If that doesn’t float your boat, then find some highlights instead, Not a whole lot of excitement in this one.



Author: Duncan Fletcher

Blogging journeyman formerly of Cruel Geography and Waking the Red, also briefly with Sportsnet and every now and then with the Guardian. As a supporter of Darlington, TFC, England and Canada, football's been unfair and poking fun at Duncan for decades now, so it's only fair he does the same right back at it. Follow him on twitter @duncandfletcher

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  1. It looked like the double T’s on the wings, Ricketts and Hoilett, were a bit winded. That left Larin isolated up front. Still the team managed 4 or 5 chances on net and could have potted a goal.

    To my eyes the 4-1-4-1 looked more free flowing on defense than Friday’s game.

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    • yeah, quite a few players looked tired by the end. Pitch probably doesn’t help, makes passing and dribbling a lot harder and something you have to concentrate more on, that can’t help with staying mentally or physically fresh.

      If you look at this as ‘Canada aren’t really a good team, what do you expect?’ which is probably the fair way of looking at it, it’s a decent result. Look at it in the context of ‘Canada has a chance to qualify for the hex, we should be getting points from the easier games’ it’s a lost opportunity. It’s only a disappointment if you started with expectation.

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      • I am sticking with the positive side of that equation. Honduras has not looked good under Pinto and Canada has quietly and incrementally improved and will like continue that progression.

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        • I’d agree with both of those statements in the last sentence. Honduras is looking rough, and el salvador is a bit of a mess, so there’s a chance there. I’d say going in there were 3 games where a result was possible, home v hon and ES and away to ES, and 3 where it was very unlikely, home to mex, away to hon and mex. Get at least 7 points form the first 3, and maybe pick a point out of the second 3, and if other results go our way, 8 points might be enough.
          I’d have been very happy with 4 points, if it wasn’t for the b team aspect, this was a golden chance wasted, and it’s turned the home ES game into a must win, and we probably need something good elsewhere as well. margin of error now very slim whereas we could have been sitting on a comfy cushion.

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          • Okay, well I am thinking there is a chance for draw in Tegucigalpa. So I think we are on the same group think.

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            • I’d say Honduras away or Mexico at home have small chances of getting a point if canada shows up mentally ready for the challenge (and we’ve generally looked better in that regard under floro). Unlikely but there.

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