NASHVILLE, TN, U.S.A. – Canada won 2:0 over host USA in the second match of the 2012 CONCACAF Men’ Olympic Qualifying tournament on Saturday 24 March, an emphatic win that puts Canada within a point of securing a semi-final berth in the competition. With two matches in the books, Canada is two positive results away from achieveing its mission of qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics.
For the second match in a row, goalkeeper Michal Misiewicz and his back four posted a clean sheet. This time, Canada also got on the board with goals from Doneil Henry and Lucas Cavallini. Striker Cavallini was selected Canada’s Man of the Match.
"To me, it is three points, nothing more than that," said Canadian coach Tony Fonseca. "Every match (in the group phase) is important and every win is important. There were good things that we did today that allowed us to get the three points.
"We have to look at the next two matches with the same desire and same passion," said Fonseca, in reference to the last group match on 26 March and hopefully the semi-final match on 31 March.
Match Highlights: Canada M23 2 – 0 USA
Canada won six corner kicks in the match, with both goals scored off corners in the second half. Henry scored the first goal in the 57th minute when he headed home a Philippe Davies corner. Cavallini scored the second goal in the 83rd minute off a Davies cross after Davies took a quick, short pass from a Russell Teibert corner kick.
In a game that sometimes comes down to inches, it was USA who in fact thought it had the opening goal in the 48th minute. A wonderful Freddy Adu free kick was headed in by Ike Opara, but the linesman correctly called the play offside. Canada’s back line had stepped forward those precious few inches to put Opara in an offside position.
In the first half, both sides had their turns with possession, with USA pressing early and Canada finding its breaks as the half wore on. Centre backs Henry and Nana Attakora were both involved with good defensive plays early in the match. At the other end, Randy Edwini-Bonsu and Evan James both tried their luck with shots towards goal.
The best chance in the first half came from what should have been a harmless Canadian cross from the right side. The USA defender deflected the cross out near his goal, close enough that a few feet in the wrong direction and it would have been an American own goal.
In the second half, USA had the first chance on the Adu free kick and then Canada created more problems with back-to-back corner kicks in the American end. In the 56th minute, a neat pass by Samuel Piette pushed Edwini-Bonsu forward, but the speedy forward ran out of space and shot the ball high.
A minute later, Canada was on the board with the Henry header.
A goal down, USA did its best to find an equaliser. The home side created chances, but could not break the Canadian defensive might. Finally in the 82nd minute, it was the speed of James on a counter-attack that led to an offensive free kick. From that Canadian free kick and a good Bill Hamid save for the Americans, Canada won its Teibert-to-Davies-to-Cavallini corner kick that put the Canucks up 2-0 on the scoreboard.
Canada’s starting XI featured Michal Misiewicz in goal, Andrés Fresenga at right back, Nana Attakora (captain) and Doneil Henry at centre back, Russell Teibert at left back, and Kyle Bekker, Samuel Piette, Babayele Sodade, Lucas Cavallini, Philippe Davies and Randy Edwini-Bonsu from the midfield up to the attack.
Midway through the first half, Fonseca replaced a hurt Sodade with substitute Evan James as a precaution (22nd minute). Then in the second half, Fonseca replaced Fresenga with Matt Stinson (68′) and Edwini-Bonsu with Sherif El-Masri (90+3′).
Unfortunately, both of Fonseca’s second-half substitutions were tied to bookings by the referee Jafeth Perea. With Canada up 1-0, a tired Fresenga was shown a yellow card when he did not get up from the ground quick enough. The referee may have thought Fresenga was wasting time before continuing to play, but in fact Fresenga was honestly ready to come off. As for the late Edwini-Bonsu substitution, confusion started after the referee requested Edwini-Bonsu to leave the pitch by the goal line instead of the customary half-way line (by the fourth official’s bench where El-Masri was ready to come on). On the bench, Edwini-Bonsu was shown a red card by the referee after instructions from the fourth official Alejandro Jimenez.
Earlier in the match, Lucas Cavallini was shown a yellow card in the eighth minute.
USA’s starting XI featured Bill Hamid in goal, Zarek Valentin at right back, Perry Kitchen and Ike Opara at centre back, Jorge Villafaña at left back, Jared Jeffrey, Mikkel Diskerud and Joe Corona at midfield, and Freddy Adu (captain), Teal Bunbury and Brek Shea up front.
In the second half, coach Caleb Porter replaced Corona with Joe Gyau (46′), Bunbury with Terence Boyd (56′), and Jeffrey with Amobi Okugo (76′).
In two matches at the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament, Canada has four points from one win and a draw. Canada’s third and final group match is 26 March 2012 against Cuba.
GK- Adam Janssen | USA / Minnesota Stars
GK- Michal Misiewicz | CAN / FC Edmonton
GK- Simon Thomas | ENG / Huddersfield Town
D- Nana Attakora | USA / San Jose Earthquakes
D- Drew Beckie | USA / University of Denver
D- Sherif El-Masri | SIN / Courts Young Lions
D- Andrés Fresenga | URU / Racing Club de Montevideo
D- Tristan Grant | URU / Club Nacional
D- Doneil Henry | CAN / Toronto FC
D- Matt Stinson | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Bryce Alderson | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
M- Kyle Bekker | USA / Boston College
M- Philippe Davies | Unattached / sans club
M- Mozesh Gyorio | USA / Sporting Kansas City
M- Evan James | CAN / Impact Montréal
M- Samuel Piette | FRA / FC Metz
M- Shaun Saiko | CAN / FC Edmonton
M- Russell Teibert | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F- Lucas Cavallini | URU / Club Nacional
F- Marcus Haber | SCO / St. Johnstone FC
F- Carl Haworth | CAN / Impact Montréal
F- Kyle Porter | CAN / FC Edmonton
F- Babayele Sodade | USA / Seattle Sounders
Canadian Soccer Association
Leading Canada to victory and Canadians to a life-long passion for soccer
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