Canadian men earn key point against Mexico in World Cup qualifiers

Canada scored 1st goal at Azteca since 1980

Jonathan Osorio
Jonathan Osorio celebrates his goal in Canada's 1:1 draw with Mexico  David Leah / Canada Soccer

Jonathan Osorio led the Canadian national men’s soccer team to a historic night at Azteca on Thursday in Mexico City.

The midfielder scored the equalizer against Mexico in the 43rd minute, earning the red and white their first goal at the stadium since 1980, and an eventual final 1-1 result.

Brian Robinson in 1972, and Gerry Gray in 1980, are the only other Canadian scorers at the famous stadium.

“This is a very special goal for me and for Canada,” Osorio said after the match. “We know we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of character on this team.

“Going down in this tough environment against a tough team and knowing we could come back. I think we showed today that we’re a really good team.”

Alphonso Davies aided Osorio’s goal with his 14th career assist, tying the men’s national team all-time record Junior Hoilett set earlier this year.

The draw keeps Canada undefeated in the final round of Concacaf FIFA World Cup Qualifiers with six points in four games. Of the eight countries involved, three advance to the World Cup in Qatar and fourth place competes in a playoff match against another conference.

Canadians are currently in third behind USA and Mexico. Thursday marked the first time since 1980 the national team has drawn against both countries in the same round of World Cup qualifiers.

In Canada’s last five meetings at Azteca, they were outscored 20-0.

Coach John Herdman was pleased to be asked if he was disappointed.

“I love that this team is getting asked that kind of question,” he said, adding that ultimately there was nothing to be satisfied with.

“We wanted to win here and be that first team that took three points,” the coach said. “There’s been a team before us that drew at Azteca so we’re disappointed in a way, but, Mexico as you know are a top team.

“We suffered a little bit in that second half. I thought we were in control of their attack and we knew that we could be a transitional threat.

Before halftime, Canada had 50 per cent possession and seven shot attempts. By the end of the match they recorded 45 per cent possession and were outshot 11-8. Both teams hit four on target throughout the 90 minutes.

Herdman was impressed with the execution in the first half. The second 45 didn’t offer as much energy from the team, but the coach wasn’t going to dwell on it.

“The second half was a bit laggy, but at the same time I thought we finished strong,” he said.

The Canadians now head to Kingston, Jamaica, where they play CONCACAF’s eighth-ranked nation on Sunday. The red and white will be back on their home pitch at BMO Field on Wednesday where they’ll face fourth-place Panama.

Both matches will be broadcast live on Sportsnet, OneSoccer, RDS and TELUS channel 980.

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Posted: Oct 8 2021 7:44 pm
Filed under: Soccer Sports