So which team had a worse Friday night? The USA, which lost to Guatemala, 2-0, in Guatemala City. Or Canada, which fell to Mexico, 3-0, in Vancouver?
Canada's defeat was a huge letdown
after the buildup to the game -- it drew 54,798 fans at BC Place, setting a new attendance record for a Canadian World Cup qualifier -- but few expected Canada to beat Mexico, the reigning Concacaf
champion and unbeaten in its last 16 games.
The USA fell behind by two goals after 15 minutes. Canada survived until the 31st minute when Javier Hernandez
put Mexico ahead. Eight
minutes later, Chicharito set up Hirving Lozano
to make it 2-0, and Jesus Corona
added the third goal in the second half.
The result could have been a lot worse as Mexico
finished with a 19-7 edge in shots and hit the woodwork twice in the first half.
“At some point," veteran Julian De Guzman told the Toronto Sun
, "we lost focus and lost our structure. A team like Mexico, if you’re not
organized and compact, you’ll be punished. That’s what happened.”
Canada won't have a lot of time to regroup. It plays Mexico in the rematch at Azteca Stadium on
Tuesday. While the Guatemala game in Columbus is being billed as a must-win game for the USA, Canada's task will be to avoid a blowout.
One of the reasons for the extra interest in the
Mexico series is that Canada is in good shape to advance to the Hexagonal for the first time since 1999, but it can't afford to sabotage its goal difference.
Canada beat Honduras, 1-0, at
home, and tied El Salvador, 0-0, in San Salvador in its first two games. Honduras did no better than Canada did against Mexico at home, losing, 2-0, in November.
Canada has lost to El Tri
the last eight times they met in Mexico. The last results Canada earned on Mexican soil were 1-1 ties in World Cup qualifying in 1976 and 1980.
The 1976 draw propelled Canada into a tie
with the USA, forcing a playoff against the USA that it won, 3-0, in Haiti. In both World Cup cycles, Mexico and Canada advanced out of the North American zone at the USA's expense into the
final-round Hexagonal, then played as a five-game tournament at a single host country.
Since then, Canada has lost its eight road games against Mexico by a margin of 32-1. De Guzman
believes Tuesday's game can be closer.
“We can’t let the environment impact us,” De Guzman told the Sun. “We can’t find ourselves overwhelmed. We can’t
lose focus of our plans. We have qualities that are effective in these games.”