July 14, 2024
  • July 14, 2024

Analysis: Canada Clinch Knockouts After Gutsy Draw Against Chile

By on June 30, 2024 0 506 Views

Once again, it was not the prettiest of performances, but Canada got it done.

They knew that they had to get the right result against Chile on Saturday evening, and they managed to slog-out a point in Orlando, Florida to advance to the Quarter-Finals of the Copa America.

Fighting Tooth and Nail for the Point

Canada knew that it was going to be an all-out battle in Orlando against Chile, given the opposition’s playstyle and the stakes of the match. Chile needed to get a win to guarantee their spot in the Quarter-Finals after drawing Peru in the opening match and losing their subsequent match against Argentina. And despite their aging squad, they still have plenty of fight in their team to try to steamroll Canada to get that result.

That fact became very apparent in the opening half, as Chile did not hold back in both their challenges and antics. There were three yellow cards given inside just the opening 30 minutes, of which two of them were given to the same man: Chile’s Gabriel Suazo. The fact that Chile were reduced to ten men showed that not only were Canada prepared for Chile’s tenacious approach to the match, but they were able to use it against them. Richie Laryea in particular was superb at this, doing what he knows best: drawing fouls and earning cards for the opposition.

But despite going down a man, Chile kept pushing hard to get a lead. Most of the second half was a slog, but Canada managed to stay resolute and keep Chile quiet for the most part. It was a fantastic display from the Canadians, and it showed that they can tussle – at least physically – with some of the roughest teams in the continent.

Back Five Impeccable In The Match

While everyone in the team was putting in a shift, it was the back five that became the heroes for Canada in the match. Alistair Johnston was a menace down that right side, joining the attack and creating shooting opportunites while also making some crucial challenges to stop Chile from attacking down their left side. Alphonso Davies continued to be a thorn in the side of any team he faces, bursting down the wings and combining with Jacob Shaffelburg and later Liam Miller to terrorize Chile.

The center-back partnership of Derek Cornelius and Moise Bombito kept it tight at the back, despite a shaky start with the latter getting an early yellow card inside 10 minutes. They both did well to repel most of the crosses into the box and make important blocks when Chile got in those dangerous spaces to shoot. However, the cream of the crop was – once again – the man between the sticks. Maxime Crepeau pulled out all the stops once more against Chile, putting his body on the line to ensure his team could get the point that they required to move on.

Perhaps no moment was as important as when it was deep into stoppage time at the end of the match. Chile had a throw-in and threw everyone forward to try to get that last-gasp winner they so desperately needed. After some fracas in the box, Alexis Sanchez put a dangerous ball into the box and despite being surrounded by a sea of red and white, Crepeau managed to jump up and claw the ball out of the air before settling it down to end any chance for a Chilean upset. It is those steely moments where Canada need their leaders to step up, and that is exactly what Crépeau has done not only in this one match, but throughout the tournament.

Should Canada continue going deeper in this tournament, they will have Crepeau to thank for his valiant performances that got them to that point.

Stuttering Attack Still A Concern For Knockouts

Making it to the Quarter-Finals of Copa America is obviously an incredible and historic achievement for Canada, who many neutrals had going out in the groups stages prior to the start of the tournament. However, the fact that Canada only were able to score one goal in three matches, of which two were against 10-men for long periods of the match, should be a serious worry for the team.

The front two of Cyle Larin and Jonathan David have simply not clicked as of late, spanning back to even the friendlies against the Netherlands and France. Larin has done okay when it has come to build-up, and even set-up the goal against Peru with a superb ball through for Shaffelburg, but he has been a shadow of the striker that was scoring goals for fun in the 2022 World Cup Qualifying campaign.

David, for his part, has been at least the more active of the two. He does well to drop into space and link-up with the attacking plays, but seems cramped once inside the box. Perhaps he might do better as the sole 9, or with another partner alongside him as these three games have shown that goals are coming hard to come by for Canada in the Jesse Marsch era.

Les Rouges might face any of Mexico, Venezuela, or Ecuador in the quarter-finals, and they will need to try to fix these goalscoring woes if they want any chance of advancing to the semi-finals and beyond of this competition.

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