Canada Left Stunned By Jamaica, Crash Out Of Concacaf Nations League
In an upset few saw coming, Jamaica beat Canada at BMO Field on Tuesday night.
The crowd of just over 17,000 that came to watch Canada potentially seal a spot in the Concacaf Nations League final four and qualify for a spot at the Copa America went home disappointed as the team crashed out after losing a 3-2 contest.
Despite the two-leg series finishing 4-4, Jamaica advanced due to away goals while Canada was eliminated from rgw Nations League and will play a qualifier in March for a second chance at Copa America.
Post-game, the common word Canada interim head coach Mauro Biello used was disappointed.
“It’s a massive disappointment for sure,” Biello said. “They made adjustments. They were more aggressive and we were too casual. We lost easy balls and they took the momentum from us.”
Canada started the game brightly and played a solid first half, dominating in possession with 61%. They controlled the game for the first 45 minutes.
“The first half was very good and we didn’t put it away and we allowed them to climb back into the game.”
Alphonso Davies had the first serious chance for Canada in the ninth minute as he was diving to deflect a shot on target from Tajon Buchanan but was stopped by Jamaican keeper Andre Blake.
“I thought in different moments we looked really good and we created opportunities and we were in control.”
Three minutes later, Buchanan was at it again as he found Cyle Larin with a stunning lob pass – but again, Larin was denied by Blake.
“At the end of the day, we put ourselves in trouble and they are disappointed in the room.”
In the 15th minute, Larin had another chance at goal with a shot from in close, but Blake made the save of the game by sticking out his leg to deny him once again.
“You need to play games to continue to grow and gain cohesion and play at home. This year it’s taken more time to get going, but you still need to come out of this game and be on top. There’s no excuse.”
Davies opened the scoring in the 25th minute as he was finally able to beat Blake to give the Canadian fans something to cheer about, with BMO Field erupting in celebration.
“We shot ourselves in the foot. We gave them momentum and in moments we weren’t able to be strong enough to hold them off.”
Jamaica’s only dangerous opportunity in the first half came in the 31st minute as Leon Bailey managed to get a shot on target and Milan Borjan, the Canadian goalkeeper, made his first save of the night.
“This team is going through a transition. It went through a coaching change and we need to get out of it and continue to build. I know in March it will be an important window.”
Three minutes into the second half Bailey had another big chance to score but his shot rang off the crossbar and stayed out.
“You have to look at yourself and ask what could be done better, and how we couldn’t finish the game knowing the situation we were in. For me we weren’t able to manage those moments.”
In the 50th minute, Bobby Reid had his first chance of the night for Jamaica but his shot was saved by Borjan.
“It’s a blow, you have to get to these tournaments. You have to make the finals, and that’s by maintaining the standards and exceeding them.”
Jamaica tied the game in the 62nd minute as Shamar Nicholson was able to get a shot fired off from in close and able to beat Borjan to level the game at 1-1.
The Reggae Boyz continued to ride the momentum and four minutes later Nicholson scored his second goal of the game finishing a great pass from Demarai Gray to give Jamaica the 2-1 lead.
“This was a good team and they caused us problems. We have to get out of it and continue to work.”
Three minutes later Canada responded as Ismael Kone was able to head in a cross from Davies to level the game at 2-2 and keep them in the game.
“You have to play that game and they were able to score and we wanted to stabilize the midfield.”
Controversy in the 75th minute as Jamaica was awarded a penalty due to Stephen Eustaquio being called for a handball in the box. Reid stepped up to the spot and froze Borjan, scoring to seal the win on away goals differential after a 4-4 aggregate finish.
“We need to sense the moment. You’re feeling that pressure and you need to know how to manage those moments, and it comes back to managing the game.”
Canada will now have to wait till March to get back together for the one-game qualifier in Texas for a second chance at Copa America. They can either face Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, or Honduras.
Header Image Photo Credit: David Chant