All Even Between Canada And Bahrain In World Cup Tune-Up
Canada got its first taste of World Cup preparation in a 2-2 draw against Bahrain at Al-Khalifa Stadium this morning.
Head coach John Herdman had assembled a camp of primarily North America-based athletes to test fitness levels and assess fringe players ahead of the match, notably handing a start to Raheem Edwards following 27-year-old’s big resurgence at LA Galaxy and naming three former Canadian Premier League athletes on the bench.
It’s worth noting that while the above graphic has Doneil Henry in the mix, an injury in warm-up saw former Cavalry defender Joel Waterman grab a starting spot in his stead.
An early goal six minutes in from CF Montreal phenom Ismael Kone put Les Rouges in front, with the 20-year-old procuring a fine finish to mark his first national team goal.
It had looked like Canada would go two up in front after a follow-up goal from Lucas Cavallini just minutes later, though the referee brought it back for an offside decision on the Whitecaps striker.
The hosts would equalize just just a few minutes after that with an effort that bested Maxim Crepeau-replacement Dayne St. Clair, with the first half concluding under warm, sunny conditions that required a drinks break.
The second half saw a delicious ball from Edwards nearly set up Kone for a second goal, but it was Bahrain who would go ahead in the 66th minute after a penalty conversion from Abdulla Yusuf Helal.
Former Pacific defender Lukas MacNaughton would then make his international debut with twenty minutes to go, replacing Kamal Miller at the back.
An attacking change replacing Samuel Piette with Ayo Akinola indicating some offensive mentality changes from Herdman, and those would be rewarded with nine minutes left on the clock as Cavallini found the back of the net again, though it would ultimately be credit as an own goal from Ali Haram.
The match would finish all square with a 2-2 result, with Les Rouges having just under a week of preparation time before their final tune-up against Japan.
After that, the country’s first World Cup tournament since 1986 will begin in a tough group containing Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco.