Canada is well on the way to qualifying for their first World Cup since 1986 after a glorious 2-1 snow bowl victory against Mexico. A brace from Cyle Larin has seen him net his 11th goal in World Cup Qualifying (all stages) for Canada to end the round atop the Concacaf table.
John Herdman had a masterful setup as Canada’s 3-4-3 controlled every aspect of the game, not allowing Mexico real chances until after the 70th minute when Canada already had a 2-0 advantage. Canada was bit with the injury bug early as Steven Vitoria had to come in for Doneil Henry in the 37th minute but that wouldn’t stop things from rolling. Cyle Larin opened the scoring right before half as Alistair Johnson had his shot saved by Memo Ochoa, who parried it right into Larin’s path. Ochoa may have been impacted by the cold or spent too much time looking in the mirror but it was a costly mistake.
Tata Martino made a host of changes at the half to try to counter Canada with Hirving Lozano and Julio Domingez making way for Jesus Corona and Roberto Alvarado. But it wasn’t enough to slow the tide as Larin got his second of the match in the 51st minute.
Mexico made more attacking subs to up the pressure while Canada responded by subbing on Jonathan David for Larin to keep the battering ram in effect while searching for a third. El Tri got a breakthrough goal via Hector Hererra in the 89th minute that substitute Jesus Corona assisted but it wouldn’t be enough to climb back into things thanks to late Canadian heroics. I don’t know how Fransisco Cordova’s shot stayed out of the net but Milan Borjan and the defense kept Mexico out of the net at the end to ensure that Canada secured the signature victory tonight.
Here are three takeaways from the match:
1. Is Tata Martino on the hot seat?
Usually, a coach in a World Cup qualification spot would be more than safe but Mexico expects to top the octagonal every time out so sitting level on points with Panama won’t make the federation happy. Add in back-to-back losses to the United States and Canada and Martino’s seat is heating up.
2. I have no words for how ridiculous this ending was
3. Cyle Larin is that dude
After hitting double-digit goals in World Cup qualifying, Larin is not only keeping pace with stars Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, he’s almost outperforming them, too!