|Canada||Trinidad & Tobago|
|2000-05-27||Varsity Stadium||Toronto, Canada||8870|
Canada edges outmanned T&T squad
|A vocal crowd armed with Canadian flags packed Varsity Stadium yesterday, but unfortunately the national team was a near no-show.Playing its first game at home since being crowned champions of the CONCACAF region in February, Canada looked listless but still managed to pull out a 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in an exhibition game before a sellout crowd of 8,870 on a sunny afternoon.|
Coach Holger Osieck was not overly concerned with the sub-par performance because several of his European-based players were seeing action for the first time in the two weeks since their seasons ended.
``I cannot say I am disappointed,'' said Osieck. ``I didn't really expect a brilliant game as most of our players were coming off a layoff, but we did create a few chances.
``The important thing is that I saw some positives from some of the players and it was part of our preparation for the World Cup qualifier next weekend,'' added Osieck, who has a 12-game unbeaten streak dating back to July 9, 1999, when Canada lost 2-0 to Saudi Arabia.
The only goal came in the 51st minute through midfielder Jeff Clarke. Clarke was brought down outside the penalty area and Martin Nash's free kick, lobbed into the penalty area, was powerfully headed in by Clarke, his first for the national team.
``I will remember this for the rest of my life,'' said Clarke.
Canada had two opportunities in the first half with Paul Peschisolido missing a glorious chance and minutes later Carlo Corazzin had his fierce shot punched over the bar by goalkeeper Ross Russell.
Two more chances were wasted in the second half, while Canadian goalkeeper Pat Onstad, coming off a knee operation, was not tested once against a second-string T&T squad.
Ian Porterfield, the Scottish-born coach of T&T, left out all of his European-based players as Canada is expected to be its first opponent July 16 in the semifinal round of World Cup - that's if it gets by Cuba in the two-leg first-round games.
After meeting Honduras in another exhibition game at Winnipeg Tuesday, Canada is away to Cuba June 4 with the return in Winnipeg June 11.
``We had an obligation to play Canada since it travelled to Port of Spain in January, but there is no way I would have fielded our top players,'' Porterfield said.
``It gave me a chance to assess our younger players, of whom only two or three could make the first team.
``It was a friendly game so there was no pressure on the Canadians who got some good practice before meeting Cuba. If we do meet Canada in the next round, it will be another scenario altogether.''
If it overcomes the initial hurdle, Canada will be up against the likes of Manchester United's Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy of Hibernian and Nottingham Forest's Stern John.
Osieck can be pleased with the form of midfielder Nick Dasovic, who returned after being sidelined for six months, and defender Carl Fletcher, also injured prior to the Gold Cup.
Olympic team defender Kevin McKenna, making his debut, was also a revelation.
Osieck's main concern, though, has to be team's lack of finish.
The strikers must convert half-chances if it harbours thoughts of making the finals in Japan and South Korea in 2002.
|22.||Ross Russell (capt.)|
|6.||Avery John 49 '|
|10.||Lyndon Andrews 73 '|
|66' Brent Rahim|
|58' Kerwin Jemmott|
|75' Hector Sam|
|15.||Brent Rahim 69 '|
|58'||Kerwin Jemmott for Travis Mulraine|
|66'||Brent Rahim for Carlos Edwards|
|75'||Hector Sam for Gary Glasgow|