Gold Cup Group A: Canada vs Costa Rica

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Canada's midfielder Scott Arfield (L) fights for the ball with Costa Rica's defender Kenner Guiterrez during the Costa Rica vs. Canada 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup match at the BBVA Compass Stadium July 11, 2017 in Houston, Texas. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

After an entertaining yet stressful game vs French Guiana, Canada had a much tougher task ahead of them on Tuesday night. It was said by both players and Manager Octavio Zambrano that the team welcomed the challenge and they were ready to try and beat the 25th ranked nation in the world.

It certainly showed that Canada was up to the challenge as they played the Costa Ricans to a 1-1 draw. Was there a little bit of luck involved? Of course there was, like most matches. But Canada certainly showed there fans and other viewers that they are not to be taken lightly thanks to a new style brought in by Zambrano.

Canada’s First

Something that could potentially happen often in this tournament and moving forward: Petrasso, Arfield, and Davies linking up for a goal. Petrasso’s work with the ball from the right flank created space for himself to take advantage of and slip it through to Arfield who placed it perfectly inside the 18 yard box for Davies to run onto and bury into the back of the net for his tournament leading third goal and a surprising 1-0 lead to Canada.

Costa Rica’s First

Set piece defending seems to be something Canada should prioritize in training as once again poor marking from Vitoria off the corner kick led to a free header for Calvo to tie the game shortly before the end of the first half.

Important Note: For those who were unable to tune in, Alphonso Davies had to leave the match in the second as he sustained and ankle injury but it was said on Wednesday morning that he will be fit and ready to go for Friday’s match vs rivals Honduras.

The thought after Canada’s first game was “It was only French Guiana” but to play to a draw against a team of Costa Rica’s calibre isn’t something to overlook especially without fielding the best players available to us.

Two things are clear to at this point:

A) Canada has no problem creating chances.

B) Canada must work on defending.

Learning how to defend properly isn’t going to happen overnight especially since the manager only trains his players for so long but moving forward if Canada wants to compete with other stronger nations, play away from the ball definitely needs to improve. There were many instances where players were caught napping on counter attacks and the chances were either missed or goalkeeper Milan Borjan had to bail them out (This is a recording).

The good news though is that Canada picked up a much needed and perhaps unexpected point to remain top of the group on goal differential. With less time towards preparing for the third game than the first, Canada will look to build off there performances to date and quite possibly top their group.

What do we make of the match? Aside from defending needing to be worked on, Canada demonstrated that they are not afraid of the tougher matchup and will provide reasons to be more optimistic along the way.

Standouts: Alphonso Davies, Scott Arfield, Michael Petrasso, Milan Borjan, Mark-Anthony Kaye.

Next up: Honduras

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