Canada m23 fall short of Olympic dream
Posted on 31 March 2012 in Men's Olympic Football Tournament
Canada has come to within a game of reaching the Olympics, but will not qualify after both Mexico and Honduras booked their tickets through the 2012 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying semi-final stage. Honduras won 3:2 a.e.t. over El Salvador in an exciting match that featured three goals in extra time. Mexico won 3:1 over Canada, joining Honduras as one of two CONCACAF teams that qualified for the London 2012 Men's Olympic Football Tournament.
Canada finished with a record of one win, two draws and one loss in four matches (three matches in Nashville, TN and the 31 March semi-final in Kansas City, KS). Highlights included a gutsy 0:0 draw with El Salvador and a spirited 2:0 win over USA in the opening round. Canada drew 1:1 with Cuba with little left in the tank (after three matches in five days), but its players recovered to play their hearts out in the 1:3 loss to Mexico.
Match Highlights: Canada M23 1 - 3 Mexico
"We had an opportunity to learn through four games," said Canadian coach Tony Fonseca. "What (the players) take from this tournament is huge. I think we can be very, very proud of our boys."
Mexico advances to the CONCACAF final with a perfect record of four wins in four matches with 14 goals scored and just two conceded (including the goal by Canada's Marcus Haber). Mexico had one of the oldest teams in the competition (along with El Salvador) and had more 1989-born players (seven) than any other team."
"We had two 1994-born players, one 1993-born player and four 1992-born players (in a U-23 competition with players born as early as 1989)," said Fonseca. "Still, it is a historic moment for them. What they can learn and take from these four matches is tremendous."
Nine of Canada's 20 players already have more than 100 days of national camp experience, including the two youngest players Samuel Piette and Bryce Alderson. The 1993-born (Henry) and 1994-born players are not only eligible for the next CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament in 2016, but also for the next CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship in 2013.
Canada has reached the final four in each of the last two CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying tournaments (2008 and 2012). With no match for third place, Canada will be ranked fourth overall in CONCACAF behind El Salvador (who also lost for the first time in the competition tonight). Both Canada and El Salvador will return their players to the respective professional clubs on Sunday 1 April.
As for Mexico and Honduras, both teams have one more match to play before returning home from Kansas City, KS. The two sides will meet in the CONCACAF final on Monday 2 April at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
CANM23: Players hold their heads high after semi-final loss