Canada Men's U-20 draw away series with Panama
Posted on 22 January 2017 in ↳ Men's EXCEL U-18 to U-20
Canada and Panama drew even in a two-match Men's U-20 International Series, with Canada taking the Thursday match 1:0 before Panama won the Saturday match 2:1. The series in La Chorrea will help prepare both nations for the upcoming 2017 CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship in Costa Rica.
After Shaan Hundal scored on Thursday, Liam Fraser scored for Canada on Saturday. Panama had taken a 2-0 lead in the second match before Fraser started the comeback, but Canada could not equalise in the dying minutes despite carrying the momentum into the final whistle.
The international matches were 19 and 21 January at Estadio Agustín Muquita Sánchez. Up next, Canada will travel to Mexico for a nine-day camp that runs 27 January to 4 February. After that, a final team of 20 players will be selected for the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship.
Over the course of back-to-back January camps between Toronto and Panama, Canada worked with 30 players through assessment and fitness building. That grows the Men's U-20 pool to 40 players over the last two years, not counting other players that have been called into U-18 camps. For the 2017 CONCACAF and FIFA tournaments, U-20 players must be born 1997 or later.
"We wanted to give our players a chance (over the two-match series)," said Rob Gale, Canada Soccer's Men's National U-20 Team Coach. "Full credit to the players for their work rate and attitude. They competed very, very well."
Canada will face Honduras (17 February), Mexico (20 February), and Antigua & Barbuda (23 February) in the initial group phase of the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship. From 12 nations split into three groups, six will advance to the second round from which only four will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017.
Canada hope to play in as many as six matches at the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship, which ultimately serves to help develop and prepare players for the Men's National Team down the road.
Canada Soccer's Men's EXCEL Program channels our nation's exceptional players into the best soccer environments. The Canada Soccer Pathway works in collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners as well as the professional clubs and academies. For Canada's elite players, the program emphasizes player development on the pathway to representing Canada's Men's National Team in international soccer.