Story by Richard Scott – Photos by Audrey Magny
A historic away win in Jamaica has put Canada ahead 2-1 midway through their Quarterfinals series in 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League. Canada scored goals on either side of the break in Jamaica and will take their lead into Tuesday’s second leg at home in Toronto. The series winner advances to the Concacaf Nations League Semifinals and qualifies for the CONMEBOL Copa América USA 2024.
Jonathan David scored late in the first half and then Stephen Eustáquio scored the Saturday winner late in the second half. The match was originally scheduled for Friday night, but rescheduled until Saturday morning on account of the adverse weather conditions affecting the area. It was Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team’s first win away in Jamaica since 1988.
In other Quarterfinals first-leg action, USA took a 3-0 lead over Trinidad and Tobago, Panama took a similar lead over Costa Rica, and Honduras took a 2-0 lead over Mexico. The return legs will be played Monday in Trinidad and Tobago and Panama as well as Tuesday in Mexico and Canada (the Canada-Jamaica match kicks off at 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT). In Canada, Concacaf Nations League is broadcast live on OneSoccer, available as a linear channel on Telus’ Optik TV (Channel 980) as well as online at OneSoccer.ca, through the OneSoccer app and on the fuboTV Canada platform. Fans will find extended coverage for the matches across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube featuring the hashtag #CANMNT.
Canada reached the Concacaf Nations League Finals in 2022-23 and hopes to do the same in 2023-24. Along the way, they have a chance to qualify for the Copa América which next year will feature six Concacaf nations alongside the 10 South American nations. All four Concacaf Nations League Semifinalists will qualify for the Copa América along with two play-in winners from the losing Quarterfinalists.
On Saturday morning, David opened the scoring after a nifty move by Cyle Larin to get past Ethan Pinnock and Gregory Leigh in one move. Larin’s cross from the right was knocked in by the unmarked David from inside the six-yard box at the back post. It was David’s 26th career goal, just two back of Larin’s all-time Canadian record.
In the second half, Shamar Nicholson got Jamaica even after he snuck through the backline on a Jamaica free kick. The flag was initially up, but the Video Assistant Referee proved Nicholson’s goal was good.
Canada’s Player of the Match Eustáquio then scored the historic winner in the 85th minute after a terrific run down the right side by Richie Laryea. The Canadian fullback blew past a trio of Jamaicans from the midway line, outpaced his opponents into the box, and cut back a perfect pass to the wide-open Eustáquio.
Canada’s only other win away at Kingston’s National Soccer Stadium was 5 April 1988 as part of a four-week tour of South American and the Caribbean. Canada won 4:0 that day in Kingston (and two days later drew 0:0 at Montego Bay). After a 1:1 draw in 1992 in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Canada’s next away result in Jamaica was the 0:0 draw in 2021 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
Of note in the Saturday morning match, captain Milan Borjan made his 79th career international “A” appearance to move into sixth place on the all-time Canada list (one more than Mark Watson and now two back of Dwayne De Rosario). Laryea, meanwhile, made his 28th consecutive Canada appearance, now ranked second best behind Alistair Johnston’s 2021-22 streak of 31 consecutive Canada matches.
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