Goals, goals and missed goals: 2008 year in review

Canada’s men’s national team scored 17 goals in 2008, the fourth-most in program history. Those goals that Canada didn’t score, however, will haunt the highlights of the 2008 season. Just watch that crossbar in the 87th minute of the Canada-Jamaica match on 20 August or the right post in the 45th minute of the Canada-Honduras match on 6 September.
Canada failed to advance beyond CONCACAF Stage III of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Qualifiers this past year. Canada posted three wins, three draws and six losses in 2008, but no wins, two draws and four losses in CONCACAF Stage III from 20 August to 19 November. Canada wasn’t lucky enough to score when it counted most in the so-called CONCACAF Group of Death against opponents Jamaica, Honduras and Mexico.

Canada’s men’s national team scored 17 goals in 2008, the fourth-most in program history. Those goals that Canada didn’t score, however, will haunt the highlights of the 2008 season. Just watch that crossbar in the 87th minute of the Canada-Jamaica match on 20 August or the right post in the 45th minute of the Canada-Honduras match on 6 September.
Canada failed to advance beyond CONCACAF Stage III of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Qualifiers this past year. Canada posted three wins, three draws and six losses in 2008, but no wins, two draws and four losses in CONCACAF Stage III from 20 August to 19 November. Canada wasn’t lucky enough to score when it counted most in the so-called CONCACAF Group of Death against opponents Jamaica, Honduras and Mexico.
Not since 1993 has Canada scored as many as 17 goals in a season. Canada scored in nine-straight matches from 31 May to 15 October. Were it not for an off-side call in the 19 November match (Chris Williams in the 91st minute), Canada would have managed at least one goal in every match of FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers for the first time in Association history.
Unfortunately, Canada also allowed 21 goals in 2008, tied for third-most in program history. As such, Canada’s goals weren’t enough to secure wins and pick up much-needed points on the road to South Africa 2010.
Before Canada’s FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers began in June (Canada had a bye from March’s Stage I), Canada posted a 1:0 win over Martinique, an 0:2 loss to Estonia, a 2:3 loss to Brazil, and a 2:2 draw with Panama in international friendly matches. Canada then won back-to-back FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers over St. Vincent & the Grenadines in June (3:0 win on 15 June and 4:1 win on 20 June).
In the opening match of the next stage on 20 August in Toronto, Canada posted a 1:1 draw against Jamaica. Canada had countless chances to win the game late in the second half, but it was time and again stopped by either the goalkeeper or the goal frame. At the height of the Canadian attack, Julian de Guzman fired a lazer in the 87th minute that beat everything except the crossbar.
In match two on 6 September in Montréal, Canada fell 1:2 to Honduras. Canada got off to an electric start with Adrian Serioux scoring in just the fourth minute. Canada continued to press and nearly scored again in the 15th minute when Tomasz Radzinski drove to goal down the left side. Radzinski slipped on the wet surface, however, and slit his hand underneath the advertising board behind the goal.
Canada played with a man down for close to 10 minutes until doctors finally determined Radzinski was unable to continue. The power-play shifted the attack in Honduras’ favour.
Just before the second half, Paul Stalteri created a marvelous chance when he centered the ball to Ali Gerba. Gerba’s header in the 45th minute somehow hit the post and stayed out. Canada had more chances in the second half, but ultimately fell 1:2 after a pair of Honduras goals.
Canada then lost 1:2 to Mexico in Tuxtla Gutierrez (Rob Friend had a glorious chance in the second half), lost 1:3 to Honduras in San Pedro Sula (Honduras scored a wonder goal), drew 2:2 against Mexico in Edmonton (the crossbar stopped what could have been a Paul Stalteri wonder goal), and lost 0:3 to Jamaica in Kingston.
Ali Gerba was the team’s 2008 leader with six goals – four against St. Vincent & the Grenadines and two against Mexico. He was just the third Canadian to score six goals in a season (after John Catliff’s six in 1993 and Igor Vrablic’s seven in 1985). Dwayne De Rosario was second on the team with three goals.
Captain Stalteri started 11-straight games and moved into third on the all-time list with 73 appearances. Mike Klukowski made 10 starts while Radzinski, Atiba Hutchinson and Adrian Serioux each made nine starts. Coach Dale Mitchell called 46 players over the course of the year (39 of whom featured), the most ever in program history.
Also in 2008, Canada won its 100th game in men’s program history. It has an all-time record of 100 wins, 67 draws and 122 losses. Canada’s all-time record at home is 44 wins, 17 losses and 37 draws; Canada’s all-time record in official FIFA/CONCACAF competitions is 50 wins, 37 draws and 45 losses.

Guidelines for the Return to Soccer

Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.