Canada Follows Heavy Loss with Dull Draw

Individual, rather than collective, performances should be basis of evaluation after Canada's recent games
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, January 31, 2013

Made in Canada - coverage of the Canadian MLS, NASL & USL Clubs, CSL, PCSL, Canadian Championship & Canada National Teams

Think about these final scores: 0-4 against Denmark; 0-0 against the United States.

These results do not matter. Most of the Canadian players, as well as the American and Danish ones, are in preseason and all three teams lacked their first choice players, as the games were not played on FIFA sanctioned dates.

Even though everyone wants to see their country win as much as possible, wins are not always the primary goal of a test match. In that case, you’d always just schedule games against weaker opponents. But these games are a way to see how individuals perform on a bigger stage within a certain system. And when there are multiple games, like in this camp, there is the opportunity to see if mistakes can be corrected.

Canada manager Colin Miller used the games for this exactly. Canada got blown out of the field by an aggressive and superior Danish team in the first game of the week, where many Canadian players were pressured into making stupid mistakes and ended up letting in four goals. It was very much a learning experience for the young Canadians.

For the US game, they learned again. A more solid defensive performance, aided by a rusty American offense, helped the Canadian side to earn a draw, rather than yet another disheartening defeat. It is also a tiny source of positivity for Canadian soccer fans that this rag-tag group of players had the ability to improve to such an extent from game to game and learn from its mistakes. This is a mindset necessary going forward.

Defender Kyle Bekker’s performance was certainly a source of inspiration. Without having ever played a professional game, he managed to stand out as one of Canada’s better players and, if these games are an indicator for his future career, this is good news both for Canada and for Toronto FC, which drafted Bekker in the MLS SuperDraft with the second overall pick.

Another young Canadian that did well was Russell Teibert. Even though he has been in MLS for two seasons, playing time has been limited for the Vancouver Whitecaps. He was, however, a key part in Canada’s few attacking raids in the Denmark game and was pointed out by the Danish commentators as one of the best Canadian players in the game.

Hopefully Teibert, Bekker and the other young players will draw on these experiences, both good and bad from this camp, and use them to become better players and play a large role for their club teams. If that happens, the 0-4 Viking pillage will have been all worth it.

Henrik LONNE

Copenhagen Business School
Club Domestic:
AGF Aarhus
Club Foreign:
Toronto FC
Born and raised in Denmark, the US performance in the 2002 World Cup dragged Henrik into the world of North American soccer. Subsequent trips to Canada made him a Toronto FC fan from abroad. The passion he now has for MLS outshines most European leagues.