Canada Must Look to the Future

Canada’s performance against Martinique highlights what needs to be done to improve
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, July 11, 2013

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So, I guess it is difficult not to talk about that loss to Martinique. While disappointing and gut wrenching, clever people have pointed out that Martinique is better than what most think and that the blame for the result isn’t on the current leadership in the CSA, but that of 20 years ago.

While Canada is no world-beater, even the current set of players, measured individually, are better than those who stepped on the field for Martinique. So what went wrong for Canada?

As has often been the case, the play was just passive and uninspiring. But what made it worse was interim manager Colin Miller’s tactical decisions during the game. In spite of Canada allowing Martinique to dominate the game, Miller restrained from using all of his substitutions to alter the game. Simeon Jackson entered the game for a sick Will Johnson just after half time and Jonathan Osorio replaced Marcus Haber in the 86th minute.

The options on the bench may not have been convincing, but when you’re in the 2nd half and still tied against Martinique, something has to be done to improve play.

So why wait until the dying minutes to put in Osorio and not even use the 3rd and final sub? The final sub could have been used on Keven Aleman, and while putting him and Osorio into the game early in the 2nd half wouldn’t guarantee anything, these are players that are talented and known for a skill set that could have brought energy into the Canadian game.

With Jackson having left camp to Eintracht Braunschweig, a recently promoted Bundesliga side, and several players either injured or sick, it is difficult not to look at tonight’s game against Mexico with a sense of horro, especially since Mexico lost its opening game against Panama and will likely look for redemption with a convincing win.

It’s interesting wonder what soon-to-be Canadian manager Benito Floro must have thought watching the game. And if he didn’t know it before, he was shown that he is in for a challenge. With where the Canadian program is, Floro shouldn’t be expected to turn Canada into Brazil or even just Mexico or the U.S.

What should, however, be expected of him is improved man-management – make the players want to fight for the country and for each other. While skill sets can’t be improved fast, attitudes can, and it is an attribute that can get you further along in development.

In Canada’s and Floro’s case, hopefully it will lead to at least the Hexagonal round next World Cup cycle.

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.