Team Canada had it’s Glengarry Glen Ross moment today against El Salvador. In striking first, once again off the foot of Ali Gerba, Canada had to hold its 1-0 lead against a really quite good Salvadoran side. It must be noted that the El Salvador side that showed up tonight was clearly not the side that gave the United States a run for its money only a couple of months ago. That said, Canada played very well and, after taking the lead, shut El Salvador down with very good ball possession and very good defense.
I was really impressed with Gerba. He was a constant threat against the Salvadoran defenders. I was also impressed by Will Johnson, except when he made an exceptionally poor decision to shoot rather than pass to a streaking Julian de Guzman. In reality, the final score should have been 3-0 or 4-0 but for Canada having the inability to finish effectively. Although the Canadian back four were solid, the team will still rue those missed opportunities.
I like that Canada didn’t let up; they kept attacking the Salvadoran goal, resulting in 6 (usually poorly taken) corner kicks. I really like what Stephen Hart is doing with the team: they’re hustling and playing very disciplined soccer. I don’t recall any Canadian player being caught out of position, which is a sign of a well-coached team.
El Salvador, for its part, looked very average. There was no urgency, even after they went down 1-0. It was as if they felt they could score any time. I really hope El Salvador isn’t going down Mexico’s path: trying only against the “good” teams.
For the time being, Canada is the first team through to the quarter-finals with 6 points. And that’s a good thing if you’re a Canadian soccer fan.
Team Canada deserves it coffee tonight.