The most important person on the pitch in Canada’s 1-0 loss to Honduras today was wearing neither red nor white; he was wearing black. That person was, in fact, the referee.
He was terribly inconsistent from the start which resulted in a choppy game. Neither team really got going but that wasn’t helped by Honduras’s persistent fouling; though only about 50% of those fouls were called. The crucial call came near the end of the half, when the referee awarded Honduras an undeserved penalty shot.
The play itself was clearly not a penalty. If the ball touched anything, it touched Kevin McKenna’s head; it most certainly did not touch his hand or arm. It is not an overstatement to say that that call cost Canada the game (though their anemic offense didn’t help).
In the end, it wasn’t the referee that cost Canada the game (though he didn’t help); it was their lack of offense. In 3 group games, they only managed 3 goals. That’s unacceptable. Canada needs to find a way to open up space in their attack. Perhaps using Julian de Guzman as an anchorman/midfield distributor and putting 3 attacking midfielders behind Gerba would be a better option.
Another option is to give more kids a chance. In that, I’m speaking specifically of David Edgar and Asmir Begovic. Edgar has the makings of a quality central defender while Begovic may already be better than Greg Sutton.
Canada plays a defensive game out of necessity. What they need is an offensive game to work off the counter-attack. Only then will they stop losing games they should win.