Canada suffer 3-0 defeat in Jamaica
The Canadian Press
Canada's men's national team closed their unsuccessful bid for a spot in the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a 3-0 defeat to Jamaica in Kingston on Wednesday evening.
The loss ended a disappointing qualifying run for Canada, as they failed to win a single game during the third round of qualifying after powering past Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the second round.
"We are disappointed," said Canadian head coach Dale Mitchell. "We started off with the two home games. You start with the first two games at home and you have some pressure."
Jamaica opened the scoring on a goal from Luton Shelton in the 27th minute. Shelton took a pass and went in alone on Lars Hirschfeld before side-stepping the Canadian goalkeeper and scoring into an open net.
Marlon King increased Jamaica's lead from the penalty shot in the 58th minute before substitute Omar Cummings capped the scoring for Jamaica in the 86th minute.
Canada appeared to score in second-half stoppage time, but the goal was disallowed when a Canadian player was ruled offside.
Canada (0-4-2) came into the match with no chance of advancing to the CONCACAF zone's final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
The top two teams in each of the three groups qualified for the final round. Jamaica (3-2-1) finished tied for second in Group Two with Mexico, but Mexico advanced with superior goal difference. Jamaica would have needed to beat Canada 7-0 to overtake Mexico. Honduras finished first in Group Two with a 4-2-0 record, having defeated Mexico 1-0 in San Pedro Sula on Wednesday.
The top three teams in the final round of qualifying advance to the World Cup, while the fourth-place side plays the fifth-place South American nation in a playoff for another berth in the finals.
"I believe our team was competitive with all three teams in the group, we played them close, but haven't had enough to get the wins," Mitchell said. "That has been the story of our campaign."
Canada fielded a young squad, as several key veterans were unavailable. Major League Soccer star midfielder Dwayne de Rosario did not dress, while midfielder Julian de Guzman was out with an injury and striker Tomasz Radzinski was serving a suspension.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC, however, were represented in Mitchell's starting XI by striker Charles Gbeke, who played the full 90 minutes versus The Reggae Boyz. Three former Whitecaps players in Adrian Cann, Kevin Harmse, and Chris Pozniak also made starts for the visitors on Wednesday.
"It wasn't the team that we would have normally have, but I thought they competed well," Mitchell said. "Maybe (it would have been different) if we had got the goal in the first half. I thought Donovan Ricketts made an outstanding save on Kevin Harmse and that kept the game at one-nil.
"I was pleased because our younger players will benefit from the experience tonight."
Even with a full compliment of players, Mitchell said it would have been difficult to advance out of Group Two.
"I would bet on Honduras and Mexico to make it to the World Cup," he said.
Captain Paul Stalteri earned his 74th cap for Canada during Wednesday's match.
1.Lars Hirschfeld; 3.Adrian Cann, 5.Andrew Hainault, 6.Nik Ledgerwood, 7.Paul Stalteri (4.Andrew Ornoch 65'); 8.Chris Pozniak, 9.Will Johnson, 11.Marcel de Jong, 12.Kevin Harmse; 10.Charles Gbeke, 14.Issey Nakijima-Farran (17.Chris Williams 68')
Subs not used: 18.Asmir Begovic, 2.Dejan Jakovic, 13.Simeon Jackson, 15.Sandro Grande, 16.David Edgar
1.Donovan Ricketts; 3.Damian Steward, 4.Claude Davis, 5.Ian Goodison, 6.Marlon King, 10.Ricardo Fuller (2.Omar Cummings 71'), 11.Luton Shelton, 12.Demar Phillips, 14.Tyrone Marshall, 15.Ricardo Gardner, 17.Rodolph Austin (18.Jermaine Johnson 82')
Subs not used: 7.Dane Richards, 13.Shawn Sawyers, 16.Oneil Thompson