August 22, 2007 - (CBC Sports) - The Canadian men's soccer team came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Iceland in a friendly game in Reykjavik on Wednesday.
Emil Hallfredsson scored in the 64th minute to give Iceland a 1-0 lead, but Olivier Occean responded for Canada ten minutes later to help Dale Mitchell earn a draw in his debut as coach of the Canadian senior men's team.
Occean came on for Iain Hume in the 60th minute and scored his second career goal for the national team, with his first goal for Canada coming in a 1-0 friendly win in Northern Ireland back in February 2005. He equalized on the rebound after Iceland goalkeeper Dadi Lárusson had initially blocked Paul Stalteri’s shot from the right-hand side.
Mitchell was previously in charge of Canada's under-20 squad, which failed to get out of the first round of this summer's FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Ten of the 17 players on Wednesday's team played for Canada at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June, including Paul Stalteri (with 60 career appearances for Canada) and fellow defender Richard Hastings (44 appearances). Canada reached the semifinals of the Gold Cup before losing to the US, who won the event.
No players from Vancouver Whitecaps FC (USL-1), Toronto FC (MLS), and Montreal Impact (USL-1, made the 17-player roster due to league play. Also missing was Dwayne de Rosario, a star playmaker with Houston Dynamo of MLS. Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad was the only North American-based player to appear in Wednesday’s friendly.
Wednesday's contest marked the first-ever meeting between Canada and Iceland. Canada is No. 53 in the current rankings published by FIFA on Wednesday, while Iceland is ranked 117th.
Canada's next friendly game is against Costa Rica at Toronto’s BMO Field on September 12.