Canada’s hopes of qualifying for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup took a blow Friday night when the young Canucks fell 3-0 to a dominant Costa Rican side.
While both teams had already advanced out of Group C by virtue of defeating Guadeloupe, neither side wanted to give up top spot, as a second-place finish would mean a quarterfinal meeting with the top team in Group D in Mexico.
Despite knowing that they had to win outright in order to advance as the top-seeded team from their group, Canada looked very shaky from the opening whistle.
The first half was a very tentative one for the Canadians, who were missing talismanic midfielder Russell Teibert of Vancouver Whitecaps FC due to an illness, and seemed afraid to press forward.
Costa Rica found plenty of space in the midfield, especially on the wings, and tested Whitecaps FC Residency graduate in goalkeeper Julien Latendresse-Lévesque often. The Canadian shot-stopper did well to keep Los Ticos off the scoresheet, but a misjudgement in the 34th minute saw Costa Rica go ahead.
After a giveaway by the Canadian defense, Juan Golobio shot through a crowd from 30 yards out and Latendresse-Lévesque dove the wrong way. He could do nothing but watch, as the ball took one bounce and swerved into the open goal.
The Canadians were fortunate to get to halftime only down by one. But in the second half, Canada was further punished by an eager Ticos attack.
Costa Rica’s leading scorer, Joel Campbell, added to his goal-scoring account in the 66th minute, sending a driven free kick from 25 yards past a frozen Latendresse-Levesque and into the top left corner. In the 90th minute, Campbell capped off a fine performance by getting around Toronto FC defender Doneil Henry and sending a low pass across the face of goal that was tapped in by Mynor Miller.
As Group C runners-up, Canada will play Group D winners Mexico on Tuesday. The winner of that match will gain one of four CONCACAF berths in this year's U-20 World Cup in Colombia.