All it took was an unlikely goal by goalkeeper Quillan Roberts, but Canada finally have their first-ever point in 14 matches at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Roberts, the Toronto FC Academy shot-stopper who started in place of injured number one Maxime Crépeau, capped off a wild and fast-paced match with a 60-yard floater that bounced over the head of England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, giving Canada their second goal in a 2-2 draw with the Young Lions in Group C at Mexico 2011 on Wednesday night.
The Canadians were deserving of the point earned, having fought back after falling behind twice in the second half.
Canadian head coach Sean Fleming played four members of Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency in his starting XI at the Estadio Hidalgo in Pachuca, Mexico. Defenders Adam Polakiewicz and Daniel Stanese were joined by captain Bryce Alderson and winger Yassin Essa in making the start against England. Residency's Matteo Pasquotti replaced Alderson late in the match.
The opening 45 minutes saw England have more of the offensive opportunities, but nothing to really worry Roberts. Much like in their first match against Uruguay, the Canucks soaked up some early pressure before settling into the match, and for much of the first half, the Canadians controlled the middle of the park, forcing England to attack down the flanks.
The second half started off perfectly for England, as forward Adam Morgan put the Europeans ahead less than a minute after the restart. Morgan got a slight touch on a free kick launched into the Canadian box, but it was enough to fool Roberts and give England a 1-0 lead.
Less than five minutes after going behind, Canada pulled back on level terms through Sadi Jalali, who pounced on a rebound after Pickford parried away a hard 25-yard strike from Canadian attacker Keven Aleman. Jalali made no mistake from six yards, calmly winding up and volleying the loose ball past a sprawling Pickford and into the awaiting English goal.
Substitute Blair Turgott put England into the lead again on a blistering shot at the 77-minute mark following an impressive solo run across the edge of the Canadian 18-yard box. Turgott’s strike set the stage for the unlikely heroics from Roberts, whose goal came at the tail end of a furious spell of Canadian pressure to equalize.
With the point in hand, Canada move on to face Rwanda in their final Group C match of the group stage on Saturday. The Canucks will need no less than a victory to have a shot at the Round of 16. In Wednesday's other Group C game, Uruguay claimed their second win at Mexico 2011 with a 1-0 victory over Rwanda.