Canada's men's U-17 team has opened the six-team 2012 AGS Cup in Spain with a 2-2 draw against Azerbaijan. Saturday's match was Canada's first of five round-robin matches over the next eight days. Jordan Hamilton and Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency midfielder Kianz Froese scored for Canada before Cem Fələk countered twice for Azerbaijan.
"It was a good performance, although the result didn't quite reflect the performance," said Canadian U-17 head coach Sean Fleming. "When you don't take your chances, it comes back to haunt you."
Fleming said Canada failed to score on four breakaway chances while it also conceded two "soft" goals. Hamilton scored in the first half before Canada's player of the match Froese scored early in the second half. Fələk, an offensive star of the Azerbaijan team, scored in the 50th and 65th minutes of the 80-minute match.
After arriving in Spain, Canada had one training session before the September 29 match against Azerbaijan. Canada will play again on September 30 before future matches are played every second day on 2, 4 and 6 October. Along with Canada and Azerbaijan, teams in the 2012 AGS Cup are Morocco, Mexico, UAE and USA.
"The boys have come into camp with a great attitude," said Fleming. "They have been able to gel well after such a short time together."
This marks Fleming's second 2012 project with the 1996-born players. The team is in its early preparations for the 12-team 2013 CONCACAF Men's Under-17 Championship, which runs April 6 to 19 in Ciudad Panama. Only four teams from CONCACAF will qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013, which runs October 17 to November 8.