OLIVA, SPAIN -- Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Russell Teibert played the full 90 minutes and Residency defender Jackson Farmer made his senior national team debut as Canada played to a frustrating scorless draw with Mauritania in their first game under Benito Floro.
It was a game defined by physical play, as Canada's African opponents had no problem going in hard — in a few cases well after the ball was gone.
Just over 10 minutes into the game, Toronto FC midfielder Kyle Bekker went down under a hard tackle and just a minute later it was DC United’s Kyle Porter, who went down under a very late foul.
It set the tone for the rest of the game, as there were a number of hard fouls and many words exchanged between both sets of players on numerous occasions.
Floro with a very young Canadian lineup, resting several of his veterans to spread playing time across his entire roster. Only 18 players dressed and those that weren’t involved watched from the concrete stand that ran along the side of the field at the resort where both teams are camped.
It took a while for either side to really find their feet. Of the very few chances created by either side, the best chance of the game fell to TFC’s Jonathan Osorio, who linked up well with Vancouver's Teibert when both players were on the field.
In the 21st minute, Toronto's Ashtone Morgan fended off a challenge and got the ball out left to Osorio, who cut inside and unleashed a curling, right-footed effort that was just barely tipped over for a corner.
Six minutes later, the Osorio-Teibert tandem were at it again as the Whitecaps FC winger passed to his midfield counterpart on the left side. Osorio cut in and found Porter, who made a run towards the penalty spot but his shot at goal was blocked.
Canada started better in the second half and dominated possession, but couldn’t find their breakthrough, as their African opponents seemed satisfied with a tie. The Mauritanians stalled at every opportunity possible, preventing any flow in the game.
Farmer made his debut in the 86th minute, after entering the match for centre back Doneil Henry.
Canada will meet Mauritania again on September 10; however, Teibert is slated to return to Vancouver on September 9.
Gavin Day covers the Canadian national team for for MLSsoccer.com.