GLENDALE, AZ – Canada’s first foray into the CONCACAF Gold Cup knockout round since 2009 came to a heartbreaking end on Thursday with a 2-1 quarterfinal defeat to Jamaica.
Recently acquired Montreal Impact left back Shaun Francis opened the scoring for Jamaica in the sixth minute, banging a low Darren Mattocks cross into the top corner, before Romario Williams doubled their advantage with a 50th-minute rocket from the top of the box.
Junior Hoilett got one back for Canada in the 61st minute – in spectacular fashion.
The Cardiff City FC midfielder curled a long-range strike into the top right corner, just past the outstretched arms of Andre Blake, to open his account with the national team. And Hoilett nearly added a second stunner just minutes later, but this time the Philadelphia Union goalkeeper made a remarkable, diving save to preserve the lead for Jamaica
Canada had the Reggae Boyz under relentless pressure in the dying stages, and for large parts of the match, controlling 66 per cent of possession and outshooting Jamaica 19-8.
They certainly didn't go down without a fight.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC fullback Marcel de Jong and midfielders Alphonso Davies and Russell Teibert each started the match, with de Jong and Teibert going the distance and Davies subbing off in the 82nd minute.
It certainly wasn’t the result Canada was looking for, but there’s no denying the strides they made this tournament, especially after failing to score a goal in the previous two editions.
A new era of Canadian soccer is upon us – and the future looks bright indeed.