They had to fight back to tie the game in the final minutes of both regular and extra time, but Canada’s U-17 team showed resilience and poise beyond their years and outlasted Honduras 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw to claim third place at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship.
The shootout didn’t start well for Canada as first shooter Alex Comsia’s shot was saved, but he was immediately bailed out by his teammate with Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency, goalkeeper Marco Carducci.
Carducci dove brilliantly to his left to rob Honduras’ first shooter and no other Canadians missed their kicks while Devron Garcia, the third shooter for Honduras, struck the post with his chance. Toronto FC Academy product Elias Roubos took the decisive penalty and was mobbed by his teammates after converting.
Honduras’ Steven Ramos looked to have scored the winner just after the restart in the second half of extra time but Jordan Haynes of Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency scored a left-footed shot in the 119th minute to force penalties.
Playing on a soggy pitch at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez following a recent storm that passed through the area, the Canadian team didn’t get off to a strong start and were punished for some poor defending in the 16th minute.
With the ball already in the Canadian penalty area, Brayan Velasquez won himself some space before cutting towards the end line on the left side. Carducci charged off his line to try to pluck the ball away from the Honduran player, but he managed to get his cross in before Carducci reached him.
Roubos had a chance to clear the ball but he missed he chance and Jorge Bodden easily smashed the ball home from close range.
Canada forced extra time after Jordan Hamilton (above) of the Toronto FC Academy scored what proved to be their first last-gasp goal of the night.
Trailing by a single goal, Roubos launched in a last-second cross over the top in the 93rd minute and Hamilton got his head to it to force the extra time.
Both teams had already qualified for this fall's FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, along with Mexico and hosts Panama, who play later Friday evening for in the title game. Canada and CONCACAF's other representatives will learn their opponents in the group stage draw in August.