With a goal in each half, Canada’s men’s national team is off and running as they knocked off Dominica 2-0 in their first of a two-leg 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification series on Thursday night in Roseau, Dominica.
Orlando City SC striker Cyle Larin’s second goal at the senior level and Whitecaps FC Homegrown midfielder Russell Teibert’s first put Canada in the driver’s seat as both teams now head to Toronto for the second leg that takes place on June 16 at BMO Field.
Hear from Teibert after his first professional goal
“We developed a strong pressing game, and at the same time we have had at least 12 or 13 scoring chances,” said head coach Benito Floro. “Unfortunately we only scored once from open play and the penalty. The result was not correspondent with the play but it was good.”
Larin scored early as Tosaint Ricketts played him all alone on goal on the right side. Dominica appealed for offside but Larin was level with the last defender and slotted a nice low shot past an onrushing keeper Glenson Prince, who performed very well for Dominica on the night.
Canada controlled much of the possession throughout the game and peppered the Dominica penalty area with plenty of shots on crosses. Prince did well in handling many of the crosses and made a few saves that kept his team in the game.
In the 64th minute, Larin was at it again. After picking up the ball on the left side, the forward got away from three Dominica defenders before tumbling over a sliding tackle in the penalty area.
A penalty was duly given and Teibert stepped up and put the ball to his right. Prince got his fingertips to it but the shot was too well placed and Canada doubled their lead.
"It feels great," Teibert said of scoring his first goal for Canada. "It's a special feeling and I'll always remember this day."
Four minutes later, the Whitecaps FC Homegrown midfielder nearly added a second, seeing a cross bounce through the box and hit off the post.
Second half substitute and Montreal Impact defender Maxim Tissot had a lovely curling left-footed shot that looked like it was headed to the corner saved with a fine diving stop from Prince.
The game had a late wrinkle to the narrative when Canada's keeper Milan Borjan was issued a straight red card with about 10 minutes remaining when he handled the ball outside of the 18-yard box.
Kenny Stamatopoulos came in off the bench and Canada wasn’t really troubled the rest of the way despite being down a man.
Canada now has a three-game winning streak and a four-game unbeaten streak and look to push that even higher before getting into the CONCACAF Gold Cup next month.
Heading into the second leg of the series, Canada will look to apply what they learned on Thursday and carve open their opponents and will hopefully get a push from home support.
“We’ll prepare the same (for the game in Toronto) because this is the second half of the eliminatory so we’re going to play Dominica in front of our home support and we need to play very well,” added Floro. “We have to score enough goals to be happy and hopefully enough to give two or three players other chances to play but it has to be a very good game for us.”