VANCOUVER, BC - The result was disappointing, but the atmosphere certainly wasn't.
Canada fell 3-0 to Mexico on Friday night in front of a crowd of 54,798 fans at BC Place, setting a new attendance record for a Canadian national team of any sport.
"That's my first time playing in such an amazing atmosphere in Canada," Canadian midfielder Atiba Hutchinson told TSN. "Unfortunately, we didn't get the result ... we're not too proud of that. But we have to keep our heads up and hopefully we can finish strong."
Everything is happening. Electric atmosphere inside BC Place right now. Quite the spectacle.— Josh Clipperton (@JClipperton_CP) March 26, 2016
What a great atmosphere at BC Place for #canMNT tonight. This is what they deserve. Everything about this feels brilliant.— Andrew Saunders (@ASaunders87) March 26, 2016
The Mexicans scored twice in the first half through Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Hirving Lozano, before Jesús Manuel Corona added a third tally in the 72nd minute. Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan had six saves on the night, including a few of the spectacular variety.
Despite the loss, the Reds still hold second place in the CONCACAF semifinal stage of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers, staying at four points after the third of six matches in Group A.
The series continues in four nights in Mexico before the last two matches conclude the round in September 2016. Canada will face Mexico away on Tuesday night at Estadio Azteca, with the March 29 international match to kick off at 7:30 p.m. PT (TSN2 and RDS).
Mexico hold the group lead with nine points on three wins. From the 12 remaining CONCACAF nations, they are the only nation with a perfect record in this round. Following a 2-2 draw in San Salvador, El Salvador hold third place in Group A with two points while Honduras sit in last place with just one point.
Two nations from each of three groups will advance to the CONCACAF Final Round, otherwise known as the "Hex". In Group B, Costa Rica are in first place (seven points, +2 goal difference) ahead of Panama (four points, +1), Jamaica (four points, -1), and Haiti (one point, -2). In Group C, Trinidad and Tobago are in first place (seven points, +3) ahead of Guatemala (six points, +5), USA (four points, +3), and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (no points, -11).
ROAD TO THE 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is the biggest single-sport event in the world. From 209 member associations from around the world, 32 finalists will qualify for the 32-day event that is played in 11 cities from 14 June to 15 July 2018.
Canada are amongst the 12 CONCACAF nations in the hunt for a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. The remaining nations have been split into three groups for the continent's 2015-2016 semi-final stage. The top-two nations in each group will advance to the final round in 2017, from which three nations qualify for Russia 2018 and the fourth team advances to an intercontinental playoff.
In CONCACAF Round 4, Canada will play six matches, with both a home and away encounter against Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico. Matches will be played over three international windows, with Canada gaining a valuable four points after the first two matches with a victory over Honduras (1-0) at home on November 15, 2015 and a draw in El Salvador (0-0) on November 17, 2015.
Following the home and away matches with Mexico, Canada then faces Honduras away and El Salvador at home again in September 2016.