The Canadian men’s team took its first step towards the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Thursday with a 2-0 road win over Dominica in the first leg of their two-game playoff.
Orlando City striker Cyle Larin and Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert had the goals against Dominica, a tiny Island in the Caribbean sandwiched between Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Canada hosts Dominica in the return match next Tuesday at Toronto’s BMO Field, needing only a draw to advance to the third round of the CONCACAF qualifiers. Canada is ranked 109th in the world by FIFA. Dominica is 168th.
“I think we played a very good game. We proposed that we would be serious in this game and to play Dominica with a lot of respect,” Canada coach Benito Floro said.
“We developed a strong pressing game, and at the same time we have had at least 12 or 13 scoring chances. Unfortunately we only scored once from open play and the penalty. The result was not correspondent with the play but it was good.”
Larin gave Canada the lead in the fifth minute, running onto a Tosaint Ricketts pass and slotting it past past Dominica goalkeeper Glenson Prince for his second international goal.
“It was very important to get an early goal and settle into the game and put them on the back foot early. It was good for us,” Larin said.
Teibert made it 2-0 in the 64th, burying a penalty kick after Larin was fouled inside the box.
Canada was reduced to 10 men in the 80th minute when goalkeeper Milan Borjan was sent off for handling the ball outside of the penalty area.Borjan, who will be suspended for the second leg, was replaced by Kenny Stamatopolous.
Also of note, Canadian-American forward Tesho Akindele earned his first cap for Canada.
“It was a great performance by the team. It was a tough match but we got a result and it’s a first step. We’ve got another game in Toronto and we’ll do the same things and get a result in Toronto, as well,” Teibert said.