Report card: Canada gets mediocre grade on Mexico test


Canada's Marcel de Jong, left, was one of Canada's best players on Tuesday night. (Christian Palma/AP)

It was another long day for Canada as it suffered a second consecutive loss to Mexico, falling 2-0 at Estadio Azteca after goals from Andres Guardado and Jesus Corona on Tuesday night.

Canada’s defeat leaves the Reds in third place on goal difference after Honduras’ 2-0 victory over El Salvador. This means that the Canadians will need to at least one point in Honduras in September to give themselves a fighting chance to reach the final round of World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region.

A couple of Canadian players had decent showings in Mexico City, but Les Rouges need a significant improvement if they have any hope of qualifying for the Hex.

Here is the report card…

Milan Borjan (B) — The Canadian shot-stopper had to exit the match after 41 minutes due to a hand injury. Borjan was commanding, his handling was strong and he made a few decent saves when he was on the field. The 28-year-old was also inches away from stopping Guardado’s penalty.

Doneil Henry (C-) — Henry started at right fullback for Canada once again. Just like Friday’s game, the ex-Toronto FC product looked very uncomfortable in that role. The 22-year-old conceded a penalty after failing to mark Marco Fabian goal-side. This particular foul was another sign that the West Ham defender should be used at centre back.

Dejan Jakovic (C+) — Jakovic improved from the first game against Mexico at BC Place. He was not caught ball-watching nor, did he fail to track the run of an opposing forward. The former D.C. United defender could have done more to stop Corona before he scored, but the centre back was error-free otherwise.

Manjrekar James (C) — Considering this was only James’ fourth cap, not to mention his first start at Estadio Azteca, the young defender was effective. The 22-year-old seemed very hesitant when he attempted to clear the ball right before Corona recovered it and scored, but the centre back rebounded. His composure while in possession was particularly impressive.

Marcel de Jong (B+) — The Ottawa Fury defender was arguably Canada’s best player on Tuesday. De Jong was significantly more responsible at the back compared to the match at BC Place, hence the higher grade. He also managed to bomb forward and pinged in a few quality passes from the left flank.

Atiba Hutchinson (C+) — Hutchinson read the game well and was a solid outlet when Canada had possession in the defensive third. He misplaced a few passes and turned over the ball a couple of times, but they weren’t in dangerous positions.

Nik Ledgerwood (D-) — Apart from one poor cross and a yellow card, Ledgerwood was invisible. He is still in pre-season form as FC Edmonton has not started its NASL campaign yet, which would explain why the 31-year-old was sluggish.

Will Johnson (C) — Johnson was neither outstanding nor poor, just like in the first meeting against Mexico. The Toronto FC midfielder was not his usual imposing self, which could be down to the fact that the MLS season only started a few weeks ago.

Julian de Guzman (D) — Canada’s all-time leader in appearances earned another cap on Tuesday, but de Guzman was visibly gassed in Mexico City and was substituted after 57 minutes. A slower performance was expected due to the midfielder’s lack of competitive action prior to the international break.

Junior Hoilett (C) — Attacking players were likely going to see less action compared to Friday’s match, and that’s exactly what happened with Hoilett. When he was running at defenders, the QPR winger was threatening at times. However, he had to leave the game in the 80th minute with a leg injury.

Cyle Larin (C) — Larin held up the ball, worked hard defensively and executed some terrific runs, but the Orlando City striker was presumably inefficient despite recording four shots. Like Hoilett, the 20-year-old was bound to be less impactful in Mexico City, so this is not an indictment on MLS’ rookie of the year.

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