Canada’s offence involves life vs. Cuba, will transfer on to Gold Cup quarterfinals

It took till the third match of the match, however Canada lastly found its scoring contact on the Concacaf Gold Cup. 

After its assault seemed flat and uninspired in attracts towards Guadeloupe and Guatemala, the Canadian males’s staff poured on the model in incomes a 4-2 win over humble Cuba on Tuesday night time in Houston. 

Junior Hoilett, Jonathan Osorio, Jayden Nelson and Liam Miller scored for Canada, who completed in second place in Group D, only one level forward of Guadeloupe and two factors behind leaders Guatemala. By advantage of its top-two end, Canada booked its spots within the quarterfinals. 

Right here’s what occurred throughout Tuesday’s match between Canada and Cuba in case you missed it…


A loss or draw to Cuba would have eradicated the Canadians, however John Herdman’s aspect admirably dealt with the strain of the must-win state of affairs with its greatest efficiency of the match, albeit towards an opponent that sits 166th within the present FIFA world rankings, some 121 spots beneath Canada. 


Canada’s offence involves life after tactical shift

Canada badly wanted a efficiency and outcome like this after being restricted to a pair of targets (considered one of which was an own-goal) by its first two video games of the Gold Cup towards vastly inferior sides. 

Canadian coach John Herdman switched issues up towards the Cubans by altering his formation to a extra conventional 4-4-2 after deploying a 3-5-3 setup towards Guadeloupe and Guatemala. The tactical change paid off large dividends, because the Canadians stormed out of the gate and turned the screws on Cuba proper from the opening kickoff.

Of their earlier two outings, the Canadians had been too centered on making an attempt to create scoring possibilities from large positions, principally by wingbacks Richie Laryea and Liam Millar. Whereas they achieved some success with that tactic, it got here at a steep worth as they had been unable to penetrate into their opponent’s field once they tried working the ball by the center. Too typically, knocking crosses into the field from the flanks turned the attacking crutch upon which the Canadians leaned on to prop themselves up. Too many crosses had been over- or under-hit, oftentimes undoing Canada’s stable buildup play.  

By going with a four-man midfield and two forwards up entrance, it allowed Canada to play extra comfortably by the center of the park, whereas nonetheless utilizing its outdoors midfielders to take advantage of their velocity down the wings. It additionally meant Canada had extra runners greater up the pitch and in higher positions to latch onto by balls. 

Shifting Millar from his pure winger place to companion with striker Lucas Cavallini within the entrance line additionally gave Canada extra velocity up prime to get in behind Cuba’s defence. Millar was additionally extra concerned in Canada’s buildup play in comparison with his earlier outings, serving to the staff grow to be extra related and centralized in assault. 

What will likely be attention-grabbing to see within the quarterfinals is that if John Herdman sticks with this formation with the 23-year-old Millar because the attacking centrepiece, or revert to the fluid 3-5-2 setup that he’s lengthy most well-liked. 


Jonathan Osorio gave Canada a 2-0 benefit within the twenty seventh minute when he completed off a beautiful, free-flowing attacking sequence by scoring his ninth worldwide objective. 

Canada received possession simply inside Cuba’s half after which shortly went on the counter-attack by way of Liam Fraser’s outlet move after enjoying a fast one-two with Junior Hoilett. Fraser’s move discovered Liam Millar on the sting of the Cuba field, and he expertly cushioned the ball earlier than enjoying into the penalty space for a streaking Lucas Cavallini. The Canadian ahead instantly squared the ball throughout the field to the again submit for Osorio to fireside previous the helpless Cuban goalkeeper. 


Junior Hoilett is the primary member of the Canadian males’s staff to attain in 4 totally different Concacaf Gold Cup tournaments: 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2023. 


“I really feel like these final three video games, there’s been a number of adversity for Canada, it hasn’t been straightforward. However we’ve performed in actually troublesome circumstances. … Popping out of this, I really feel just like the group is tight, it’s related they usually’re hungry.” – Canadian coach John Herdman. 


It solely will get harder for Canada from right here, because it’ll face the US, the match’s prime seed and defending Gold Cup champions, in Cincinnati on July 9. Canada misplaced 2-0 to the U.S. in final month’s Concacaf Nations League closing in Las Vegas. Canada sports activities an all-time file of 10-17-12 towards the U.S. 

“We had been fairly clear coming into this match [about] which staff we wished to play and what recreation we wished to expertise within the Gold Cup. The soccer Gods have given us our derby match [vs. the U.S.],” John Herdman stated after the win over Cuba. 


1) Liam Millar (Canada): A breakout efficiency from the Basel star who scored his first objective for Canada, arrange one other, and was on the coronary heart of the Canadian assault. 

2) Junior Hoilett (Canada): Scored the Reds opening objective, assisted on Liam Millar’s to make it 3-0, and wore the captain’s armband with distinction. 

3) Jonathan Osorio (Canada): The veteran midfielder was a continuing thorn within the Cuban’s defence’s aspect by scoring one objective and registering a team-high three photographs. 

John Molinaro is among the main soccer journalists in Canada, having coated the sport for over 20 years for a number of media shops, together with Sportsnet, CBC Sports activities and Solar Media. He’s at present the editor-in-chief of TFC Republic, a web site devoted to in-depth protection of Toronto FC and Canadian soccer. TFC Republic could be discovered here.