Canada 0, Costa Rica 0 | CONCACAF Gold Cup Match Recap
TORONTO – A first ever Gold Cup match on home soil and revamped lineup did little to change the goal-less narrative for Canada as their tournament came to an end Tuesday night after a scoreless draw against Costa Rica at BMO Field.
Thanks to their second draw in group play – coupled with a loss – The Reds finish at the bottom of Group B, tied on points with El Salvador (a 1-0 loser to Jamaica earlier in the night) but without a goal through three games.
It was Costa Rica’s third draw of the tournament, giving them the second spot behind group-winner Jamaica and a ticket to the quarterfinals.
In a quest to spark a toothless attack, Canada head coach Benito Floro made four changes to his starting lineup, including the benching of 2015 MLS SuperDraft No. 1-overall pick Cyle Larin of Orlando City SC and last year's MLS Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele of FC Dallas.
But it was more of the same from The Reds, with 11 shots – just three on goal – to show for it.
Costa Rica, meanwhile, came into the match looking to make amends for the late equalizer they conceded to El Salvador in their last game, knowing a draw would be good enough to advance.
Canadian captain Julian de Guzman nearly opened the scoring in the 14th minute when he tried to head a rebound up and over goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado. The Costa Rican was up for the task, though.
The Canadians, desperate for their first Gold Cup goal since Dwayne De Rosario converted a penalty kick against Panama in 2011, were much more ambitious going forward than they had been previously in this year’s tournament.
Montreal Impact midfielder Maxim Tissot had nearly every single one of the 16,674 fans off of their seats in the 20th minute when his free kick beat Alvarado, but bounced off the post.
Costa Rica nearly got on the board in first-half stoppage time when Deyver Vega tried to go low against Kyriakos Stamatopolous, but Canada's ‘keeper managed to get a glove on it.
And like every other Canada game during the 2015 Gold Cup, this match too went into the half scoreless.
Costa Rica came out of the tunnel flying, with Johan Venegas doing well to get forward and nearly breaking the deadlock in the 49th minute.
Floro looked to his bench for late inspiration, bringing on the Vancouver Whitecaps' Russel Teibert and Larin for Tosaint Ricketts and Tissot in the 68th minute.
Canada appeared to have scored immediately after the substitution when striker Marcus Haber got on the end of a free kick to beat Alvarado. Despite the crowd erupting into chaos, the goal was rightfully called offside.
Floro's men continued pressing though, and second-half substitute Andre Hainault had a chance to score in the 81st minute when Alvarado fumbled a corner kick and nearly gifted the Canadians with the game winner. But Hainault was unable to convert, and the Canadians have now failed to advance past the group stage for the third Gold Cup in a row.