Those lucky enough to make it inside BMO Field for the start of the Canada’s sixth match of the final round of Concacaf qualifying can finally take a much-deserved breath and relax: one of the wildest first halves in recent memory for the Canadian men’s national team has come to a close with a 1-1 score.
Long, winding lines delayed thousands of fans from gaining entrance and made BMO Field considerably less intimidating for Panama early on. Perhaps not coincidentally, Canada’s lack of pressure on Panama’s ball carriers was alarming from the start as Panama made too many swift passes along the flank on a counter-attack. Canada’s defenders left Panama’s Rolando Blackburn relatively unmarked in front of their goal for a 5th minute goal.
Alphonso Davies woke Canada up from their slumber almost on his own with some of the most electric soccer he’s ever played in a national team shirt. Davies made plenty of penetrating runs throughout the centre of the pitch, dragging multiple Panama defenders with him, acting as the central attacking threat Canada have often lacked throughout the first six qualifying matches.
After taking multiple corner kicks in a row and putting one directly on goal, Davies placed a corner kick perfectly in the 28th minute and Tajon Buchanan was awarded the goal. Davies continued to pick apart Panama and though he looked to have been taken down inside the box in the 31st minute, he was the victim of a fairly blatant non-call.
For good measure, a near-brawl that brought both teams off their respective benches came after Canada’s Derek Cornelius, stretching near the corner of the pitch, refused to move when Panama’s Edgar Barcenas prepared to take a corner kick. If you’re John Herdman, you have to feel good about Canada’s ability to bounce back after conceding an early goal. But whether they can show some poise in possession instead of just allowing Davies to dictate play on his own could define their success in the second half.
Source : https://theathletic.com/live-blogs/usmnt-costa-rica-live-start-time-updates-highlights-how-to-watch/w1p3GTxA6cBs/354