Shotgun analysis: why Canada didn’t qualify for the Olympics in men’s soccer

1. Late goal conceded against Cuba. Should never have been only a one goal lead that late in the game against the weakest team in the tournament but it was so we were vulnerable to a late free kick being swung into our box costing us first place in the group. Uncertainty over roles at the back as the ball was coming in meant we had the wrong match up at the far post. If that ball is cleared, we win the group and play Honduras which would have been a much closer match up.

2. Inexperience. Youngest team in the tourney and it showed. Several players not even attached to a club at the moment and none featuring in MLS. Yes, Haber is signed to SPL’s St. Johnstone but has only started 12 games and scored twice. What are you saying when your starting central midfielder is just 17 years old? It’s unfair to expect him to be influential against the quality and experience Mexico can line up against him.

3. Haber is symptomatic of the type of player that was on the team. Pretty good at one thing but several areas lacking. Same goes for central midfielders and centre backs. Naivete, relatively poor first touch, intentions on the ball made obvious and easy to defend, desperation defending that saw us on the ground when we couldn’t afford to be. Too many players making these teams because they do one or two things very well and can be given a role but at this level their deficiencies are abundant and easily exposed.

4. Two game suspension for Randy Edwini-Bonsu. Still don’t know what the red was for given he’d been off the field for a few minutes but when you turn around, livid and screaming at match officials and give them the “up yours” arm gesture, you’re getting more than one game. Really the only striker we had with true pace and it not having him tonight took a valuable took from Fonseca’s toolbox.

5. Lack of goalscoring ability in general. Four goals in four games with three coming from corner kicks, three from headers and one from a defender. Only one goal in three games coming into tonight from open play suggested a team that was too reliant on set pieces. That said, with ten minutes left we got a dangerous free kick and only put three people in the box (with a fourth lurking around the top of the box). Why are there not seven people attacking that given how well we’d done in the air? Needed to keep teams honest by displaying a variety of threats in attack.

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3 Responses to Shotgun analysis: why Canada didn’t qualify for the Olympics in men’s soccer

  1. cutleron says:

    One word we don’t look for and promote in youth football in this country: GUILE.
    My Gold-level player with the most guile had to be pulled up up from the level below. Couldn’t see that quality in chaotic evaluations. It’s a cognitive quality: the game slows down for him when others speed up, panicked. You could have seen Marcus Haber at age 15 and known there’s no guile in him.

  2. tooncasual says:

    Let the chaotic evaluation phase begin!

  3. Rasta says:

    Well said Gregor. I agree with your three points. Particularly with the tendency for Canada choosing a player with one talent…when the other team closes that down, the player is basically done and has no clue what to do next. Haber was a good example. Not so much his fault but that is how he was chosen and further developed. They (his elite BC experience and Canada) used his strength and developed not much else..if anything else has been developed since I saw him around 16 or 17, I certainly didn’t see it during his limited play during the Olympic Qualifying games.

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