“We had some very good chances,” said Canadian national head coach Stephen Hart. “We just didn’t score.”
Both sides have one more match in CONCACAF Round 2, an evening match on Tuesday 15 November in Toronto. With four points still separating the two teams, St. Kitts and Nevis can no longer catch the group leader Canada.
The first 45 minutes were played in Canada’s favour. The away team held most of the possession, often connecting for sequences of 10 of more passes before trying to penetrate through the home defence. Canada’s efforts created a pair of direct shots on target, but nothing by goalkeeper Akil Brown.
De Rosario perhaps caused the most problems for the home defence down the right side on a couple of attacks just after the half hour mark. Despite Canada’s intentions, however, the final strike was not there.
“When we did have possession, we did not pass well enough,” said Hart. “When we did have the chances, we did not finish those chances.”
In the second half, the play opened up just a little bit, with both sides creating their turn with the momentum. Facing elimination, St. Kitts and Nevis knew it had to score to stay alive in the group standings. The home side played well with a full crowd at Warner Park Football Stadium on its side.
On one Canadian chance just after the one hour mark, Jackson made a nice cross into the middle, although Canada could not score. Then in the 75th minute, Simpson played with his pace down the left side before breaking into the box and initiating a sequence of touches just on the edge of the box.
The final touch on a spin by de Guzman almost surprised the goalkeeper on the right side, but Byron dove to the left and stopped the shot.
Canada’s best chance finally came in the 89th minute with a streaking run down the mid-left side by striker Simeon Jackson. He moved quick in on goal and fired his shot, but Byron stood his ground and made arguably the stop of the match.
As for Canada’s player of the match, coach Hart selected midfielder Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault. He was making just his second start in a FIFA World Cup Qualifiers match, albeit his first at his natural midfield position.
Also of note in the match, goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld posted his third clean sheet in this round. In five matches in CONCACAF Round 2, Canada has conceded just one goal.
For this match, Canada’s starting XI featured Lars Hirschfeld in goal, Adam Straith at right back, David Edgar and Mike Klukowski at centre back, Ante Jazic at left back, and Julian de Guzman, Will Johnson, Simeon Jackson, Josh Simpson, Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault and Dwayne De Rosario (captain) from the midfield up through to the attack.
In the second half, coach Stephen Hart replaced Johnson with Tosaint Ricketts (61st minute) and De Rosario with Olivier Occean (81’).
For St. Kitts and Nevis, the starting XI featured Akil Byron in goal, Joel Jeffers at right back, Kareem Mitchum and Thrizen Leader at centre back, Kareem Harris at left back, Gerard Williams as a defensive midfielder, George Isaac and Errol O’Loughlin also in the midfield, and Keith Gumbs (captain), Akil Grier and Ian Lake up front.
In the second half, coach Percival Clinton replaced Grier with Orlando Mitchum (64’), Lake with Matthew Berkeley (68’), and O’Loughlin with Terrance Warde (87’).
Of note, this was Canada’s 100th FIFA World Cup Qualifiers match. Canada’s record is 39 wins, 31 draws and 30 losses from 1957 to 2011.