Canada's Julian de Guzman (pictured) was MVP of the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)
CARSON, California – Canada will be seeking to banish the memories of two years ago, when it faces off against El Salvador in their opening game of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup at the StubHub Center on Wednesday.
In the 2013 edition, the Canadians were eliminated after the group stage, finishing last with just a single point and no goals.
This year, head coach Benito Floro wants his team to execute properly and, as a result, hopefully make a deep run.
“The objective always is the same: the result," Floro said. "If we achieve and make it to the quarterfinals or semifinals it will be very good but in order to arrive at that, first it is necessary to play well. To play well for me is to defend correctly and to attack, to do set pieces with sense. We are confident our players are fighting a lot and understanding more each time the system of playing in attack and defense and we are happy to play official games.
“We are here with our spirit and with our feeling and thinking that all the games that we win, will be important for us.”
Canada comes into the Gold Cup on the heels of two wins over Dominica in the second round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Floro conceded that El Salvador would pose a different challenge.
“El Salvador is a serious, well-organized team with good players and also, the team has very good preparation for set pieces,” he remarked. “We’re taking the game very, very seriously and we know that Canada will be under pressure but that is good for Canada, also for their focus and their concentration and their players too.”
Canada’s last major success at a Gold Cup came in 2000, when it captured the tournament by beating Colombia in the final.
Veteran Julian de Guzman, who helped Canada reach the 2007 semifinals, believes that a positive result against El Salvador is vital.
“When it comes to tournaments, every game is crucial, and the most important game of every tournament usually is the first game,” the 34-year-old midfielder said. “That usually sets the rhythm and the tempo, and it allows the players to find confidence within themselves.”