De Jong connects Canada’s past to its present
Canada’s Marcel de Jong (#8) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Costa Rica in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)

GLENDALE, Arizona -- Only three holdovers remain from the last time Canada reached the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals.

It was eight years ago when Les Rouges earned a 1-0 win over Honduras in Philadelphia.  From that roster, only defenders Dejan Jakovic and Marcel de Jong, as well as midfielder Patrice Bernier, remain in the current side.

“It’s really something special to be in the quarters.  I don’t see it as a quarter or as a tournament anymore,” said de Jong, whose only Gold Cup goal came against Costa Rica in 2009.  “I see it as one game at-a-time now.  If this is it, then this is it, but we obviously want to go to the semifinals and this is what we’re focused on.  I don’t want to think too far ahead.  I’m just think of (Thursday’s) game.”

The mantra of this Canadian team has been to look forward.  An unbeaten group-stage record of 1W-2D-0L has bolstered that theme.

“It’s like chess,” said of the Jamaica encounter.  “You cannot go out for the first couple of minutes.  You can win the game in the last minute, but obviously you don’t want that.  You want to control the game and make the tempo.  I think we can do that.  I think we have a really good chance if we control the game and have possession.”

Canada is 2W-1D-1L in four all-time Gold Cup quarterfinal matches.