Canada interim head coach Michael Findlay (right) answers questions during a CONCACAF Gold Cup press event on March 7, 2017, in Santa Clara, California, USA. (Photo: Howard Smith/isiphotos.com)
SANTA CLARA, California – With the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup title increasingly becoming a faded – though still pleasant -- memory, Canada is making every effort to return to those days of competing for titles and honors.
The last three editions of the Gold Cup have not generated the results or the performances that could give hope of replicating the jubilation experienced after the Canadians beat Colombia, 2-0, in the final at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on February 27, 2000.
Interim head coach Michael Findlay realizes that Canada’s objectives in the 2017 Gold Cup may not match with those of some of his team’s Group A opponents, especially Costa Rica and Honduras.
“Our expectations are maybe a little bit different from some of the other teams in the Gold Cup based on our program’s position,” said Findlay, following Monday’s Gold Cup media event that revealed the 3017 groups and schedule. “We’re in a second phase of transition in our program following our elimination from [2018 World Cup Qualifying] in 2016. We had to begin thinking of the future and the Gold Cup is a pinnacle part of that future.”
Canada was ousted from Russia 2018 reckoning after a third-place in the fourth round of CONCACAF play, which included a win (1-0 home) and a loss (1-2 away) against the Hondurans.
“Two of the powerhouses of CONCACAF in Honduras and Costa Rica, for us, provide enormously intelligent group of footballers and experience,” Findlay commented. “We’ve spent a lot of time playing Honduras, so we know them very well. Costa Rica, given their position in world football at this moment in time, is an enormous challenge for us, which is exactly what we’re looking for."
As for also playing French Guiana, Findlay offered, “they’re going to be something that everyone is going to be interested to see how they play.”
In four games since the end of WCQ play, Canada has posted two wins and two losses as it launches a new – and, hopefully, successful – cycle.
“We’re looking to introduce new players into the process,” stressed Findlay in regard to Canada’s Gold Cup approach. “We’re looking to come in with a strong mental attitude and bring something to the Gold Cup that is vastly needed and that is to effect results better than we have in the past.
“I’m very positive about where our mindset is and our potential, so we’re looking forward to using the Gold Cup as a platform to test that.”
Canada has not advanced beyond the Gold Cup’s group stage since 2009, when it fell, of course, to Honduras, 1-0, in the quarterfinals.