Cyle Larin (pictured) is part of Canada's burgeoning youth movement. (Photo: Mexsport)
CARSON, California – In the second match of a CONCACAF Gold Cup, Group B doubleheader on Wednesday night at the StubHub Center, Canada takes on El Salvador.
Here are Three Points to consider ahead of the game:
1) Co-host Canada eyes a return to glory
Canada is the only team outside of the United States and Mexico to have ever lifted the Gold Cup trophy. That magical 2000 run, which saw the Maple Leafs shock Mexico in the quarterfinals, was punctuated with a 2-0 win Colombia 2-0 in the final. The team -- led by former Real Madrid manager Benito Floro -- has won five consecutive matches heading into tournament play, getting past Dominica (agg: 6-0) last month in the second round of 2018 World Cup Qualifying. Featuring in their 12th Gold Cup, the Canadians are co-hosting this year’s event. It is the first time that the event will be played outside of the United States and Mexico
2) El Salvador’s Roca resurgence
El Salvador is a team on the rise under head coach Albert Roca. Since taking the reins in 2014, Roca has instilled a new sense of belief within the Central American side by applying the same managerial tac-tics he used while as an assistant coach at Barcelona, Galatasary and the Saudi Arabian national team. The Ciscatlecos qualified for this year’s Gold Cup via a fourth-place finish at the 2014 Central American Cup and enter the tournament after topping St. Kitts & Nevis (agg: 6-3) in the second round of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying. On the field, Roca will rely on veteran forward Arturo Alvarez to provide an offensive spark. He has four goals in 36 international appearances.
3) Canadian youth movement
If Canada is going to advance out of Group B and contend for a second Gold Cup championship, its tal-ented cadre of rising stars must perform well. Leading the youth movement is 20-year-old forward Cyle Larin, who is currently enjoying a breakout season for Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC. Larin appears set for a bright international future. Also expected to contribute Samuel Piette, 20, a talented holding midfielder currently playing his club soccer in Spain with Deportivo La Coruña. Midfielder Jonathan Osorio (23) and Vancouver Whitecaps playmaker Russell Teibert (22) will also look to make their international mark.