Canada’s marquee man delivers on a large stage in front of a large crowd. How else.
Alfonso Davies scored a remarkable goal in the second half on Wednesday to open the floodgates in the middle as Canada registered a 4-1 win over Panama in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying game.
The goal embodied the 20-year-old Bayern Munich star, showcasing his speed, acceleration and temperament. Not many people on the planet could score it.
This caught Drake’s attention. Canada coach John Harderman said the global hip-hop star sent Davis a message after the game saying they wanted to get together.
The 51st-ranked Canadian men had number 68 Panama under Kosh, but did not advance until the 66th minute, when a sprinting Davis came down the right flank to catch the ball under the feet of defender Harold Cummings, who felt that The ball is about to go out.
Davis approached the ball before doing so, using his trailing foot to keep the ball in play and pushing it forward, then danced around defender Fidel Escobar and—as a bait—of Tajón Buchanan. Using – fired a low shot that left goalkeeper Luis Mejia to take a 2-1 lead. It was Davis’ 10th goal in his 28th match for Canada.
The Canadians, unbeaten 2–0–4 in the final round of qualifying in the field, turned on offense after goal.
Buchanan made it 3–1 in the 71st, leading Canada home with a Richie Laria cross for his third goal. Jonathan David then scored in the 78th minute, hitting a counterattack from a feed from Davis that drove the ball home, crippling the Panama defense. This was the 17th goal of the Lillee striker in 22 international matches.
Davis made a standing ovation in the 81st minute. After going shirtless, he celebrated with fans waving the Canadian flag.
He shared Yash in a post-game interview. “Everyone puts in a shift tonight,” he said.
Davis’ influence on and off the field continues to grow.
“Fonzi is a big influencer in this group. He’s a humble guy but when he speaks, it reminds us of (Christine) Sinclair. When he speaks, people listen,” Herdman said. who coached Sinclair and Canadian women before taking over the men’s program.
The BMO field was at full capacity with an announcement of an attendance of 26,622 after local authorities eased epidemiological restrictions. The South Stand was a sea of red, filled with waving flags.
They got to see a full-blooded game played at breakneck speed. A massive Canadian directed almost all of the motion with Davis leading the way, with David directing the attack. Davis was electric, tormenting defenders and became even more impressive when Harderman moved him to the wing from a more central position.
The Canadian has now taken home seven points out of a possible nine. And he has worked on the road, scoring points through draws in the US, Mexico and Jamaica.
Harderman got what he wanted – a major home performance.
“It was as good or as strong a performance as I have experienced or been a part of,” he said.
Canada’s next two matches are also at home, against Costa Rica on 12 November and Mexico on 16 November, both at the Edmonton Commonwealth Stadium.
Wednesday’s game was the third game of an international window that saw Canada draw 1–1 in Mexico and 0–0 in Jamaica.
While Panama (2-2-2) was hanging by a thread for most of the match, the visitors opened the scoring.
Canada got off to a great start but found themselves 1-0 down after a counter-attack from the right. Canada was caught from behind with wingback Laria up field and Kamal Miller struggled to get back into position. Michael Murillo’s low cross found Blackburn among Canadian centre-backs, and Rolando Blackburn, who plays for the Bolivian club The Strongest, tapped it.
Canada regrouped and attacked strongly in the 28th minute from Davis’ Corner to tie the game – the latest in a string of them. Buchanan jumped high but the ball was seen as his target, passing through Murillo’s upper body.
Keeping the ball away from Canada, Panama started to gain some possession in the second half. Then Davis worked his magic and the match was turned.
The benches were empty near the stroke of halftime after a scuffle as Panama delayed to take a corner. Canadian Options was heating up in the vicinity and was scuttling over Panama’s strategy, leading to a scandal that eventually ended after some shouting and shouting.
There was even worse blood after the final whistle, with the players parting ways. Laria, whose blood is no stranger to boiling, got irritated over something.
“It’s life or death for us,” Herdman said. “We will fight. We will fight for this country to the bitter end? Our aim is bigger and stronger than any other team in CONCACAF. We haven’t been to the World Cup since 1986. These teams have done it. So when you take it away from us.” So we’re getting into it — everyone.”
“It’s not nice to see and I don’t condemn what’s happening,” he said. “But at the same time our country needs us to fight. We can’t back down any time now.”
Canada defeated Panama 9-3 (4-1 in shots on target) and Panama had eight corners in the first half itself. The final shot count for the Canadians was 16-7 (8-2 shots on target).
In other matches on Wednesday, 13th-ranked US (3-1-2) won 2-1 over No. 44 Costa Rica (1-2-3) and No. 59 Jamaica (1-) in Columbus, Ohio. 3-2) registered a 2-0 win over 63rd Honduras (0-3-3). No. 9 Mexico (4-0-2) recorded a 2-0 win over No. 65 El Salvador (1-3-2) in a late match.
The win moved Canada to third place in the standings on 10 points, overtaking Panama. Mexico leads on 14 points, ahead of the US on 11.
Come March, the top three teams in the eight-team CONCACAF round-robin book their tickets to Qatar 2022. The fourth-placed team will compete in an intercontinental playoff to see who joins them.
Canada began the final round of qualifying in September with a 1–1 home match against Honduras before beating the US 1–1 in Nashville and 3–0 to El Salvador at BMO Field.
Harderman made six changes in his opening 11, coming into the match with 218 caps – 46 of which were accounted for by Jonathan Osorio.
Laria, Buchanan and Steven Vittoria returned after missing Jamaica’s game via suspension for collecting the yellow-card. Stefan Eustaquio was also back after being produced from the bench on Sunday.
Miller and David Woderspoon also joined in. Vittoria captained the team.
Canada was without injured Atiba Hutchinson, forward Cyl Larin, Lucas Cavallini and Junior Hoillet. Goalkeeper Milan Borjan is recovering from COVID-19.
Panama went on to register a 1-0 win over the Americas in Panama City on Sunday, their second win over the Americans in 24 meetings (2-16-6) and first win in World Cup qualifying play (1-6-2).
It has also recorded domestic ties with Costa Rica (0–0) and Mexico (1–1). On the road, it won 3–0 in Jamaica and lost 1–0 in El Salvador.
Canada improved to an all-time 4-1-6 against Panama.