Photo courtesy FC Montreal
Former FC Montreal standout Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla scored the opening goal as the Canada U20 National Team took a 2-1 victory against Honduras on Saturday night at the Estadio Carlos Miranda in Comayagua.
Captained by fellow FC Montreal standout Thomas Meilleur-Giguere, Canada had chances to take the lead early on. Toronto FC II midfielder Luca Uccello forced a save from a free kick in the fifth minute, while Tabla’s pass meant for Dario Zanetti found its way through the defense, but was claimed by the Honduran goalkeeper 12 minutes later.
Tabla, Uccello and Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2’s Kadin Chung then combined well in the 23rd minute to set up a chance for Tabla, only for his shot to go over the crossbar. The 17-year-old, who had five goals and a team-high five assists for Montreal this past USL season before signing with the Montreal Impact as a Homegrown Player this offseason, made no mistake eight minutes later, however, as he received a pass by Shamit Shome, beat a pair of Honduran defenders and fired into the net.
Honduras started creating more chances after going behind, and eight minutes into the second half equalized after a handball by Canada gave the hosts a penalty kick that they duly converted. Canada almost retook the lead with 19 minutes to go as Dayonn Harris was able to round the goalkeeper, but unable to get a shot on frame before the ball went behind for a goal kick.
The winner arrived with a minute to go, though, as Kris Twardek’s finish saw the late pressure from the visitors pay off. The Millwall player almost struck again in stoppage time, but it proved academic as Canada earned a 2-1 victory.
The two teams will meet again on Monday as Canada continues its preparations for the 2017 CONCACAF U20 Championship in Costa Rica, which also serves as qualifying for the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup next May in South Korea.