SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Ronaldo Cisneros scored either side of halftime as Mexico took a 5-0 victory against Canada at the 2017 CONCACAF U20 Championship at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica on Monday night, officially eliminating Canada from the tournament. Mexico threatened more of the two sides in the opening half-hour, but Canada withstood the pressure well as Ottawa Fury FC’s Thomas Meilleur-Giguere marshalled the back-line. The resistance broke in the 36th minute, however, as Francisco Cordova scored with a diving header, and four minutes later it became 2-0 when Cisneros volleyed home his third goal of the tournament. Canada goalkeeper Thomas Hasal made a big save just before the break which denied Uriel Antuna, but Cisneros’ second of the night added a third with 25 minutes to go. Toronto FC II’s Liam Fraser forced the best save of the night for Canada with a curling shot with 10 minutes remaining, but two more goals by Claudio Zamudio and Eduardo Aguirre wrapped up the victory for Mexico and a place in the final stage.
36’ – MEX – Francisco Cordova (Diego Aguilar)
40’ – MEX – Ronaldo Cisneros (Uriel Antuna)
65’ – MEX – Ronaldo Cisneros
81’ – MEX – Claudio Zamudio (Uriel Antuna)
90+' – MEX – Eduardo Aguirre (Kevin Lara)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Canada’s hopes of reaching their first FIFA U20 World Cup since 2007 came to a deflating end as it was unable to take advantage of chances that came few and far between, and were unable to withstand some excellent wide play by Mexico that eventually led to the defending champions’ first-half goals. While there were some good passages, and Toronto FC II’s Liam Fraser in particular acquitted himself well, the team was unable to keep pace consistently with the favorites to win the tournament.
2. Mexico’s incisiveness down the flanks threatened the Canadian defense consistently, in particular the attacking play of Uriel Antuna of Liga MX side Santos Laguna. Antuna just missed out on an early assist when he couldn’t pick out a teammate after knifing into the penalty area from the right, but five minutes before the break his pin-point cross to the back post allowed Ronaldo Cisneros to volley home, and dim some of the hope Canada had of making a comeback.
3. Canada will wrap up its tournament on Thursday afternoon with its final group game against Antigua & Barbuda, who were also eliminated on Monday after a 4-1 defeat the Honduras earlier in the day. The game will likely give Canada Head Coach Rob Gale the chance to test the four players who will be eligible to return to the tournament in two years, including the Toronto FC II duo of Dante Campbell and Shaan Hundal, and give the side as a whole a chance to end the tournament on a positive note after tonight's heavy defeat.
Canada – vs. Antigua & Barbuda, Thursday, February 23, 3:30 p.m. ET
Mexico – vs. Honduras, Thursday, February 23, 6 p.m. ET