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Canada's men's soccer team not giving up in quest for qualifying for World Cup

September 05, 2016 - 2:54 PM

VANCOUBER, B.C. - Canada's men's soccer team still has a chance to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia despite a 2-1 loss to Honduras on Friday.

Canada plays El Salvador at BC Place Stadium on Tuesday in the final game for both teams in the fourth round of qualifying.

Canada sits third in the Group 1 standings, with four points, three behind Honduras for second place. The top two teams from each group advance to the next round in the CONCACAF qualifying process known as "the Hex."

A win over El Salvador helps the Canadians, but they must also find a way to close a five-goal differential and hope that Honduras loses its final game against Mexico, which has already clinched its spot in the next round of qualifying.

Mexico and Honduras also meet on Tuesday.

"We know that if we go out there and we get a few goals … a lot can happen in football," said midfielder Atiba Hutchinson in a recent interview.

"The good thing is we've played some very good games here in Vancouver. Our performances have been pretty well. Our last result against Mexico (A 3-0 loss on March 25), maybe the score line didn't go the way we wanted but for bits and pieces in the first half of that game, we were kind of playing toe-to-toe with them."

Canada enters the match having battled El Salvador to a scoreless draw in November.

After starting this round with a 1-0 victory over Honduras back at BC Place on Nov. 13, 2015, the Canadians have gone without a win in their last four matches.

They have scored only two goals in the entire round.

Canada put itself in a good position by taking the lead in the first half against Honduras on Friday but they couldn't hold it.

That loss wasn't as disastrous as the 8-1 defeat in Honduras four years ago, but it was still a disappointing setback in Canada's bid to qualify for Russia.

"I think we're already trying to put that past us," said Hutchinson. "We're just looking forward. We're really just focused on the next game coming.

"Obviously that game is done. There's not much we can do about that now, so it's time to just start looking forward. The best part about it is we believe we can do it. We feel we can go out there and win the game and maybe we'll get a few goals to help us out."

Canada needs to win at home, then, depending on the score against El Salvador, the Canadians would need Mexico to defeat Honduras, perhaps by as many as five goals or more.

If Canada and Honduras end the round tied in points, goal differential and goals for, Canada would hold the tiebreaker and advance to the next round because of their away goal in Honduras.

"I think if we go into that game and score as many as we can and we get a result from Mexico, I mean, anything's possible," said 21-year-old striker Cyle Larin, who has 13 goals in 25 games played this season for Orlando City SC in Major League Soccer. "I still think we have a chance to make it.

"We just have to keep fighting and hopefully we get lucky and get results."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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