BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Canadian national team will take little consolation from its 0-0 draw with St. Kitts and Nevis on Friday night knowing that they’re one step closer to qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
That said, concerns will be raised about the side’s inability to put the ball in the net. For the second time in as many games, the Canadians slumped to a scoreless draw against lower-ranked opposition.
Last month, Canada played to a 0-0 tie with Puerto Rico at BMO Field in Toronto. On that day, the Puerto Ricans showed no desire to go forward, frustrating the Canadian attack by sitting virtually every man behind the ball.
That wasn’t the case against St. Kitts. Playing against a side made up mostly of amateurs, Canada were matched stride for stride by their opponents and were bettered in some areas.
“When we did create chances, we didn’t take the chances,” Canadian head coach Stephen Hart said after the game. “We allowed them way too much space, especially on the wings, and they were crossing balls into the box and putting us under pressure.”
Fortunately for the Canucks, they do have seven months to get things sorted and, as Hart noted, there hasn’t been a shortage of chances, someone just needs to step up.
“All you can do is create the chances. It’s not like we didn’t create the chances,” Hart said. “We had some very good chances and we didn’t score, so it’s always going to be our problem. It’s not like there’s a striker out there that’s playing that we don’t have.”
Canada got a glimmer of optimism when Simeon Jackson put three past St. Lucia in Gros Islet last month, but Jackson has been seeing limited playing time with his club side, Norwich City of the English Premier League. Had he been completely match sharp, Hart thinks some of the chances he got against St. Kitts would have gone in.
“If he gets one goal, who knows — he may just score on the others,” said Hart. “He got some excellent chances. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t put it away and that doesn’t do a lot for his confidence.
“Today, he played in a position that he’s most comfortable, but he was not at his best finishing-wise.”
The next opponents Canada face are Cuba, Honduras and Panama. They are all more potent teams and naturally, if they want to go any further, the goals will have to come.