Winnipeg Fury Posted August 19, 2004 Share Posted August 19, 2004 Canada loses to Guatemala BURNABY, B.C. (CP) - It was only the first of a six-game qualifying round but Canada's World Cup soccer team already finds itself behind a familiar eight-ball. "We can't afford to start off the way we did in any other matches," goalkeeper Pat Onstad said Wednesday night after surrendering a pair of goals to Carlos Ruiz in a 2-0 Guatemala victory. "We've got to fight back. I believe in this team and I think this team has a lot better chance (to qualify) than we did last time." Onstad, several players and coach Frank Yallop appeared surprised by their lack of success against the Guatemalans. "I think they were a little better than we expected and they thoroughly deserved the win." said Onstad. "We didn't start off well and when you get down 1-0 and 2-0 it's very difficult to come back in international soccer." Ruiz, the leading scorer for the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy, scored in the eighth and 55th minutes. "We had bits and pieces of chances in the game but all in all it was the correct result," said Yallop. "We looked disjointed. We looked like we hadn't played together for awhile. We looked unsure of ourselves until maybe in the second half when we started to get into it a little bit." Guatemala pressured the Canadians from the opening kickoff and it paid off when midfielder Daniel Imhof turned the ball over to Guillermo Ramirez in the Canadian zone. The Guatemalan captain's far-post pass left Ruiz with a tap-in. Ruiz was more artistic on the second goal as he burst past defender Nevio Pizzolitto to corral the ball and chip it over Onstad who was well off his line. "I got caught in no-man's land so I have to hold my hand up as well as the rest of the guys," said Onstad. "It's just one of those things that happens." The loss came when Canada was looking for maximum points as it started this round of qualifying with two home games. The next game is Sept. 4 against Honduras at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. "This game was very important to us; 2-0 in Canada is very important to soccer in my country," said Ruiz who was mobbed by fans after the match. "Guatemala soccer is getting better and better every game." The game before 6,725 fans was the first of six for the Canadians in the Group B semifinal round of qualifying in the CONCACAF region which includes North and Central America and the Caribbean. It didn't help that the Canadians were missing two key regulars, striker Tomasz Radzinski and defender Jason deVos. "That made a bit of a difference but this is why we have a squad of players, this is why we have to build the program," said Yallop. Radzinski, who led Canada with two goals in preliminary qualifying play against Belize, suffered a calf strain when his Fulham club opened English Premiership play Saturday against Manchester City. Target man Olivier Occean, 22, of Montreal and Odd Grenland of the Norwegian Premier League, took Radzinski's place up front with veteran Paul Peschisolido. A bone scan revealed deVos, who plays for Ipswich Town of the English Football League Championship (formerly First Division), had suffered a stress fracture at the top of his fibula. The Canadians began to get some chances against the well-organized Guatemalans near halftime. Occean, who was the most dangerous, and Peschisolido narrowly missed on headers. Canada carried the play after Ruiz' second goal with Paul Staltieri firing over the bar from long range and Occean being foiled on a goalmouth scramble and a 79th minute header. "Today was not my day," said Occean who played in his first World Cup qualifier. "We were unfortunate but that's what happens in football. Nobody's perfect and today I just missed my chances. "It's a disappointment, that's for sure but we've just got to keep our heads up. Next time's going to be better. We were not ready to play our game today."Break> NOTES: Costa Rica, which plays here on Oct. 13, will be the first away test on Sept. 8 ... the last time the Guatemalans played in Canada was 1999 when they lost 2-0 in Canada Cup play in Edmonton and 1-0 in a friendly in Toronto ... Mauro Biello, the all-time leading scorer for the A-League Montreal Impact, replaced Radzinski on the roster but did not see action ... deVos was not replaced ... the only substitution was Adrian Serioux in for Julian de Guzman near the end of the first half. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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