Fresh from completing a revenge mission against Honduras, Canada will seek to continue their promising start to CONCACAF World Cup qualifying when they face El Salvador away from home on Tuesday.
Canada missed out on a place in the decisive final round of qualifying for Brazil 2014 when they suffered a humiliating 8-1 loss to Honduras in October 2012.
That embarrassing defeat prompted the departure of head coach Stephen Hart, to be succeeded by Benito Floro in August 2013.
The Spaniard guided his players to a cathartic 1-0 win over Honduras on Friday, righting at least some of the wrongs from the capitulation in San Pedro Sula three years ago.
Now Les Rouges are aiming to make it two wins in succession to open the fourth round of qualifying by beating the hosts at Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador.
In the visitors’ ranks will be QPR attacker Junior Hoilett, who, despite long being heralded a potential saviour of the Canadian national team, made his competitive debut at the relatively mature age of 25 in the win over Honduras after finally opting to commit to the country of his birth ahead of Jamaica and England.
It has been worth the wait for the Canucks to secure Hoilett’s allegiance, at least according to Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson, who hailed the overdue involvement of the former Blackburn Rovers star.
“Junior made a big difference,” he said after the narrow triumph in Vancouver.
“He’s special and he creates moments, little bits of magic in these games. We know they’re all going to be tight. I think we’ve always been good tactically, defensively, [able to] keep our shape. But we’ve just missed that little bit of magic.”
Canada’s opponents El Salvador made a losing start to their campaign when they went down 3-0 away to Mexico on Friday.
The Central American nation’s chances have been hampered by a dispute between the players and governing body, with a mass boycott from the established personnel forcing coach Ramon Maradiaga to pick an inexperienced squad for these two fixtures.
Despite those selection woes, assistant coach Gilberto Yearwood has insisted the hosts must take the initiative this week.
“We’re playing at home, we must impose the conditions, the pace and the criteria by which we should play [the] game,” he was quoted as saying by El Grafico.
The last meeting between these teams produced a 0-0 draw in Carson, California, at the Gold Cup in July.
Julian de Guzman is determined to see Canada go one better this time to make it six points from six in Group A ahead of the visit of Mexico in March.
“It’s going to be a battle playing in these conditions,” he was quoted as saying by the Toronto Sun.
“Half the team is aware of that. The points here are game-changing in the long run … We can’t let our victory [over Honduras] go to waste.”
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