Fabrice Reuperné was lifted by teammates after scoring Martinique’s winner against Canada.Sunday’s Canada-Martinique CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer clash featured a young and promising Canadian team, eager to impress their new coach who was watching from the wings, against a side from a place with just over 400,000 people that can’t even compete for the World Cup, as Martinique’s an overseas department of France rather than a separate country. On paper, it looked like a mismatch. In reality, it played out as a mismatch, but in favour of Martinique: they came away with a 1-0 stoppage-time victory on the last kick of the game, but it was a thoroughly deserved win, as they dominated the run of play for much of the game. More than the loss alone, the poor nature of the performance has to be concerning for a Canadian team that appears to have hit one of its lowest points since last year’s 8-1 World Cup qualification-ending debacle in Honduras. Canadian soccer commentators and fans from all over were less than impressed with the team’s play:
That criticism was well-deserved, as the Canadian squad lacked urgency and intensity all day long. Martinique dominated the match and directed 27 shots towards the Canadian net (eight on target), while Canada only managed eight total shot attempts and three on target. Canadian keeper Milan Borjan was one of the few players to have a solid day, as he made seven saves, several of them quite impressive. In the end, though, he couldn’t keep out a stoppage-time blast from 38-year-old Martinique midfielder Fabrice Reuperné, who scored just his second international goal.
Reuperné’s goal was a fitting end to a dismal match for Canada, and one that suggests there’s a lot of work ahead for new head coach Benito Floro. Of course, Floro doesn’t take over until after the Gold Cup, and interim coach Colin Miller’s youth-filled side still has a chance to make something happened against Mexico (July 11 in Seattle) or Panama (in Denver July 14): those teams will likely be playing B-sides given their ongoing World Cup qualification focus, so anything is possible. If the Canadian team continues to play the way they did Sunday, though, it looks like this program might be at one of its all-time lows, and Floro’s job may become much more of a scorched-earth makeover than a gradual building project.