Canada suffered its first loss in CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifier against hosts Costa Rica 0-1, delaying reaching the finals for the first time in 36 years.
As Panama fell to a draw at home with Honduras 1-1, Canada had to score a point from their match with Costa Rica in San Jose to secure their Second World Cup appearance after the first in 1986.
But the dismissal of defender Mark-Anthony Kaye in the 34th minute for a second warning disrupted the game, and Costa Rica took advantage of it and scored the winning goal before the break by Celso Borges with a header after a cross from Gerson Torres (45+1).
Canada, missing its first star Alphonso Davies absent in recent games for myocarditis after infection with the coronavirus, bravely fought back to equalize in the second half, but star goalkeeper Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain) stood up bravely.
Striker Jonathan David was also close but his shot bounced from the defence into a corner, Navas fended off Richie Laryea (73) and Buchanan’s header bounced off the crossbar.
Despite the numerical shortage, Canada was the best without translating its chances.
Canada remains top of the eight-team group, with the first three qualifying directly for the World Cup, while the fourth is in an international tie with the Oceania champions.
A draw in Azteca
At the historic Azteca Stadium, Mexico drew with hosts and rivals the United States without goals to come close to an expected qualification.
The United States started the game knowing they had not beaten Mexico at home in Mexico City in the World Cup qualifiers. But coach Gregg Berhalter’s side were the best in an unsuccessful match, bringing their tally to 22 points, 19 for Costa Rica and 18 for Panama.
Chelsea’s England striker Christian Pulisic was close to putting the Americans in front, but his shot after Jonathan Weah’s pass went into the arms of veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (35).
In the second half, Jordan squandered a golden opportunity for the guests after a pass from talented Gio Reyna (72).
“It was a good effort from the group, we dealt well with the conditions and the draw point is valuable based on the ranking,” said Berhalter.
“We talked about coming to Azteca and trying to win for the first time, and we are disappointed not to achieve that. But you can not blame the efforts of the players. “We knew it was going to be a tough game.