Canada will face Caribbean runners up Antigua & Barbuda in their last international test of the 2017 CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship. With both nations eliminated from a tough Group A, both will be keen to close out their championship campaigns on a winning note at Estadio Saprissa on Thursday afternoon.
The 23 February match will be broadcast live on CONCACAF’s Facebook channel at 15.30 ET / 12.30 PT. Canada Soccer will provide in-match coverage from Estadio Saprissa via Canada Soccer’s digital channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Flickr.
“There is a lot of pride in these players and I will never stop believing in them and their abilities,” said Rob Gale, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National U-20 Team Coach. “We know how close we were to executing in the first game, so there is a lot of pride going into this match.”
Coach Gale says Canada will look to execute for a full 90 minutes after showing promising stretches in the first two matches, especially the opening half against Honduras.
“We need to execute the game plan over 90 minutes, which is fundamental to the players’ development in becoming full-time professionals and taking that next step to the Men’s National Team.”
Opponents Antigua & Barbuda opened well against Honduras, but ultimately conceded the opening goal and could not respond before equally being eliminated from the competition. Like Canada, they are looking for their first win on Thursday.
“You can’t look over anyone in this tournament,” said Gale. “It is going to be a tough battle in hot, physical conditions. It will be another stern test for our Canadian boys.”
“It is our last game of the tournament and we are looking to end on a strong note,” said Canadian midfielder Luca Uccello. “It will be two teams looking to win, so ultimately it is up to us (so) we just have to worry about us and stick to the game plan.”
The CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship is one of three CONCACAF youth tournaments in which Canada will compete in 2017. Upcoming, Canada will also compete in the CONCACAF Men’s Under-17 Championship in April/May and the CONCACAF Boys’ Under-15 Championship in August.
Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL Program channels our nation’s exceptional players into the best soccer environments. The Canada Soccer Pathway works in collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners as well as the professional clubs and academies. For Canada’s elite players, the program emphasizes player development on the pathway to representing Canada’s Men’s National Team in international soccer.