Originally published on CanadaSoccer.com
Going into the bronze medal match at the 2014 America Cup, the Para Team fancied its chances against USA. Certainly, the game started well, with Canada dominating possession. But then … it all went wrong.
In the span of 15 minutes, USA scored three goals. Boom – deflection (6th minute). Boom - corner shot (15th minute). Boom - own goal (21st minute). And, like that, the match was over.
“You can’t give good teams chances, like we did,” says Head Coach Drew Ferguson. “As soon a that first goal went in we were on our back foot and never recovered.”
Frustrated, Ferguson says it’s not about the bronze medal, but about the way the medal was lost. “When all three goals are the result of defensive errors it’s just not good enough.”
Although the Team failed to score, it showed that it can do better—shutting down USA’s attack in the second half. More importantly, the Team can take heart in knowing that – by finishing in the top four – it has qualified for the World Championships.
With the Para Pan Am Games also taking place in 2015, the lessons learned at the America Cup will help the Team moving forward. “We have a lot of young guys, and they need these kinds of experiences to grow,” says Ferguson. “Next year they will be bigger, stronger, smarter. We’re ranked 11th in the world, but we want to be in the top eight. To achieve this, we’re all going to have to work harder. And we will.”