Canada beat Guatemala 5-0 Sunday afternoon in the penultimate group game of Olympic qualifying at Home Depot Center, meaning Mexico must beat Haiti in the second game of the doubleheader by at least five unanswered goals to retain any hope of reaching the semifinals Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.
Even then, Canada and Mexico would need a coin toss to send one team through since the two would be tied on goal difference and goals scored. The Mexicans must score at least six goals without reply to go through.
The Mexicans have scored just two goals in two games during the tournament and unlike Guatemala, who had already qualified, the Haitians are motivated; a win would send them through to the semifinals.
Guatemala didn’t look particularly enthusiastic about the game, raising more than a suspicion they would be perfectly happy to see Mexico exit the competition.
Canada, not exactly renowned for their goal-scoring prowess, got two goals from former Chicago Fire forward Will Johnson, back from a one-game suspension after being sent off in Canada’s opening game, a pair from Tosaint Ricketts and the fifth from substitute Kyle Hall deep into second half stoppage time.
Guatemalan fans celebrated after the game as if they had won.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we could win 5-0,” said Coach Nick Dasovic, who paid tribute to his players. “They were extraordinary.”
Player of the game Will Johnson said he was seeking a measure of redemption in this game: “Any time you get a red card you feel you let your teammates down a bit,” he said. “I was fresh today, I was a lot fresher than the other guys, so I took it upon myself to make a difference.”