Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Canada concludes European camp - with no wins

Release from the CSA:

Canada's men's national team fell 0:1 to Poland today in an international friendly match in Bydgoszcz. Polish midfielder Maciej Rybus scored the lone goal in the first half.

"It is a very different challenge playing in Europe than in Canada," said head coach Stephen Hart. "The game here is much quicker and the playing conditions are different. We knew coming into this game that Poland was very strong at home as they lost only one home match during FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers. Today, we learned a lot about what is necessary for us to play at the international level."

The play was fairly even throughout the first half, although Poland made it 1-0 on the nice finish by Rybus. A Poland cross from the left was headed forward to Rybus who accepted the pass with his back to goal, turned and volleyed the shot past Canadian goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld.

In the 27th minute, Jaime Peters created space down the right side and curled a nice cross in on goal. Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak, however, made the save.

Three minutes later, Poland nearly made it 2-0 on a free kick, but the play was called offside. Six minute later, it was Canada's turn with a rush on goal. Captain Radzinski played the ball through to Rob Friend, but Friend couldn't catch the ball before Kuszczak covered it up.

"I thought Rybus and (Ludovic) Obraniak were very good for Poland in the first half," said Hart. "Defensively, we struggled to deal with Poland's movement. At times we gave Dariusz Dudka too much room in the midfield. Those three players controlled the midfield in the match today."

In the second half, Poland had a good chance in the 54th minute on a shot by Dudka. Hirschfeld, however, tipped the ball over the crossbar.

In the 63rd minute, Canada made its first of three substitutions, bringing on Simeon Jackson for Friend. Jackson had chances right away, but was unable to even the score for Canada. Canada's other second-half substitutions were Josh Simpson for Marcel de Jong in the 70th minute and Iain Hume for Radzinski in the 85th minute. Radzinski left the match to a respectable applause.

In the 87th minute, Peters again opened the Polish defence, but was unable to pick out the streaking Simpson at the back post with his cross. It was Canada's last good chance before the final whistle.

For this match, Canada's starting XI featured Hirschfeld in goal, Mike Klukowski, Dejan Jakovic, Kevin McKenna and Paul Stalteri on defence, de Jong, Julian de Guzman, Atiba Hutchison and Peters at midfield, and Radzinski and Friend up front. With his 79th appearance, Stalteri moved past Mark Watson (78) into second place on the all-time Canadian list, just three back of leader Randy Samuel (82).

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