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article imageCanada routs St. Kitts and Nevis 4-0 in World Cup qualifier Special

By Aman Dhanoa     Nov 16, 2011 in Sports
Toronto - After two disappointing back-to-back scoreless draws, Canada broke out with four goals to put on a dominating display for Canadian fans at BMO Field on Tuesday night.
The Canadian team looked completely different from the one that played a tough 0-0 tie in St. Kitts and Nevis last week. This time on its own pitch, Canada took advantage in the return match and constantly pressured the Kittians who looked cold and uncomfortable in a 4-0 rout.
Olivier Occean, Dwayne De Rosario, Josh Simpson and Tosaint Ricketts scored for Canada while Kenny Stamatopoulos earned the clean sheet in goal.
Canada created so many chances that the score could have easily been doubled, if not more. It was the total game that National Head Coach Stephen Hart was looking for after the team stumbled its way into the next round of World Cup qualifying with last Friday’s draw.
As a result, he made some changes to his lineup and was impressed with the how his team came out ready to play from the opening whistle.
"Different mindset," said Hart. "As I said we owe it to everybody and our mentality right from the kickoff was to put them under pressure and create opportunities, either secondary opportunities or through our passing, and be a little more composed in front of net. We got the goals and we could have got a lot more, but I'm glad the chances are coming."
De Rosario raises his arm in celebration of his first half goal while his teammates congratulate him
De Rosario raises his arm in celebration of his first half goal while his teammates congratulate him
John Lucero
"In all honesty I think St. Kitts ran themselves ragged in the game in St. Kitts. They threw everything at that one game and they felt it tonight."
According to Ricketts, the team held a meeting on Monday to prepare for the match and get everyone on the same page.
"Yesterday we had a meeting and (decided) we just got to do it for the fans," said Ricketts. "Last game wasn't our best game and tonight we wanted to come out to BMO show on Canadian soil that we can get the job done and it was a great game. I'm proud of everyone."
Added De Rosario, "The way we came out, the way we pressured them all over the field, really limiting their play out the back and midfield, closing them down I thought we were a lot sharper than the last game. And most importantly we finished our chances."
The captain’s successful first half strike from the spot was his fourth straight goal from a penalty kick and 19th overall at the senior level, tying De Rosario with Dale Mitchell for most goals.
"I'm very happy about it," said De Rosario. "I definitely want to thank the players. And Ricketts was the guy who went down to create that opportunity for me and thankfully I was able to finish it. Dale is a great player and he's been a great role model for us in Canada. He's held that title for a long time and to be along the same lines as that is a great feeling."
Ricketts, who started his first game for Canada, was a constant threat up front and the best player on the pitch. He created numerous chances throughout and was finally rewarded with a goal in the closing minutes of the match. He took advantage of the opportunity Hart gave him and impressed his coach and teammates.
"I think he (Ricketts) deserves to play," said Hart. "We weren't sure how he would play if he starts. He always comes off the bench. But I thought it was a good game to give him an opportunity in front of his home fans and let him feel the pressure of the game a little bit and see how he responds and he was fantastic."
"Tosaint Ricketts stretched them a lot and gave room to the midfield so we could pass the ball better."
Canadian captain Dwayne De Rosario stares down St. Kitts and Nevis goalkeeper Akil Byron as he finis...
Canadian captain Dwayne De Rosario stares down St. Kitts and Nevis goalkeeper Akil Byron as he finishes his penalty kick in the first half
John Lucero
Added De Rosario, “He (Ricketts) did very well. He utilized the flanks and played some good balls in and he did a great job tonight, offensively and defensively. He couldn't do more than we asked of him."
Ricketts was humble after the match and deflected questions about his performance and preferred to talk about how everyone came together to play a complete game.
"I think tonight there was just a little more passion - everyone was going," said Ricketts. "We already qualified and everyone was still giving 100 per cent and that's what I like to see in my teammates. And I thought it was a great game. I'm happy."
Complete Domination
Canadian striker Olivier Occean lunges forward to knock the ball just out of Byron s reach for the f...
Canadian striker Olivier Occean lunges forward to knock the ball just out of Byron's reach for the first goal of the game
John Lucero
The temperature at game time was 10 C and is considered a warm for a November night in Toronto. But several St. Kitts players wore gloves in the match and looked cold playing in the cool weather. Meanwhile, the Canadians looked right at home and started the game with energy and pushed forward creating several chances in the opening minutes.
But it was the Kittians who nearly struck first. In the 15th minute, after having his initial shot blocked, forward Akil Grier fired a hard strike that bounced off the left post. Had the ball gone in, the game could have gone in a completely different direction.
Canada continued to pressure the Kittian defence and finally got on the scoresheet in the 27th minute off a set piece. On a corner kick, De Rosario passed to the top of the box where Will Johnson shot the ball at the goal. Occean lunged forward to knock the ball past goalkeeper Akil Byron to give Canada the 1-0 lead.
Canada then took advantage of a needless challenge by St. Kitts defender Kareem Mitchum on Ricketts in the 33rd minute. While chasing down a ball in the penalty area, Mitchum ran into Ricketts, muscling him down to the pitch and the referee made and easy call for a penalty kick. De Rosario calmly stepped to the spot and slotted the ball into the left side of the net past a diving Byron to increase the lead to 2-0.
Canada would add another goal in added time as Simpson flicked in a Johnson corner kick from just outside the six-yard box.
Canadian forward Tosaint Ricketts (centre) lies on the pitch after knocking the ball underneath Byro...
Canadian forward Tosaint Ricketts (centre) lies on the pitch after knocking the ball underneath Byron to increase Canada's lead to 4-0 in the 88th minute
John Lucero
Although Canada started the second half with a 3-0 lead, the red and white showed no mercy and kept pushing forward for more goals. Unable to create many opportunities to push the ball out of its own end, the Kittians were forced to sit back and defend.
Canada looked to be getting frustrated as the team could not breakthrough for the fourth goal – that is until the 88th minute. De Rosario fired a hard shot, but Byron was not able to hold on and Ricketts came sliding in to knock the loose ball underneath the keeper to make it 4-0.
Canada is now unbeaten in eight matches and finished 4-2-0 atop Group C with 14 points. In the six games against St. Lucia, Puerto Rico and St. Kitts and Nevis, Canada scored 14 goals and conceded only one goal, producing the second-longest shutout streak in Association history with five clean sheets.
The next round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF will begin next summer when Canada will play Cuba, Honduras and Panama in Group C. Only the top two teams will advance into the final round of six teams.
Canada’s first game will take place in Cuba on June 8 and will play its first home game four days later on June 12 against Honduras. Locations for all matches will be announced in early 2012.
Canada s starting line-up: Back row (l-r) David Edgar  Kenny Stamatopoulos  Adam Straith  Josh Simps...
Canada's starting line-up: Back row (l-r) David Edgar, Kenny Stamatopoulos, Adam Straith, Josh Simpson, Olivier Occean, Dwayne De Rosario. Front row: Tosaint Ricketts, Patrice Bernier, Will Johnson, Ashtone Morgan and Nik Ledgerwood.
John Lucero
This article was originally published on Oye! Times
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