April 24th, 2024

Canada thumps outmatched Dominica 8-0 in CONCACAF U-20 qualifying play

By The Canadian Press on February 23, 2024.

The Canadian men’s under-20 soccer team is shown training in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad in a Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024 handout photo. The young Canadians open play Friday against Dominica at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship Qualifiers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canada Soccer/John Lobban **MANDATORY CREDIT**

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad And Tobago – Myles Morgan scored three goals and Santiago Lopez and 15-year-old Sergei Kozlovskiy had two apiece as Canada thumped Dominica 8-0 at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship Qualifiers on Friday.

Kevaughn Tavernier also scored for Canada, which led 4-0 at the half.

Kozlovskiy, a defender in the CF Montreal system, made it 7-0 in the 87th minute when goalkeeper Ronny Lockhart fumbled his Olimpico-style corner and the ball bounced in off a defender. Kozlovskiy went one better in the 94th minute, roofing a powerful shot for the cherry on the cake.

Morgan, a former member of Toronto FC II, is currently unattached. Lopez is in Pumas UNAM’s system in Mexico.

Dominica was reduced to 10 men after midfielder Fabio Drago was sent off for crudely scything down Christian Greco-Taylor in the 43rd minute.

Canada outshot Dominica 32-0 (13-0 in shots on target).

Located in the Caribbean, halfway between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica’s population of 76,650 is about that of Sarnia, Ont. Its senior soccer squad is ranked 180th in the world and 27th in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

CONCACAF U-20 qualifying runs through March 2 across five venues in Central America and the Caribbean. Twenty-seven teams have been split into three groups of five and three groups of four with the group winners advancing to the main CONCACAF tournament this summer.

The U.S., Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic have received byes into the CONCACAF main tournament. The four semifinalists qualify for the 2025 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Chile.

Trinidad and Tobago played St. Vincent and the Grenadines later Friday.

The Canadians face St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sunday and Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday. All the Group D matches are at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Canada’s second goal Friday was somewhat controversial, leaving the Dominica players in disbelief.

After Dominica was awarded a free kick in its own penalty box, Lockhart placed the ball for a teammate to boot up field. When the teammate didn’t react quickly enough, Lopez snuck in and knocked the ball into the open goal in the 26th minute.

Tavernier, a 17-year-old who plays for the CPL’s Forge FC, made it 3-0 a minute later with a pretty goal, deftly sidestepping a defender and then firing a left-footed shot home.

Both of Morgan’s first-half goals, in the eight and 36th minute, came via headers. He completed his hat trick two minutes into the second half.

Kimani Stewart-Baynes, taken fourth overall in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids, hammered a shot off the crossbar early in the second half

Goal No. 6 was another highlight-reel effort with Lopez beating a diving Lockhart with a free kick from just outside the penalty box. The overworked Dominica ‘keeper got a hand to the ball but could not keep it out.

Alessandro Biello looked to have made it 7-0 in the 68th minute after a goalmouth scramble, heading the ball in from close range from a Morgan chip, but the goal was called offside.

Kozlovskiy, who played for the Montreal first team in a Jan. 27 pre-season game in Arizona, came off the bench in the 74th minute.

Canada has not made the FIFA U-20 World Cup since it hosted the event back in 2007.

Canada has taken part in 24 of the 28 CONCACAF U-20 Championships to date, winning the tournament in 1986 and 1996. In 2022 in Honduras, the Canadians made it to the round of 16 where they lost to Guatemala in a penalty shootout.

Trinidad and Tobago have been to two U-20 World Cups, in 1991 and 2009, and were CONCACAF runner-up in 1990.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2024

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