Canada continues run of perfection

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, The QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:19 PM ET

Canada put the boot to any doubt early.

Canada's men's soccer team continued its perfect run in World Cup qualifying, coming up with its third win in as many CONCACAF games, a 7-0 victory over St. Lucia on the Carribean island on Friday.

Unlike the first meeting between these two, a 4-1 Canadian win in Toronto last month, Canada did not allow St. Lucia any whisper of an upset.

With the win Canada continues to lead its group with nine points. St. Kitts and Nevis played Puerto Rico later Friday. St. Kitts is second with four points.

It was the most goals Canada has scored in a World Cup qualifier. Its previous high was in a 5-1 win over the U.S in 1957.

Simeon Jackson led Canada with three goals and may be credited with a fourth after FIFA reviews film. For now the fourth goes to Olivier Occean, or it could be ruled an own-goal. They were the first four goals of the match.

Canada was creating chances in their previous games but not scoring. Friday they went in.

Canada coach Stephen Hart warned his team about conditions it might encounter on some of the fields it would play on.

Against St. Lucia, it was playing on a windy Beausejour Cricket Ground. The goalposts used in St. Lucia's last home game a month ago against St. Kitts and Nevis weren't up to FIFA standards so new goals were being welded. The nets were being put together two hours before the game.

During Canada's training session Thursday, there were no goalposts on the pitch.

The stadium had no score clock so the referee was the only person who knew the exact time played.

Canada should have won by a greater margin in its previouos game against St. Luicia, but the strikers wasted a lot of good scoring chances. That wasn't the case in the return game.

Canada took advantage of its chances, controlling the game from the start. The game was not much more than a training session for the Canadians.

There was some concern that Canada was going to look forward to its Tuesday date with Puerto Rico in Toronto.

Hart said before the match he didn't believe that would happen.

"I don't think there will be any complacency because we all understand the importance of these games," he said. "The players all know we need maximum points out of these games."

He was right.

From the opening kickoff, Canada pressured St. Lucia.

Jackson scored in the 19th and 29th minutes before Occean was credited with making it 3-0 in the 35th minute. The ball went in off a defender and could have been called an own-goal.

But before the discussion about whether it was an own-goal or not had stopped, Jackson got his third goal in the 39th minute.

Canada went into the game with three defenders injured and started youngster Adam Straith. While the defence was not put under any pressure, Straith was a major factor in Canada's first two goals.

In this type of competition, goal-differential is used to break ties so Canada continued to push forward for more goals. Occean got his second seven minutes into the second half when he scooted by the goaltender and had all day to score into an empty net.

Iain Hume scored Canada's last two goals in the 73rd and 86th minutes, his second and third goals in qualifying matches.

Ashtone Morgan made his Canada debut, coming on as a substitute in the second half for Jackson. He joined goaltender Kenny Stamatopoulos and Straith in their FIFA qualifying debuts.

E-mail morris.dallacosta@sunmedia.ca, or follow MoDaCoatLFPress on Twitter.


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