Canada tops Costa Rica to secure semifinal spot

Canada are two wins away from its second Concacaf Gold Cup title after a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in the 2021 Gold Cup quarterfinals.

With six total shots in the first half, Canada was off to a hot start in attack. The North Americans nearly took the lead in the eighth minute off a stripped ball from Mark-Anthony Kaye that ended up rebounding to the midfielder for a second chance opportunity after an Oscar Duarte clearance.

Junior Hoilett then gave Canada a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute by running onto a long ball lofted over the Costa Rican defense and lobbing over Costa Rica goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado. 

Canada kept pushing and Steven Vitoria nearly extended the lead with a volley from the top of the box, but Alvarado saved the attempt by sending it over the top post.

Kaye had another opportunity right before halftime from just inside the box after some nifty footwork awarded him space, but his 44th minute attempt went just over the top of the goal.

Costa Rica looked to respond and Joel Campbell sent a warning shot in the 53rd minute with a free kick arrowed toward the far post, forcing a save from Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

But Stephen Eustaquio made things more difficult for the Ticos by scoring Canada’s second after a run in the box and pouncing on a fortuitous bounce to make it 2-0 in the 69th minute.

John Herdman’s men were dangerous in attack deep into second half stoppage time, nearly getting a third from Tesho Akindele on a shot that was saved by Alvarado.

Canada will partake in their first Gold Cup semifinal since 2007. They will face Mexico in the knockout phase for the first time since the 2000 edition, when they defeated El Tricolor on the way to their only Gold Cup title.