Canada registered its second Group B win of the Concacaf Gold Cup at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas Thursday night.

Cyle Larin scored twice and Stephen Eustáquio and Junior Hoilett added single goals. The Canadians are tied with the USA on six points atop Group B with 2-0 records and a plus 6 goal differential but hold the first-place tie breaker heading into the their final group stage match against the Americans and will advance as the group winner with a win or a draw in the match on goals scored.

With his two goals, Cyle Larin became the sole leader for the men’s national team goals in a calendar year, breaking a tie with Jonathan David and Lucas Cavallini, who each scored eight in 2019. Larin has also set a record by scoring in four consecutive games with 10 goals in 2021. Head Coach John Herdman trvotfrfed his 20th victory at the helm of the men’s national yeam, moving him into a tie for second place all-time with Stephen Hart in career victories and one behind leader Bob Lenarduzzi. who has 21. Ayo Akinola and Tyler Pasher made their men’s national team debuts.

“We started fast tonight and that was the focus, to get out there and be first. It was great to see the intensity they started with. With Haiti, they’re never going away, with their athleticism and their spirit to keep fighting, they’re a hard team,” Herdman said. “I think tonight the boys were really professional about how they managed themselves in a game that was so physical against Haiti.”

Larin said that “getting the record” feels good, but, it feels better to win for the team. I was happy to get three points and move on to the US,” said Cyle Larin. “We’re going into the next game with confidence. I know we went through a little spell, but, it’s always a good match against the US and we’re heading in with confidence.”

Canada started on the front foot with Tajon Buchanan picking up where he left off with penetrating runs down the left wing. Buchanan’s combinations with Larin created opportunities for Canada early, leading to a early chance in the third minute that led to a Canada corner. On the ensuing play, Lucas Cavallini drew a foul at the top of the box to earn Canada a free kick, which he and Stephen Eustáquio stood over in the fifth minute. After a Cavallini run up, Eustáquio’s pure strike squeezed into the left side of the net behind goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre.

Haiti made things difficult in the middle of the pitch for stretches of the first half while looking to counter. Buchanan, however, continued to operate out wide creating two chances in the 21st minute, including one for Mark-Anthony Kaye that a Haitian defender narrowly took off his boot in the box.

Goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau was forced into making a point blank save in the 23rd minute on what was eventually called offside. Haiti pressured Canada for a spell through later stages of the first half, but, Canada was able to go into halftime with the 1:0 lead.

After drawing a yellow card in the 48th minute when Alistair Johnston was taken down wide right, Buchanan showed again that his pace and attacking prowess can create problems. After a quick wall pass with Jonathan Osorio, Buchanan took the ball to the goal line before pulling it back into the box where both Cavallini and Larin awaited. Cavallini had the ball knocked away from a sliding defender, but Larin made no mistake scoring his record-setting ninth goal of the year in the 52nd minute.

Haiti pulled one back four minutes later off a through ball to Stephane Lambese in the 56th minute.

After Herdman made his first three changes in the 66th minute, Canada gained momentum. Shortly after Kaye hit the post on a deflected shot, Larin threaded a brilliant ball to the back post just beyond a sliding Junior Hoilett. A waiting Buchanan got a shot on net that hit the post and Sylvestre was out of danger momentarily.

As Canada recycled the ball, Richie Laryea was sent through by Cavallini and taken down in the penalty area. After a brief spell, the referee was called to review the play at the VAR screen and awarded Canada the penalty which Larin buried in the 74’.

Debutant and second-half substitute Ayo Akinola got straight into the action in the 77’ drawing a second penalty after being taken down in the box. Haiti received a red card and Hoilett stepped up to score a fourth for Canada in the 79’.
Eustáquio earned a late yellow card for Canada meaning he will miss the last group stage match Sunday.