New England Revolution midfielder Tajon Buchanan and the Canadian National Team returned to CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying action as they traveled to Estadio Azteca to take on El Tri.
Coming into Thursday’s match, both teams sat atop the Octagonal standings as Mexico secured two wins and one draw in their opening three matches while Canada scraped a win and two draws in their opening contest.
Team Canada was looking for revenge Thursday as they looked to avenge their 2-1 loss to Mexico in the Semifinals of this summer’s Gold Cup. A game in which Buchanan netted Canada’s lone goal.
Vancouver Whitecaps keeper Maxime Crépeau was put to work early in the match as he leaped into the air in the 13th minute and pulled down a headed shot from a Mexico corner kick.
Buchanan looked to capitalize on good positioning in the 15th minute as he was able to get on to a rebounded shot from Richie Lareya and looked to send a volley on net. Unfortunately, Buchanan’s volleyed shot was too high.
Club América right-back Jorge Sánchez would put El Tri up 1-0 in the 21st minute as he found the ball in the right side of the box and slotted it past Crépeau. Canada knew this game was going to be a challenge, but with Sánchez’s goal, things got more difficult for Canada.
Buchanan looked to get the Canadian offense rolling in the 31st minute as he sent in a beautiful service to Alphonso Davies inside the box. Although it was a perfectly placed ball from Buchanan, Davies mishit the ball as it rolled out for a Mexico goal kick.
Just before the halftime whistle sounded in Stadio Azteca, Jonathan Ossorio would find the equalizer for Canada after receiving Davies’ through ball up the middle and slotted it to the bottom left corner of the net. John Herdman and Canada were relieved entering halftime as they were even away from home against a strong Mexico team.
Crépeau came in clutch in the 47th minute as he was able to block Jesús Gallardo’s headed shot from the center of the box. Raúl Jiménez came close to putting Mexico up in the 48th minute as his header sailed towards the Canadian net but just had too much on it as it bounced off the top of the crossbar.
Some controversy came in the 53rd minute as Maxime Crépeau looked to throw the ball, but it deflected off Lozano. Crépeau regained a hold on it but had to wrap his arm around Lozano as the two plummeted to the pitch. Luckily for Crépeau, Canada would be awarded a free kick.
Stephen Eustáquio would receive a yellow card in the 55th minute after committing a foul on Gallardo.
Tempers would flare in the 56th minute as Jesús Corona fouled Laryea. As Laryea proceeded to stand up, he and Corona appeared to jaw at each other. Things flared as the two began to get slightly physical. This prompted a swarm of Canadian and Mexican players to come together as they jawed off at one another along with some slight shoving. Both sides would cool it down moments later and got back to playing.
Ugliness reared its head in the 59th minute as the referee had to call a pause to the match as abusive chants erupted from the crowd inside Stadio Azteca. Per CONCACAF guidelines, both teams were brought to the center of the pitch until the abusive chants ceased. Thankfully, the chants came to an end, and play returned in the 61st minute.
Things got dicey for the Canadian defense in the 64th minute as Alistair Johnston headed a Mexican cross towards his own goal. The ball would sail in the air and came crashing down on top of the crossbar, where it would bounce back into play. Steven Vitória would shield Néstor Araujo from the ball as it fell back into play. Vitória would be fouled from behind before Araujo could get to the ball.
Buchanan would receive a yellow card in the 68th minute after fouling Lozano just outside the box.
A triple substation came for Canada in the 76th minute as Sam Adekugbe, Liam Fraser, and Liam Millar replaced Johnston, Mark-Anthony Kaye, and Osorio.
Fraser looked to head home Eustáquio’s corner kick in the 79th minute but was denied by Memo Ochoa. Vitória would receive a yellow card in the 83rd minute after committing a foul on Lozano.
Canada’s fourth substitution came in the 86th minute as Charles-Andreas Brym would replace a dormant Jonathan David.
Hirving Lozano looked to find a winner for Mexico in the 88th minute as he sent a shot on Canada’s goal. Luckily for Canada, Lozano’s shot trailed left and out for a Canada goal kick.
A 1-1 draw was how the match would end as the whistle sounded inside Stadio Azteca. Considering Canada was on the road against a powerful Mexican team and playing inside a roaring Stadio Azteca, they have to feel good with one point.
Canada’s 1-1 draw against Mexico was also historic as it was the first time the Canadian’s had secured any points on the road since 1980. Canada also becomes the first team in history to secure points on the road against Mexico and the United States in the final round of World Cup Qualifying.
After Thursday’s match, Canada moves up to second place with 5 points. Canada will look to add more points under their belt as they return to action on Sunday, October 10th, as they take on a struggling Jamaican team at 6:00 PM EST on Paramount+.