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World Cup Qualifying: Canada 1 - 0 Costa Rica

Canada secures a crucial victory at home to keep them atop the Octagonal standings.

Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup Soccer-Mexico at Canada Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Revolution midfielder Tajon Buchanan and Team Canada returned to CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying action Saturday as they hosted Costa Rica at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.

Canada entered Saturday’s match in third place of the Octagonal standings with 10 points while Costa Rica was on the outside looking in as they sat in fifth place with 6 points. With first-placed Mexico taking on the second-placed United States, a win over Costa Rica and a United States draw or loss against Mexico would see Canada rise to second place in the Octagonal standings.

Buchanan made his sixteenth appearance with the Canadian first team after head coach John Herdman named Buchanan to Friday’s starting lineup. Through his previous 15 appearances with the senior team, Buchanan held 11 starts where he’s netted three goals and four assists.

Bayern Munich defender Alphonso Davies looked to get the Canadian offense rolling in the 15th minute as Canada flooded the Costa Rican box. Liam Millar sent a ball to the left side of the goal, where Davies ran on to it and pulled back a shot. Goalkeeper Leonel Moreira came in clutch for Costa Rica as he deflected and scooped the ball before Davies could string together a chance for Canada.

Richie Laryea entered the books early as he received a yellow card in the 18th minute after a late challenge on Jewison Bennett. Bennet picked up a yellow card of his own in the 24th minute after fouling Stephen Eustaquio.

Steven Vitória became the third player to enter the books after receiving a yellow card in the 34th minute for fouling Orland Galo.

Milan Borjan came in clutch for Canada in the 36th minute as he fully stretched himself out to catch Óscar Duarte’s shot from outside the box.

It was a solid first half for Team Canada, but they needed need a strong second half if they wanted to secure a crucial three points and possibly see themselves move up to second in the Octagonal standings.

Davies looked to flick the ball towards the back post to Liam Millar in the 53rd minute, but Davies’ ball would be too high for Millar to reach.

Buchanan came close to scoring an absolute golazo in the 53rd minute. As the ball took a deflection off a Costa Rican player and back towards Costa Rica’s net, Buchanan flung himself upside down into the air as his foot made beautiful contact with the ball.

Everyone inside Commonwealth Stadium stared as the ball sped towards the net. A phenomenal effort from Buchanan came to a tragic end as the ball blasted off the crossbar and away from goal. It was a true shame to see that ball sail just an inch or so high as that goal would have been on replay for eternity if it went in.

Luck came Canada’s way in the 57th minute as Canada lined up to take a free-kick outside the box. As the free-kick was sent into the box, Leonel Moreira raced to get a hold of the dropping ball. Moreira would get his hands on it for a mere second before dropping it right in front of Jonathan David, who made most of the error and slotted the ball into the back of the net. A lucky break for Canada as they find the game’s opening goal after a goalkeeping blunder.

Steven Vitória looked to add a second goal for Canada in the 61st minute as he sent a header from the left side of the box towards the bottom right corner of the net. Leonel Moreira was all over it as he saved the ball on the goal line.

Canada’s first substitution came in the 65th minute as Cyle Larin would come in for Liam Millar. A double substitution came in the 71st minute as Alistair Johnston and Atiba Hutchinson would enter for Richie Laryea and Mark-Anthony Kaye.

Canada’s final substitutions came in the 82nd minute as newly committed international Ike Ugbo and Jonathan Osorio would replace goal scorer Jonathan David and hometown hero Alphonso Davies.

Ike Ugbo looked to start his Canadian international career off with a bang as he looked to find the half in second-half stoppage time. Ugbo’s shot would sail right of the post and out of play.

A successful outing for the Canadian National Team as they secured a 1-0 win at home over Costa Rica. Unfortunately for Canada, the United States secured a 2-0 win over El Tri, which propelled the Americans to first and Mexico to second. The good news is that Canada only trails the two front runners by a single point at the halfway point of the Octagonal.

Canada returns to action on Tuesday, November 16th as they host Mexico at 9:05 PM EST on Paramount Plus.