After picking up a 1-0 win over Haiti in Leg 1 on Saturday, Revolution midfielder Tajon Buchanan and Team Canada returned to World Cup Qualifying.
A big game for both sides as Canada and Haiti were looking to advance to the final stage of World Cup Qualifiers. Canada had the slight advantage entering Leg 2 with a 1-0 lead on aggregate after a Cyle Larin goal in the 14th minute of Leg 1. Canada needed a win or draw in Tuesday’s match to move on.
Before the start of the match, Haiti fell under controversy as multiple players were unable to obtain visas in time to travel to Bridgeview, Illinois, the venue for Tuesday’s game. A heavy blow to the Haitian side, who were already facing an uphill battle before the news of this unfortunate obstacle broke.
Tajon Buchanan would start Tuesday’s second leg match on the bench for Canada after being subbed on in the 78th minute in the first leg match on Saturday.
It was a back-and-forth effort for both sides in the first half as Canada and Haiti came close to scoring the opening goal. Despite good offensive chances for both sides, the game remained scoreless through the first 45 minutes.
The first goal of the second leg came after an unfortunate mishap from Haitian keeper Jousé Duverger. After a simple back pass, the 21-year-old keeper believed he had stopped the ball in its tracks, but it continued to roll towards the goal. Duverger attempted to clear the ball away from the goal line but unfortunately whiffed on it, and the ball rolled into the net, giving Canada a 1-0 lead in the match and a 2-0 lead on aggregate.
Canada would add another goal in the 74th minute as Cyle Larin would etch his name into Canadian soccer history books. After capitalizing on a Haiti turnover, Larin would slip the ball between Duverger’s legs and into the back of the net. Larin’s 74th-minute goal would put him at 11 World Cup Qualifying goals, tying him with Canadian National Team legend Alex Bunbury, the father of Revolution forward Teal Bunbury.
Buchanan would come on in the 82nd minute as he replaced Alphonso Davies. Buchanan looked to generate some offense late as he found himself one-on-one inside the box against a Haitian defender. Buchanan would cut to his left and looked to curl a shot towards the left side of the net. The ball would deflect off another defender and go out for a Canadian corner kick.
Junior Hoilett would add a third goal onto the board in the 88th minute after rebounding his shot off the right goal post and putting it into the back of a wide-open net.
As the final whistle sounded, the Canadian National Team rejoiced as the nation progressed to its first World Cup Qualifying final for the first time since the 1998 cycle, after defeating Haiti 4-0 on aggregate.
Canada will open the final round of World Cup Qualifying in September when they take on Honduras.