Tajon Buchanan and Team Canada returned to the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals for the first time since 2017 as they took on El Tri in a packed and rowdy NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Team Canada advanced to the semifinals after picking up a 2-0 shutout over Costa Rica in the quarterfinals. Mexico came into Thursday’s match after picking up a 3-0 shutout over El Salvador.
Revolution midfielder Tajon Buchanan earned his ninth appearance for the Canadian National Team as he was named to the starting lineup for Thursday’s starting matchup. Buchanan entered the semifinal matchup with an assist in 4 appearances for Canada.
An emotional moment took place before the start of the match as both teams and fans took a moment of silence to honor the passing of Mexico midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos’ father.
Rogelio Funes Mori looked to find the opening goal for Mexico in the 2nd minute after creating space inside the box as a cross floated in his direction. Funes Mori sent a header on the net, but it was caught by the keeper.
Buchanan looked to find his first goal of the competition as he pushed the ball into Mexico’s box in the 4th minute. Buchanan would eventually be double teamed by Jesús Gallardo and Héctor Moreno.
Héctor Herrera would send a laser on goal from outside the box in the 9th minute, but Crépeau would get both hands on it. Things got chippy in the 10th minute as both sides would get into a minor scuffle after some chippy tackles
Richie Laryea looked to find the back of the net as he darted up the left touchline and darted inwards along the goal line. Alfredo Talavera would come off his line and lay his body out to deflect Laryea’s shot.
Kamal Miller would save Canada in the 16th minute as he would deflect Mexico’s shot away from goal inside the box.
Buchanan looked to find a goal in the 26th minute but was denied after bouncing off a Mexican defender.
Things would heat up in the 43rd minute as another scuffle would break out after a controversial no-call in Canada’s favor.
Mexico would be awarded a penalty kick in the 45th minute after Doneil Henry would bring Jesús Corona down inside the box. Henry was booked with a yellow card as Oberlín Pineda stepped up to the spot. Pineda would send the ball to the lower right corner, where it rolled into the back of the net.
After turning up the heat towards the end of the first half, Canada came out hot to start the second. Junior Hoilett would send a shot on goal in the 46th minute, but it would deflect off a Mexican defender.
Buchanan again looked to score in the 48th minute as he drove along the touchline and sent a shot on Mexico’s goal, but Talavera would catch the ball.
Buchanan was booked with a yellow card in the 49th minute following a foul on Oberlín Pineda. Hoilett was also booked with a yellow in the 49th minute.
Buchanan looked to score as he found himself wide open and in the path of a Laryea cross. A Mexican defender would go on to clear the ball midair before it could reach the Canadian midfielder.
Buchanan would find the equalizer and his first goal with the Canadian National Team in the 57th minute. Buchanan would break past the Mexican defense as Mark-Anthony Kaye would send a ball down the pith. Tajon would catch up with the ball near the touchline, where he then darted infield towards goal when Buchanan would find himself one-on-one with Carlos Salcedo. After cutting to his right, Buchanan sent past Alvarado and into the back of the net.
Mexico would be awarded a second penalty kick in the 64th minute after Kaye fouled Corona inside the box. Salcedo would be the one to step up for El Tri, but his penalty shot to the bottom left corner would be poked away by Crépeau.
Things took a disgusting turn inside NRG Stadium in stoppage time after the game was paused after a derogatory chant came from the crowd. After a few minutes of hydration and game planning, the game was able to continue.
A heartbreaker for Canada in the 9th minute of stoppage time as Héctor Herrera would find the back of the net after receiving Rodolfo Pizarro’s cross atop the box.
After a hard and well-fought match, Mexico would be the one advancing to the finals to take on the United States as they etched out a 2-1 win over a dangerous Canadian side. The US and Mexico will meet on Sunday, August 1st at 8:30 PM EST.
In the wake of Canada’s defeat, Revs midfielder Tajon Buchanan was the unfortunate target of racially motivated attacks on social media. The 22-year-old Canadian was sent derogatory comments on his personal Instagram posts. Buchanan would eventually disable comments for his personal Instagram, but that would not be the end as internet trolls would migrate to official Revolution social media accounts to continue their attack.
It honestly sucks to see an exciting game jampacked with action turn into this horrendous act by classless internet trolls. On behalf of the entire Bent Musket staff, we congratulate Tajon on all the success he and Team Canada encountered in their Gold Cup run while condemning the unfortunate racial abuse he faced after the match.