New England Revolution midfielder Tajon Buchanan and Team Canada returned to action as they hosted Honduras at BMO Field in their Octagonal stage opener. Thursday’s Octagonal match was Canada’s first match in the final round of World Cup Qualifying in the 21st century. The last time Team Canada made it to the final round was back in 1998 where they finished in last place.
Buchanan would make his eleventh appearance for the Canadian National Team as head coach John Herdman selected the 22-year-old Brampton, Ontario-native to start Thursday night’s match.
Buchanan was named to Canada’s World Cup Qualifying roster after an impressive showing for Canada during this summer’s Gold Cup, which saw him net a goal and two assists in five matches. Although Canada fell short in the semifinals to Mexico, Buchanan’s performance in the tournament would win him the Gold Cup’s Youth Player award.
Brayan Moya looked to get the Honduras offense rolling early in the match as he headed Edwin Rodríguez’s cross from the center of the box in the 3rd minute. Luckily for Canada, goalkeeper Milan Bojan was all over the ball and made a save on it.
Buchanan looked to get Canada’s offense warmed up a minute later as he broke free from his defender and down the right side of the pitch. Buchanan sent the ball into the Honduras box, where Cyle Larin got a touch on it. Larin’s shot would go out wide for a goal kick.
Bojan would come up big for Canada again in the 20th minute as he saved Diego Rodríguez’s left-footed shot from outside the box.
Defender Andy Najar would earn Honduras a penalty kick in the 39th minute after being fouled by Buchanan inside the Canadian box. A decision that Buchanan and the fans within BMO Field heavily disagreed with.
Forward Alexander López would be the one who would step up to the spot for Honduras to take the penalty kick. As the match official blew their whistle, López would send the ball to the bottom left corner of the net. Bojan would dive the correct way, but it would not be enough as the ball rolled into the back of the net, giving Honduras a 1-0 lead nearing the end of the first half.
Unfortunately for López and Honduras, it appeared the forward sustained a hamstring injury while taking a penalty kick. An injury that would bring his night to an end as Romell Quioto would come on and replace him in the 41st minute.
Larin looked to find the equalizer in the 45th minute as he sent a header on the net from the center of the box. Honduran keeper Luis López was all over Larin’s header as he got his hands to it and put an end to Larin’s offensive threat.
Jonathan David looked to find the back of the net from a difficult angle in the 45th minute as well, but David’s shot was also denied by the keeper. Rigoberto Rivas would receive the games first booking as he was awarded a yellow card in first-half stoppage time after committing a foul on David.
It was a rough 45 minutes for Canada as they could not thread many runs together. They needed to regroup as they entered the locker room down 1-0 at halftime.
Before the second half could commence at BMO Field, Herdman made his first substation as Junior Hoilett would come on for Buchanan. All appeared to be good until Adam Jenkins of ONE Soccer posted a photo to Twitter showing Buchanan entering the field at the beginning of the second half with his left ankle wrapped with ice. Now, this could be a post-game ice wrap for Buchanan, but with the Revolution’s recent string of injuries occurring, it is worrying to think Buchanan could be another name on that list.
Canada would come out of the gate firing to start the second half. They would win two quick corner kicks at the beginning. Although they didn’t convert, it’s always a good sign to enter the second half on a hot note
Hoilett looked to take advantage of Alphonso Davies’ corner as he sent a right-footed shot on the net from outside the box. Hoilett’s shot would trail to the right and out for a goal kick.
Kamal Miller also looked to capitalize on a corner in the 51st minute as he headed Hoilett’s cross on the net, but it too would miss to the right.
Quioto looked to send a left-footed shot into the net in the 56th minute, but it was hit too high as it sailed over the crossbar. Quioto would also look to score again in the 64th minute, but his shot from outside the box would sail to the bottom right corner. Luis López would get to the ball and put an end to Quioto’s offensive chance.
Luck would come Canada’s way in the 64th minute as Hoilett would be fouled inside the box, and Canada would receive a penalty kick. Larin would be the one to step up to the spot for Canada. As the whistle blew, Larin would send a simple shot down the middle of the net. Luckily for Larin, López dove to his left, and the ball would crash into the back of the net and leveled the game at one apiece in the 66th minute.
Larin looked to find his second goal of the match in the 72nd minute as he sent a header from the center of the box on goal. It would, unfortunately, trail to the right and out for a goal kick.
Brayan Moya looked to find the go-ahead goal for Honduras in the 74th minute as his header would soar to the bottom right corner. Bojan would pull out the theatrics as he would parry the ball into the left goal post. The ball would bounce off the corner of the goalpost and back out into play.
Fortunately for Bojan, the ball did not take a deflection off his body and end up in the net. The ball would sail over Bojan’s outstretched body and into the box and cleared away by a Canadian defender.
David looked to find the back of the net in the 81st minute, but the ball bounced off a Honduran defender.
Maynor Figueroa came close to scoring the game-winner for Honduras in stoppage time as he sent a left-footed shot on goal from outside the box. Bojan would keep Canada in the game as he was able to save it.
Herdman and Team Canada will look to capture all three points in their next outing on September 5th as they take on the United States. Sunday’s match against the United States is scheduled for 8:00 PM EST and will air on FS1.