Hamilton rumoured as site for Canada-U.S. World Cup qualifier

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Published November 17, 2021 at 6:38 pm

Canadian men's national team goalkeeper Milan Borjan hails from Hamilton.

How does Iceteca II in the Hammer sound?

Canada’s men’s soccer team is capturing the nation’s sporting imagination, and now there is suggestion that Hamilton might be the setting for a match against the rival United States in the new year. According to Washington Post soccer writer Steven Goff, Canadian soccer leadership is “seriously considering” holding the Canada-U.S. match on Jan. 30 at Tim Hortons Field.

Vancouver’s B.C. Place, which is enclosed, would seem like the obvious choice. However, it is getting a new turf field that is scheduled for completion by Jan. 21, just nine days before the match. It is unknown whether the environmental catastrophe in British Columbia this week could delay the installation.

Location will also be a sensitive issue for the United States. The Canada game is in the middle of a stretch of three U.S. matches in seven days, sandwiched between home games against El Salvador and Honduras.

Tim Hortons Field, which is home to Canadian Premier League powerhouse Forge FC, has been used for international play. It was the soccer venue for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

A game in late January would not be for the timid. The evening temperatures in Hamilton on Jan. 30 in each of the last two years have been about -4C.

That is actually milder than it was at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Tuesday, when Canada used the cold and snow to its advantage. They beat Mexico 2-1 after goalkeeper Milan Borjan, made a games-saving diving save during post-90th minute injury time.

Brampton native Cyle Larin scored both goals, giving him 14 during World Cup qualifying.

Mexican media dubbed the environment “Iceteca,” ando their Canadian counterparts ran with it.

In any event, Canada Soccer has time to decide how to proceed as the men’s team stands on the cusp of its first World Cup berth in 36 years. The win at Edmonton put Canada into first place in the CONCACAF octagonal — an eight-nation round-robin where each side plays all of the others once home and once away, with the top three teams qualifying and the fourth-place team going into an inter-confederation playoff.

Canada has 16 points from eight games, one more than the United States and two more than both Mexico and Panama.

Their first matchday of the home stretch is at Honduras on Jan. 27, followed by the U.S. showdown three days later. Canada’s final six games include one other home match, against Jamaica, and road dates at Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama.

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