Despite losing 3-0 to Mexico at BC Place Friday night, Canada still sits in 2nd place in Concacaf Group A, which would be enough for Canada to make the final Hex. If they manage to hang on, and it is a big if, then the City of Glass will hopefully be in the rotation of venues.
Please, please let it be in the rotation of venues.
I am not going to lie. The big part of the allure of covering this game was going to Vancouver. Oh, and the game as well – there was that too.
It all seemed to come together: Vancouver’s proximity to Seattle. The ridiculously small amount of points to fly from Austin to Seattle. The fact that it was a nonstop flight. My TV schedule was clear. So off I went.
The flight is long, and since I was not on the airline where I enjoy premium status, it was not particularly comfortable – a 4 hour flight will do that to you. That part of the world is so lush and beautiful, and with good reason. My 150 mile drive up to Canada provided my with no less than 8 bouts of rainfall. Makes sense why the call it Raincouver.
BC Place was expecting a big crowd, and it turned out to be the biggest crowd ever to watch a men’s game there (the WWC Final was also played at BC place). What I did not know, though, is that Vancouver is home to about 12,000 Mexicans. I ran into a few of them on the train ride down to BC Place. I wasn’t entirely sure if they were rooting for Mexico, so I had to ask.
They were. While I was enjoying my mushroom ravioli dinner in the Media Tribune, a Canadian journalist was telling me that Vancouver is an event driven city. The locals have their hockey and their BC Lions, and Whitecaps, but nothing draws more than the one-offs, he told me.
Once the stadium was filled, the split was about 70/30 in favor of Canada. It was a great crowd, and the Press Box I was in was right next to the Voyageurs supporters section. They were great the whole night, waving Canadian flags as well as the flags of the Canadian Provinces. ESPN’s Tom Marshall and Mexican Soccer Show’s Wiso Vazquez were able to identify more than I could.
Canadian fans were passionate throughout pic.twitter.com/YpJo6H3i7a
— John Jagou (@jjagou) March 26, 2016
In the end though, Mexico’s quality was too much for the Canadians to handle. The last 20 minutes saw Mexico play more keep away then attacking the Canadian goal. Canada may not have the horses to compete with Mexico, but they have a really good chance to make their first hex in 20 years if they can get past both El Salvador and Honduras. They get the former at home and the latter on the road. Just don’t ask any Canadian about the last time they went to Honduras.
But if Mexico gets to go back to Vancouver in 2017 for the Hex, I am sure the Canadian won’t mind talking about that game as much anymore.