BMO field in Toronto was energized with 17,000 spectators, as Dwayne DeRosario's goal in the 77th minute secured an important victory for Canada's men's soccer team over Panama. Canada now leads its group in thequalifying matches.
The game was a nail biter throughout the match, keeping the 17,000 spectators on the edge of their seats. While both sides had several opportunities to move ahead in the game, conversion into goals is a work in progress and Team Canada has some work to do in that regard, if it is to qualify for World Cup competition for the first time in 26 years.
Despite a great performance by the Canadian team in the first half the teams retired into the cabin with a scoreless draw. Canada's defensive unit was steadfast ensuring the clean sheet after 45 minutes.
The second half continued to be a tremendous battle with both Panama and Canada getting close, without result.
In the 77th minute, Simeon was taken down near the penalty box, resulting in a free kick. Panama looked absent for a moment and Atiba Hutchison, not wasting any time, floated the ball to an unmarked Dwayne DeRosario. DeRosario tapped the ball into the net for his 20th goal for the national side, securing a 1-0 lead and eventual victory.
Viewing the situation, Hutchison realized that a quick execution of the free kick was a definite advantage and DeRosario happened to be in the right spot at the right time. The victory gives Team Canada three important points, ahead of the rematch in Panama on Tuesday.
Canada has been hampered with good home game advantage. In June Canada only earned one point against Honduras in a scoreless draw.
The rematch in Panama will be a difficult one. Canada is ranked 23 positions below Panama, which is ranked 50th in the world. With one point behind Canada, Panama will want to regain the group's top spot. The top two teams in the group advance to the next round.