BRADENTON, Fla. – Toronto FC II’s Jordan Perruzza found the net in the second half, but the Canada U-20 National Team was eliminated from contention at the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship on Thursday evening after suffering a 2-1 defeat to St. Kitts & Nevis at IMG Academy that allowed Panama to clinch top spot in Group D.
“This is part of the opportunity to learn and prepare these players, who are going to be able to move onto the Men’s National Team, what Concacaf is.” said Canada U-20 Head Coach Andrew Olivieri, “I think these players are coming out with those learnings.”
Canada had more of the play over the course of the game, but St. Kitts & Nevis capitalized on their chances to strike twice in the first half. The opening goal arrived in the 23rd minute when Romario Martin fired home a low shot after Canada’s defense didn’t clear a low cut-back cross from the left side, and St. Kitts & Nevis doubled their advantage seven minutes before halftime when Tyrese Shade curled home a free kick from 30 yards into the bottom-left corner.
Ottawa Fury FC forward Adonijah Reid had a chance to pull a goal back just before halftime only to send his finish wide of the right post, while Toronto FC II’s Noble Okello was denied his fourth goal of the tournament in the 65th minute by an excellent save from St. Kitts & Nevis goalkeeper Zaykeese Smith.
Perruzza pulled a goal back with 18 minutes to go with a free kick that proved too powerful for Smith to handle as it ripped toward the bottom-left corner of the net, but that would be all for Canada as its hopes of reaching the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the first time since 2007 came up short.