Herdman Leads Canucks Past New Zealand in Canada Debut

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SAN PEDRO DEL PINATAR, Spain. March 25 (CP) – The John Herdman era is off to a winning start for Canada’s soccer team after a victory in Spain over the weekend.

Final score: Canada – New Zealand 1:0

Tosaint Ricketts’ 16th career international goal in the 54th minute was enough to give Canada a 1:0 win over New Zealand on a tricky, windy day in southeastern Spain.

“You can see New Zealand is a tough team to beat,” said Herdman, who took over the program after Canada parted ways with Octavio Zambrano in January. “We’re putting a bit of trust in certain players that haven’t had an opportunity in some time and they’re stepping up.”

With an almost overpowering wind blowing in off the Mediterranean Sea, Ricketts benefited from a strong gust in racing onto a through ball that was more hopeful than anything by defender Dejan Jakovic.

The wind played havoc on the All Whites’ back line which made a meal of handling the situation and the Toronto FC forward maintained composure for a cool finish past goalkeeper Max Crocombe.

Ricketts is now tied with Alex Bunbury for fourth all-time on the Canadian scoring list as he chases Dwayne De Rosario’s Canadian record 22 goals.

Playing in the first camp since Herdman made the switch to the men’s program from the women’s team in January, Canada looked shaky in the first few minutes and could easily have fallen behind.

After the game, Herdman and the players were congratulated by former national team head coach Benito Floro, who is back in his native Spain after his contract wasn’t renewed by the Canadian Soccer Association in 2016.

Canada’s next scheduled game is a qualifier for the new CONCACAF Nations League competition against the U.S. Virgin Islands in September.

 

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