By Keaton Robbins
All the Canadian men’s national team needs Tuesday is one point in San Pedro Sula, Honduras to advance to the final round of World Cup qualifying.
Canada is currently tied for first in Group C with Panama on 10 points with one game remaining.
Canada’s opposition, Honduras, sits in third place with eight points, and need to beat Canada in order to advance.
Canada Soccer expert and Toronto Sun writer, Kurt Larson is one of a few reporters from Canada who made the trip down to San Pedro Sula for the game.
He told Humber News that team Canada needs to a strong mentality to block out all the distractions once the game kicks off.
“It’s a match that comes down to mentality, a mentality that was absent on the road in Panama last month,” Larson said. “Canada needs a hero today, someone who’s ready to define their career and move their name into Canadian soccer folklore.”
Team Canada will be missing its captain and leading scorer, Dwayne DeRosario due to an knee injury he sustained in a game against Panama on Sept. 11.
Canada will also be without striker Oliver Occean, who received a red card in last Friday’s win against Cuba.
Replacing Occean will be 19 year old, Toronto born striker, Lucas Cavallini.
“It’s kill or die down here and the team is expecting hell at the Estadio Olimipico here today,” Larson said.
He wasn’t just speaking figuratively when he used the word “kill.”
One local Honduran paper led with “Kill or be killed,” Larson reported.
CanadianSoccerNews.com columnist Daniel Squizzato agreed with Larson and said the fans in Honduras will be hostile and vicious.
“It will be difficult for the players and the referee,” Squizzato said. “I say in all honesty that I hope everyone at the stadium makes it out alive.”
“While the conditions in San Pedro Sula will pose a massive challenge, if the team can stay organized and stick to its game plan, a result is definitely possible,” he said.
If Canada gets either a win or tie today they will advance to the final round of qualifying known as “the Hex”.
The Hex will consists of the top two teams from the three qualifying groups, making a final group of six.
Canada hasn’t advanced to the final round of qualifying since 1997.
There was no ruckus with Honduras supporters at the #CANMNT hotel last night. No fireworks. No sirens. The stadium today, a different story.
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) October 16, 2012
— Kurt Larson (@OneSoccerExpert) October 15, 2012
Bunch of local TV channels already broadcasting live from the stadium. I think this match is a big deal here.
— Daniel Girard (@dgtorstar) October 16, 2012