Charles-Andreas Brym, Amer Didic and 17-year-old Jayden Nelson scored their first international goals to help Canada beat Barbados 4-1 in a soccer friendly Friday.
The Canadians, ranked 73rd in the world, also defeated No. 162 Barbados 4-1 on Tuesday at Orange County Great Park — the same venue as Friday’s game. Canada will face tougher opposition Jan. 15 when it returns thereto face No. 39 Iceland.
Eight different players scored for Canada in the Barbados series.
Didic’s goal came in his senior debut while Brym and Nelson connected in their second appearances after each seeing 23 minutes action off the bench in Tuesday’s game.
“These moments, they pull on the shirts — some of these kids for the first time — these players, to be able to then score a goal on your debut is the stuff dreams are made of,” said Canada coach John Herdman.
Russell Teibert also scored for Canada, which led 2-0 at the half, and set up the opener.
Brym, a 21-year-old from Saguenay, Que., who plays in Portugal for Belenenses SAD U-23 side headed in a Teibert corner in the 10th minute. Teibert made it 2-0 in the 37th minute with Vancouver Whitecap midfielder making a fine run through the penalty box to knock in a Zorhan Bassong cross.
Then the six-foot-four Didic padded the lead, rising to knock in a header off a Liam Fraser corner in the 63rd minute.
Shamar Edwards took advantage of a Canadian giveaway to cut the lead to 3-1 in the 68th minute. Nelson, a Toronto FC 2 player, added an opportunistic 86th-minute goal for Canada after an errant clearance by the Barbados goalkeeper gave the teenager an open net to shot at from just outside the penalty box.
“We’ll be disappointed in again giving away the clean sheet. The lads will be really disappointed with that. But there’s a lot of positives,” said Herdman. “The way they played, the way they pressed. As well as a lot of different players seeing game time across these two games, but not really losing the structure or the ideas of the principles about how we want to play.”
Herdman made six changes to his starting lineup with only goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, Jonathan Osorio, Samuel Piette, Tesho Akindele and Fraser retaining their starting position.
Osorio, earning his 33rd cap, took over as captain from Piette.
Herdman gave starts to Teibert, Brym, Derek Cornelius, Richie Laryea and debutantes Bassong (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium) and Didic (FC Edmonton). Brym and Akindele started up front.
The Canadian starting lineup went into the game with 142 caps, with Piette and Osorio accounting for 79 of them. Because the game did not fall during an international window, Herdman did not have access to most of his European-based players.
Midfielders Tristan Borges, MVP of the Canadian Premier League with Hamilton’s Forge FC, and Jacob Shaffelburg of Toronto FC also made their Canadian debuts off the bench in the second half.
While Canada had most of the possession, with Osorio pulling the strings in midfield, Barbados had its chances.
Brym had an opportunity to put Canada ahead early after a fine ball by Akindele put him behind the Barbados defence. But he fired his shot wide.
Osorio hit the crossbar in the fourth minute after a nice passing sequence involving Bassong and Brym down the left flank. Akindele came close in the 17th minute but goalkeeper Liam Brathwaite got a hand to his downward header.
Barbados had its first chance in the 23rd minute after a scramble following a corner saw the ball flash high over the crossbar. They came close again minutes later when a through ball gave Edwards a yard on the Canadian defence only to have him hammer his shot over the bar.
At the other end, Didic’s header off a Fraser cross was just off-target in the 27th. Edwards’ header was just wide for Barbados in the 33rd. The game got a little sloppy as the first half came to an end.
Herdman brought on midfielder Shamit Shome for Piette to open a second half that grew chippy with Canada objecting to several Barbados tackles.
Jayden Nelson, Ashtone Morgan and Noble Okello came on later in the half. Morgan took over the captain’s armband that had been handed from Osorio to Piette.
Brathwaite made a fine reflect save to deny Osorio early in the half after a dangerous cross from fullback Richie Laryea. Borges’ free kick was just off target in the 82nd minute.
Akindele, Osorio, Tosaint Ricketts and Theo Bair scored in Canada’s win Tuesday. Bair, Shome, Nelson and Okello won their first caps off the bench.
Friday’s win raised Canada’s all-time record against Barbados to 3-0-0.