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The Globe and Mail

Canada earns valuable World Cup qualifying win

Iain Hume got his team going with a late first-half goal and Canada beat Puerto Rico 3-0 in a 2014 World Cup qualifying game Tuesday.

Mike Klukowski swung in a cross from the left. After the ball missed a few players before getting only partially cleared, Hume hit a low, first time volley that found its way inside the left post of the Puerto Rican goal in the 42nd minute.

Simeon Jackson and Tosaint Ricketts added insurance goals late in the second half.

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Canada (2-0) leads the pool with six points, ahead of St. Kitts who have four after beating St. Lucia Tuesday. Puerto Rico now sits in third with a single point and St. Lucia has none.

Only the pool winner advances to the third stage of qualifying in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean. A fourth stage awaits after that on a qualifying journey to the 2014 World Cup finals that could take Canada two years and 22 matches.

Playing in hot, muggy conditions in Bayamon, a suburb of San Juan, the Canadians overcame a slow start before Hume's goal provided a spark.

Canadian goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld was called upon to make saves early, while Canada conceded three corners in the first 12 minutes. The team looked disorganized early with a starting lineup that had several changes from Friday's 4-1 win over St. Lucia.

As the half progressed, the Canadians settled down and start to manage the bulk of the possession. At about the 30-minute mark, Will Johnson got his head to a high cross from David Edgar but it went just wide of the goal.

After Hume put the Canadians up 1-0, Canada continued to dominate the game throughout the second half. After misfiring on a number of chances, the team was ultimately rewarded.

In the 84th minute, Jackson was in the right position after a free kick was deflected right into his path by the Puerto Rican goalkeeper and he banged in his third career goal for Canada.

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Jackson then set up Ricketts' close-range goal in the 89th minute.

The home side was buoyed early by a small but boisterous crowd at the Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel.

The stadium, the home of the Puerto Rico Islanders of the North American Soccer League, was originally built as a baseball stadium but it's been repurposed for soccer. Because of that, the stands only cover about half the field. The Canadians had to come out of one of the dugouts for the national anthems.

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