The victory marked Canada’s first in Jamaica since 1988 and set the stage for Tuesday’s return leg at Toronto FC’s BMO Field, where the aggregate winner will automatically qualify for the 2024 Copa America in the United States and advance to the Nations League Finals in March.
After an immense downpour postponed Friday night’s kickoff to Saturday morning, both sides had to readjust and reorganize in what still proved to be a critical matchup, despite Canada struggling to find their footing early.
“It was tough, but we had to adapt… that’s what this group is about, too. We don’t look for excuses; we look for solutions, and together, we had to dig deep,” Canadian center back Steven Vitoria said post-match. “Our brotherhood had to be dug out, and now we have a big win and want to bring that momentum back to Toronto.”
While both sides had to tackle the delayed kickoff, Les Rouges prevailed after early worries and took the lead just before the break when Jonathan David finished off a classy move inside the box from Cyle Larin to beat three-time Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake at the far post.