EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — In the chill of what was dubbed “Iceteca Stadium,” Canada beat Mexico in a World Cup qualifier for the first time since 1976.
Cyle Larin scored late in the first half and early in the second, then celebrated in front of snow bank in a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night.
Seeking a homefield advantage, Canada scheduled the game for Commonwealth Stadium, where it was 16 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-9 Celsius) at kickoff — well below the 52 degrees (11 Celsius) for Friday’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica on the same artificial turf field. Attendance was announced at 44,212.
“The road games are really tough, everyone is going to use their terrains to their advantage,” Canada coach John Herdman said. “The games bring out the Canadian in our players. They all grew up on plastic pitch.”
Larin stuck out his right foot to redirect Stephen Eustáquio’s free kick, then headed to the corner where snow was piled after falling earlier in the day. Traces of snow were near the flags where players took corner kicks.
“As is standard practice for all matches, per the laws of the game the referee will determine if the field is playable,” CONCACAF spokesman Nicholas Noble wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “This happens as a matter of course.”
The loss put pressure on the Mexican Football Federation and coach Tata Martino. El Tri, used to playing in the altitude of Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, has four wins, two losses and two draws with six games remaining.
Canada, seeking its first World Cup appearance since 1986, moved into first place in North and Central America and the Caribbean with 16 points, followed by the United States with 15. Mexico was third with 14 points, ahead of Panama on goal difference.
Costa Rica (nine), Jamaica (seven), El Salvador (six) and Honduras (three) trail.
The top three nations qualify for next year’s World Cup, and the No. 4 team advances to a playoff.
Atiba Hutchinson set a Canadian record with his 90th international appearance, one more than Julian de Guzman.