For the first time since 2013 the Canada Soccer Men’s U-17 team has qualified for the World Cup. The Canadian side, including five Toronto FC players, qualified in dramatic fashion on Sunday defeating Costa Rica 1-1 (4-3) on penalty kicks to punch their ticket to Brazil.
Toronto FC II’s Jayden Nelson and Ralph Priso both made the start in the deciding match, joined by TFC Academy defender Rohan Goulbourne in the starting XI. Nelson converted from the penalty spot to give Canada the lead right before halftime, however shortly after the break the Costa Ricans tied it up.
TFC’s Julian Altobelli came on as a substitute in the 60th and Jacen Russell-Rowe replaced fellow Red Nelson in the 102nd minute. Both Russell-Rowe and Altobelli took a shot in the penalty shootout, with Altobelli converting the penultimate spot kick for Canada.
All five players have played key roles for the Canucks throughout this CONCACAF U-17 Championship. Nelson has scored five goals in five appearances including a hattrick in Canada’s 4-2 group stage win over Guatemala. Russell-Rowe has added two goals in three appearances.
Goulbourne has appeared in four games, starting three including the two knockout round games. Altobelli has appeared in all five games and Ralph Priso has made three starts including Sunday’s win over Costa Rica.
Canada will now face a rematch with the United States, who came back from two goals down to defeat Canada in their opening game, on Tuesday with a trip to the CONCACAF Championship finals on the line.