Honduras defender Denil Maldonado (15) and Canada forward Cyle Larin (17) battle for the ball during first half CONCACAF Nations League soccer action in Toronto on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
By Neil Davidson in Toronto
Canada is headed to Las Vegas, in search of the CONCACAF Nations League trophy after a dominant 4-1 win over Honduras on Tuesday.
Cyle Larin scored twice early and Jonathan David and Jonathan Osorio added second-half goals for the 53rd-ranked Canadians, who controlled the game from the get-go. Ismael Kone had a breakout game in the Canadian midfield.
Jorge Benguche scored a consolation goal for No. 81 Honduras.
“Prior to the game we talked about if you want to be part of CONCACAF’s elite, you have to be in these final moments,” said Canada coach John Herdman. “You’ve got to get into these big events. It’s the first (time) in our history to get to a Nations League final and I think this group believes they can win it. And why not?
“The step they’ve taken tonight, I think they’ve shown a level of performance that should give us hope and a lot of belief that we can win that Nations League final.”
The CONCACAF Nations League features 41 teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean split into three tiers: League A (12 teams), B (16) and C (13). The four group winners in League A advance to the final four, scheduled for June 15-18 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
No. 13 Mexico (2-0-2) finished first in Group A, while the 15th-ranked U.S. (3-0-1) topped Group D. No. 61 Panama (3-0-1) won Group B after edging No. 32 Costa Rica (2-2-0) 1-0 in a later start Tuesday.
Points earned by the group winners factor into the semifinal matchups. The U.S., as the highest-ranked team by virtue of goal difference over Panama, will face Mexico, the lowest-ranked, while No. 2 Panama takes on No. 3 Canada in the semifinals at Allegiant Stadium.
The Canadian men are 4-2-6 all-time against Panama, which won 1-0 the last time the two teams met in March 2022 in Panama City in Canada’s final World Cup qualifying game. Canada had already booked its ticket to Qatar by then.
The U.S. and Mexico met in the final of the tournament’s inaugural edition in June 2021 with the Americans winning 3-2 after extra time in Denver, thanks to a Christian Pulisic penalty in the 114th minute.
Honduras was third and Costa Rica fourth.
Canada missed out on the final four in the inaugural tournament, finishing runner-up to the U.S. in its group on goal difference.
Canada (3-1-0) came into Tuesday’s contest knowing a draw would be enough to win Group C and book its ticket to Sin City Honduras (2-2-0) needed a win.
The drama did not last long, with Canada leading 2-0 after just 12 minutes. Larin could have had a hat trick in the first half had he not sent a 42nd-minute penalty wide.
Honduras had no answer for Canada’s multi-pronged attack before a modest crowd of 13,626 on a mild evening at BMO Field.
Canada went ahead in the ninth minute, cutting through the Honduras defence like a hot knife through butter, on a beautiful give-and-go between Osorio and Larin with Larin slotting the ball home through a defender’s legs. Alphonso Davies triggered the attack down the left flank.
Larin made it 2-0 in the 12th minute, heading home a perfect Stephen Eustaquio corner after his marker, defender Denil Maldonado, lost his footing. Larin, who has scored five goals in his first eight games for Spain’s Real Valladolid, increased his Canada total to 28 goals in 60 appearances.
Another Davies attack set up the penalty late in the first half with the Bayern Munich star beating four defenders. The ball found its way to Kone, who controlled it with his thigh and then hammered a shot from just inside the penalty box that hit Maldonado’s arm.
El Salvador referee Ivan Barton immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Larin’s ensuing penalty glanced off the outside of the post.
It was Canada’s first penalty since Davies’ spot kick was saved by Belgium’s Thibault Courtois at the World Cup in Qatar.
David is Canada’s designated penalty-taker but gave up the ball to Larin so he could try for the hat trick.
David made it 3-0 in the 49th, in the right place at the right time after Tajon Buchanan sliced into the Honduras penalty box at speed. His cross hit a couple of defenders, evading Larin but falling at the feet of David for the Lille striker’s 24th goal for Canada in 40 appearances.
Herdman went to his bench in the 61st minute, sending on Hutchinson, Sam Adekugbe, Richie Laryea and Kyle Hiebert. Davies moved up in attack.
It was cap No. 103 for the 40-year-old Hutchinson, adding to his Canadian men’s record, and No. 1 for Hiebert, a late call-up from St. Louis City FC after Kamal Miller was ruled out by injury.
Benguchi put Honduras on the board in the 73rd minute, flicking a header backwards off a corner.
Osorio restored the three-goal lead in the 86th minute, taking a perfect pass from Toronto FC teammate Ayo Akinola before bursting through two defenders to beat goalkeeper Luis Lopez.
Hutchinson was granted the honour of leading the Viking Clap with a drum in front of the fans in the south stand. He acknowledged it was a “cool moment” — one that comes near the end of his distinguished career.
“A couple more games,” said Hutchinson, an icon both for Canada and his Turkish club side Besiktas.
Herdman and defender/wingback Alistair Johnston were back after sitting out the 2-0 away win Saturday over No. 86 Curaçao through suspension in the wake of being sent off last June in a hot-blooded 2-1 loss in Honduras.
Johnston replaced the suspended Steven Vitoria in the back three while Buchanan, who saw action off the bench against Curaçao after dealing with a minor hamstring issue, moved into the starting 11.
The Canadians improved to 9-12-7 all-time against Honduras, including 6-2-3 on home soil.
Tuesday’s game was the first for the Canadian men at BMO Field since the historic 4-0 victory over Jamaica that sealed World Cup qualification on March 27 last year.
The Canadian men are now unbeaten in 16 matches at home (15-0-1) and have won their last eight straight. Their last loss on Canadian soil was 3-0 to Mexico in March 2018 in World Cup qualifying.
Canada has not lost at BMO Field since September 2010 when it was beaten 2-0 by Peru. It has gone 15-0-6 at the lakefront stadium since then, outscoring the opposition 54-6.
Canada blanked Curaçao 4-0 before losing in Honduras to open Nations League play last June. Those matches came amid turmoil in the Canada camp, with players refusing to take part in a planned friendly against Panama over ongoing labour talks.
Curaçao (1-3-0) has been relegated to League B after finishing third in Canada’s group.
Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2023.
Hot rental market makes search ‘stressful’ for many — and it won’t get better soon
Marissa Giesinger is pictured in Calgary, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. On the hunt for a rental home in Calgary over the last six weeks, Giesinger and her boyfriend trawled through listings morning, noon and night, only to find most come along with dozens of applications and a steep price tag. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
By Tara Deschamps in Toronto
On the hunt for a rental home in Calgary over the last six weeks, Marissa Giesinger and her boyfriend trawled through listings morning, noon and night, only to find most come along with dozens of applications and a steep price tag. As an added difficulty, many landlords are unwelcoming to the couple’s brood — dogs Kado and Rosco and a cat named Jester.
“We made the tough decision recently to house our dogs with someone else until we can find a place that’s affordable and we can take both of them,” said Giesinger, a 23-year-old Mount Royal University student.
“It’s definitely been stressful.”
The competitive rental market Giesinger has encountered in Calgary is being seen across the country as multiple factors combine: high interest rates deter buyers and add to rental demand, still-high inflation is squeezing renter budgets, there’s an undersupply of purpose-built rental units and population growth is fuelling demand.
These conditions have left prospective renters feeling even more frustrated than usual by sky-high rents, the frenzy of interest that surrounds any affordable listing and the litany of demands landlords can make when so many people are interested in their home.
Giacomo Ladas, communications director for Rentals.ca, calls it “almost a perfect storm” — and it isn’t likely to ease up any time soon.
“What this does is create such a burden on this rental housing market that even though we’re out of the (busy) summer rental season, there’s so much demand that (these conditions are) going to continue like this until the fall and into the winter,” he said.
Data crunched by his organization and research firm Urbanation.ca shows average asking rents for newly-listed units in Canada increased 1.8 per cent between July and August and 9.6 per cent from a year earlier to reach a record high of $2,117 last month.
Between May and August, asking rents in Canada increased by 5.1 per cent or an average of $103 per month.
When Giesinger rented a two-bedroom basement unit with a roommate a few years ago, the duo paid $1,000 per month, but now she routinely spots “super tiny,” one-bedroom places for $1,350 a month.
“If you want a basement suite or an apartment, you’re looking at minimum $1,200 and that doesn’t include any utilities or anything like that unless it’s a super rare listing,” Giesinger said.
Rentals.ca data show newly listed one-bedroom properties in Calgary priced at an average $1,728 per month in August, up 21.6 per cent from a year earlier. Two-bedroom homes have climbed 17.4 per cent to $2,150 over the same period.
The picture in Vancouver and Toronto is far bleaker. Rentals.ca found the cities had the highest rents in the country.
Newly-listed one-bedroom properties in Vancouver averaged $2,988 in August, up 13.1 per cent from a year earlier, while two-bedroom units hit $3,879, an almost 10 per cent increase year-over-year.
Newly-listed Toronto one-bedroom homes averaged $2,620 in August, up almost 11 per cent from the year before, while two-bedroom properties had a 7.1 per cent rise over the same time frame to $3,413.
It’s numbers like these that have convinced Kanishka Punjabi to abandon her hopes of moving in the near term.
“Two days ago, I gave up on my search because the rental market is that bad,” she said.
The public relations worker has been living in Mississauga, Ont., but felt it was time to find a home in downtown or midtown Toronto, closer to where she works.
However, few of the two-bedroom homes she spotted in her two-month search were within her $2,800 budget.
For example, one apartment she liked at the intersection of Yonge and Eglinton streets had 25 offers in just over a week.
“Some people actually just sent in their offer without looking at the apartment too because there are so many people who are in desperate need of rental units,” said Punjabi. “There’s just not enough.”
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has projected that the country needs to build 3.5 million additional homes beyond what’s planned before the market reaches some semblance of affordability.
It also calculated that the annual pace of housing starts — when construction begins on a home — edged down one per cent in August to 252,787 units compared with 255,232 in July.
Despite the nudge down, Rishi Sondhi, an economist with TD Bank Group, said it has been a strong year for starts because the industry is responding to elevated prices by building at a robust pace.
But between population growth and rising interest rates, he said, “supply is struggling to keep up with demand” and that’s bound to weigh on renters for quite some time.
“In the short term, it would be unrealistic to expect too much of a reprieve simply because population growth is likely to remain strong through the duration of this year — and that’s really one of the big fundamental drivers,” he said.
“In addition, it’s unlikely to expect affordability in the ownership market to improve too much either because we think the Bank of Canada (key rate) is going to be on hold for the remainder of the year, but there is some risk that they take rates even higher, especially if inflation doesn’t co-operate.”
For renters like Giesinger that message puts even more pressure on her to settle on a place soon.
“Now I’m scrambling to find the money for a deposit and we’re still never really sure like what kind of place we’re going to get,” she said.
“And when you’re battling dozens of other people for a rental it can be super stressful.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2023.
RCMP ‘gutted’ by death of Const. Rick O’Brien, 51, shot in B.C.: deputy commissioner
RCMP Const. Rick O’Brien poses in this undated RCMP handout photo. The 51-year-old officer was shot and killed and two other officers were injured while executing a search warrant in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, while a suspect was shot and is in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
By Nono Shen in Coquitlam
The death of another Mountie in British Columbia less than a year after the last killing “enrages” the lead officer in the province.
RCMP Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald said Const. Rick O’Brien, 51, was shot dead and two other officers were injured on Friday as they tried to execute a search warrant in Coquitlam, B.C.
A suspect in his 20s was also shot and is in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
O’Brien, who had a wife and children, was decorated for bravery in the rescue of victims during a home invasion within months of joining the RCMP in 2016.
“This is an extremely difficult and tragic day for our members,” McDonald said Friday. “Const. O’Brien led by example. He had a great sense of humour. He was well respected by his peers and he was loved in his community.”
He said O’Brien was part of a team from Ridge Meadows RCMP that had been serving a search warrant at a home in the neighbouring community of Coquitlam.
McDonald said O’Brien died at the scene. One injured officer is in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, he said, while the other suffered minor injuries and was discharged.
While McDonald didn’t reveal details about the investigation, he said it was a long-term probe.
A procession of RCMP vehicles led an ambulance carrying O’Brien’s body from Coquitlam to Abbotsford later Friday.
O’Brien’s death comes just 11 months after the death of RCMP Const. Shaelyn Yang, who was stabbed to death while accompanying a Burnaby, B.C., city worker to a homeless campsite.
McDonald said the past year had been a tragic one for police departments across Canada.
“It hurts. It really hurts. I’m outraged,” he said. “To see police officers across this country killed trying to protect their communities enrages me.”
Policing was a second career for O’Brien, who worked with at-risk youth before joining the RCMP. His entire career was spent at the Ridge Meadows detachment.
Supt. Wendy Mehat, the officer in charge of Ridge Meadows, said speaking about the impact of O’Brien’s death was the most difficult moment of her career.
“Rick’s contribution to his work, and his fellow team members at this detachment was immeasurable. Rick loved visiting schools and helping students, doing presentations, supporting our detachment (with) food drives and sport events,” she said.
“He was truly exceptional, a hard worker and a good human being. His death is senseless and heartbreaking.” Mehat said.
McDonald said O’Brien’s death seemed to speak to an issue he and his colleagues across the country have been talking about.
“Perhaps painting police in a certain light … sometimes seems to encourage people to resist authority and disrespect the profession of policing and, quite honestly, fight the police,” he said.
“I’m not commenting on this particular instance. But I will say that this is a stark reminder that the police are here to help you.”
The Independent Investigations Office said in a statement that the officers went to a home in the Metro Vancouver city on Friday.
“While there, the attending officers became engaged in an altercation with a man which resulted in multiple officers being injured and the man being shot,” the statement said.
“Emergency Health Services transported all injured to hospital, but one of the officers who was shot succumbed to their injuries.”
Carley Hodges, a witness in the busy area of city, described a chaotic scene, with an officer receiving CPR as he was put in an ambulance, another officer with a wound on his leg and a tourniquet above it, and a man in handcuffs.
Hodges said there were “tons of police cars, ambulances and fire trucks coming in.”
Mehat said O’Brien’s death was “senseless and heartbreaking.”
“He simply went to work today, and he was killed, doing his duty and keeping his community safe. The hours, weeks and months ahead will be difficult to our communities and Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Coquitlam and across the country.”
B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said he was shocked and saddened to learn of O’Brien’s death.
“All three officers are shining examples of the extraordinary individuals who chose to take on the challenging mantle of protecting the public.
“I have spoken to the local mayors, and we all agree that the death of an officer is a stark reminder of the dangers police face to keep us safe. They put their lives on the line every day to fulfil their oath to protect our communities.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent his condolences to O’Brien’s family, friends and colleagues on social media.
“And to the officers who were injured: I’m wishing you a fast and full recovery.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2023.
This is a corrected story. A previous version said police were trying to serve an arrest warrant.
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