Much was expected of Canada at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Jamaica. Chuck Muncie Jersey .The young Canadian soccer team had performed well on a pre-tournament tour of Europe, returning home unbeaten against quality opposition. The squad had never lost two games in a row.And while coach Rob Gales team was denied two of its top weapons — midfielders Dylan Carreiro of Dundee and Fraser Aird of Glasgow Rangers — when their Scottish teams refused to release them for the tournament, there was good depth. Teenage striker Cyle Larin went No. 1 in the MLS SuperDraft during the tournament. Ten players on the roster were on the books of Canadian MLS clubs, with several having already made their first-team debut.Gale had faith in his squad, having worked with many of them for the last three years. But he knew that not many had played much competitive soccer in the leadup to the CONCACAF event. And five games in 12 days would be a big ask in the heat, humidity and uneven pitch in Montego Bay.Plus Canada had not taken part in the world under-20 championship since it hosted the event in 2007, exiting without scoring a goal or registering a point. And rival teams were making strides in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.Despite a good start, the tournament quickly went south. The Canadians were eliminated from contention Monday when they lost 2-1 to Cuba and Honduras beat Haiti 3-2.All our kind of worst fears about what potentially could happen or affect the players have come to fruition, unfortunately ... Its been a poor display of who we are as a group, said Gale.Where these boys have been fantastic in the past in tournament football, for any number of reasons and the boys are struggling themselves to put their finger on it, this week, at this moment of time, they didnt have the energy and the resolve and that character to get themselves out of moments of a game that would turn the course, he added.Canada opened on a positive note, downing Haiti 3-1. A 2-0 loss to two-time defending champion Mexico was perhaps not unexpected.A 3-2 loss to El Salvador on a stoppage-time goal was a dagger through the heart. Then the bottom fell out with the loss to Cuba, with Canada conceding the opening goal on a flubbed clearance. When Honduras beat Haiti later that day, Canadas dream of reaching the U20 World Cup were shot.Canada (1-3-0) wrapped up play Thursday with a meaningless game against Honduras.Panama and Mexico topped their groups to reach the final and automatically qualify for FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this summer. The second- and third-place teams in each pool will play off to see which two teams join them.For Gale and his staff, its time to review and reconsider. Their job is long-term development and this tournament, however painful, has been a learning step for their young players.The good news for Gale is that his players responded in the second half of games.For Gale, Thursdays finale outing was about sheer effort and pride, that has been lacking in some individuals and also as a collective, at times, when the going got tough in the conditions, the heat and everything else.Obviously theyre down and theyre disappointed that they havent represented themselves as they would have wanted. But youre as good as your next game and in football you have to get back on the horse. And if they want to make a career out of it, theyre going to have many many difficult moments and its how you respond.Gale was encouraged by the opening win over Haiti. He knew the margin of victory could have been more had his group retained its focus but he saw it as a lesson learned.Mexico was next, the toughest game on the schedule. The Mexicans were well-rested after a 9-1 romp over Cuba.We refreshed the pack but unfortunately a couple of players had just tough tough days at the office, said Gale. To be fair to the boys, they dug in again. The second half we were much much better.Down 1-0, they had chances to tie it up but were punished on a late counter-attack.Mentally, the team was in good spirits going into the El Salvador game. There had been positives against Mexico.But extreme heat took its toll on a Canadian team inexperienced at this level and in the conditions. Watching from the sidelines, Gale could see his team stray from its game plan just minutes into the contest.It becomes not about football then, its about digging in — the heart and desire to work you way through it.Down 1-0 and 2-1, the Canadians rallied to tie the game, only to fall victim to a 94th-minute goal off a set kick.It was just a mental lapse, said Gale. Very disappointing ... But with a young group of players, that happens in football.Against Cuba, an unfortunate individual error led to a fifth-minute goal and the Canadians were behind the eight-ball again.Down 2-0 at the half, the Canadians cut the lead to 2-1 and had chances to score while the Cubans played a delaying game that descended into farce. The stretcher comes on seven times, Gale said with disgust.Unfortunately thats the reality of CONCACAF, he added. Any time you give a team oxygen or life, where theyre ahead, they can wind it down and it can cost you.Under that extra pressure, players started second-guessing themselves, said Gale.Finding the character and heart when the going got tough just deserted us here. And thats tournament football. It can happen.This is the first cycle of players Gale has had since under-16. Now the plan is to grow a squad from the under-14 level.Jamaica is a valuable, if painful, lesson. Theres no immediate and short-term fix, said Gale.The young Canadians are talented but lack experience under pressure, the coach says.Missing Aird and Carreiro, his longtime captain, did not help.If there was one thing that we needed a little more of at this tournament, it was character, said Gale.He notes with frustration that Carreiro had not played a minute at Dundee during the tournament.I think thats disgraceful for a coach to hold a player back from international football and the experience and to not play him at all.Aird played sparingly at his club during the tournament.Still, Gale says there are no excuses for what happened in Jamaica.We havent performed and adapted as well as other countries in key moments of key games. And thats been the difference.Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter Michael Ola Jersey . Cain departed in the fourth inning of a 10-5 loss to the Pirates on Thursday. X-rays on Cains bruised forearm were negative. He was hit when Sanchez led off the fourth with a groundout. Shy Tuttle Jersey . Case in point: LeBron James vs. Ben McLemore. James was driving to the rim in the first quarter and McLemore decided to try to take the charge, which was quite admirable and predictably futile.Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - There were plenty of money signs flashed in Sundays game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. Not one was made by the player associated with the gesture, Johnny Manziel. The Cleveland rookie quarterbacks first career NFL start was a dud as the Browns were shut out 30-0 by the AFC North-leading Bengals. Jeremy Hill had 148 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries and Giovani Bernard amassed 79 yards on the ground for the Bengals (9-4-1), who produced points on each of their first four drives and remain a half-game ahead of Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the division standings. Were still in control of everything, said Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. We got to understand that. We know these next two (games) are gonna be big. Dalton completed 14-of-24 passes for 117 yards with one interception for Cincinnati, which won its fourth straight road game to tie a club record for the most consecutive wins away from home within a season. The Browns (7-7), in an effort to keep their fading playoff hopes alive, switched from Brian Hoyer to Manziel to spark the offense. However, the quarterback change didnt have the impact coach Mike Pettine was hoping on Sunday. Manziel was 10-of-18 for 80 yards with two first-half interceptions. A handful of Cincinnati players flashed the former Heisman Trophy winners signature money sign to the FirstEnergy Stadium crowd. Nobody wants to win (in the locker room) more than I do, and its tough to come out there and lay an egg like that, Manziel saidd. Pat Swilling Jersey. Im not using the rookie excuse. I needed to play better. Cleveland, which has lost three in a row, totaled only 107 yards on offense and had six three-and-outs. Cincinnati scored a touchdown on the games opening drive after being held to three points and 165 yards by Cleveland on Nov. 6. Dalton, who had a passer rating of 2.0 in the home loss to the Browns, hit A.J. Green on a slant to convert a 4th-and-4 from the Cleveland 32 on a 14-play series that ended with 2-yard touchdown run by Hill. There was also a rouging-the-passer penalty called on linebacker Barkevious Mingo on a third-down incompletion that extended the drive. The Bengals went on to build a 20-0 halftime lead. Mike Nugent bookended a 16-yard touchdown run by Hill with a pair of 44-yard field goals. Cleveland was in field goal range late in the second quarter, but Manziel was picked off in the end zone by Adam Jones. In the third quarter, Dalton kept it on a 4th-and-1, then completed a 13- yard pass to Bernard on 3rd-and-8 before the drive stalled. Nugent connected from 34 yards to make it 23-0. Rex Burkhead ran for a 10-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left in the game for Cincinnatis final score. Game Notes Manziel is Clevelands 21st starting quarterback since 1999 ... Cleveland defensive backs Joe Haden (shoulder) and Justin Gilbert (head) both left the game and did not return ... The Browns had just five first downs ... Green was targeted 11 times, but caught only five passes for 49 yards. ' ' '
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