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Bulls Abroad: Karl Ouimette misses out on Canada missing out on next round of World Cup qualifiers

Canada falls short of the Hex. Again.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls' Karl Ouimette (on loan to Jacksonville Armada at present) was not included in the match-day squad for his national team's final game of World Cup qualifying. He watched along with the rest of the crowd and TV audience as Canada labored to not just beat El Salvador but also turn around a five-goal deficit between its goal difference and that of Honduras.

The qualifying requirement for Canada in this game was simple: win, hope Mexico beat Honduras, hope results combined to give Canada a better goal difference than Los Catrachos.

In the end, Canada didn't get through to the next round of World Cup qualifying because Honduras held out for a draw in Mexico. But a team can only focus on what it can control, and Canada's focus was on beating El Salvador by as many goals as possible.

That task started well when Cyle Larin scored in the 11th minute (from an offside position). It faltered when no goals followed for the rest of the first half, but Nik Ledgerwood scored shortly after half-time, and then El Salvador's Darwin Ceren was sent off in the 56th minute. Two goals and a man up with a little over 30 minutes to play: game on.

But it didn't work out. The floodgates never opened. El Salvador scored one of their own in the 78th minute. And the fact Canada head coach Benito Floro's most baffling substitute - defender David Edgar, brought on for attacker Junior Hoilett in the 81st minute - scored a goal in stoppage time seemed merely to add insult to insult.

It was a curiously dissatisfying 3-1 home win.

The Canadians knew they were out before Edgar scored. Even if Mexico had found a winner, there wasn't nearly enough time remaining to get the goals necessary to get past Honduras on tiebreakers and make the Hexagonal.

Blame has fallen on coach Benito Floro, as is traditional when a team falters. He may be out of a job shortly. Whether Canada had the necessary talent and experience to best Honduras in this group under another coach will forever be unknown.

But Canada has plenty of chances to test itself against regional opposition, starting with next summer's Gold Cup - which should be the focus of Floro or the next head coach of the team.