Canada is improbable tournament champion, blanking Colombia 2-0.LOS ANGELES (Sunday, February 27, 2000) -- Jason deVos scored on a header in the first half and Carlo Corazzin added a late penalty kick to power Canada to an improbable Gold Cup championship with a 2-0 triumph over Colombia before a sparse crowd of 6,197 on a rainy, chilly day at the Los Angeles Coliseum this afternoon.
Canadian goalkeeper Craig Forrest was voted the tournament “Most Valuable Player” after posting his third shutout of the tournament and running his personal unbeaten streak to 235 minutes. After a heroic effort in a 1-0 semifinal victory over Trinidad & Tobago, Forrest wasn’t called on to do much today, making three saves, all in the second half. The final stop was on Faustino Asprilla’s penalty kick in the 85th minute.
Canada, ranked 85th in the rankings of world governing body FIFA, had never captured a significant title before.
"A great game, the best match of the tournament. We deserved to win today," said Canadian coach Holger Osieck. "We're a good team and we showed that today. . . . I hope it wakes up the Canadian people as to what is possible and what we can do."
DeVos brought the small contingent of Canadian fans to their feet in the 46th minute, a minute into first-half injury time, by netting a header off a right-side corner kick by Martin Nash. Colombia keeper Diego Gomez got his hands on the wet ball, but it slipped from his grasp and rolled in.
Corazzin made it 2-0 by drilling a penalty kick into the right upper corner in the 68th minute. The PK was awarded the kick when Gomez spun Canadian Jeffrey Clarke to the ground in the box. Corazzin finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with four goals.
The Canadians put forth an outstanding defensive performance, punctuated when Forrest, who plays for West Ham United in the English Premier League, dove to his right to snare Asprilla’s penalty.
"This has exceeded my wildest dreams, to make the final, much less win," Forrest said. "We want to make CONCACAF proud and the crowd wasn't what it would have been if it was Mexico or the United States. But in the long run CONCACAF will profit and we'll perform on a world level. I thought I'd be busier today as I was against Mexico. We played our best games against the two toughest teams, Colombia and Mexico."
Interest in the Gold Cup dramatically waned when Mexico and the United States both were eliminated in the quarterfinals. In contrast to the sparse crowd today, the 1998 final between Mexico and the United States at the Coliseum drew 91,255 to watch the game won by Mexico.
When Mexico beat Brazil in the 1996 championship game, the contest attracted a crowd of 88,000 to the Coliseum. When Mexico beat the United States in Mexico City in 1993, it was before a crowd of 120,000.
Colombia was missing many of its stars because of those players' commitments to their soccer clubs.