GLENDALE, Ariz. — It wasn't the outcome Canada was looking for.
Canada has been eliminated from the 2017 Gold Cup after falling 2-1 in the quarter-finals against Jamaica at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Thursday.
Jamaica took a two-goal lead through Shaun Francis and Romario Williams before Junior Hoilett replied for Canada.
"I think we can take a lot of positive from the campaign but it was a bitter way to go out," said midfielder Scott Arfield. "I think we're all disappointed because I think we had done enough to win that game."
It was the first time Canada had reached the knockout stage of the competition since the 2009 tournament, when it was also eliminated at this stage of the competition.
The program now enters a bit of a holding pattern for the next while.
Already eliminated from contention from the 2018 World Cup and no qualifiers for the 2022 edition of the tournament scheduled, the Canadians will just play friendlies and hope to build on some promising performances that included draws against Honduras and Costa Rica.
Players like Alfonso Davies and Samuel Piette did admirably in their respective roles and bring the program some optimism about its future.
"With this squad, I think we can achieve anything," said Piette. "We've proved it against good teams. I think we can play against anybody, I have no doubt with this squad."
Canada hosts Jamaica in a friendly at BMO Field in Toronto in September but the schedule after that is wide open.
"We are going to be together for a long time and I think that's the most exciting part," said 24-year-old Russell Teibert of the young core of players who are taking on key roles in the program.
"We do have a lot of good, young players. You see that with Alphonso (Davies). He's 16 and how much potential he has to be a great player. We have a bunch of young guys that performed well."
Canada provided the first scoring chances with Arfield delivering an early teasing free kick and corner kick, but Jamaica struck first in the sixth minute.
Former Vancouver Whitecaps FC player Darren Mattocks carried the ball into the Canadian penalty area and found an unmarked Francis, who rattled his shot off the Canadian crossbar and over the line.
Canada had a chance to equalize just a few minutes later when Arfield swung a free kick in that forward Cyle Larin headed just off the target.
Jamaica added to the lead in the opening minutes of the second half when Williams wasn't closed down by the Canadian defenders and launched a lovely right-footed curling effort in the 50th.
Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan dove valiantly to his left but only managed to get his fingertips onto the well-placed shot.
Hoilett pulled one back in the 61st minute with an equally spectacular effort of his own. He led a Canadian counter-attack by himself and, with Jamaica's defenders getting back, curled a long-range shot into the top corner.
He very nearly added a similar goal with about 20 minutes remaining but Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake dove to make a highlight reel save.
Arfield provided Canada's final chance in second-half injury time when he was played into the Jamaica penalty area, but his low shot was stopped by Blake.