The Canadian men's national team cleared another hurdle on the road to the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Saturday, comfortably sailing past Aruba 7-0 to reclaim top spot in Group B ahead of Tuesday night's clash with Suriname. Dominant from start to finish, the Canadians broke the flood barrier with a 17th-minute Lucas Cavallini goal, taking a 3-0 lead into halftime before proceeding to pour on the attack even more thickly in the second frame. Canada was comfortable in this game, despite fielding a heavily-rotated starting 11 ahead of Tuesday's more difficult match; key players like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David were held out in order to keep them fresh, which allowed a few less-established players to make their mark. With the first contest of this window out of the way, John Herdman's side can now turn its focus fully to the upcoming tests. Here are three key thoughts that stand out immediately after Canada's third World Cup qualifying match of 2021.

Mission One: Complete

In several of his pre-match media appearances, John Herdman referred to this Aruba match as Mission One for Canada, with the Suriname game on Tuesday being Mission Two. At last, the first job is done; although Aruba sits well below Canada in the FIFA world rankings (205th to Canada's 70th), the Canadian lineup still had to be sharp enough to put the game away as quickly as possible. The first 10 minutes of this contest were a little sloppy for Canada, with a few too many casual passes and poor touches that caused good attacking moves to sputter. Occasionally, in games where one team is heavily favoured, it's not unheard of for doubt to creep into the stronger side the longer they go without a goal. Canada showed hints of overthinking at times early on, but, as soon as Mark-Anthony Kaye found Cavallini for the opening goal the whole team seemed to relax a little. Of course, Junior Hoilett's converted penalty kick a couple minutes later helped as well. As soon as Canada pulled in front, the side's confidence began to shine through as they started to clinically suffocate the Arubans. Canada will surely, subconsciously at least, approach the next match with a slightly different mindset; they won't necessarily enter expecting a comfortable victory, so they'll have greater incentive to keep their passing tight early on. Still, getting a few goals on the board definitely seemed to settle things down and allow Canada's less-experienced players to work with more freedom. Now, onto Suriname.

Tajon Buchanan.

That's it; that's the thought. Buchanan made his senior national team debut on Saturday, starting at right fullback but eventually moving up to the wing when Hoilett left for injury in the first half. Especially after shifting to the more attacking role, he was phenomenal in this game. He ended up with two assists, finding Cavallini for his second goal and later laying off for Zachary Brault-Guillard ahead of his dazzling second-half strike. Beyond that, though, Buchanan was perhaps the most noticeable player on the pitch (until a couple of well-known superstars checked in around the 65th minute... more on them later). He had plenty of runway to show off his pace, which he did to great effect; particularly with Brault-Guillard playing off his back shoulder, Buchanan was able to dominate with both quick give-and-go passes and blistering runs with the ball. Although his best moments came when staying to the outside and looking to pick out crosses or pass outlets, he was keen to cut inside on a few occasions as well. Canada's attack has a lot of depth at the moment, but Buchanan is working his way up it very quickly, with this exceptional night coming on the back of his excellent club form for the New England Revolution (plus a strong performance in March at the Olympic qualifying tournament). It's not out of the question that he could very quickly become one of Canada's first options off the bench upfront if he keeps it up. Of course, the same could maybe be said about Theo Corbeanu, who grew into the game well after coming on at halftime and became a more visible attacking catalyst. Buchanan's contributions were, perhaps, overshadowed late in the match by the arrival of substitutes, but his performance can't be overlooked.

Second-half subs help key starters mesh

It cannot have been a welcome sight to Aruba when Canada, up 4-0 in the 65th minute, brought on both Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David -- followed closely by Cyle Larin a few minutes later. Certainly, this would have been part of the plan coming in: allow the likely starting front three for Tuesday's Suriname game to get some minutes in together. David, in particular, hasn't appeared for the national team since late 2019, and it was certainly good for him to make his return to Les Rouges in an environment with far less pressure than Tuesday's game. As one might expect in a game such as this, the trio was dominant in its 20 minutes together. Davies had his world-class pace on full display, and he was beating defenders for fun. His goal may end up being ruled an own goal, but the effort was tremendous either way; the only downside to his involvement was an early foul that, for a minute, looked as if it could've injured Canada's superstar. David managed to get an assist on Larin's goal before knocking one in himself, ensuring he enters the next match with confidence and form. Herdman said before the game that Saturday's match wouldn't necessarily be a good time for experimentation, but it certainly still provided a real match situation for the key attacking trio to continue building chemistry. Davies, David, and Larin will all need to be at the top of their game against Suriname, so any opportunity to get them clicking together cannot be squandered.

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