Canada Shocks Yanks 2-0 in Olympic Qualifier
(Note: we were unable to do a post-game chat for this game at the last minute; however, please join us Monday for the critical last group stage match and post-game analysis)
All of the warm fuzzies after Thursday’s thrashing of Cuba have vanished.
The Yanks suffered a major upset this evening, falling to their rivals to the north 2-0 before 10k plus in Nashville. The loss puts the U.S. third in Group A and needing a win outright on Monday to advance to the semifinals and have a chance at qualifying for the London Olympics.
The days started poorly for the U.S. team with the news that Juan Agudelo suffered a torn meniscus in Thursday’s win. The injury knocks him out of this competition and potentially part of the senior team’s World Cup qualifying. In his place tonight was Teal Bunbury, who chose to play for the U.S. over Canada and had an opportunity to make his case for a chance at the senior squad. Caleb Porter had one additional change in his starting lineup, swapping out Kofi Sarkodie for Jorge Villafana and putting him on the left.
The first half ended scoreless after both sides had a few chances that resulted in nothing. The U.S. attack was continually thwarted by a packed Canadian defense, and Thursday hero Joe Corona was subbed off at halftime due to ineffective play. Bunbury was also poor in attack and Terrence Boyd got a run out in the 56th minute but failed to make an impact.
Both Canadian goals came off of set pieces. The first came in the 58th minute when Bill Hamid was too tentative playing a corner and Doneil Henry headed the ball into the back of the net. The second was also from a Phillippe Davies cross that Lucas Cavallini headed in for a goal.
This loss was both embarrassing and devastating for the United States. The Canadian U-23s had only really been practicing together for two weeks and their lack of playing time together showed until the second half. The fact is the U.S. should not have lost to this team, and the loss blows some of the flaws Earl and I discussed on Thursday wide open. That’s the embarrassing part. Here’s why this loss was devastating:
- The U.S. now needs an outright win against El Salvador (tied for first) on Monday. A draw means the U.S. needs Cuba to beat Canada, and while stranger things have happened, that won’t. El Salvador will advance with a draw, so don’t expect them to be too aggressive.
- If the U.S. finishes second in the group, which is what will likely happen if they win Monday, they will play the winner of the Mexico-Honduras match in the semifinals. They will need to win that match to qualify for the Olympics, and I guarantee they will not want a Mexico rematch with the Olympics on the line.