Los Angeles (AFP) – The United States were held to a second consecutive draw in CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup on Sunday as Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies helped Canada grab a 1-1 draw against the Americans in Nashville.
Coach Gregg Berhalter’s US side, forced to settle for a 0-0 draw against El Salvador on Thursday, looked to be on course to take all three points after Red Bull Salzburg forward Brenden Aaronson fired them ahead on 55 minutes.
But American hopes of a vital three points were left in tatters only seven minutes later when Davies ruthlessly punished a defensive error by US substitute DeAndre Yedlin down the left flank.
The 20-year-old winger raced forward and then squared a perfect pass to Cyle Larin who tucked away the finish to silence a crowd of 43,000 at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium.
The hosts, who welcomed Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic back into their starting line-up after his recovery from Covid-19, were unable to break the deadlock in the time remaining as Canada held on for a deserved draw.
The result leaves the Americans, desperate to atone for their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, with just two points from two games in the eight-team final group of qualifying for teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
“Obviously it’s not exactly where we want to be but we have a lot of games left to play and it’s not time to put our heads down,” Pulisic said.
“We’ve got one more game in this window and we’ve got to get going,” added the US captain, whose team play Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Wednesday.
It was a frustrating night for the US, who had dropped Juventus’s Weston McKennie shortly before the game started for a breach of team Covid-19 protocols.
– Davies threat –
Aaronson’s well-worked team goal was a rare moment of successful penetration for the US, who struggled to find a rhythm early on against a physical Canadian team.
The pace of Davies for Canada on the counter-attack was a constant threat, and the Bundesliga star almost created a goal in the first half, catching US right back Sergino Dest napping to race clear.
Davies got to the byline and cut back for Larin, whose shot was brilliantly palmed behind for a corner by off-balance US goalkeeper Matt Turner.
The US struggled to create clear-cut opportunities as Canada defended in depth, with Antonee Robinson’s speculative long-range effort on 21 minutes, saved by Borjan, the only US chance of note early on.
In fact, the best American chance in the opening half an hour came via a Canadian.
A surging run up the flank by Dest created space for Aaronson and the winger’s whipped cross was desperately headed goalwards by Canada defender Scott Kennedy, forcing an acrobatic save from Milan Borjan.
As the first half drew to a close, the US began to get on top. Pulisic hit the post with a 40th minute effort and Sebastian Lletget flashed a volley wide on the stroke of half-time.
But after Aaronson’s second half goal, Canada responded superbly, and were more than a match for the US as they took a precious away point.
Elsewhere in CONCACAF qualifiers on Sunday, Mexico made it two wins out of two with a gritty 1-0 win over Costa Rica in San Jose.
Orbelin Pineda’s penalty secured all three points for the Mexicans, who have six points from two games to top the standings.
Jamaica meanwhile suffered a second defeat, beaten 3-0 at home by 2018 World Cup qualifiers Panama.
In the other game of the day, El Salvador were held 0-0 at home against Honduras.
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