As expected, the USMNT finished top of Group A. Now it’s time for the Gold Cup Quarter-Final. Anything can happen in the knockout rounds of international soccer tournaments. There is no room for error.

That is something the US needs to keep in mind as they get set to take on a Canada team they just beat earlier this month.

USMNT in the group stage

While the US finished top of Group A to book their spot in the Gold Cup Quarter-Final, there were moments of doubt. They opened the tournament with a disappointing 1-1 draw against a Jamaica team that hadn’t won a game for a while.

They followed it up with an expected thrashing of newcomers St. Kitts & Nevis. That meant going into the final game against Trinidad & Tobago the top spot in the group would likely come down to goal difference.

The US did not disappoint against the Socca Warriors, beating them handily by a score of 6-0. Many US fans were quick to point out that since losing to Trinidad & Tobago to miss out on the 2018 World Cup, the US has beaten them all three times they’ve played. The scores were 6-0 in 2019, 7-0 in 2021, and 6-0 again in 2023.

Jesus Ferreira has been taking all the headlines, both good and bad. Against Trinidad & Tobago, he became the second US player to score a hat-trick in consecutive games (the other being Landon Donovan). Ferreira now has 14 goals in 21 international appearances. But the knock on him is that they have all come against CONCACAF opposition. Not only that but against CONCACAF minnows like St. Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Canada in the group stage

Canada booked their spot in the Gold Cup quarter-finals by finishing as the runner-up in Group D. Things didn’t start out so well for them, however.

They got a rare home game to open to tournament against Guadeloupe, but squandered it in a 2-2 draw. They followed that up with a 0-0 draw against Guatemala in Houston. And with their tournament life on the line against Cuba, they came through with a 4-2 win.

Despite qualifying for the 2022 World Cup (their first appearance since 1986) and being one of the three co-hosts for the 2026 World Cup, Canadian soccer is not in good shape right now.

Following their 2-0 loss to the US in the Nations League Final last month, manager John Herdman stated that Canada Soccer wasn’t takijng the World Cup seriously.

His comments may have been intended to get the federation to do better, but it seems to have had the opposite effect. Just days later, TSN reports surfaced that suggested the nation’s soccer federation were considering filing a bankruptcy case.

These off-field issues will definitely be worth keeping an eye on as Les Rouges get ready to take on the US in Cincinnati.

Other Notes:

  1. Sunday’s Gold Cup Quarter-finals game between the US and Canada is set for an 8pm ET kickoff and will air in English on FS1 and in Spanish on both Univision and TUDN.
  2. Sunday’s game against Canada will be the USMNT’s fourth visit to Cincinnati in as many years. In 2019 they played a friendly against Venezuela at Nippert Stadium. Since then they have played a World Cup Qualifier against Mexico in 2021 and a friendly against Morocco in 2022, both at TQL Stadium.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Agencia-MexSport