Five Things To Know About: Canada

Presented By Thorne

Following a 2-0 loss last month in Toronto, the U.S. Men’s National Team will look for payback against Canada in a decisive 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League tie on Friday, Nov. 15 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN).  

Before the match, learn five things about Les Rouges.

Footballing History 

The Canadian Soccer Association was founded in 1912 – just one year before U.S. Soccer – but didn’t play its first full internationals 12 years later in a six-game tour of Australia in 1924.

The Canadian men achieved their greatest success when they qualified for the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, following an undefeated run through qualifying which saw them win the 1985 Concacaf Championship. Les Rouges performed admirably in their first World Cup appearance, falling 1-0 to France before matching 2-0 defeats to Hungary and the Soviet Union saw them exit the tournament.

The team’s most recent success came in 2000 when they went on a Cinderella run to lift that year’s Concacaf Gold Cup. With that title, Canada is the only nation other than the United States and Mexico to win the confederation championship since it was launched back in 1991. 

Here and Now

While Canada has achieved some success through the years, more recently the nation has underachieved at times – specifically in World Cup qualification where Les Rouges have failed to make Concacaf’s final round since 1997.

Under the direction of former Women’s National Team head coach John Herdmen and with an exciting new generation of young players elevating through the ranks, Canada is on the front foot with hopes of returning to the Hex in 2020.

The positive signs are there. Since the start of the 2022 World Cup cycle last fall, Canada has gone 7-2-0 in its eight matches. Notably, Herdmen’s side finished second among 34 teams in Concacaf Nations League qualifying this spring and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.

Nations League in Focus

Canada is also perfect in the Nations League proper. Les Rouges began the competition with wins against Cuba in September, earning a dominant 6-0 triumph in Toronto on Sept. 7, before a 1-0 shutout in Georgetown, Cayman Islands on Sept. 10. The team then pulled an upset of the USMNT, taking a 2-0 victory at BMO Field in Toronto on Oct. 15.

With those results, Canada only needs a draw in Friday’s match against the USA to win Group A and advance to next June’s Knockout Round.

2019-20 Concacaf Nations League A, Group A

The Nations League equation and what it could mean for Canada’s future is only half-way done.

Canada’s win against the USA last month could also pay huge dividends for its World Cup Qualifying hopes, with the victory pushing Canada into the top six-ranked nations from Concacaf in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. That’s important, because under the confederation’s new qualifying format the top six countries come the June 2020 ranking will advance straight to the Final Round of qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But just as they moved up in the ranking last month, should they lose to the USA on Friday, Canada would very likely fall back outside of the top six.

History with the USMNT

The USMNT series with Canada dates back 94 years to when the teams first met on June 27, 1925 in Montreal – a 1-0 win for Canada. The USA overturned that result with a 6-1 victory that November in Brooklyn, N.Y. and has gone on to earn a 14-9-11 all-time advantage against Les Rouges.

The USMNT is a dominant 11-1-9 all-time against Canada on home soil, with the only defeat coming with a 3-2 World Cup Qualifying loss in St. Louis on July 6, 1957. This is the first meeting between the two sides in the United States since a 0-0 draw on Jan. 29, 2013 in Houston.

USMNT Starting XI from the 6-1 win against Canada on Nov. 8, 1925 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Current Roster

Canada head coach John Herdmen named a 23-player roster for Les Rouges’ match on Nov. 15 against the United States.

Nine players on the roster currently feature in Major League Soccer. USMNT defender Daniel Lovitz has the opportunity to line up against Montreal Impact teammate Samuel Piette, while Walker Zimmerman and Mark-Anthony Kaye will be familiar with each other from their time at LAFC. 

Canada also features a host of dangerous young attackers, led by Vancouver Whitecaps’ alum and current Bayern Munich striker Alphonso Davies, Lucas Cavallini of Liga MX side Puebla and Belgian-based Jonathan David. 

GOALKEEPERS (3): Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade/SRB; 48/0), Maxime Crépeau (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; 2/0), Jayson Leutwiler (Blackburn Rovers/ENG; 3/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Samuel Adekugbe (Vålerenga/NOR; 9/0), Derek Cornelius (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; 10/0), Amer Didić (FC Edmonton; 0/0), Doneil Henry (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; 30/1), Richie Laryea (Toronto FC; 3/0), Kamal Miller (Orlando City SC/USA; 3/0), Steven Vitória (Moreirense/POR; 13/1), Dominick Zator (Cavalry FC; 0/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Scott Arfield (Rangers/SCO; 18/2) Stephen Eustáquio (Cruz Azul/MEX; 0/0), Liam Fraser (Toronto FC; 1/0), Mark-Anthony Kaye (LAFC/USA; 13/0), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC/CAN; 30/4), Samuel Piette (Montreal Impact/CAN; 45/0), David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone/SCO; 2/0)

FORWARDS (5): Lucas Cavallini (Puebla/MEX; 16/11), Jonathan David (Gent/BEL; 11/11), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich/GER; 16/5), Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City/WAL; 26/9), Liam Millar (Kilmarnock/SCO; 8/0)