Five Things to Know About CanadaPresented by BioSteel
A meeting of North American neighbors will decide the Group B winner at the 2021Concacaf Gold Cup. The United States and Canada, who have already clinched quarterfinal berths, will tussle for that honor when they meet in the group finale for both teams at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan. on Sunday, July 18 at 5 p.m. ET. (FOX, Univision, TUDN).
Both teams enter the match at 2-0-0. The Canadians recorded a pair of 4-1 wins against Martinique and Haiti. The USA also defeated those Caribbean sides, 1-0 against Haiti and 6-1 past Martinique.
Since Canada enjoys a total goals advantage over the USA (eight to seven), it needs a draw to win the group, while the U.S. Men's National Team needs a victory.
This will be the 36th meeting between the rivals and the first time they will face off in Kansas City.
The Canadian national team took the field for an official game for the first time in a 3-2 loss to Australia in a friendly in Brisbane, Queensland on June 7, 1924. Les Rouges’ two shining moments came in 1985 and 2000, in World Cup Qualifying and the Gold Cup, respectively.
In 1985, they qualified for their first and only World Cup, finishing atop the final qualifying round unbeaten at 2-0-2. They did not fare well in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, losing their three matches to eventual semifinalist France, 1-0, Hungary, 2-0, and the Soviet Union, 2-0.
In 2000, they captured the Gold Cup title, becoming the only country besides the USA and Mexico to take a victory lap after the championship game. Their Cinderella run concluded when they blanked invitee Colombia in the final, 2-0, as Jason de Vos and Carlo Corazzin scored on either side of halftime.
The Canadians are participating in their 15th Gold Cup and have also advanced to the semifinals in 2002 and 2007.
When the final WCQ round commences in September, Canada will try to end its streak of being World Cup outsiders for eight consecutive competitions. The Canadians have reached the Concacaf final round of qualifying for the first time since 1998.
USMNT HISTORY VS. Canada
The USMNT enjoys a 15-9-11 advantage in the series, which goes back almost a century when the Americans fell 1-0 in Montreal on June 27, 1925.
In Gold Cup play the USA is undefeated, going 3-0-1 in four meetings between the sides. They’ve twice met at this stage of the tournament, with the USA taking matching 2-0 wins on July 9, 2005 in Seattle and June 7, 2011 in Detroit.
The two sides have also twice met in the tournament semifinals. In the first encounter on Jan. 20, 2002, goalkeeper Kasey Keller made two saves in a 4-2 shootout win after playing 120 minutes of scoreless soccer at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. On June 21, 2007, goals by Frankie Hejduk and Donovan lifted the USMNT to a 2-1 semifinal victory at Soldier Field in Chicago. Ian Hume scored for Canada.
Since 1991, the USA has posted a 10-1-6 record against Les Rouges. The lone blemish came in a 2-0 defeat in the Concacaf Nations League group stage win at BMO Field in Toronto on Oct. 15, 2019. Alfonso Davies and substitute Lucas Cavallini scored for the hosts, who ended a 34-year winless run against the USA dating back to 2-0 Canada win in Vancouver on April 2, 1985.
In the return match at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. on Nov. 15, the USMNT recorded a 4-1 triumph to win Group A. Gyasi Zardes scored twice and Jordan Morris and Aaron Long added goals. Defender Sergiño Dest, then 19, set up a goal in his competitive debut for the USA.
Sunday’s match serves a precursor to two more meetings that will occur during the final round of World Cup qualifying. The USMNT will host Canada in its first home qualifier on Sept. 5 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, before Canada plays host to the USA on Jan. 30, 2022.
John Herdman is a rare breed, having coached both the Canadian men's and women's national teams to success. After directing the New Zealand Women's National Team from 2006-2011, the 45-year-old Englishman was named Canada women's head coach. He guided Les Rouges to the gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico and then back-to-back bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
In 2018, in an unprecedented move for Canada, Herdman took over the reins of the men's team. Under his direction, Canada has improved and is playing some of its best soccer in years while recording a 20-4-0 mark.
The Canadians are riding an eight-game winning streak which started March 25 during World Cup Qualifying. During that time, they have outscored their opposition, 39-3, at one point recording five consecutive clean sheets. They qualified for the Concacaf final round by blanking Haiti twice. Cyle Larin scored in each win, a 1-0 victory on June 12 and a 4-0 triumph on June 15. Canada added a Junior Hoilett tally and an own goal.
Canada kicked off the Gold Cup with a 4-1 opening Gold Cup win over Martinique last Sunday. After Mark-Anthony Kaye’s back pass attempt was intercepted by Sebastien Cretinoir that allowed the Caribbean side to grab a 10th-minute lead on Emmanuel Riviere's goal, the Maple Leafs bounced back with four unanswered goals. Cyle Larin, Jonathan Osorio, Stephen Eustáquio and Theo Corbeanu did the damage.
In their Thursday night win, Larin recorded a brace after Eustáquio put his name on the scoresheet. Junior Hoilett closed out the scoring.
Goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau backstopped both wins.
This is considered a golden generation for Canada, which has reached the Concacaf WCQ final round for the first time since 1998 qualifying.
American and Major League Soccer fans should be quite familiar with two players.
Former Orlando City SC standout forward Cyle Larin, 26, who struck for 19 goals in 38 matches for Beşiktaş (Turkey) in 2020-21, has been vital to the attack. The four-time Gold Cup performer has found the net a team-high 10 goals in eight appearances in 2021 and has scored in four successive games. He has connected for a tournament-high three goals (through Thursday night). He tallied twice in the win over Haiti, giving him 18 goals in 39 international matches.
Midfielder Tajoun Buchanan, 22, who has emerged as an important piece of the puzzle for the New England Revolution and the national team. Utilizing his speed, Buchanan set up goals in both of Canada's opening Gold Cup wins.
Fourteen players perform for Major League Soccer clubs, eight with the three Canadian-based clubs.
Goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau, defender Cristián Gutiérrez and forward Lucas Cavallini, who has scored five goals in seven international appearances in 2021, play for Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Defender Kamal Miller and midfielder Samuel Piette compete for CF Montreal. Defender Richie Laryea, midfielder Jonathan Osorio and forward Ayo Akinola perform for Toronto FC.
For Sunday's confrontation, the Canadians will be without midfielder Stephen Eustáquio, who scored in each of their opening two matches. Eustáquio, who plays for F.C. Paços de Ferreira (Portugal), incurred his second yellow card of the tournament against Martinique and must sit out the USA encounter.
Two key players aren't competing in the tournament. Defender Alphonso Davies injured his ankle during training before the tournament. The 2020 Canada Soccer Player of the Year returned to Germany to prepare for the new season with Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich.
Forward Jonathan David, who has scored 16 times in 15 international matches, was given the competition off as he preps for another campaign with French Ligue 1 champions Lille.