Preview: USMNT vs Canada

The United States and Canadian Men’s National Teams will face off this afternoon in the final match of the Gold Cup’s Group B. The two sides are tied on points for the top spot in the group, with the Canadians holding a slight edge via goal difference. This contest is truly a winner take all encounter.

Canada 🇨🇦

Canada have always been overlooked in Concacaf, with Mexico and the United States alone at the top of the pecking order. The northernmost side in the region have been somewhat of an afterthought, failing to qualify for the World Cup, or even advance to the latter stages of qualifying.

This side is different. With a wave of young talent coming through, and young players making the jump to Europe, Canada is letting Concacaf know that they need to be taken seriously. Strong through their opening Gold Cup matches, they’re in a rich run of form. They’ve won their last eight consecutive matches, and outscored their opponents 39-4.

Canada have shifted to a back three in the last couple months, and it’s been heavily effective. Even with Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies out with injury, they’ve been dangerous down the left side. New England Revolution midfielder Tajon Buchanan has impressed as a left wingback, and amid European interest has been a standout at the tournament.

Nashville SC man Alistair Johnston has become a key member of John Herdman’s side, playing either as a right-sided centerback or in a more advanced role as a wingback. Cyle Larin has found impressive form, scoring three goals to tie for the golden boot lead.

This Canada side isn’t to be taken lightly, and look more than capable of a deep run in the knockout rounds. They’ll give the United States the toughest test yet at the tournament, and won’t surprise many people if they can pull off a win.

United States 🇺🇸

After a less than resounding 1-0 win over Haiti, Gregg Berhalter shifted to a back three over Martinique and the new look provided a spark. James Sands was instrumental in possession in the middle of the defense, and Daryl Dike made a case for the full-time job as the number 9.

The U.S. were adequate against a difficult Haitian side, and while the 6-1 win over Martinique was entertaining, the level of opposition makes it hard to really assess where this team stands. Canada will be a better measuring stick. More than just a measuring stick; a threat.

James Sands should retain his place in the heart of defense, perhaps even beyond the tournament. While Gianluca Busio has loads of talent, he’s a little too loose with the ball at times, and may be replaced with the more veteran Kellyn Acosta.

The biggest question comes up front: will Gregg Berhalter continue to give Daryl Dike a look following his brace against Martinique, or will he opt for the veteran Gyasi Zardes, who has picked up a goal and assist in the first two matches?

This U.S. side has talent, but on paper it’s hard to say they’re a massively better side than Canada. On the contrary, it looks to be a very even contest. With the loser heading to Mexico’s side of the bracket, both sides will be determined, even desperate, for a win.

Prediction

I think this will be a fairly open contest, and one that should see chances for both sides. I’ll predict a 2-2 draw, with Canada winning Group B on goal difference.

Match info

Time: 4:00 PM central
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
Broadcast: FOX (English) / Univision (Spanish)

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