An absolutely dreary performance by the United States men’s National Team led to a surprising 2-0 victory by Canada in a CONCACAF Nations League match in Toronto. Canada had not defeated the American men since a 2-0 win in a friendly in April 1985.
In a word, the U.S. men were awful.
The conditions were difficult to start with at Toronto’s BMO Field, with winds of 14 miles an hour and temperatures at a chilly 54 degrees (F). But Canada came out much the better and more aggressive side. In the 16th minute, U.S. defender Cristian Roldan turned the ball over deep in the American end, leading to a Jonathan David shot that was blocked by U.S. keeper Zack Steffen. But the rebound came to David again, but a sprawl on the ground by Steffen forced David to take a wide shot past an open net.
There was pushing and shoving and 15 total fouls in the half, but Canada kept the pressure up. In the 41st minute, it was Canadian striker Alphonso Davies who had a chance on a ball played through into the box, but Steffen blocked his shot. The rebound had Steffen out of position, but it was headed to safety. Canada had 52% possession in the first half and out-shot the U.S., 4-3.
The Canadians started hot in the second half as well, with David missing a golden chance just wide of the U.S. goal in the 51st minute. The U.S. counter-attack had Jordan Morris set up Christian Pulisic for a right-footed shot in front of goal, but keeper Milan Borjan was equal to the challenge.
More poor clearing by the U.S. finally led to a Canadian score in the 63rd minute. After the U.S. could not play the ball out of the box, Scott Arfield sent a cross in front of the goal, over Steffen and it was popped into the goal by Davies. It was the first Canadian score against the U.S. since 2007!
Junior Hoilett nearly scored for Canada in the 72nd minute, but Steffen blocked it. Lucas Cavallini got behind the U.S. defense in stoppage time (91st minute) and ripped a right-footed shot from right of goal that found the net for the 2-0 final.
The U.S. didn’t get close to scoring in the second half and ended the game with a meaningless 56% of possession, but down, 9-7, in shots.
With two matches still to play on CONCACAF Nations League Group A, Canada leads with nine points (3-0), with the U.S. second with three (1-1) and Cuba with zero (0-3). The U.S. will play Canada and Cuba again in November.
The loss put the U.S. at 14-9-11 vs. Canada all time and ended a 17-match unbeaten streak (9-0-8) over the last 34 years. They meet again in exactly a month, on 15 November. Can it get worse?