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Canada 0-0 USA – A Canadian Perspective

Written by on June 4, 2012 | 4 Comments »
Posted in Canada, The Training Ground, United States

Peter Salis is a 22 year old football fan from Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Fan of Real Madrid since 2003 and still a fan of Beckham. Hoping to become a children’s/genre author and work in the field of soccer reporting.

In last’s night 0-0 tie between Canada and the USA, the rare occurrence of Canada’s national team coach, Stephen Hart, getting his tactics correct took place. A national team program so fraught with under performance, poor leadership, and failure finally showed some resemblance to a properly functioning national team.

The 4-3-3 system employed by Hart seemed far too ambitious at the beginning of the game considering the USA’s two most recent games against Brazil and Scotland, in which they scored 9 goals combined. This system, however, worked perfectly for the Canadians and Hart, continually frustrating the USA’s midfielders and forwards while not allowing for too many clear-cut opportunities.

The system even delivered to the Canadians a few attacking chances for themselves, that with a striker on form would have easily capitalized on, (finger pointing at Mr. Jackson). The 4-3-3 positioned on the field played in truth more like a 4-5-1, with De Rosario and Ricketts playing heavily on defence, while attempting to maintain possession of the ball through their central midfielders when on attack, giving the aforementioned wingers a chance to break forward.

The strength at the back for Canada was also evident in the superb play of their Captain, Kevin McKenna. Early in the game, before the fifth minute in-fact, McKenna wrestled an American forward off the ball for a corner and smiled cheekily as he walked to his defensive position, relishing the fact that the American forward tried, and I mean tried, to push him off the ball and failed. The Canadians were filled with great team play and also superb individual play, coming from all three sections of the team.

Best Defender

Kevin McKenna  – His leadership and experience shone through at the heart of the Canadian defence, as the stalwart Canadians held the USA at bay. McKenna made a number of strong tackles and timely interruptions, helping to both cover and support his defensive teammates. On the rare occasion a ball managed to pass the Canadian captain, goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld was there to stop the opportunity.

Best Midfielder

Julian DeGuzman – Julian had a fantastic game in his defensive midfield role, plugging the gap between defence and forward, making life for the American forward players miserable. DeGuzman expertly supported his teammates in both defence and attack, covering the defensive space that the injured Hutchinson usually inhabits. His work on the ball was also quite impressive as he easily pinged passes out wide to De Rosario and Ricketts, while also making short, effective passes to his central midfield teammates, Johnson and Ledgerwood. Julian’s first touch and turning capabilities were also on full display, as on a number of occasions he used both to turn defenders and escape pressure.

Best Forward

Surprise, surprise but the best forward in the Canadian lineup was once again Dwayne DeRosario. Although he played a heavy defensive role as well, Dero’s attacking runs and possession looked Canada’s best chance to score time and time again. His tactical awareness and attacking play were far above any of the other Canadian forwards and if he had been playing for the USA, I doubt there would have been a 0-0 scoreline.

Dero’s ability to get wide on the left and create with a cross, in-cutting run, or fantastic dribbling run made him a constant threat to the American goal. Canada’s best opportunity came through Dero in the 92nd minute when he played the ball to the feet of Simeon Jackson, after bringing the ball into the box and dribbling past his American defender.

Overall the Canadian effort put forth was extremely satisfying to both the players and the coach, while also affording the fan something to cheer. The defence looked steady, giving up chances as any team might, but never looked under too much stress.

The midfield looked aware and prepared for the American plan of attack and did a thorough job of stopping it. The forwards looked to make most of the chances they got but were unable to finish the few they had.

This effort is an encouraging display ahead of Canada’s upcoming World Cup qualifying game against Cuba, who will put up a far different test than the Americans did. The Cubans will look to flop and cheat their way to victory and it is up to the Canadians to maintain their cool and look for victory themselves.

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4 responses to “Canada 0-0 USA – A Canadian Perspective”

  1. Alberta Gooner says:

    The USA scored six goals combined in the friendlies against Brazil (one) and Scotland (five).

    The quality of Canada’s set-piece attacking and defending was atrocious.

    Friendlies are largely meaningless so the biggest prize on the night might have been the fact Junior Hoilett was watching from the stands and the Canadian team had a chance to make a real impression on him. I can’t see him being overly impressed with his potential teammates or encouraged about his ability to qualify for a World Cup based on last night’s game.

  2. I am amazed that so many people thought Canada played well.
    I am truly amazed at what Sportsnet had to say about the Canadian performance last night. Is it just me or do a lot of commentators have no sense of history or what has happened in past WCQ campaigns?
    First of all although Canada has not beaten USA on a consistent basis for many years/decades the Canadians almost always push the US very hard and make them work for a result.
    But the problem is not the USA the problem is what comes after it. The pattern has been an inability to win at home in WCQ and without that any country is going to struggle to come out of CONCACAF.
    I fail to see anything in that performance that tells me this Canadian team has a better chance of qualifying than their predecessors.
    On the other side of the coin USA was absolutely abysmal. I took a twitter pounding after the 5-1 win over Scotland when I said that there was little to be read into the result and it, IMO, did not nothing to indicate a new Klinsmann dawn.
    Strangely quiet since last night on Twitter with even some venturing to point out that the progress that seemed to have been in walloping Scotland may have been exaggerated – well fancy that!

  3. Alberta Gooner says:

    Bobby,

    Thanks. Some of my friends have suggested I’m overly negative about Canada’s chances to qualify for 2014 but I thought it was a pretty insipid display and Sportsnet’s overly rosy commentary was jarringly out-of-step with the performance on the pitch. Nothing out there suggested we’ll bother the established order in CONCACAF during the upcoming qualifiers.

  4. John Bladen says:

    Peter: A good article, thanks. I agree that a few of Canada’s oft maligned higher profile players had good nights.

    Maybe, as a group, we are all prone to looking at decent efforts and calling them great simply because on average the national side so often underperforms it’s own talent level. For all the effort, though, three or four absolute sitters were not converted. When you have a near complete lack of size/height up front, you simply have to take the (few) chances you create. Canada didn’t do that, and that bodes very poorly for our qualifying run.

    I don’t want to sound overly negative either, but I didn’t see this as a particularly sound US effort – even considering this was a friendly. I would never say they mailed it in, but we would have seen a vastly different game from the US had there been something meaningful on the line.

    As for 2014, well, I said 18 months ago that Canada’s focus should be on prepping for 2018 and 2022 with youth players. Imagine the verbal pounding that resulted in…

    The fact is that our present senior players are what they are. If they get through qualifying (which I very much doubt), it isn’t a sign of improvement in Canada’s footballing capability so much as good fortune (which, frankly, was true in ’86 also). They work hard to be the best they can be and should be commended for that. But they are a product of (in most cases) a failed national system.

    If we are ever to become a quality footballing nation and occupy a position in the world’s top 40 with some regularity (which I think is what our target should be, and is within our grasp in the next 20 years), it will require systemic change from the ground up. We need a system that can find and develop high quality youth players. To do that properly you have to identify them early. The MLS clubs will help with that, but they cannot do it alone. I’m hopeful Montagliani can use his business skill to bring larger and more regular funding to the development system.

    It was a good night for Canada. But it isn’t a turning point, nor an indication that we are headed for WC 2014.

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