NASHVILLE, TN – The Unit3d States Men’s National Soccer Team went into their first home game of this years CONCACAF World Cup qualifying round expecting to earn 3 points with a victory against Canada, but the speedy Canadian squad had a different outcome in mind.
The USMT and Canada had to settle for a 1-1 tie on Saturday night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The over 43,000 screaming fans were treated to an intense match between the two teams, but Canada’s tactics, and some bad breaks in the US roster made things difficult for the Americans.
The match started off with the US trying to find their footing after a shaky scoreless draw against El Salvador.
With the return of team captain Christian Pulisic, the US was hoping to be on a more sure footing against Canada.
Pulisic was dynamic and injected some creativity the Americans lacked on the road, contributing to the buildup leading to Aaronson’s goal in the 55th minute.
Other factors included the hamstring injury that kept Gio Reyna out of this game as well as the upcoming match against Honduras.
Then you have Weston McKennie. He was pulled from the match this afternoon for “violating a team policy.” When asked, US Head Coach Gregg Berhalter refused to go in to detail or add any further details.
No. 1 goalkeeper Zack Steffen missed his second straight match, this time after testing positive for COVID-19 after being sidelined for the opener by back spasms. He also will miss the Honduras trip.
The Canadians set up a formidable 3-4-3 formation, but keeping 5 defenders back, causing little space for what limited offense the US could muster up.
The Americans did manage to score first. In the 55th minute, Brendan Aaronson put in a cross from Antoine Robinson from the left side to give the US the 1-0 lead.
But seven minutes later in the 62ng minute, Alphonso Davies streaked down the left side, rendering DeAndre Yelin useless on defense, and sent a cross in front of the US net, which Cyle Lairin easily sent in for the equalizer.
As the match went on, the two teams became more and more intense and tings began to get chippy. The US players were getting frustrated.
The US had one final show at a win in extra time when Miles Robinson headed Pulisic’s corner kick over the crossbar.
“The teams effort was good, outstanding.” Said Berhalter. “It wasn’t up to the level that we expect. We’re going to have ups and downs but we’re expected to perform when called on.”
“We need new ideas at times we didn’t tear them enough.” Said Pulisic. “We couldn’t break them down. We need some solutions.”
The draw keeps the US in 3rd place in the CONCACAF, but four teams are tied with two points. The top 3 teams in the group qualify for the World Cup. There are a total of 14 games, played in groups of three. The US next face Honduras next in Honduras on September 8th.