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USMNT settles for scoreless draw with Canada in final friendly before qualifying

USA Canada 2 (Reuters)


The U.S. men's national team may have been hoping to head into World Cup qualifying with a confidence-building win, but they instead finished their summer friendlies with a frustrating result.

The United States was held to a scoreless draw by Canada at BMO Field in Toronto on Sunday night in its third and final friendly before World Cup qualifying begins. The Americans struggled to create chances against a compact Canada side, and goalkeeper Tim Howard made a handful of saves to prevent the hosts from picking up their first win over the United States since 1985.

Canada did not have many quality looks either, but they saw a first-half goal waved off for a questionable Dwayne De Rosario foul on left back Edgar Castillo. Canada also missed a late chance to come out victorious when substitute Simeon Jackson missed a shot from point blank after De Rosario got by Michael Parkhurst on the left flank.

Clarence Goodson came closest to scoring for the United States in stoppage time, but Canucks goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld swatted away his headed effort seconds before the final whistle.

Castillo, who was given a late start after Fabian Johnson picked up a knock in pre-game warmups, also had a chance in the first half to break the deadlock before Hirschfeld parried away his volleyed effort from distance.

Playing in their third friendly in nine days, the United States was not able to create the number of chances that it had in a loss to Brazil and a lopsided victory over Scotland. Canada's midfield pressured the Americans and the hosts' back four stayed compact and disciplined.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann started Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey together for the first time since he took over. But the American duo were not able to muster much in the way of offense as Canada closed in on them quickly to prevent the quick combination passes that the U.S. team demonstrated in the two prior friendlies.

The United States will next take on Antigua and Barbuda at Raymond James Stadiun in Tampa Bay, Fla. on June 8 to start its World Cup qualifying campaign.


What do you think of the United States' 0-0 draw with Canada? Who impressed/disappointed you? Are you feeling good about the team's style of play as the head into World Cup qualifying?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Not saying Jozy hustles more; but he was back in Canada’s final third defending when he came in and at one point he was 5 yards away from the 18 yard box.

  2. Agree. He should have been experimented in the defensive midfield trio. I just don’t understand why JK is playing him out of position. He does the same thing with Danny Williams. Its clear neither are wingers.

  3. I agree that canada looked better and we looked like we randomly kicked the ball around arbitrarily with no rhyme or reason and also that it was a wasted 2 hours but I don’t agree that Castillo was the worst player.

  4. That’s the thing, DeRo was spraying balls out to their right, our left, most of the game. When he, himself, took it in, he usually attacked the right or the middle. But it was previous obvious Canada was attacking the left side with the “Ocean” guy and then Jackson.

    As for him as a LM over LB, I agree with you on that. He seemed a little too eager to get forward and dribble forgetting that there was no one behind him. It was clear he has been playing LM for his club. That said, he still got back on defense and pretty much stuffed them every time. And yeah, his extra dribbling in the back on that one play was bad. He could have knocked it off of a Canadian player for a throw in pretty easily. But he tried to do too much and was lucky to get a foul.

    In the end, I think he should be in our squad. We need depth out wide.

  5. People do know that Mexico has the five game contract with SUM/MLS to play in the US? The fact that Mexico plays here so often may blind people to the fact that mexico has played away games in Europe and against good teams.
    Let’s face it, Mexico is looking like a very solid team right now. How can you say they will lose in the UK? Maybe against England but not anyone else at least how Mexico is playing now. I agree, let’s stop whining over Mexico but let’s not try to twist reality either. Mexico is looking to be a very strong team for a long time with their current squad and future squads.

    Now one thing we need to keep in mind is the World Cup will be played in Brazil. It will not be in Europe. The Latin American atmosphere is a very different beast. CONMEBOL is going to have Brazil plus 4+1 teams compete (most likely 6 total). Playing away games there will be key. We might get a preview of games like that playing in CONCACAF but only the Azteca and other large stadiums might give the US a preview. Can’t wait for the August friendly. We need to have more friendlies away against power houses like Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay

  6. For Canada?

    Why is Castillo afraid to go down into the corner in order to pull the defense away from the middle? no left foot? everyone of his cuts inside was an attacking opportunity lost.

    The success of the US attack seems to be L and R back heavy. Without the attacks coming in from the sides from either of those 2 things stagnated.

  7. I don’t know if the majority of Canada’s attacks came down Castillo’s side because DeRo was on the other side of the field most of the time. Aside from that, he plays how I would want my left mid to play. He stopped passes, made dribbling runs, and crosses but well in advance of where I would want a LB to play. The fact that he did actually get back to even make plays on the defensive side was because attackers were slowed by mids covering for him so he could speed back. Not to forget that he did try and dribble through people in the defensive third too much, which led to what should have been a Canada goal. Not saying he’s a terrible player, but saying I’d rather have him as a LM than a LB because he naturally wants to play higher and remain higher than he should as a LB option.

  8. Perhaps, but it’s also possible that the US is neither as good as the Scotland match suggests nor as bad as the Canada match suggests. Sometimes you just have a bad game, possibly for a variety of reasons (fatigue, players out of position, etc).

    The players were certainly fatigued. Several were playing out of position (Torres is wasted on the wing; Bradley needs to play higher up the pitch), and without Fabian Johnson, the LB position reverts back to the problem area it’s always been. I like Castillo’s attacking instincts, but he’s too irresponsible and positionally unsound to play LB for the US.

    Not that this is an excuse; the team played poorly. Moreover, they can expect to see a bunkering mentality from most CONCACAF opposition, so if they can’t break down *Canada*, they’re going to have some big problems against better opposition.

    All that said, there’s no point in getting all worked up over a friendly match, especially one where the coach is still tinkering with the lineup. I’d rather the US get their lousy games out of the way BEFORE they starting counting! If the US struggles to break down Antigua and Barbuda, then I’ll be worried. However, Klisnmann usually corrects his tactical mistakes, so I fully expect to see Bradley playing higher up the pitch, for starters.

  9. Wait a minute, let’s not lower our rating of Brazil b/c it was Olympic side.
    Hulk, Neymar, Pato, Thiago Silva, Marcelo…

    That’s Porto’s start striker going to UEFA Champions Chelsea, the prize jewel of Brazil/striker every club in the world wants, two seasoned players from AC Milan, and a defender from Real Madrid.

  10. “Catillo Castillo CASTILLO CASTILLO….”
    that seems to be the trend in the comments. Is he the best LB option? No. But he did good. Mistakes? Absolutely. But he did his job stoping Canada. Maybe he did try to do too much at times on the offensive side but I was very happy to see him attack. That is how he plays for Tijuana and considering Canada had most everybody back defending, why not send Castillo up?

    I think the biggest problem Castillo has is when people look at him, all they see is “MEXICAN” since he did once wear the green jersey. Therefore criticism is looked at very closely.

  11. Another reason it’s better to play in Europe than in North America. The Mexican Primera Division is the continent’s best league, but they don’t place the same emphasis on defense, and so players have time for those extra touches on the ball.

  12. I think you guys have it right. I like Torres, but he isn’t a winger. He doesn’t have the speed.

    He’s excellent at maintaining possession and slowing down the game, but that wasn’t exactly what we needed out of that position last night. It worked in the first 2 games b/c in the previous formation the LB was responsible for providing width to the attack, unfortunately in the 4-4-2 the winger has to push the game more.

    I’d like to see him as the Dmid with JJ and MB in front of him in the 4-3-3, but I’d understand if he ends up on the bench w/ Edu playing that roll.

  13. True, but all teams had mid week friendlies.

    Mexico was just a better team than Brazil’s U-23 Olympic team. Mexico almost defeated the senior Brazilians last fall until they blew a penalty and the lead late in the game to fall 2-1.
    To be frank, I was upset when the US lost the way they did against an Olympic team but it was just one of those games and we have to respect a U-23 Brazil team. A u23 Brazil team is still better than most senior teams in the world and it was U23 Brazil teams that were runner ups in the 1996 and 2003 Gold Cup.

    Canada seemed to play a 8-1-1 most of the game and any team would have had a hard time scoring against them.They almost did surprise the US a couple of times. The US is still a top team in CONCACAF. Most likely Canada will not make the World Cup like that but that doesn’t mean the US is all of a sudden a bad team and in danger of not qualifying.

  14. This was a terrible game to watch. Canada far outplayed the US tonight and with the 1-0 win. (Yes that was a goal.) I am worried about the US chances going forward.

    After hearing that mexico beat brazil 2-0 I thought our guys would have something to prove against canada, but apparently all they had to prove was how to turn the ball over consistantly in the midfeild. This lineup was dreadful!

    We can’t play two centerbacks that can’t hold the ball or create any movement out of the back. If either of them get a pass they immediatly pass it back to howard or to the outside. It makes out ball movement EXTREMELY predictable. Bocanegra passes to howard who passes to cherundolo who passes to (midfielder) who turns it over.

    Castillo is a spaz and shouldnt play until he can be more disciplined with the ball or possibly try him as a winger, but not a back.

    I would love to Try EDU on the backline

    Bradley was horrible tonight, turned it over almost everytime he touched the ball.

    Donovan and Torres can’t play together they are both heartless.

    I would like to see another goalie get a game or two to see how they manage the backline with positioning and set peices.

    With the players we have in camp I would love to see this for an experiment.

    Guzan or Rimando
    Bradley – Jones
    Gomez – Boyd
    I would Bring Altidore,Donovon,and Onyewu off the bench.

  15. Castillo only got beat by speed one time. Pure speed.

    As for Howard, he’s always a beast. Nothing new there. haha

    As for the two defensive mids, I agree. But I disagree with you that people should stop discussing Edu. If we go to a 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1, Edu can be the destroyer and allow Jones/Bradley to get forward. This is what they did in the Scotland game. Or you put Jones in the destroyer role and have Bradley and Torres as the outside center mids. That’ll free up the top 3 for LD, Dempsey and Jozy/Gomez.

  16. I feel more confident with Gomez playing…

    To me, he seems to hustle more than Altidore and he seems to have a better nose for the goal, not to mention superior ball control…he also seems to read the game better…and he’s quicker to all of the 50/50 balls. You could say that Altidore is rusty, but Gomez seemed to hustle more and this was after playing in 3 games within 8 days

  17. It’s not a good sign when people line up to make “Edgar Castillo: In Defense of Mediocrity”-type posts. His offense was muddled and on defense they were attempting to exploit him for speed. They were effective enough where I became impressed with the attacker’s speed and dangerousness, a sign Castillo was not as good as some suggest.

    I’ve personally never seen Castillo play particularly well for the USA, which should be relevant in the “all star” context of the USMNT, just as it is for the hustling but pointless Wondo (and his predecessor in the role Twellman). “What have you done for me lately?” But as goes with these things on the net, he’s either wholly underrated or a complete travesty.

    Few have mentioned Howard, who did in fact break up a few plays, make his saves, and make few gaffes. Ledgerwood’s shot, while impressive, was well after the whistle. If we’re going to applaud quality direct it the right way.

    Particularly against more modest sides I’m a tad bothered by the 2-DM approach. People are advocating for Edu but this becomes a how many DMs do we need situation we were already deploying B.1 Jones and Serie A Bradley how much more of that is necessary. What I felt we needed was wing play and incisive playmaking. Too much (attractive, mind you, but not particularly effective) just playing the ball around, not enough getting the ball to spots and setting up forwards. Running JK theme.

  18. I agree that many times there were no options going forward; but in the second half when we had options, Torres couldn’t make the simple pass.

    Also he always takes a extra touch; when many times a one-touch is what is needed. Castillo also seems to suffer from this problem.

  19. Castillo did well IMO- He was hassled on the left side for most of the game. He made a couple poor decisions, but the Pros outweighed the Cons.. If Fabian isn’t playing that position, then I think Castillo will do well… Let Go You Yanks!! Get Your Legs Back!!!

  20. Hope Benny and Adu get in the mix after the first round of WCQ (that’s if we even get through). We could use their creativity..

  21. He’s not been playing. The question is his fitness and form off injury. The question of a “pass” is more a propos when one is fit but looks lousy, this was more like an attempt to get him involved after giving him time off. To me it’s a win he didn’t limp off.

  22. All due respect but if the wings are open I’d prefer specialist midfielders whacking balls in versus “backs getting forward” any day. I’m slightly concerned that Dempsey and Donovan seem to be both our best wings and our best forwards and you can’t use them twice. Torres is not a wing, and Shea and some others aren’t even in camp. To the extent we need wing service I’m a little worried.

    Of course some would say that we can do it playing Klinsi’s knockaround style but last night was programmatic results for many nights we’ve tried to become a Klinsi passing team, lots of perimeter passing, not enough incisive balls, low scores. Italy bought him a big breather but I’m not sold his style is effective.

  23. I did see some hope in that it wasn’t anyone’s ideal XI from the camp, but there’re enough serious players where I can’t blow it off.

  24. Whatever it was the linesman saw, the flag was up so early in the process that acting like a goal got taken away is a tad strained. We was robbed works better when you elbow the guy on the header and it goes in but gets called back. This Castillo is getting knocked around in the corner, is stripped but the flag goes up, a pass has to be made to Ledgerwood for him to even finish. It’s not quite kicking the ball in the net after being called offsides but the quality of the finish is almost besides the point when the call’s already made.

    FWIW I thought the initial guy hammering on Castillo merited a call but the guy who stole the ball had position.

  25. I though Castillo did well too. He did make some mistakes, but they can all be fixed. He has talent and drive you can’t teach and if he can hone that talent he would be a great lb. I wouldn’t mind him starting eventually and moving Johnson up in the formation. Johnson has what American soccer doesn’t have – the ability to beat a person in an one on one situation. If you watched the game last night you can see they brought the ball up and just tried to cross. Rarely, did anyone try to beat their man. Sadly, the u.s. will not improve if they don’t add this aspect to their game. Also, the players need to be able to play almost every position because what jk wants is a flowing game. We cant have that if people, like edu, can’t pass or cross the ball and only defend. Also, I have noticed if Donovan is not faster than the person he can’t beat them one on one. Where is his creativity? Here is hope to more players playing in Europe at a young age and not playing in college. It really stifles and soccer growth.

  26. My concern was the lack of wing play/ quality. As with some of the JK games it simply felt like we didn’t have enough actual wingers around. Landon was about it.

    I say that because it felt like Mr. Tiki Taka Torres was trying to play wing and is not particularly apt at doing so.

  27. Canada has always played us tight because it’s similar physicalities, similar tactics, etc. They’re fresh and it’s our third game in a week.

    I was far more concerned by Panama #1 last year at home than tying a solid Canada side at their house.

  28. Have you ever been over-trained? It’s not the players’ fault if the coach runs their legs off.

    But if they can get their legs back I can’t imagine Antigua or Guate could actually take advantage, and half the point to all these games, IMO, was to play us hard so the real thing is almost easy. After Brazil or even Canada I imagine Antigua will not be the same, much as I’d have preferred different results, more interesting tactics, and more energy.


  30. It would be close…Brazil would have been 3-0 w/ 9 points, we would have 4 with a +1 goal differential and 6 goals scored. Then the winner of Canada/Scotland would be also have 4 points, if they drew they’d each only have 2. Let’s say Canada wins, it’s likely a low scoring game and both those teams likely lose to Brazil by at least two goals…so in the end we advance on goal difference.

    Don’t argue…I simulated it on FIFA…J/K that would make me a total loser, not jsut partially a loser.

  31. I’d argue that the US game vs. Brazil took a lot out of both teams. As I was watching us play Brazil and after the physical nature of the game, I said to somebody that the biggest winner in this game was going to be Mexico who would get a tired and beat up Brazil side. Canada benefited as well.

    No excuses for the results, but look at the big picture, not the short term results.

  32. Neither Altidore nor Wondo had a chance to influence the game. Altidore’s best moments came off of defensive clearances and Wondo was pretty much wasted chasing fullbacks all by himself since by the time he came in Dempsey was playing in the defensive third and Altidore was kind of lost.

  33. It was strange that Gomez seemed much more capable of holding up play and menacing the centerbacks against Brazil then against Canada. I’m now back to worrying if we really can deploy Gomez as a center forward. The good news is I think Altidore is just a bit rusty.

  34. I agree Castillo defended well and he could dribble past one defender, but he almost never made any really useful passes, so saying he helped our offense is an overstatement. His dribbling runs were often made because he did not see a way to pass out. It is always hard to tell if that is because no one showed for the ball or if they showed but he could not see (or chose to ignore) them. I suspect that at least some of the time players were open and Castillo did not make the pass and instead dribbled. Dribbling in the back, in addition to being risky also slows the attack and bogs it down too far from goal.

    Still, Castillo was not the reason the US performed so poorly.

  35. I thought Castillo played well enough. He was fouled and pretty hard by DeRo on that non-goal. He did get decent positioning for aerial balls so that he did not lose too much to bigger players. He could keep possession and dribble if need be.

    But, he tended to keep the ball too long, did not provide any good service to others and when dribbling out of the back took too many chances that when they failed left the US open for counters. Those are all mental things that can be fixed, but that does not always happen as some players just never seem to get it. Ask Adu why he does not start for anyone, I’m sure he has no idea. Lets hope Castillo can develop a better soccer brain.

  36. Too many central players (Bradley, Jones and Torres) and our attack is too predictable. Klinnsmann should sit Torres and start Castillo at Left Mid. In the future Klinnsmann should call up more wingers (Bedoya and Gatt).

  37. The inside story is that Junior wants to play for Canada but his dad wants him to play for Jamaica. His dad is also his agent and has a ton of influence over him.

  38. I did better than that: I watched the game. Mexico was not in the least playing bunker ball for the entire game. They simply were not awed by the idea of playing Brazil and scrambling around all day, as a result.

    But anyway, the point remains that Mexico having not only faced but beaten Brazil the very same day is one of the reasons hush’s charges here are unfounded.

  39. This was a bad game for sure, but we learned a few things. We need to be in a 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1. It’s just that simple.

    For me, Goodson was MOTM followed by Jones and then Castillo. The best player on the field was DeRo though. I thought LD looked absolutely terrible, Dempsey was absolutely ineffective, Bradley was just ok but stuck on defense, Torres was ok, Gomez was decent but was not nearly as good as the previous two games, and Boca/Dolo looked gassed.

    This team was very flat and they looked tired. I hope JK gives them some rest because they clearly need a day off. I thought Jozy looked good the few times he had the ball. Can’t wait to get him back out there.

    Anyone know the recovery time for Johnson?

    For the qualifiers, I would like to see:

    Dolo, Goodson, Boca, Johnson
    Bradley, Edu, Jones
    LD, Jozy, Dempsey

    Subs: Torres, Guzan, Boyd, Corona, Gooch, Castillo, Gomez

    I would also be ok having Jones play in Edu’s spot with Torres at LCM. Torres and Johnson play well together. At least for the A&B game I’d like to see Jozy, but if he plays poorly, I’m ok with Gomez going back in. And if Gomez comes in, I put him on the LW with Dempsey in the middle.

    On another note, Goodson and Gooch didn’t lose a single header when they were both in. haha Those two are nuts.


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