Top Stories

USMNT scores early and holds on for win against tough Canada


As far as dream starts go, a goal 20 seconds into a tournament match against a neighboring rival is a pretty good one, and on Sunday it was just enough to help the U.S. men’s national team hold off a tough Canada to finish Concacaf Gold Cup group play with a perfect 3-0 record.

Shaq Moore’s goal 20 seconds into the match wound up being the difference as the Americans earned a 1-0 win over Canada to secure first place in Group B.

Sebastian Lletget received an excellent pass from Kellyn Acosta on the left flank and quickly squared a pass to the back-post to a streaking Moore, who finished the chance to kick off celebrations at sold-out Children’s Mercy Park.

The early goal looked it might propel the USMNT to a lopsided victory, but Canada eventually shook off that early goal and actually took control of the match after the first 30 minutes.

The Americans were never able to find the game after that promising start, managing just three total shots all match, and never recording another shot on goal after Moore’s goal.

Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos

In fact, it was the Americans who had to endure a difficult second half as Canada piled on the pressure and tested Matt Turner, who made three saves to keep the shutout. Walker Zimmerman’s exit from the match with a knee injury in the 15th minute didn’t cause problems for the Americans in the first half, but Donovan Pines struggled badly in the second half and the Canadians looked like they would break through and find an equalizer as they outshot the Americans 14-6.

The Canada goal never came though, with Miles Robinson, James Sands and Sam Vines delivering strong performances to maintain the shutout.

The Canadians had a claim for a penalty on the play Zimmerman’s injury came on, when he brought down Canada defender Richie Laryea in the penalty area. Replays showed Laryea foul Zimmerman prior to Zimmerman’s foul, and match officials ultimately ruled there was no penalty foul.

The USMNT finished in first place in Group B, and will now play its quarterfinal match on July 25 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas against the runner-up in Group C, which will be the loser of Tuesday’s Group C finale between Costa Rica and Jamaica. A draw would pit the Americans against Jamaica.

Canada will face the winner of Group C between Costa Rica and Jamaica.


  1. I think if this lineup had swapped Acosta for Williamson and Zardes for Hoppe that would have been a huge improvement. Also the use of wingbacks in that kind of heat is questionable as it will be difficult for any wingback to cover the ground needed in that heat to provide the shape the needed width for the formation and shape to work (it’s was a 4pm local time kickoff iirc). I’m playing Monday afternoon quarterback here but these are a couple tactical and player selection issues I want to call GB out on. Again this tournament feels like we’re approaching it like a January camp in thought process and player selection to me. Goal being scouting and bleeding some youngsters against some nasty concacaf thugs and see who deals and who can’t. Not sure how I feel about that being the GC but letting our European club talent work thru preseason rather than NT camps seems to be working in allowing those players to integrate into their club systems and get more minutes in their leagues. Still not giving Hoppe more than 15 minutes against Canada after how well he and Dike we’re working against Martinique I think was a mistake.

  2. As far as this USMNT squad goes..if they can get to the semis I’d consider that a successful tourney run.

    It’s just a bad roster, the 60-man had better options left out and injuries have not helped.

  3. Any team with a modicum of physicality and a midfield that can maintain possession will still cause Canada’s A-Team issues. Just don’t let them beat you on the counter or get into space. I know Canada is the trendy pick in CONCACAF right now, but even Herdman said they haven’t really played anybody of real note since the Nations League until this game, and they couldn’t beat a bad USMNT B-minus squad with a decent chunk of their A-Team starters and reserves. It’s a work in progress for the Canucks.

  4. I will always support our team but this is unwatchable. I spent the last 60+ minutes in a constant state of cringe.

    • There was about zero midfield other than Lletget occasionally giving a wide outlet. We would skip the mids and pass direct to forwards. The mids would then gut run by on defense — by Canada. Like I said before the tournament, he picked the wrong mids.

      The tempo was also no good. They started off fast playing through the wingbacks. It dwindled into them playing slow through the forwards sent wide. They could get at Canada fallen asleep, behind the backline. They had no solution for half court soccer because we weren’t precise enough and didn’t invert.

      Some of it may have been the heat. That and coming out hard for a first 15 is almost like a road tactic, an inferior team tactic. It worked but we basically held on for dear life.

  5. If Zimmerman is out I think we’ll need this
    If Arriola is back I’d slot him at RW but maybe better off the bench.

    • Roldan is crap. I don’t care how well he’s been doing in MLS. He’s not an international player. He can’t get it done against CONCACAF foes. He’s taking someone’s spot on the roster.

      • That is all true but given the roster we have there isn’t much other choice. We do have a week to retrain Zardes as a wing I guess. Shaq played as a RW in 2020 for his club so that’s another option, but I don’t think Berhalter does that.

      • are you serious? we’re going to pretend zardes or moore or hoppe wide is less effective than roldan? they are better raw than he is experienced. wow, roldan showed up for 1 game of his 20 against the worst team in the group, he’s “fixed.” dude sucks.

        and it’s interesting even you have bailed on the 532/352

    • Do you read I mentioned Zardes (who wasn’t good or the 15 mins as a wing in game 1) and Moore in my comment. Perhaps now we can replace Arriola anyway with Mueller.

  6. Some players did not play smart in the second half…losing possession, hitting the ball long instead of holding the ball and taking it to the corner…that’s what the midfielders are supposed to do…Roldan and Yueill were quite poor…Busio looked out of sorts, he’s not there yet…wonder if Williamson would have been better…Hoppe was better at holding the ball, played intelligently….In the end all that matters is the W, hopefully with one week between games, people can rest and heal and GB can put together a better game plan…almost forgot…Pines, not at all ready for primetime….

  7. So much of this roster feels like a January camp. With the January window being a WCQ window maybe we moved camp cupcake to GC to get the youngsters a run. I think a few are really showing to be worthy or more looks. Although Dike had a bad game he’s clearly shown he should at least be considered for the A squad. Hope’s clearly got game. Smooth touch and looking dangerous for the opposition. Sands definitely stands out to me as a future CDM or CB, I liked Vines performance today too, Busio has had a few flashes and has promise but at this point it’s still just promise but I’m hopeful as he gets more expensive at a higher level.

    If scouting and bleeding our youngsters against grown man competition in concacaf is the goal then we’re accomplishing that albeit not pretty. Maybe that’s the point though too. Mix in a few vets and let these 18-22 year old get a feel for nastiness of concacaf opponents at a young age. I like that thought, though most of these kids get that thru youth national team competition too.

    GB seems to trying to balance the scouting and bleeding of the kiddos with a mix of vets even if they’re not the best on the ball. It feels a lot like the 2009 GC or a typical January camp where the results are less important than the scouting and experience and the vets are seeing there last hurrah in the shirt.

  8. Like I said when the roster was announced I wanted to see Sands as a 6 and I think he basically played that today to some degree and was pretty good. Robinson has played well. Busio has some tough people to beat out whether it’s the 6, 8 or 10 position or what GGG roles with. Adams, mckennie, musah, lleget, acosta, possibly sands and one of three of gio, CP and aaronson could play in the middle and weah could take their spot on the wing. Depth is a good thing, not knocking nobody

  9. Good News–we won. Bad news–we were really out played. Bad news, this was without Canada’s 2 best players. Good news–with our European players in September we should beat them in the WCQ. Bad news–I don’t see how this US team can win the GC. Good news–it doesn’t matter much.
    There are some who think we should bypass our older, experienced players for young budding players. Well, if those young players play for teams like Juventus, Chelsea, Dortmund, or on other Top 5 league teams, that a whole different thing from those who have played only MLS. The difference seems significant. Some, including Arena in the past. thought MLS based rosters were good enough. Not anymore. A lot of Canadian players are now European based. Mark Anthony Kaye is a good player for LAFC, but doesn’t start for Canada. Canada not only looked more skilled, they seemed quicker and better at turning the ball over.

  10. USA got the result. They went more defensive after the loss of Zimmerman. Hopefully we get him back cause Pines is a really big dropoff. All I heard was how good was Canada and they didn’t look good to me. I never felt their attack was a threat. Now for US, they gotta do better on the counterattack. Dike got no service out there but a win is a win

      • Kaye is the regular starter over Piete and Akinola has been the back up to Cavalini and Larin but yes this wasn’t their most offensive line up. Osorio would typically start as well.

      • That’s not our problem, but even with those players I still don’t think they beat us…we had arguably our best CB on this roster get injured, so if people want to make the excuse that we somehow only won because their players got injured, I say bs, and their shots they did have were from distance and never really threatened Matt Turner! We didn’t play well, that’s not debatable, but I don’t think it’s debatable to say that Canada i still not on our level!

  11. This was absolute garbage…anti-football, zero creative thought or footballing intelligence out there. Yes, it’s a 2nd string team, yes, they were already through.

    But play some football. Enjoy the beautiful game…

    Look at who the coach is…

    Still decades away from any relevance on the global stage…

  12. There’s no two ways about it this match was a junk show. First 15-20 min we looked fairly solid until…
    Herdman made some tactical adjustments for Canada that stumped Beerholder. I thought, if we can just make it through the first half the US can make 2nd half adjustments…didn’t happen. Tactically we were poor, straight up out coached today. Sometimes you have to adjust to make things work for the personnel you have on hand which has been difficult for us at times. Tactically it just wasn’t good enough today.
    But with a bit of luck we get the W and hopefully we can make proper adjustments over the much needed break until 1/4’s

    • I know. That was a definitely “Beerholder” performance again. (Sorry Johnnyrazor.) Badly, badly, outcoached…again…getting overrun in the midfield, not adjusting, leaving the wrong personnel out there for 50+ minutes while a patchwork D is getting shredded, and not making the obvious fixes. Dude. We’re only going so far with Berhalter as a coach, it’s pretty obvious he just doesn’t have the tactical chops to take us much further. Once again we managed to Forrest Gump our way to a W but that isn’t going to last much longer; luck always runs out and that was definitely a case of the bounces favoring us. We got very little right that game.
      Not much to really take away from that aside from Sands was good, again. Everybody else showed some myriad weaknesses. Johnnyrazor was a lot less high on Busio than others because of his lack of physicality…here’s where I’ll give JR his due because he was dead-on with that assessment, it really showed up with Busio yesterday and he looked like a distinct lightweight not quite ready for big-boy soccer yesterday. Busio’s got high upside, he definitely needs to toughen up and put on some size and strength. Would have liked to have seen a lot more of Hoppe; he injected something there at the end but we didn’t see nearly enough of him and by then everybody else was pretty much done.
      Bad, bad game. Hopefully learn and move on. Not feeling good about Berhalter though. Once again he’s showing when the plan goes sideways he doesn’t adjust well, and he needs superior personnel for his team to look good. He might be a guy to develop the core of this team; I question how far he can really take it and we might start needing to look for a Roberto Martinez or suchlike beyond Qatar.

      • Roberto Martinez was so unable to adjust that he stayed with his 5-2-3 the entire time at the Euros and Belgium got bounced they were so predicatble. Berhalter remains imperfect too

  13. If you view the GC as nothing more than a tryout for WCQ slots:
    – Sands appears to have an edge over Busio for a #6 backup. Sands has the needed defensive acumen paired with distribution skills. Busio needs to gain body mass, which will come as he is still a teenager, in order to handle the rigor of WCQ, and Serie A for that matter.
    – Robinson looks to be a keeper at CB for WCQ. The GC has to boost his overall confidence. His 1×1 defending stands out.
    – Unsure if Dike is ready as a single striker deployment. He struggles with hold-up and transition, and Canada took advantage. Zardes made a better impression in this game with 2-way play. Looks like Dike needs midfield service at this juncture.
    – Thinking Hoppe choosing GC over Schalke pre-season to try to impress scouts and angle for a transfer.
    – Likely not getting a call in September: Lewis, Yueill, Pines
    – If you follow Canada, you have to like the possession and percentage of duels won. We were fortunate Lorin and Akinola had early exits, as Canada likely would’ve broken through with goals. Add in David and Davies and Canada will be a force in September.


Leave a Comment