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USMNT vs. Canada: SBI Match Night


The U.S. men’s national team takes on Canada on Sunday night at LP Field in Nashville (8pm, FS1/UniMas/TUDN) in a World Cup qualifier both teams will be eager to win after settling for draws in their Octagonal openers on Thursday.

The Americans earned a point in El Salvador in a lackluster performance on Friday, while Canada settled for a home point against Honduras in a match John Herdman’s men were expected to win.

Now, the pressure is on the USMNT and Canada to secure the three points tonight to avoid a terrible start to their final round of Concacaf qualifying.

The USMNT will be without Zack Steffen, who will now miss the remaining September qualifiers after testing positive for COVID-19 (he has been replaced on the roster by Sean Johnson).

Christian Pulisic is back in the lineup, but the USMNT will be without Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie. Reyna has been sidelined by a hamstring injury, while McKennie is not available, and not in uniform due to violation of a team policy.

Here is the USMNT starting lineup, which includes Jordan Pefok starting at striker:

Here is a look at how Canada could line up tonight:

Here is a look at SBI’s pre-match coverage of USMNT-Canada:

Who will, and who should start for the USMNT vs. Canada?

The SBI Show: Episode 326 (Previewing USMNT-Canada, Recapping USMNT-El Salvador)

Zack Steffen to miss Canada match, Pulisic a question mark

USMNT-Canada Preview

After struggling against El Salvador, spotlight is on Sergino Dest to deliver against Canada.

Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on tonight’s action in the comments section below, and be sure to check SBI for post-game coverage.


  1. It’s a team game 100 percent, but Canada got the draw tonight because they set up their world class player to do what he does best. When in doubt kick the ball wide to Alphonso and get out of the way. Stop trying to get Christian coming back to the ball that’s not what he’s good at, even when he plays as narrow winger for Chelsea. He needs the ball at his feet facing goal running at people. Put him out wide and get the heck out of his way. Let him run at Adekugbe or Laryea get to endline and cause havoc.

    • said this a few weeks back and you went pedantic on me about whether he plays out to the chalk for club. guess you heard stewie said it and it makes sense now eh? like i said, we are better off running at people. our forwards all pinch in and face backwards. so the wingbacks have their channels. the wingbacks then get abused on defense. pick different wingbacks and hand reyna and pulisic the space out to the chalk. ez pz.

      • It’s not where he wants to be it’s not where he’s got the best chance to score from but no one can find him the ball otherwise. How many passes did we even attempt to him in the final third where he was facing goal? Really any of our attacking players.
        By the way I wasn’t listening to Stu, so I guess that tells how freaking obvious it was. I get people say we play too much hero ball especially against ES but if no one can play a pass forward to someone facing goal it’s going to be really hard to score.

  2. Aaronson showed his bad game against El Salvadore was a one-off. Tonight he showed why he was so effective for the Union an is for Salzburg. Despite his slight build, when there were multiple players around the ball, he repeatedly was the one who came away with it because of his good balance and quick feet. He was also aggressively pressing Canada all night. If it weren’t for Adams (again), he would be man of the match for the US.

  3. Berhalter gets lots of the blame. Making subs in the 82nd minute is pathetic. We were being outplayed since the 60th minute and he waits until it’s too late to make any real impact.
    Again we was out-coached. But hey we’ll set up a friendly against Bermuda to make us feel better after we lose in Honduras.

  4. You can’t draw your way to the WC. Turner saves the day again, or Canucks win this. Dest doesn’t look like a defensive minded player. Waited way too long for subs, you gotta bring dudes on at 65-70 minute. Mexico is showing how it’s done, beat lesser teams home and away. Yedlin got smoked on the goal, but what was Brooks doing?

  5. Adams with a dumb foul on a break away. Even if we didn’t score it would have brought some life back into them

    McKennie lets the team down with his immaturity. He needs a small vacation from the NT.

    Needed those subs in much earlier.

  6. Credit to Canada for a great game plan. Bunker, more bunker, then break through Davies. This Canadian team is the fastest and most talented I’ve ever seen, and is disciplined as well. Not a shock if they make it to Qatar. For both El Salvador and Canada, these games feel like a victory.
    After 2 games, the team realizes no CONCAFAF opponent fears them. It’s about getting results -period. Honduras will be like El Salvador: subpar field, hostile crowd, team treats game like a WC final at home. Time to bring the A game.

    • Maybe I might sound like an I told you so, but yesterday I predicted that Canada would clog the middle. The solution, I said is to bring the b all down the flanks and hit crosses. That’s why I favored Pefok as the starter since I thought he was better in the air. So, how did we score? A quick pass, dribble, and then a cross from Robinson with a tap in from Aaronson. But then we stopped doing that. Instead, the majority of the time a winger would try an entry pass into the middle and we’d lose the ball. What is Berhalter telling his players?

  7. I’ve been reluctant to be overly critical of Triple-G, but: Short roster. No fire. Flat team for WC Qualifiers. Late subs. Aaronson off for Roldan? Key players showing immaturity. No urgency. No chemistry.

    No leadership?

    Too soon to say Greg out, but not too soon to worry he’s the wrong guy for the gig.

    • too soon? watch what happens in honduras. this was the low hanging fruit part of the schedule. 2 points. canada is basically mark 2-3 guys, game over.

      • Too soon because I haven’t put any thought into who would be a better replacement. Any suggestions for a new manager?

    • I’m with IV on this one. Sadly making a change now is only repeating the same mistakes from the last cycle but the guys you would be looking at would be MLS guys like Bradley, Vanney etc…

      • Vanney is the most appealing out of those “options”… but is he leaving a half-decent Galaxy for this mess. Sounds like there aren’t any outside of Bunker Bob or Tab Ramos. Ramos coached some of this team’s bigger names in the youth setup. Maybe they would “play for him”… but Ramos hasn’t done well in recent managerial roles.

        I’m available for the job. Here’s my Honduras lineup, given the choices:

        DeLaFuente Aaronson Pulisic
        Adams Lletget/McKennie
        Robinson Brooks Robinson Acosta/Dest

        Miles Robinson and Adams, in permanent marker. No debate.

        Sargent is cold up top and isn’t useful for distributing. Pepi is still too young to start, though he’s a serious (earlier) bench option at this stage. Thus, Pefok who can still make things happen if supported…

        CP is better on the right. Always has been. Ives’ logic for Reyna still goes for CP. Give him space and opportunities to beat players wide, and the chance to get found cutting in toward goal rather than getting crushed by CMs at the center circle.
        DeLaFuente plays on the left. Play him there. Even if he isn’t playing well for this team right now.
        Aaronson in the middle. He can orchestrate, but, more importantly, he seems to be able to use his body and turn more effectively than others in this role. We will need his attributes in the center of the attack to break down El Sal… I mean Can… I mean Honduras.

        McKennie if he’s at all available, then, given the options… Lletget. Acosta if Dest is still available to play.

        Dest if available, but if the injury is serious enough, Acosta. Yedlin doesn’t have his old speed. Honduras will bunker, and Yedlin still can’t pass. I would have called up either of Cannon or Moore. But they aren’t here. So… Acosta, who can play on the right and can pass better than Yedlin.

        Robinson because he has a solid cross and isn’t overly green. Has an assist. Bello is too young and lacks the solid cross.

        Brooks because he’s still a good set piece option and McKenzie/Sands are too green for Honduras.

        Go to town.

      • i am in tab hell at the dynamo. thank you, no. he is a GB xerox. personally i think he should have done better with the U20s when you consider the sheer talent at his disposal.

  8. If the USMNT doesn’t win in Honduras, it is Belharter out time! I am so mad I don’t even feel like doing Yoda talking. And Why doesn’t Berhalter play Pepi?

  9. I am back to having major concerns with Berkhalter as the manager. He earned my respect from the gold cup but from Nations League to now, our A team hasn’t looked good under him. Tonight was a horrible result and we have Honduras on the road next smh. Man, I was so positive about this team until that goal by Canada. Talk about a big punch in the stomach.

    • we leave good people out, we pick defense for offense, we pick offense for defense, and whatever the heck the system consists of seems to be endless passes by the flag. he tries 343 in nations league then it disappears and back to this trash. he does pure team defense for gold cup then drops 3/4 of those backs. he lets pulisic ballhog and take all the kicks.

      • if you watch what works in these games it’s either deadballs with acosta or it’s throughballs playing wings behind the defense then play the ball across on the ground. or occasionally take a shot from the D. it’s not fart around at the flag then cross it in. which is what we do every time the A team plays a 433.

      • lol I’m so angry right now. Wow, I was in such a good mood. I gotta get offline. Damn, I was actually on Berhalter side after the El Salvador game. I took the result as a positive but now…. zoinks

  10. Canada is a much better team. More disciplined, faster, and better tactically. Our midfield was overrun all night. Our defensive beaten by Canada’s speed all night.
    I also think we’ll lose Ricardo Pepi to Mexico in the coming weeks.

    • Canada is not the better team. Thats why this game is disappointing to us cause USMNT is a lot better and lazy coaching put this team in trouble in the 2nd half. Canada made a bunch of subs early and we didn’t make any until the 81st minute!!

  11. Well, that sucked. Qualifying is marathon not a sprint so at least they still control their own destiny. That is what I said 4 years ago right before they lost to Trinidad.

  12. wow, a whole 2 points better than klinsi got from mexico home and costa rica away. sending on roldan to win us the game. genius.

    • US would get outplayed by everyone under Klinsmann. His players werent as good as these but his teams werent good. Canada parked the bus and played to counter and they got a goal from it amd probably should have had more but they certainly didnt outplay the US. They have to learn how to play against teams that pack in the defense. Used to be the other way around.

    • A wonderful example of cherry picking facts. What did Klinsmann do the previous WC cycle? Sure, just ignore facts that are inconvenient. And if Klinsmann was so bad, why didn’t Arena manage to qualify since he had a lot more games in that cycle than Klinsmann and only needed a draw against T&T, who didn’t even have some of their best players.

  13. I gotta say I find this game way more disappointing then the El Salvador game. That goal we gave up was so bad on defense and prior to that they were great on D. We can’t attack or finish. Its going to be a problem from here and out. Canada was the better team in the 2nd half

    • people mock my critique of the defense but at some point they will wake up that you can’t play this level of contest with people who cannot defend. and we have offensive talent but the system doesn’t leverage them and the coach puts on favorites as the team’s engine. a trained monkey could get 2 points from these games. this is the easy part of the schedule. wake up fanboys.

  14. Berkhalter really brought in the subs way too late. Since that last goal Canada has been the better team with all of the subs they brought in.

  15. have we had a clear enough demonstration of why i detest having wingbacks chosen for their ability to go forward???? thanks.

      • spare me the pedantry, his outside backs cannot mark — nor can brooks — and it kills the defense. distinction without difference.

    • But who? Who replaces them? We can say we need more defensive FBs but Berhalter can’t take crap and turn it into creme brûlée’s. Sorry we don’t have anyone that can stay with Davies or Buchanan’s speed, certainly none of the more defensive FBs. Buchanan ran through and around Bello, Vines, Moore, and Cannon at the GC he’s ran over every MLS FB this season. Davies has destroyed every defender in the CL so you have to score more than 1 because with David, Larin, Davies, and Buchanan you’ve got to score 2 or the best you’ll get is a draw.

      • JR, Bello didn’t play v Canada in the GC. I wholeheartedly disagree that Buchanan was beating Shaq Moore. Buchanan tried and Shaq wasn’t budging an inch. Buchanan switch sides 2nd half to try and get past Vines because he couldn’t get pass Moore. Moore > Yedlin. Yedlin has many lack of awareness moments that leads to goals as we know.

    • I’m going out on limb here that Donovan Pines wouldn’t have made a difference. The difference between 1-0 and 1-1 was Canada finished their chance tonight not that they had more. Also some unknown player named Alphonso Davies played tonight. Didn’t hurt either that David wasn’t there in KC and Larin left in 53 with injury.

    • It’s OK, I’ll defer to you if that’s what happened, I still don’t think Shaq or anyone we have is going to completely shut down Davies for a whole match. We’ve just got to be better at breaking down their low block so that it’s 3 or 4 to 0 when Davies or Buchanan runs by someone like it was in Orlando two years ago. You can’t have 75% possession and one decent chance. We’re not seeing the patterns of play anymore. There’s no swinging the ball no diagonal runs in behind. It’s just stagnant. Herdman learned though he played Davies high in 2019 they win, played him as straight LB in Orlando he’s pinned deep for the first half down 3-0, plays him high tonight draw. I’m just really glad Elis is out for Honduras.

      • JR, exactly! Davies was used as a winger this match. The one player, you would think the defense would keep an eye, got loose. Embarrassing Yedlin, M. Rob stuck in no mans land and Brooks watching the ball & not the back post runs. …but Davies speed embarrasses many world class defenders. I agree that Elis is out, should be an advantage for US but I never though ES would have a decent pitch and the ref would’ve called a clean match. Lol

  16. See that is the difference between getting behind a defense and playing a ball on the ground vs taking it to the flag and whacking hopeful balls vaguely in pefok’s direction

  17. Great first half. 76 percent in possession but we just can’t score lol. We should have had 2 goals. We need to break out of this funk. Robinson been great at left back. Miles Robinson is making me believe he might be our best centerback. Tyler Adams is a monster in the middle. We just can’t finish. On to the 2nd half!!

  18. I like how Acosta just got in Laryea’s face. I remember no one on the US stood up for CP when he was getting hacked by Panama in ‘16/‘17.

    • Every time Pulisic gets kicked down someone should go find Davies. That is how Jermaine Jones did it. The first Brazil kicked Donovan he went and found Neymar and it stopped.

    • Wasn’t 28 the max number of players you can have for WCQ this year? If it was, then 30 players would be against the Fifa regulation, right?!

      • I take that back I’m not ? on that. You had to submit a provisional roster but I don’t know what the roster limit was. But I don’t think it was only 28 but I don’t know that for sure.

      • mexico called 28, costa rica called 28, panama called 28. we called 26 but that includes carrying weah who never left europe, steffen who has back issues, plus 2 more out today, and we’ve called one new player.

      • Rewatched the first half, I wouldn’t characterize it as great but better than he’s been. Had a couple really nice sequences early but started limping and favoring about 20 mins before he went off.

  19. If McKennie knowingly violated team policy, then he deserves to be benched. I recall Juventus issuing a statement about his off-field behavior, but I am speculating, so let’s hope it is something minor. GB made the right choice giving the armband to Adams.

    • if you’re going to have the nuts to dump him and this is a known issue you might have the brains to have more than 5 mids available to start with, particularly when you plan on trotting out 433 most/all of the games. kind of like his approach to the wing spots and in particular hoppe looks a little sloppy and arrogant also. i didn’t suggest 28-30 players for my health, i suggested it because with 3 game windows and covid and the vicious nature of concacaf this was always going to be a tough slog, and you needed contingencies for your contingencies.

      US coaches have historically called in players when people got hurt in quali. it’s kind of control freaky and arrogant to just bull your way through the fixture list like swapping anyone undermines your authority. a smart coach puts the team over himself and adjusts. climb down from your high horse and tell someone of the people who first got “no” a “yes” instead. if we can’t get people abroad in, then get some of the rising MLS stars.

    • Not sure when they were sure about Reyna but Wes’s discipline problem would have occurred after the 24 hour limit to replace him. Also with most MLS playing last night it wouldn’t have been feasible for tonight. Nor could you realistically gotten a Euro based player here and medically cleared to do anything more than sit on the bench. You’d hope someone else will be brought for Honduras. Berhalter has hopefully learned a lesson and will bring more in October. So many players being unable to travel until Sept. 1 because they would be needed to complete transfer medicals limited this roster. Nico, Hoppe, CCV, EPB, Richards, Cannon and possibly Moore had to be in Europe for perspective medicals. Their often thought of as formalities but it was ARobs medical that killed his deal with Milan.

      • i told you i wanted more like 30 to begin with for such contingencies. and not with the “double accounting” of aaronson being included in the depth charts at 3 positions. he also would have known of at least half, perhaps 3/4 of the injury list prior to MLS games. the only question when he knew was mckennie.

      • and my point would extend beyond “today.” we have another game mix-week. you don’t play short the rest of the window…..

      • IV I think most of us Ives included thought he would/should bring at least 28 but he didn’t. It doesn’t do any good to bring it up over and over. From here on we need to cash in our chips with clubs. You don’t want us to fly player A over for 10 days when he might not play. Sorry we need him. It’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it, growth mindset not fixed.

      • “doesn’t do any good?” he can call replacements any time he wants. it’s not just 1 bad decision, it’s 3. at this point we need reinforcements. but as of this game we were down to near 23.

  20. based on the released XI i am anticipating
    pulisic pefok aaronson
    lletget adams acosta
    robinson brooks robinson dest

    • that backfield is he literally didn’t learn his lesson from the first game vs how gold cup went, when we played horribly and were undermanned on offense and yet held them scoreless and won.

      the attrition is also why you chase game 1 like you want the win and don’t try to squeak the easiest opponent and put off chasing 3 points to the tougher games.

      • from his list?
        pulisic acosta aaronson dest
        bello zimmermann robinson yedlin
        but half the problem is “attrition” meets bad wingback, mid, and wing forward choices to begin with. 5 mids. run out of wing forward depth. some bad back choices where i would only trust 1 of his choices to mark their man out of the game.
        from the USMNT universe i’d be playing something like
        pulisic green holmes hoppe
        vines CCV robinson moore

      • IV – on your preferred lineup guessing Bello and Yedlin as better defenders and Zimmerman due to Brooks one v one defending? Getting Dest up the field where not a defender first?

      • 451 to have numbers back in the shape to help defend, i find 433 childishly tactically naive unless you want to be real real aggressive with better attacking players. yes, people who can actually mark, roughly what you said, yedlin i struggled for who to play RB off his list. i preferred the gold cup guys.

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