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USMNT falls to Canada in clash of Concacaf qualifying leaders


A nightmare start and inspired opponent left the U.S. men’s national team struggling for answers on Sunday against a Canada side that showed why it is sitting in first place in the Concacaf World Cup qualifying standings.

Canada claimed a first World Cup qualifying win over the Americans since 1980 on Sunday, using goals from Cyle Larin and Sam Adekugbe to seal a 2-0 victory. It was Canada’s sixth win overall in the octagonal round, moving them four points clear of the USMNT for first place.

Larin struck against the USMNT back in September and followed suit by delivering the go-ahead goal on Sunday. After passing from Jonathan David and Larin on a counter attack, the Besiktas forward beat Miles Robinson before finishing past Matt Turner for his Canadian-record 23rd international goal and fifth of the Octagonal Round of qualifying.

The USMNT had chances to tie things up before halftime with Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie both leading the charge. Pulisic’s free kick in the 36th minute soared over Milan Borjan’s net though and McKennie’s header in the 42nd minute was repelled by the veteran goalkeeper.

Brenden Aaronson created room for a good chance in the 60th minute, but his low drive was gathered easily by Borjan in the middle of his net.

Matt Turner kept the USMNT alive in the 69th minute after denying Larin his second goal of the day. David’s long-range shot was spilled by Turner, but the New England Revolution goalkeeper stretched himself to deny Larin’s follow-up attempt.

The introductions of Ricardo Pepi, Jordan Morris, and Paul Arriola didn’t spark the USMNT attack in the final stage of the match, with Canada grinding out an important home win. Pepi skied his effort in the 80th minute from a tight angle before Arriola sent a bicycle kick attempt just wide of the mark.

Adekugbe iced the victory for Canada in stoppage time, racing upfield on a breakaway and beating Turner to set off the celebrations in Hamilton.

The Americans will now face added pressure in Wednesday’s home clash with Honduras, knowing anything short of victory will pull them closer to the trailing back in the Octagonal standings.


  1. i see people are now talking down the offense. this is trash. the undermanned US team of the 2018 cycle led concacaf in goals for, failing because of the defense and the lack of rotation. IT’S THE SYSTEM AND THE SELECTION. very simple. you run out zardes and ferreira and arriola and such, and it’s no longer even as good as last time. we have half a dozen other options at least. pulisic or morris out of position. pefok! i guess scoring on manu was poor club form or something. nico! sargent has to be better than this trash. green only scored on FRANCE. if the lousy team last cycle headed by a 50 year old dempsey, pulisic, and arriola, can manage 1.7 goals a game, this much more talented unit can pull more than 1.3.

    turner’s kick and keeping, and robinson’s effort on the goal, yeah, not up to their standard. but the forwards did about what i would expect, and on no planet were they first choice. heck, the man has barely played pepi. i buy that some particular team might merit nuance, might have a short or slow CB to get after, but he acts like every game requires tinkering and justifies less than his best XI. sorry, don’t buy it. run your best players out and get the system out of their way and this would be like canada looks in 5 seconds.

    doubt me? the 2 recent games where they “just played,” to me, were the honduras quali and costa rica friendly blowouts. we played direct and blew down the wings. we were a menace. that and if we played defenders who can mark, no one would score very easy on this back 6. but not if you swap back in the attacking wingback types.

  2. “I believe we are the team with the most potential from our region. Just has to gel.”

    True. BUT, potential means you haven’t done anything yet.

  3. Love a lot of the posts….but when are we all going to get it? USMNT JUST DOES NOT HAVE A GOOD STRIKER CORP or better yet, a good goal scorer. Simple. Who on this team has scored more than A GOAL in the past 7 consecutive games? Pepi? He was on the field. Our star players play in big leagues but they only excel in a supporting roles and none of their clubs rely on them for goals. None. Our MLS strikers are decent but are playing exactly like…..MLS strikers.
    13 shots on goal but only 3 shots on target???……with over 63% possession and a far better pass percentage than Canada???? THERE IS NOTHING MORE BEERHOLDER COULD HAVE DONE but suit up himself. Nothing. If Robinson, a defender, didn’t score in the last game we would have been in far worst shape. The USMNT needs a forward with nose for goal… who can put away chances, who can make something out of nothing, who is dangerous in the front of goal…….and we just don’t have that yet in out pool, plain and simple.

    • “but when are we all going to get it? USMNT JUST DOES NOT HAVE A GOOD STRIKER CORP or better yet, a good goal scorer.”

      What are you talking about? US fans have been bitching about this since Brian McBride retired.


      That’s a load of horse manure. Man City have no recognized striker. They do okay. Chelsea just won the Champions League w/o a decent striker. And the USMNT has a lot fewer games where they have to make do w/o one.

    • all due respect but (a) we have pulisic and morris who could also play 9, (b) pepi went off the boil long ago and (c) this is probably the only coach who would be picking zardes and ferreira and then starting them. i think i could do fairly well with some mix of morris pulisic pefok pepi. nico, sargent, and soto might be better strikers than his final 2 right now. dude’s a clown. do not confuse his selections with an absence of choices and at least some quality.

      • I hear what you are saying Imperative, but Gregg Berhalter has the highest win percentage of any USMNT coach (77.38%) for a reason. Evidently he is winning games, but just not with a CONSISTENT goal scorer. We posses majority of the ball, we have a good pass percentage, we have a good defense and midfield to be a nightmare for teams…..but the USMNT just doesn’t have that prolific goal scorer. To put things in prospective:
        12 goals
        Canada – Cyle Larin
        8 goals
        Canada – Jonathan David
        El Salvador – David Rugamas
        7 goals
        Panama – Cecilio Waterman
        6 goals
        Suriname – Nigel Hasselbaink
        5 goals
        Canada – Lucas Cavallini
        Canada – Alphonso Davies
        Montserrat Lyle Taylor
        4 goals
        Haiti – Duckens Nazon
        Panama – Gabriel Torres
        Puerto Rico – Ricardo Rivera
        Saint Kitts and Nevis – Keithroy Freeman

        NO USMNT PLAYERS. With that the USMNT have had majority of the possession in their games with the exception of a few matches that were even …….to sum it up, no one on the USMNT is consistently scoring goals / shaking the net….and goals win games

  4. It’s the age-old problem when you are becoming a team that controls possession. The patterns can easily become ineffective. What I wanted to see more was quicker changes of the point of attack. Musah, Weston, Adams are clearly our best, but for this opponent they held onto it too long and even showboated a bit too much. Move the ball, get into the next space. Combine with two or more players in a move to goal. React better to pressure. Too many turnovers in general! No fluidity. Canada did play their part, letting Robinson have the most space, and they really locked down the middle. Robinson is fast, and has a decent cross, but when it comes to intricately combining with attacking players, not so good. That’s what frustrates Pulisic on that side. I felt I spent a good portion of that game watching Robinson play. Gotta keep changing the point at key times. That sequence where Aaronson got a pass from the middle and shot. More of that. But this stuff takes time. I believe we are the team with the most potential from our region. Just has to gel.

    • “I believe we are the team with the most potential from our region. Just has to gel.”

      True. BUT, potential means you haven’t done anything yet.

  5. It’s time for Berhalter to implement a plan B for these teams that are going to bunker and cede possession. It’s obvious the press and possession is not generating goals against this style. We need to adopt some kind of more direct counterattacking scheme for this type of game. Call off the high press, give Canada the ball, and force them to come out and open up, then hit them on the counter with long diagonal balls to Pulisic, Weah, Morris, etc. Then for goodness sake, send in the early cross before the defense is set. That alone would make a big difference. But point is, our current setup is not generating enough goals against bunkering teams. I agree with some others that our current style may suit us well at a world cup against European squads, but first we need to beat concacaf teams in order to get there…

  6. Hey everybody been awhile but I’m still around.

    Wow, who would have thought Canada can Concacaf better than Mexico and Central American teams?

    This window last cycle was when I have a hot take that we wouldn’t make it. We’re not playing well and our best offensive player is out of form and struggling for playing time at club. We’re still favoring MLS players, although some of those have turn out to be the correct call. And our manager is hell bent on playing his system. Is our opposition adapting and game planning for such a rigid system? Certainly. Are we predictable? Certainly.

    All that said. Y’all old timers who been know I’m no Berhalter. I’m worried, the statistical possibility of us not qualifying isn’t insignificant and remember Concacaf refs on final day can do just about anything. However, I’m not calling for us to miss qualification like last time. I think we will squeak by though.

    Couple things. I think our opponents are learning how to defend GBs system and we’re getting far too predictable. Also, I think we’re going thru a spell of growing pains as we this young group matured from young pros to seasoned vets. We’ve largely solidified that we will have 60%+ possession most games against all but maybe Mexico. But we have to learn to use that possession better than just passing around the back four and wasting time. Can this group and system adapt to how teams our defending us?

    I think we’ll qualify but I’m more worried than I was end of last window. Our players haven’t been at their best these last two games. And I think our opponents have figured out GBs system.

    • Hey Joe dirt,

      Way back when (last time the US played Canada) I said… right here in this group… that everyone was overreacting to the Canada draw… that they were perhaps the best team in Concacaf right now, and rhey were a lock to qualify. The question being if the US would.

      We played the best team in concacaf, in their home stadium and got beat (and it took a heroic save on a mckinnie header to keep it that way). The scoreline flatters Canada… it was 1-0 and a late counter when we were hell bent on getting an equalizer.

      What i will say is this:

      We don’t talk about Bruno…. I mean Zardes and his lead foot… or why the hell he is on the field

      I have said it before. If we are going to have tons of possession, or play against a team that bunkers in, or is intent on hacking us to death, we need to have someone like pefok, or else find me the MLS version of divok or the other Belgiian. Someone who will be a force in the box as we pepper him with high crosses.

      It’s telling that the only guy o saw get a header was Mckinnie.

  7. JRazor – I saw your response below about subs being planned. I understand having a game plan for subs but isn’t it bad coaching not to adjust based on the circumstances of the game? If it doesn’t go as planned you have to make adjustments. With all the possession, they created almost no good scoring opportunities. What they were doing wasn’t working but they didn’t try anything else. The attrocious crossing is on the players but a game is only 90 minutes so you can’t wait 90 minutes to decide something isn’t working. On a side topic, Tajon strikes me as a very dirty player and he probably should have seen at least one red, maybe two for throwing elbows. Your take?

    • I think although fans we’re hoping for a 9 pt window that Berhalter may have seen this games as bonus. Hence planned subs like a friendly, if we get points we get points. I disagree if that was the philosophy, but Gregg knows the one they have to get is Honduras. If it was spontaneous you can see why the speed of Arriola and Morris might have benefited a team that was playing too slow.
      On Tajon, he definitely was delving in the dark arts. I didn’t see any red card offenses but certainly deserved an early yellow for persistently grabbing players.

  8. Five point separate 1st and 4th. Canada. Have played very well thus far, but they do have a tricky schedule to finish out the OcTag, and it starts with a road test in San Salvador Wednesday night. Costa Rica are in fifth place and if they were to pick up the maximum points remaining, they could finish with 25 points. the ticos have a tough next game, having to travel to Jamaica, a team that is barely alive and have lost two heartbreakers in a row.

    The USA needs to win Wednesday night at home against the one team, which at this point, has nothing to play for. Win Wednesday night and we are on 21 points with three games to play. 21 points may not be enough for a top 3 finish, but it will have us very close. The ticos have tricky road games against Jamaica and El Salvador, plus games against Canada and the USA. Panama have a difficult schedule, but they also get Honduras one more time. Win Wednesday night and force the other teams to chase. Fix the goal differential also. There is also a mexico Match in Azteca looming for the USA. Honduras is a very important three points, but three points taken in Azteca trumps all other results. We need to be focused on winning Wednesday night, and then winning In Azteca

  9. Greg Berhaters pregame strategy: have backs push up go out to the sides cross the ball in repeat
    Greg Bethalters 2 have adjustments have backs push up go out to the sides cross the ball in repeat. Add mediocre fav players
    This team just isn’t improving plain and simple

  10. Not one comment about Pulisic.
    Not one at the time of this typing.
    Negative comments sooooo
    Coaching for sure
    Subs. Check

    • Certainly some individual performances that weren’t great, I think it’s just fatigue with the only two that consistently look dangerous in the set up are Weah and Dest. On both sides of the field we’d set up in these compact triangles with an 8, Wing, and FB and then we’d pass back fourth until a fourth defender came over the the other 2 Canadian CBs had time to set up. Then we’d turn it over sprint back to our half take the ball back and slowly build back up. It was clear we had a set plan and we were not going to deviate, pass here, pass here, pass here repeat. That’s got to put a big heap of responsibility in Berhalter. The only time it’s really worked is when teams come out and try to play with us Mexico in Cincinnati and Jamaica at home (because they were so disorganized). Before Switzerland our offense was creating chances in the middle and outside. After that we’ve gone more conservative and can’t create chances unless Weah or Dest do something special.

    • I gotta point out 1st- Canada played well! 2nd- You’ve already pointed out the biases some of us as fans have. Young MLS players and MLS lifers get criticized. GB gets criticized but very little criticism for the players in top-5 leagues? At some point, you would think people would look at the product on the pitch. ‘Scapegoat mentality!’ That’s what I call it. The players had no sense of urgency, today. CP plays hero ball to no end. Instead of receiving the ball on the run, he’s stationary. Gets the ball and goes 1v3?! Musah plays well, only when he’s in right midfield. He disappears when asked to drop deep into left midfield, or protect the CBs. Match after match, we see this. Captain Adams left w/ an injury. Zimmerman pulled a hammy. Richards has a broken bone in his foot from today’s match. This means Miles & McKenzie @ CB. I’d rather have McKenzie over Ream but people have been saying it’s Brooks v McKenzie. It’s like laying the ground to complain about McKenzie. At any rate, Hope we beat Honduras and get out of this like the 2 window.

  11. the genius of GB’s system is it until the cross is indistinguishable from what one would do to run out the clock without risking loss of possession trying to score. with obvious implications for playing it 1′ tied 0-0, or 70′ down a goal……

    nope, canada is less talented and a little flawed but i am not confused with their directness of whether they are going to goal and trying to score. that’s more like how we used to play and i don’t see the superiority in this newfangled nonsense.

    the one thing the US had going for it, for decades, was a practical system in intent and effort. we were not trying to show off. it was about results and grit. i get people had theories we needed to play cuter to get better results but “scoreboard,” where are they? and to cut the nonsense, italy and germany play tough defense and disciplined soccer, an elevated version of what we used to do, and succeed. we have been sold a false dialectic. you could have kept the old organization and effort and directness and just ironed out the rough edges. we are a poor holland/spain/barca clone.

    • Yet Italy missed last World Cup and are in the knockout tournament because they drew twice with group winners Switzerland and drew on the road with Norther Ireland. You’ll recognize those two teams as ones you disparaged as weak. The US dominated N Ireland in the same stadium. For all talk of Golden generation Italy has far more talent and are in a more difficult spot. They likely have to beat Portugal on the road we just have to beat Honduras and Panama at home with a neutral game against New Zealand an outside possibility.

    • One of the things that drives me crazy about our attack is that they seem timid. More interested in making a pass (usually not forward) than they are in shooting. I also agree with what you say about the team’s attitude. I noticed about the 65th to 70th minute we spent a lot of time kicking the ball back and forth in the midfield. They were playing as if they were ahead 1-0, not behind. They seemed more interested in retaining possession than in attacking and scoring. The fact that Berhalter seems to be satisfied with the outcome because they looked good says a lot to me. That seems to have been the attitude adopted by the team. I have been hesitant to reach this conclusion, but Berhalter seems ready to accept mediocrity and he needs to be replaced. We are way under performing and seem to have regressed since the Nation’s Cup and the Gold Cup.

      • Gary, no doubt they are under performing. I think collectively, they have no idea how to attack a team that bunkers. I don’t think it is a matter of the players not playing with urgency, though. Bottom line is with a good coach the sum is better than the parts amd the US parts is much better than the sum right now. I’m sure I am wrong, but I just can’t help but think if I was coaching the US yesterday with that group of players US would have won. Incidently, my international coaching record is 0-0-0 with no goals against.

  12. Berhalter said, We asked them to be dominant. We asked them to embrace the conditions, embrace the physicality, and I think we did that and more.” I think he should have asked them to win, too.

    • are you seriously forgetting we had to tiebreak past them in NL after losing this same fixture that time? like you’re still going to spin this nonsense? are we still pretending last summer — the usual second GC mirage — is “reality” and NL group/quali is “fake?” because in praxis we look closer to the GC 2019 or NL group team than the undefeated summer team. not the least because he’s shed maybe half a dozen impressive players off the team (pefok, horvath, moore, etc.) for his weird reasons.

      reality is NL finals was a good offensive team — which he undermined by not picking some of them now. reality is GC was a good defense — which he undermines by swapping his wingbacks and richards in. so we’re now back to NL group or GC 2019 with his tweener soccer. kind of defense, kind of offense, not really either. i pointed out last summer that the schizo approaches raised the concern of what would be the game plan going forward. because splitting the difference is not necessarily equally effective. so dude needs to go back to the summer and decide are we An Offense? or are we A Defense?

      i am lost where the Berhalter Cult comes from. perennial midtable coach who blew his one final at home within like 15′. fired at his job before that for having no offense. he can’t “build” this because he can’t quite decide what the identity is, or which players have talent, and stick with it for any length of time. anything that works today is abandoned next week. anything cast off last week is rehabilitated for another chance this week.

      • Just facts, actually Panama wouldn’t have been in either. Concacaf was going to take the top 6 in Fifa points. At the time everyone was bummed because GC darling Curaçao was just outside as well. When we blasted Canada 4-1 at home they had no path to getting their ratings up in time. When the world shut down and qualifying couldn’t start Concacaf realized they needed to find a way to get the best player in the region who had won the Bundesliga and CL with Bayern in. So they created a playoff to add two more teams. Canada and Panama got extra matches primarily against minnows in which they could build their system in road environments. What teams are the most organized the three that came through qualifying ES, Canada, and Panama because while we were playing friendlies they were playing meaningful matches.

      • By the way the two players responsible for the Canada first goal today were guys who made the roster based on their GC defensive prowess. And GC final team was not a good offense if you take out Martinique and Haiti. The teams got plenty of problems you don’t need to make stuff up.

      • The most troubling thing regarding Berhalter is he has not found a core group to stick with as evidenced by not starting Pepi and as well what style of soccer do you want to play? He runs out the 4-3-3 but seems like team never adopts an attacking style for long just in spots. If you want to adjust to what your opponent and environment are than use different formations. Canada crowded the midfield on a very narrow pitch and Greg never adjusted. With the talent he has at his disposal the US should dictate the way the match is played. It was as if he was playing to tie yesterday never interested in flat out attack until we’ll past 70th. He’s not going anywhere until after this cycle but God please adopt a style of play and force the game instead of letting opponents dictate.

  13. Now Costa Rica can max out at 25pts by beating US at home like they’ve always done, a Canadian team that would have already clinched and two road games against bottom of the table… even if US beats Panama and Honduras, 24 pts would drop into the playoff….then there’s Panama- home games vs Honduras and an indifferent Canada would be 23pts and it becomes a total clown show me f they take any points off Mexico… at that point even US-beating Panama is not enough

    Most likely still, everything comes down to one game. US-Panama, a must win for U.S. …lose or tie and out of World Cup

    • i know there is like this fan cult that thinks he’s revolutionizing our soccer and will lead us to 2026 greatness, but quali heavily suggests otherwise. the more likely scenario at the moment is 3rd or 4th this round, behind the other 2 hosts for 2026, with worrisome implications for those dreams if the coach gets extended into next cycle on his project. to me if he wants that project he should be putting up canada-style results. this should be 1st on talent so this crap is obnoxious. lousy system, weird subs (i mean, a right back and arriola????), weird selection, and we’re no longer any good at dead balls. objectively, if one tosses the 2nd GC of the cycle as the usual mirage — as 2017 suggests — very meh results.

      i depart from your absolute sulk only insomuch as i think we are no worse than 4th and 4th is playoff, not out. playoff is oceania. i think he would have to be ridiculously bad to lose home and away with NZ or tahiti. but i have little faith in a coach who finishes 3rd or 4th in quali with this talent, to deliver a thing at qatar, and to be worth building upon for 2026. that should be earned. heck, qatar should be earned. if this guy can’t finish top 2 in quali we should have a new coach for the playoff and qatar.

      accountability is the first half of it, the other half is the team deserves better. they just don’t even look good or on a page. i get the GB cultists think he’s the only route to 2026 success but i think it’s the opposite. he’s the guy to ensure we’re the worst of the 3 hosts. canada will have a head start and mexico, while old, will reload. i actually thought this was a soft quali cycle. this is pathetic.

      • There is at least one who thinks that everyone is going to blame the unpopular coach when the players don’t get it done. And they are winning, but they don’t score much…at all.

  14. “Assuming US, Mexico & Canada get in, and the US does not get drawn into a badly unfavorable group, I still think come November the US team is the one most likely to get to the knockout round.”

    Other than fan loyalty, why do you think that?

    The draw is in April 2022. That gives you 7 months or so before the World Cup start in November. That’s a long time and a lot can happen to all these teams in the interim; mostly negative things.

    There’s more parity than ever before. Talent development around the world is generally better and coaching seems to be better. And besides, qualifying is supposed to weed out the true “minnows'”. The USMNT is a second tier team which means at a World Cup, on a given day, it can theoretically beat anyone or lose to anyone.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong about what might happen but I think it’s way too early to predict.

    Right now this team is the moral equivalent of a one and done team. If they do get there, it will be interesting to see how they do.

    • Because Canada is one-dimensional and lacks depth, Mexico has an aging core, and the US is young and is building depth across the field. The WC is a compressed schedule of intense games. What WC teams need to plan for to get out of the group stage, besides the matchups, are injuries, card suspensions, and fatigue. If we get through, this should be our deepest squad.

      • I think you’re right but a little incomplete because you aren’t accounting for the managers.

        The USMNT have by far the best weapons and the most of them. But their manager does not know how to use them.

        Tata is the most proven of the three but is hampered by an aging, unhealthy squad that is in transition and what looks to an outsider like me, uncertain support from back home.

        The USMNT manager came into qualifying focusing on trying to prove to everyone that he knew what he was doing.

        Tata came into qualifying focusing on trying to survive.

        Herdman came into qualifying trying to set up his squad to get as many points as possible, to win or at least draw. Most of all they work together, unlike the USMNT.

        Herdman is the most focused of the three on the task at hand.

        Of the three he is doing the best job of making the most out of what he has on hand. He set up his squad specifically to take on CONCACAF qualifying. They are unfussy, are willing to do the dirty work , know how to cheat and play dirty, and they focus on maximizing their main asset, two scoring center forwards. They isolated the UCONN center forward on the Fairfield keeper. Storrs vs Fairfield was only ever going to end one way. I hope Matt signed his Arsenal deal before this game.

        They have an identity and they play their “identity” well. With a little luck they can go pretty far in a World Cup.

        I had hoped to be able to say that about the USMNT but this manager is too stubborn trying to prove to us that his “system” works. In truth what he is trying to do, where he is trying to take the USMNT, that is a good idea and a good thing. It’s just that he’s not the man to do it. He’s not good enough.

        When you experiment this late in the game with moves like starting Ferreira over Pepi, I get the logic. But they are risky.

        If these experiments work then he’s a genius.
        If they don’t work then he’s an idiot.
        I can’t think of one of these experiments that have worked out.

        He’s not really an idiot but what he is really not is accountable. You wait, if they face plant vs Honduras, they will find a way to blame Pulisic. Most here would support that. Are we all sure Jay is really gone from the USSF? Maybe he’s a consultant?

        Even if he screws this up and fails to qualify I think they’ll still have him in charge for 2026. They sure do love this guy.

        “Canada is one-dimensional and lacks depth,”

        The good thing about being “one dimensional” the “identity” it gives you. However, they aren’t going to be one dimensional at Qatar. They did this without a big assist from Davies. If he’s in good form in November who knows what damage he can do? Now he becomes their X factor.

      • Vacqui, Herdman has made the same analysis of his roster as any of us have. He sees speedy, athletic strikers in Davies/David/Larin/Buchanon as the team’s primary strength, and covers the gaps through relentless, physical bunkering and a quick counterattack. Canada’s players has adapted to Herdman’s strategy because it has been successful to date. I wouldn’t consider his coaching extraordinary, but simply pragmatic. A few cycles ago, the style of play of Canada plays now was the style of play of the US. Bunker in a block, and try to break Donovan/Dempsey/Davies on a counter. Arena/Bradley/Klinsmann knew when to leverage this same game plan based on the same roster analysis in comparison to their opponent.

        Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be in Martino’s shoes now realizing he now has gained an additional rival in the region, and the two rivals appear to have better pipelines for talent.

  15. Nightmare scenario for USMNT is now closer… Costa Rica has home games versus nothing to play for Canada and USMNT, who they’ve beaten at home forever and ever. And two road games against patsies. They have a viable path to 24pts even if they lost to Mexico.

    Panama hosts Honduras, nothing to play for Canada and even if they lose to Mexico, a path to 23 pts…

    USMNT will be at 21pts if they beat Honduras. Any Costa Rica and Panama points taken off Mexico only makes it worse, because it all comes down to US-Panama game, assuming USMNT loses to MX and CR on the road… and even a U.S. win there could throw them into playoff. A tie and US is out of World Cup if Costa Rica runs the table…

  16. Let’s breakdown Gregg in the different aspects.
    Lineup: B, Zardes wasn’t great but he won a lot of balls, made sense using him on a tight field in a game that was going to be ugly.
    Tactics: D+, seemingly made no adjustments from last match. The 8s, the FBs, and the Wings form a triangle but then there’s no one in the middle to get the ball to
    In game Adjustments; F, we were unable to find any way to switch the ball quickly or get runs consistently behind the backline.
    Subs: F, once again too late especially in the cold. I now cringe whenever we get a half chance around the 50th minute because then subs aren’t coming until 75th or later. Didn’t think any sub was poor just not enough time to get going.
    Roster Selection: C, Pefok and Brooks would have been terrible in this game. Pefok too slow to scramble think of the balls Gyasi and Ricardo won that Jordan wouldn’t have gotten too. Brooks 1v1 with David or Larin in acres of space, no chance he stays with them.
    At the end of the day the team didn’t play poorly they just didn’t play well enough. Canada is set up to highlight their best players and hide their worst. Both teams created about the same amount of quality chances Canada finished two, we hit most of them right at Borjan. Gregg’s has to get more pragmatic the team is playing too slow and can’t break down organized opponents. I think this team is actually better setup to play European opponents that will actually try to play, but I’m not sure how setup it is to beat New Zealand in a playoff in June.

    • Zardes had a lot of bad touches I thought. I think you have to give GGG anf F because Canada’s strategy was going to be so obvious and he arrogantly decided he was going to play the game he wanted instead of trying to stop Canada. There isn’t any need against a team that has trouble stringing 3 passes togethor to allow one of their goos attacking players to be isolated 1 v1 with no help. IMO, the horrible play in the attacking 3rd has to be on the players. I think the Acosta sub was bad. Losing late, need an offensive minded player who could maybe draw a PK or create something offensively and Costa is not that person. Ultimately, if US cant beat Panama and Hondorus at home they dont deserve to go to the world cup.

    • btw, set up to beat europeans? on what planet????? have you looked at our record this cycle against anyone any good from europe? are you expecting northern ireland? he is actually worse out of region than in region. look up his south american and european results. did you forget the swiss? ireland? italy? england? i think you’re grabbing at straws because he can’t even offer regional proof of concept for your world dominance scheme. so let’s theorize it might work in some other region. except we have played some outside of concacaf and it usually against the good teams wasn’t pretty. they go after our wingbacks and brooks/ream and feast.

      • But that’s why Brooks and Ream aren’t there anymore. UEFA 2-1-1
        CONMEBOL 1-2-1
        3 wins 3 draws 2 loses, it’s kind of ridiculous to even count the SA games that were all prepandemic and Bosnia C vs US C+. So really 1-1-1. SA and Uefa teams aren’t going to sit in a low block and just hit hopeful balls and pray that they can out athlete you. Berhalter has to be more pragmatic in these games as he was against Canada in NL though because his wide play generates nothing when Weah isn’t doing it. He’s chasing his tail, we we’re getting beat on the counter so he pushed Wes and Yunus wide to cover for Serge and Jedi but now there is literally no one in the middle in front of Tyler. He’s just recreated Arena/JKs ineffective Diamond. Bottom line though is if Turner doesnt hit a 30 yard free kick and Robinson doesn’t misplay/slip it’s a 0-0 draw and we’re at least satisfied. On the bright side we have 10 of 12 pts in first games of windows 2 of 12 pts in second games of windows and 6 of 6 in 3rd games of windows. So we’re good for Honduras and in big trouble for Panama.

  17. Berhalter has lost the plot. Ok, they played like crap, were indecisive, and played way too tentative. But then he says they dominated? He lost me with that comment alone. It shows we will see no changes and will continue to underachieving even if we make Qatar.

    • just an odd duck. among other things, i thought we got CB sorted and now richards is the one guy starting every night. i thought we learned lessons on the wingbacks. i thought arriola played himself off. i thought we had settled on a better striker set. the coach relies way too much on ephemeral and personalized ideas of player form. ephemeral in the sense of he follows the form roller coaster up and down. personalized in the sense of this all only makes sense to him and his acolytes.

      i mean on the big goal today, maybe it helps if you have your best 2 CBs out there who have played together. i know miles slipped but that’s one where a sharp pairing maybe switches off and covers it.

      i say that but the team in general looks like it has never played together. most of the “covering” for each other is more heroic, adams-effort stuff as opposed to a well-drilled team that just slides over and has each other’s back. and then looks like it knows where to flick a ball to the next guy on offense to create a chance.

  18. Greg said we dominated the game. Did he even look at score board. He overthinks things to the point it is not clear that he knows we lost. I understand these are very young players. But so far champions league experience has translated into pretty boys with fragile egos and bodies.

  19. When you bring in Arriola, Morris and Acosta as subs to win the game, that tells you everything with his game management decisions. Also his his strategy of playing ball to feet is not working when we have superior athletes than anyone else in the region and fail to maximize it to our advantage.

      • I would have brought in LDT and tried to get a point back. Ot doesnt matter if you lose 1-0 or 2-0. The 2nd goal doesnt bother me because they were pressing for a tie but Acosta wasnt going to bring any offense. I know little about DLT but I have to think he is more offensive threat.

      • you call different players to begin with — some offense — and you also maybe act like you are down a goal where a specialist 6 sub isn’t your biggest worry. we had 20-30′ to tie it up. like for like RB or 6 or arriola feels like a coach in love with his own scheme ideas thinking we were somehow going to press our way to points. WE NEEDED OFFENSE!

        i mean, dude, are you telling me we couldn’t, say, push musah or mckennie to 6 for 20′ and get some added offense on? or play without a real 6, since, if we don’t score, we don’t get a point?

      • LDT? LDT? LDT can’t even get an assist in holland. holland! how is that helping us win away to canada? you wanna take a point you need to sub on people capable of assists or goals. different forwards. including some he left off. different mids. green. holmes. i swear this coach’s fans have become like a cult. LDT in 2 years is hyndman coming off the bench in MLS.

      • Tele honestly I’m not so sure those three weren’t planned injury or not. Like this is who we sub regardless. Musah hadn’t done much in the 2nd so maybe he was gassed. McKennie was the only offense so I’m not sure moving him deep. I’m sure IVs idea of playing out with bad back Green (played 27 mins since Thanksgiving) and Holmes who had Covid the last two weeks would have worked better.

      • Pefok and Giaocchini should have been on the roster, to provide options and cover when someone like Weah is unavailable. Now you have Arriola and Morris for attacking options. and they’re not match winners but preferred by GB.

        Additionally, we play with 3 high-energy ball winners in the midfield who help win/hold the ball but they are not distributors to feed the attack. Should have just played McKennie and Adams and left Musah on the bench for cover. Ferreira needs to be here so he can feed the attack. As a forward he drops too deep into midfield and loses his forward positioning.

        Pulisic needs to simplify his game and not try to be a CONCACAF version of Messi every time he gets the ball. Have him play under the striker as part of a 2 prong attack rather than 3 up top since that extra forward is a waste when we can’t get the ball to them.

      • Helium, I’d agree on Nico. Pefok we’ll disagree if Brooks and Gio were there to feed him you could convince me but he’s to immobile. Gyasi isn’t great but he kept tons of plays alive Pefok wouldn’t get close too. Arriola and Morris have a combined 18g 14a and the Canadian defense is largely MLS players so it’s not insane to think they could make an impact. I wouldn’t be upset with Ferreira as an 8, but we play our 8s on the touch line now so I’m not sure he’d be very effective there, same argument against Gio as an 8.

  20. PN

    Frankly, they are probably already in.

    My guess at the start of qualifying was that 24-25 points would be enough to lock up at least third place.

    Canada have 22 points. They still have 4 games (with 12 points available) to get the 3-4 points they need. El Salvador, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama.

    Beat El Salvador and then they can give valuable game time to duals and newbies.

    I can’t see them not getting in. Alphonso Davies can probably focus on recovery and getting ready for Qatar.

    • Vanquish, I think they are likely in as well, and we’ll know better Wednesday. I have high hopes Mexico takes care of business at Azteca against Panama on Wednesday, and Honduras is dead last traveling to frigid St Paul with nothing to play for the 3rd game. If somehow this goes to March, Panama would need to win away to the US, which is improbable.

      Assuming US, Mexico & Canada get in, and the US does not get drawn into a badly unfavorable group, I still think come November the US team is the one most likely to get to the knockout round.

      • “Assuming US, Mexico & Canada get in, and the US does not get drawn into a badly unfavorable group, I still think come November the US team is the one most likely to get to the knockout round.”

        Other than fan loyalty, why do you think that?

        The draw is in April 2022. That gives you 7 months or so before the World Cup start in November. That’s a long time and a lot can happen to all these teams in the interim; mostly negative things.

        There’s more parity than ever before. Talent development around the world is generally better and coaching seems to be better. And besides, qualifying is supposed to weed out the true “minnows'”. The USMNT is a second tier team which means at a World Cup, on a given day, it can theoretically beat anyone or lose to anyone.

        I’m not saying you’re wrong about what might happen but I think it’s way too early to predict.

        Right now this team is the moral equivalent of a one and done team. If they do get there, it will be interesting to see how they do.

  21. I am uncertain if any CONCAFAF team has gone unbeaten in WCQ, but this once-in-forever Canada team just may do it. Herdman plays the same bunker-and-break tactics every game, gives up possession (close to 70% this game) and hasn’t lost yet. They have essentially booked a spot in Qatar.

    Regroup and on to Honduras. Hoping either Mexico or Jamaica does us a favor this break.

    • PN

      Frankly, they are probably already in.

      My guess at the start of qualifying was that 24-25 points would be enough to lock up at least third place.

      Canada have 22 points. They still have 4 games (with 12 points available) to get the 3-4 points they need. El Salvador, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama.

      Beat El Salvador and then they can give valuable game time to duals and newbies.

      I can’t see them not getting in. Alphonso Davies can probably focus on recovery and getting ready for Qatar.


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