The saying "March Madness" was never more evident than tonight, when Canada pulled off a shocker, taking down the US by a scoreline of 2-0. The downfall for the US, ironically, proved to be set pieces as both of Canada's goals came off of corner kicks. The US never really looked like they were going to win the game, partially due to the suffocating play of the Canucks, but mostly due to an overall casual performance.
Here is a rundown of how the game played out...
- In the first half, Adu and Shea attacked the wings well, but it meant little as neither Bunbury nor the attacking midfield combo of Corona and Diskerud were making the correct runs in the box. The game was calling for Adu to shift to the center of the pitch so that he could facilitate this lack-luster offense.
- Porter seemed to be listening to the media box as the decided to make that happen, moving Adu to an attacking midfield role while removing Corona from the game. Joe Gyau replaced Corona and filled Adu’s vacated spot on the right wing to start the 2nd half.
- Bunbury was rather useless in the first half as he never looked to be a threat to score. Granted the balls played into him were not spectacular, but Bunbury’s form just looks off at the moment. Porter realized this as well subbing him off for Terrence Boyd in the 56th minute.
- Ike Opara looked strong, especially in the first half as he muscled his way through Canada’s attackmen. His form dipped a bit in the second half, but it was clear that he was the Yanks best threat in the air on set pieces. On two occasions Opara seemingly scored, one actually went into the back of the net, but the whole US team was offside on the Freddy Adu free kick, so the goal was disallowed.
-Canada then responded emphatically with a great scoring chance of their own followed by a corner kick goal from Doneil Henry. US goalie Bill Hamid, was the main culprit on the goal as he did not command the box and allowed Henry to rise above him for the open net header goal.
- The Yanks finally woke up after the goal and crafted some well worked build-ups. The best of which would have to be in the 65th minute when Perry Kitchen was able to send the ball out wide to Shea, who played Villafana on the overlapping run. Adu was then the recipient of Villafana’s pass and fired a one-time rocket that was saved by the keeper.
- The US continued to press for the last 20 or so minutes creating numerous chances, but Canada never wilted as some desperate defending and strong goal-keeping play prevented the Yanks from scoring.
- Canada then put the icing on the cake with a second goal in the 83rd minute from Lucas Cavallini. Some sloppy marking and indecisive goalkeeping was to blame again. A corner kick into the box left Hamid rooted to his line and allowed Cavallani to slot home the diving header as nobody was marking the Canadian attacker, which all but sealed the Yanks hopes of a comeback.
This leaves the US in a must win situation against El Salvador, something nobody would have predicted at the start of this qualifying campaign. In all likelihood, the US would have to play Mexico in the all important semifinal match-up that will decide who will move on to London, that is if they advance to the knockout stages of the tournament. I would imagine this is not the scenario Caleb Porter envisioned at the beginning of this qualifying campaign.
Get more great soccer stuff over at US Futblog.