One of the fiercest sporting rivalries in North American sports continues tonight in California when the United States faces off against Canada.
No quarter will be given, nor will any be asked when… oh wait that’s hockey. Let’s begin again.
Tonight at the StubHub Center in Carson, California the United States Men’s National Soccer Team closes out its January camp with a second friendly, taking on northern neighbors Canada.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s side is coming off of a 3-2 win over Iceland at the same venue last week and will be hoping to add a second consecutive victory to start the year.
Klinsmann will be looking to sort out the organizational issues that left the U.S. defense in a near panic anytime an Icelandic attacker approached the American 18-yard box last Sunday.
With that in mind Klinsmann and his defenders should be happy to see Canada come to call because well, Canada doesn’t score very often.
They also don’t beat the Americans, not since a 2-0 friendly win back in 1985. In 16 games between the teams since then, the Yanks are undefeated, although that is a bit misleading.
Eight of those matches finished level, including the last two, a pair of dour 0-0 draws. And for what it is worth Canada had a hand in the Americans ignominious failure to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, beating the U.S. 2-0 ensuring that Caleb Porter’s side was eliminated following a 3-3 tie with El Salvador.
But if it sounds like the U.S. should be expected to run away with the game tonight in California, consider this, Canada’s record in 2015 was 8 wins – 1 loss and 6 ties. Canada conceded just three goals in those matches but of the 16 goals coach Benito Flores’ side scored in those 15 games, 13 came against CONCACAF minnows Belize, Dominica, and Puerto Rico.
Flores has built this team into a tight defensive unit that operates for the most part out of a 4-5-1 formation, with 2015 MLS Rookie of the Year Cyle Larin as a the lone forward.
MLS fans will know what the Orlando striker is capable of if he gets some chances, meaning that U.S. defense will need to sort out those aforementioned organizational issues.
Neither team will be fielding a first-choice selection at the StubHub Center this evening but the players on hand will be looking to impress. Like the U.S. Canada will have a healthy MLS contingent. Larin leads a group that includes Will Johnson (Toronto), Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas), and young Vancouver Whitecaps midfield duo Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese.
Both teams are prepping for upcoming World Cup Qualifiers in March, with the U.S. getting ready for a two-game set vs. Guatemala while Canada has a showdown with Mexico looming.