The United States Men’s National Team, fresh off a 1-0 victory over El Salvador on Thursday night, travel to Hamilton, Ontario for a big road match on Sunday against Canada. In a battle between the top two teams in the Octagonal standings, the big matchup will take place before a Tim Horton’s Field crowd that will be energized despite the reduced capacity to 12,000 attendees. For the USMNT, it’s a chance to assume control and put a remote possibility to qualify for the 2022 World Cup during this window in play. However, it will be the chance for them to put their best match together against the upstart Canadians.
W (1-0) - El Salvador - World Cup Qualifying
W (1-0) - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Friendly
D (1-1) - Jamaica - World Cup Qualifying
W (2-0) - Mexico - World Cup Qualifying
W (2-1) - Costa Rica - World Cup Qualifying
W (2-0) - Honduras - World Cup Qualifying
W (2-1) - Mexico - World Cup Qualifying
W (1-0) - Costa Rica - World Cup Qualifying
W (4-1) - Panama - World Cup Qualifying
D (0-0) - Jamaica - World Cup Qualifying
What To Watch For
Silence the crowd. It won’t matter that there will only be 12,000 fans in a stadium that was set to host 23,500. The Canadian fans will be ready and into it from the opening kick. It’s the job of the USMNT to give them a reason to remain quiet and out of it. Taking the momentum early and keeping it will ensure that the only noise the United States hears is the pocket of American fans who made the trip to Hamilton.
Lock up Jonathan David and Tajon Buchanan. With Alphonso Davies not in the lineup, Canada’s hopes for generating goal scoring will fall squarely upon the shoulders of Tajon Buchanan, with the actual scoring being the responsibility of Jonathan David. The American defense needs to keep eyes on them and continue to keep their shape so that Canada cannot create any scoring chances.
Use the personnel that fits the style of play. Against El Salvador, the USMNT generated a lot of scoring chances from the wings by serving balls into the box on crosses. However, with Jesus Ferreira playing the false 9, there wasn’t a lot of structure on who would be there to put a head to those crosses. The USMNT should utilize the guys who are particularly good on aerials to put more pressure on Canada’s defense when they’re serving balls into the box.
Gregg Berhalter has hinted that with the short window and short travel between Columbus and Hamilton, it sets up for him to not make a lot of changes against Canada. With Canada being the biggest match of the window (and arguably one of the most important of the entire Octagonal, look for Gregg Berhalter to go with a lineup that looks like this:
Matt Turner continues to hold down the goalkeeper spot, particularly with Zack Steffen battling his back tightness. The back line continues to remain the same one that we saw against El Salvador, with Antonee Robinson, Walker Zimmerman, Chris Richards, and Sergiño Dest. However, it’s possible we see Miles Robinson in place of Richards.
The M-M-A midfield of Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, and Tyler Adams will continue to work and serve as the engine of the team. Up front, Christian Pulisic will start again on the left and Jordan Morris will occupy the right in place of Tim Weah, who reportedly didn’t make the trip to Canada. The main change: Ricardo Pepi gets the start at the 9 as they hope he can finish some chances in the box. Look for Brenden Aaronson to once again get significant time in the 2nd half as a substitute.
This may sound crazy, but the USMNT steal a victory in Hamilton. 2-1 is the final score.