Canada Deals USMNT World Cup Qualifying Defeat

Cyle Larin scored in the seventh minute, and Canada made it stand up until Sam Adekugbe scored an insurance goal at the death, reinforcing its place atop Concacaf’s World Cup qualifying standings with a 2–0 win over the U.S. that puts the nation one step closer to its first World Cup since 1986. The U.S.’s last defeat to Canada came a little over two years ago in the Concacaf Nations League, a 2–0 loss in Toronto that served as a low point for this U.S. group and a launchpad for Canada. While Sunday’s defeat at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, isn’t completely detrimental to the U.S. in its attempt to reach Qatar, it does shrink the margin for error going forward.

Another trip north of the border, another result to lament for the U.S. men’s national team.

Canada turned on the physicality, with the whistles going the U.S.’s way after the half-hour mark. First, Steven Vitória was given a yellow card for fouling Pulisic. Then, the Chelsea star drew another foul, on Mark-Anthony Kaye, which gave the U.S. a great chance to pull even off a free kick from about 22 yards out. Pulisic took it, but overhit it badly and never troubled Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

Both sides were missing key players. Canada superstar Alphonso Davies was out as he recovers from myocarditis following a case of COVID-19, while U.S. winger Tim Weah was not permitted to enter Canada due to his vaccination status. U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen was also out, having not yet joined the team as he battles back tightness suffered at Man City.

The U.S. had a chance to equalize a couple of minutes later, when Pulisic’s corner kick picked out Chris Richards in the box, but the center back couldn’t flick his chance on target.