Wednesday, June 08, 2011

USA 2 - Canada 0^

The United States opened their 2011 Gold Cup campaign with a 2-0 Group C win over Canada at Detroit's Ford Field in front of 28,209 fans. A 15th minute goal from Jozy Altidore opened the scoring with Landon Donovan picking up the assist. Clint Dempsey made it 2-0 USA in the 62nd minute, with Altidore assisting. Tim Howard needed to make several saves late in the game to preserve the shutout.

“The last couple of days around the hotel and on the training ground... the atmosphere was really good in the hotel, training was really upbeat," Howard said. "We got into the dressing room early and there was a toughness about us that we were ready for this game. There was no hangover. We’re in a weird situation in CONCACAF because we play a lot of top teams around the world, and we’re hunting them all the time. Then you come into CONCACAF and, for better or worse, we’re the hunted. It takes on a different mindset and I think equally you have to be hard, you have to be tough and you can’t take anything for granted. Tonight our mindset was right.”

Also in Group C on Tuesday, Panama beat a 10-man Guadeloupe 3-2 in the early game at Ford Field. Guadeloupe trailed 2-0 when Mickael Tacalfred was sent off in the 37th minute and were down 3-0 before getting on the board in the 64th minute when Brice Jovial scored. Jovial would get a second shorthanded goal in the 78th minute.
Five Things From Canada

By J Hutcherson -- In the aftermath of the USA's clinical treatment of Canada in the opening night of Group C, we look at five things to carry forward into the second set of games on the Gold Cup schedule.

Multiple Choice: The United States was calm, collected, and dangerous on first looks. It was the second and third looks letting them down, turning into a panic matched only by the Canadian defenders. A bit more poise and winning time to consider options, and they're likely in the lead a lot earlier. Instead, shot selection went out the window in place of simply putting the ball somewhere near frame. It can work, but the US is too good a team to rely on that style of soccer. Their second goal demonstrated what the US should be doing in those situations, and it's to this team's credit that they made the appropriate adjustments.

Clean Up: There should be no complaints directed at the US defense from Tuesday night's performance. Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Tim Ream, and Clarence Goodson did their jobs. The Canadian attack had its moments, but not what's expected from a team with Dwayne De Rosario and Ali Gerba. Canada can expect better against other teams in Group C, but the US back line wasn't giving enough away for Canada to have much of an opportunity of turning a half chance into a goal.

The Canadian Question: After tonight's as close to Canada as possible rivalry game, the Canadian Soccer Association is once again left to wonder what's happening with their program. Almost was moments like '07 aside, they have to find a way to develop and recruit players to compete at CONCACAF level. Right now, there are just too many gaps to fill. They're also combating a long term image problem with players that have options to represent another country more than likely to take it. Canadian MLS teams might not be the answer, but the CSA had literally two decades to come up with something better between the end of the North American Soccer League and MLS expanding to Canada. Remember when they were going to form a league made up of reserve teams from European clubs?

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