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U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team Have it All To Do After 2-0 Loss to Canada

2012 March 25
by Brian Quarstad

After the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team’s surprising loss to their northern rivals, head coach Caleb Porter said he was very disappointed in the result, but still had high expectations for the team’s final group game on Monday night against El Salvador.

“We’re obviously very disappointed. We knew going into the match that we were going to face an organized team, a team that was going to sit with numbers behind the ball and look to exploit us on the counterattack and on set pieces,” said U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team head coach Caleb Porter. “We knew we were going to have to be sharp and break down the numbers. We knew we were going to have to put out the fire on the break and be organized on set pieces. We didn’t do well on any of those things. We had our looks. Their goalkeeper certainly had a great game and made some saves. Credit to Canada. They were organized and put some fresh legs in there. That helped them fight hard to the end.”

Click ‘read more’ for video highlights and quotes. —>

That goalkeeper was Michał Miśkiewicz who is currently rostered with FC Edmonton of the NASL. Miśkiewicz also had a fine game against El Salvador, a match where Canada did not play nearly as well but the work of the young ‘keeper kept them in the game. On the flip side of the coin, Bill Hamid, who is a very competent ‘keeper for DC United, was at fault for the first Canadian goal and didn’t look very confident in defending the second goal either.

The US now finds themselves in third place in the group behind El Salvador and Canada who each are sitting on 4 points with a win and a draw. The U.S. has only 3 points after a win and a loss.

Monday night’s game against El Salvador is a must win. No matter what the score, if they win they would push through to the semifinals. A draw would not be good enough for the US and if Canada and El Salvador each end up with a tie those two countries would go through to the semifinals. Only once since the Olympics fielded only U-23 teams has the U.S. not qualified and that was in 2004.

Even with a win the U.S. could end up in 2nd place in the group if Canada ties or defeats Cuba, who have have not scored a goal in the tournament and have had 10 goals scored against.  If the U.S. does end up in 2nd place most likely they would be pitted against Mexico in the semifinal, something Porter’s side most likely would have preferred to avoid. The bottom line is, the team has it all to do in the final game. Win and they are through. A draw or a loss and they join the history books with that 2004 team.

“Everything is still in our hands,” said Porter after the game. “If we beat El Salvador then we’re through. This is the game that decides our destiny. I know the guys will be better. We are not going to panic. We’re going to stay confident and we’re going to get back to work. And you’ll see a very sharp team against El Salvador.”

 US v Canada Highlights

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