U.S. Men’s National Team Ends Friendly Run with 0-0 Draw
The United States had a bumpy road to World Cup qualifiers. The journey started promisingly enough with a 5-1 thrashing of Scotland. However, all of the early hopes came crashing down to reality when Brazil turned the tables with a 4-1 victory. The border battle to the north was the last test for the Yanks before the result really mattered, and unfortunately, the match didn’t reveal any more about how the team will respond in real competition.
Before the game even started, the U.S. was forced to adjust its lineup. Johnson pulled out of warmups with an injury and Castillo took his place for the game. Johnson was one of the best players against Brazil, and his presence was sorely missed.
Goodson had a good opportunity in the third minute to put the U.S. ahead early, but he powered his shot well over the bar. Even though the U.S. dominated possession in the first minutes, De Rosario still made a good effort across the face of goal that sailed wide.
De Guzman tackled Castillo from behind and late to give the U.S. a free kick in the 15th minute. Castillo’s volley from well outside the box looked sure to hit the back of the net but Canada’s goalkeeper denied the screaming attempt.
Howard made a stunning save of his own in the 23rd minute when a throw in fell to Ricketts. The Canadian’s low shot made Howard dive to keep the score line level.
As the first half wound down, the Americans struggled to break through a thick Canadian defense. By the time the teams entered their locker rooms, the scoreboard still showed 0-0.
The second half took a few minutes to fully open up. Just when it did in the 54th minute, Hainault earned a yellow card for a foul on Jones. The resulting free kick was headed high.
De Rosario was again the most dangerous player for Canada. In the 61st minute, he broke away from the defense but lost control of the ball that ultimately rolled into Howard’s arms. A minute later, Klinsmann made the first substitutions when Bocanegra and Torres came off for Onyewu and Altidore.
Howard saved another good attempt from Canada in the 65th minute when Ledgerwood drove in a low strike. Canada responded by making its first substitution of Jackson for Occean. The team made another change in the 72nd minute as Pacheco replaced Ledgerwood. The U.S. followed with Donovan off for Edu.
The referee showed a card to Jones for chasing down Jackson in the 78th minute. Even more substitutions followed in the 80th minute for the Americans. Gómez and Cherundolo made way for Wondolowski and Parkhurst.
Jones was the one being fouled in the 82nd minute that saw Johnson earn a yellow card. Three more substitutions whiled away the end of the game. In the 86th minute, De Guzman and Ricketts switched with Piette and Hume. Two minutes later, Klukowski entered the game in favor of Jazic.
In stoppage time, both teams had close chances. De Rosario served a ball into Jackson whose finish was just wide in the 92nd minute. A minute later, Hirschfield made a huge save after a free kick was headed on goal. Even after the late drama, the final whistle still blew with the score at 0-0.
The three games before World Cup qualifiers panned out just as they statistically should have – a win, a loss and a draw. The friendly matches are now over, and the results have meaning from now on. The U.S. will face Antigua and Barbuda on June 8 in its first World Cup 2014 qualifier on the road to Brazil. Hopefully these games were exactly what they were meant to be – a warm up – and the team will really turn up the intensity when it counts.
Starting XI: United States: Tim Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra, Edgar Castillo, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, José Torres and Herculez Gómez. Canada: Lars Hirschfeld, Ante Jazic, Andre Hainault, Kevin McKenna, David Edgar, Will Johnson, Julian De Guzman, Nikolas Ledgerwood, Dwayne De Rosario, Olivier Occean and Tossaint Ricketts.
Substitutions: Oguchi Onyewu for Bocanegra (62’), Jozy Altidore for Torres (62’). Simeon Jackson for Occean (65’), Pacheco for Ledgerwood (72’), Maurice Edu for Donovan (72’), Chris Wondolowski for Gómez (80’), Michael Parkhurst for Cherundolo (80’), Ian Hume for Ricketts (86’), Samuel Piette for De Guzman (86’), Michael Klukowski for Jazic (88’).
Yellow Cards: De Guzman (15’), Hainault (54’), Jones (78’), Johnson (82’).