USA v Canada
Ford Field 8pm E.D.T
Sportsnet one, or streamed online at Sportsnet.ca
The above video is of course the controversial ending to the last time Canada played the U.S. In the 2007 Gold Cup semi final where Canada got well and truly Concacaffed. In pre game interviews the players are playing down the revenge aspect of that game, which is probably for the best. After all it's been long enough for the wounds to at least partially heal, and it's probably best to not let emotions take away from their usual game preparation.
For supporters though, rage and bitterness is a very healthy state of mind to approach a big game in, so give it a watch, listen to the indignant commentary from Gerry Dobson and Craig Forrest, feel yourself get angry, and now, now you're ready.
Canada were of course underdogs on that day, which makes it sting that little bit more that they were denied the chance to go into extra time and pull off an upset, and it's still very much the case today, especially if you're listening to some of the more confident americans out there.
Canada's best bet for a result may have been complacency, but the U.S would have had that slapped out of them by a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Spain over the weekend, so the Yanks will be looking to get a convincing win to get some momentum going and take the pressure off themselves but really, the difference between the two teams isn't that great. The U.S definitely have issues and question marks up front, so hopefully Canada's weakened defence, with probably Andre Hainault brought in to replace the injured Dejan Jakovic, will be able to cope.
It will be the midfield where this game will be won or lost, depending on whether Cnada can keep Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey quiet and still find time to create soemthing going forward. Much like last week, the main selection problem for Canada will be how to fit all there talented attacking midfielders/strikers in to the 4-5-1 system that doesn't really have an ideal person to play Centre Forward. The Simeon Jackson as lone forward experiment didn't really work out, so more than likely it will be Rob Friend or Ali Gerba as the main target man, but given his form with Norwich City at the end of the English season, can they really drop Jackson? If not, who do you drop from midfield. With Julian de Guzman seemingly out with injuries, Terry Dunfield should get a start and Atiba Hutchinson and Josh Simpson are nailed on starters if fit.
That leaves Jackson, Will Johnson and Dwayne de Rosario to fight over the last two spots. I'd be inclined to drop De Rosario to the bench, ready to come on as a good plan B if necessary, but it should be very interesting to see what Stephen Hart comes up with.
With the game so close to Canada there should be a sizeable and boisterous Canadian contingent in the stands. I'm jealous of anyone that made it down there, instead I'll be watching at a bar back in Toronto. That means I won't be commenting too much here during the game, but will hopefully get on here from my blackberry before and after the game. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves, but for a less lonely in game chat, you can certainly do worse than joining Benjamin Massey over at Eightysix Forever
Allez les Rouges!