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United States 4-2 Canada: Dreams do Die

Canada's dream of a return to the U20 World Cup came to a crashing halt thanks to one bad stretch against a US team that was in a clinical mood down in Mexico.

Crepeau's man of the match performance was not enough for Canada.
Crepeau's man of the match performance was not enough for Canada.
Canadian Soccer Association Flikr

Just another day in the life of Canadian soccer fans as Canada once again break our hearts when on the verge of doing something worth getting excited about.

It may not be the same kind of pain that Voyageurs across the country felt when Canada's World Cup hopes got unceremoniously destroyed down in Honduras, or even the pain we felt when Canada got cheated of a massive result against the United States at the Olympics but make no mistake, last night hurt for Canada fans.

They tell me that it is the hard times that make the moments in the sun that much sweeter but sometimes being a Canadian supporter makes it hard to see those moments in the sun through all the clouds.

Canada's 4-2 defeat against the United States is going to go down as a learning experience for the players involved and hopefully it will motivate some of them to push on to bigger things but in the short term all it is going to do is sting. Canada was outclassed by an American side that put in a clinical performance (probably their best showing in years) and got the result when it mattered.

It was nice to see Canada trying to put up a fight during the second half but by the time they seemed to get going the game was already slipping beyond their reach. Yes, with a few different bounces like the ref awarding Samuel Piette a deserved penalty or Keven Aleman showing a better first touch it could have been a totally different game but at the other end without a few of the big saves from Maxime Crepeau it could have been a very ugly affair.

It was Crepeau that kept Canada in the match while they were being dominated in the first half but even his efforts were not enough to slow the onslaught down as the Americans got goals from Jose Villarreal, Luis Gil, and Wil Trapp before the break. All three of the American scorers are currently on MLS rosters and are among the more exciting home grown signings in recent years which is good news for MLS but on the night was bad for Canada.

It was actually Canada that opened the scoring in the game with a 24th minute effort from Dylan Carreiro. After finding himself in a fair bit of space near the US area Carreiro decided to try his luck and took a decent shot that found the back of the net with help from poor positioning by American goal keeper Cody Cropper. It was not enough for Canada though as they went into the break down 3-1.

The second half saw Canada's level of play pick up and it was Samuel Piette who led the way for Canada. He had a legitimate penalty shout early in the half that was turned down by the referee just before the US went on the counter and Villarreal notched his second goal of the game.

Piette would pull that goal back with his second lovely effort of the event. This time he scored off a first touch shot as he applied a perfect strike to Trapp's clearing header and put into past the keeper who could do nothing to try and stop it. Canada was back in the game at 4-2 but time was not on their side as they started to press.

The young Canucks saw Caleb Clarke and Keven Aleman waste fairly good chances in the closing stages of the match but it was again up to Crepeau to even keep his team in the match as he added a couple more nice saves just to keep the deficit at two goals.

The end of the game saw things get fairly sloppy with the two sides throwing in some chippy play as it became clear that Canada was not going to be able to pull back the two goals. The worst incident came from Manjrekar James, one of Canada's subs, who saw a straight red for getting in the face of Benji Joya and throwing what looked like a very soft headbutt.

Full time arrived with Canada down to 10 men and still trailing 4-2 on the score sheet. That means the US will move on to face Cuba in the semifinals but more importantly that they have booked their ticket to this summer's U20 World Cup in Turkey. For Canada the event is over and the goal of making the World Cup was not realized once again.

For Toronto fans the game came with an extra reason to be depressed as not only did Doneil Henry look shaky while he was on the field, but he then had to come off just after the half hour mark with an apparent hamstring injury. It was after he came off that the Americans took the lead in the game for the first time but they were already looking threatening prior to that.

There is no word yet on the severity of Henry's injury but some have speculated that he has sustained a hamstring injury and could be unavailable to play for Toronto FC for the next couple of weeks meaning he will miss the start of the season which is a blow to an already depleted roster.

In the end, it was another tough night for Canadian fans but I guess when the sun does finally shine on us we will look back at this and so many other games as a reminder that we should enjoy the good times. If the players do learn something from this game and become better as a result then I guess it will all be worth it but for now it just sucks to lose to the US once again.