TORONTO, Ont.— The Canadian Men’s National Team picked up a historic victory Tuesday night as Alphonso Davies and Lucas Cavallini found the back of the net to lift Canada over the U.S. 2-0 at BMO Field in Concacaf Nations League Group A action. The victory was Canada’s first win over the States since 1985.
Here are five other things that we noticed shortly after the match.
Toronto FC shoutout
Let’s start this one off by giving some love to our BMO Field residents. John Herdman was correct to trust his instincts and start two Toronto FC players in Jonathan Osorio and Richie Laryea for his side tonight, as the two Reds were great for Canada Tuesday evening. Even when Herdman’s hand was forced a bit thanks to a 7th-minute injury to Mark-Anthony Kaye, 21-year-old Liam Fraser, a late addition to the squad, stepped in and handled the U.S. midfield admirably, a midfield marshaled by TFC teammate and captain Michael Bradley.
While admittedly Canada lost some pace in the middle of the park after Kaye’s injury, Fraser admirably filled the big void left at holding mid. Osorio and Laryea, meanwhile, showed their willingness to run and stick their foot into a challenge for their country, whose desire outweighed the Americans tonight. Laryea in particular did really well to contain Christian Pulisic, while Oso made his mark on the second goal.
Look for the TFC players to build on this positive performance when they take on Wayne Rooney’s D.C. United Saturday night at BMO Field in the opening round of the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.
An international star is born
It doesn’t take long for someone to notice why Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich were so adamant about getting their 18-year-old, Alphonso Davies. With $73-million Chelsea FC attacker Christian Pulisic on the pitch for the Americans, the Canadian teenage sensation was by far the best and most electric player on the field for both sides.
While his pace is obviously blistering, it was his will that separated Davies from the rest tonight. Playing alongside striker Jonathan David up top, often you would see the teenager track back to help out his defence when they looked flustered, or if Canada needed to relieve pressure, Davies, with his pace, would run the ball into the U.S. half and retain possession despite being outnumbered.
It was clear that Davies was up for this game early, but for the Golden Boy to seal the deal for the Reds…. that was just poetic.
Mark-Anthony Not O-Kaye?
First thing first, we hope Mark-Anthony Kaye is alright after the midfielder exited the game in the seventh minute with a hamstring injury. According to John Herdman, the Canadian international was in good spirits at half time with the team, but it was too early for the coach to provide an update.
That probably comes as a scare for LAFC fans as the 24-year-old has been crucial for the first-place side in their historic MLS season. While L.A. does have a bye in the first round, you never know with hamstring injuries. We hope Kaye’s withdrawal was just precautionary and the Toronto-native can get back out there and pick up where he left off, but again, you never know. Keep an eye out for an update.
Credit where credit is due
I started off this article by giving Canada head coach John Herdman credit for picking a strong starting side, but in his post-game press conference — alongside Herdman — Canadian veteran goalkeeper Milan Borjan took it one step further and actually credited Herdman for the victory tonight, emphasizing that the Canadian coach instilled a new style of football and philosophy to Canada.
Canada GK Milan Borjan thanks John Herdman for bringing a new energy and new style of football to Canada. Credits the Canadian coach for the victory tonight. | #CanMNT— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) October 16, 2019
That feeling is universal within the Canadian dressing room, according to Borjan. When asked how Herdman and co. motivates the side so well, Borjan responded that the English football manager is like a father to them. To be a good coach, you have to be able to make your entire squad buy-in off the field, and it seems as though Herdman has once again done that with the Canadian Men’s National Team while inspiring a fun, fresh, and attractive style of football on the field. Tuesday night was definitely fun to watch.
We’re coming in November
The disrespect that Canada received after this game was perhaps a bit unsurprising. I mean, aside from murmurs after the match from other U.S. media reporters about the Americans not playing their best side, U.S. fans were outraged that their team could’ve possibly lost to Canada — for the first time in over 30 years.
Well, newsflash Americans... the Canadians are coming for its rightful spot on the world footballing stage.
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter mentioned this after the game in his press conference:
“You can’t come to Canada anymore and expect it to be an easy game. You just can’t.”
Well, the Americans learned that the hard way tonight, and when Canada visits the U.S. for the final Concacaf Group A match on Nov. 15, don’t expect that one to be easy either.
Canada has a legitimate shot at qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.