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Concacaf Nations League Preview: Canada @ USA

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Canada heads into Orlando to take on the Americans with first place in Group A up for grabs

Soccer: CONCACAF Nations League Soccer-USA at Canada
Canada forward Jonathan David (20) battles for a ball with United States goalkeeper Zack Steffen (1) during the first half of a CONCACAF Nations League soccer match at BMO Field.
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

One month ago in Toronto, Canada made history at BMO field defeating the Americans 2-0 for the first time in 34 years.

This Friday night, it’s round two between the US and Canada, this time on American soil at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.

For Canada, this is their final match in Group A of the Concacaf Nations League and a draw would bring them to ten points, good enough to lock up first place in the group.

Conversely, The US side have just three points in two group games played and as a result will need to get their revenge over their neighbours from the North Friday night. If Gregg Berhalter’s squad manage to win against the Canadians, they will still require a lopsided result over Cuba next Tuesday if they have any hopes of winning Group A.

For head coach John Herdman and his Canada side, the squad is once again stronger than ever and features each member of the starting XI that faced the US last month. The two biggest decisions for Herdman could regard the use of Toronto FC youngster Liam Fraser as well as who his CB pairing will consist of.

After Mark-Anthony Kaye limped off just five minutes in at BMO Field last time out between these two teams, Fraser played 85+ minutes off the bench for his Senior International debut. Under the familiar big lights of BMO, Fraser shined against the Americans and his club teammate Michael Bradley. While Kaye is likely to play now that he is back to being fit, Herdman will surely keep Fraser’s performance in the back of his mind when he fills out his team sheet on Friday.

Defender Doneil Henry, meanwhile, will be available for selection this time around after missing out on the last match against the US through suspension. Expectations are that Henry will slide into the starting XI, likely in place of his Vancouver Whitecaps teammate Derek Cornelius.

For the Americans, injuries have plagued the current crop of available players for their pair of Nations League fixtures. To name a few, the Americans will be without the services of Christian Pulisic, Michael Bradley, and starting keeper Zack Steffen.

More information on the American roster can be found here.

Ahead of this pivotal match in Group A, Canada’s head coach insists the names on the opposing roster isn’t changing the approach for his group.

“It just doesn’t matter” said Herdman on the US camp’s omissions. “You know, in some ways you wish those players (Pulisic and co.) were there. But for us it just doesn’t matter, we’re clear... the whistle will blow and our mindset will be there regardless of who’s in front of us.”

Rather than being satisfied with last month’s result, it’s clear this Canadian group is hoping to ride the high of their historic victory into Friday night.

Getting a result away against the Americans hasn’t exactly been common ground for Canada over the years. To find the last time Canada beat the US in America, you’ll have to go back 62 years to July 6, 1957 in St. Louis when Canada won 3-2 on the day.

For this crop of Canadian players, the history of this fixture will simply be added motivation as they continue to rewrite the narrative on soccer in this country.

Additional Notes:

  • Jonathan David has 11 goals in his 11 career appearances for Canada. At only 19 years old, David could move into a tie for seventh place on the all-time goals list for Canada if he were to score against the US.
  • Dominick Zator became the third CPL player named to a Canadian Men’s National roster with his selection for this match. If Zator were to feature against the US, he would become the first active CPL player to play minutes for the National team.

Have you ever wondered what WTR does leading up to these massive matches? Jeffrey P. Nesker has you covered with his video recapping last month’s historic win over the U.S. at BMO Field. Take a look below.