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Preview: Destination Nashville as Canada takes on the United States

Both sides picked a point in matchday one of the Octagonal.

Honduras v Canada: 2022 World Cup Qualifying Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Following a stalemate at home to Honduras, Canada now heads south of the border for their first away match of the Octagonal where they’ll take on the reigning Gold Cup champions, the United States.

Gregg Berhalter’s men were also held to a draw in matchday one as they failed to break down a dogged El Salvdor side at the Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador.

With both Canada and the US eyeing their first three points of the campaign, this is an encounter you simply can’t miss. Kickoff is set for 8:00 pm EST at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, with the game available to watch on TSN.

In front of 14,000+ fans at BMO Field, the Canadian men’s national team fought back to earn a point against Honduras. John Herdman and co. will have surely felt as though they deserved more than a draw, but ties in three out of Thursday’s four games means that the two dropped points are less impactful than previously thought.

It is still very early, but after matchday one, Canada sits in third place, behind Honduras on away goals and ahead of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama and the US on goals scored.

Two Canadians who made the headlines against Honduras were Cyle Larin and Alistair Johnston. Larin, scorer of Canada’s equalizer from the penalty spot, became Les Rouges’ joint-second all-time top scorer. The Beşiktaş forward, who has now bagged 11 goals in 2021, also became the first player since Carl Fletcher in 1997 to score for Canada in CONCACAF’s final round of WCQ.

Alistair Johnston put in a man of the match performance at the back and once again showcased why he is one of Canada’s three first-choice defenders. The 22-year-old Vancouver native was a thorn in Honduras’ attacking attempts and wowed the crowd with a series of disciplined challenges to keep the visitors at bay.

Against the USA, both are likely to remain in Herdman’s starting eleven, but we could see some changes with regards to the formation. The return of the 3-5-2 lineup is imminent in order to free up the likes of Alphonso Davies, Richie Laryea and Tajon Buchanan.

Buchanan was substituted at halftime against Honduras and was seen icing his left ankle on the bench. His status for the game against the US is unknown, but other than that, Herdman will have an injury and suspension-free side to select on Sunday night.

As for the hosts, their surprising goalless draw with El Salvador will undoubtedly fuel them for Canada’s visit as the last thing the reigning Nations League and Gold Cup champions will want is to start off the Octagonal with no wins in two.

Sunday’s clash will be the 50th meeting in history between Canada and the USA, marking half a century of one of CONCACAF’s fiercest rivalries, and best believe it’s only going to grow following the latest instalment of this matchup.

Canada has beaten the US 11 times, with their victory coming almost three years ago in the Nations League Group Stage. Second half strikes from Davies and Lucas Cavallini sealed a memorable 2-0 win for Les Rouges, their first win over the US since May 1990.

The 2021 Gold Cup was their most recent matchup and it was the US who recorded a narrow 1-0 victory in matchday three of the group stage.

Three points will firmly be on the minds of both sets of players, so fans can gear up for what looks set to be an enthralling 50th encounter between Canada and the United States of America.

Predicted Lineups:

USA: Turner; Dest, Brooks, Ream, Robinson; McKennie, Adams, Roldan; Reyna, Sargent, De la Fuente

CANADA: Borjan; Johnston, Vitoria, Miller; Laryea, Hutchinson, Eustaquio, Hoilett, Davies; Larin, David