TORONTO, Canada—This Canada team will not be intimidated.
The Canadian men’s national team dug in and battled back on Sunday night, coming from behind to earn a valuable point against the United States on the second match day of the final stage of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.
Deploying a rotated squad, John Herdman’s side showed a tremendous amount of heart after going behind in the second half, as a goal from Cyle Larin — ANOTHER goal from Cyle Larin — silenced thousands of American supporters in the stands, propelling Canada to their second point of ‘the octagon.’
Prior to the start of this match, Canada did catch a bit of a break when it was revealed that two key American players, Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie (covid protocol) and Borrussia Dortmund winger Gio Reyna (hamstring), were both unavailable for selection.
And although the United States is undoubtedly weaker with neither of those players in the squad, you couldn’t really tell in the first half as the U.S. dominated possession and dictated the pace of play throughout the opening 45.
Canada’s best chance came through a counter-attacking run from who else but Alphonso Davies, as the 20-year-old superstar muscled his way into a prime position in the US 18-yard box before laying it off for an oncoming Larin. Unfortunately, Larin couldn’t get his feet right and the shot was sent wide—a golden opportunity missed for Canada.
Nah, this needs to hit the back of the net pic.twitter.com/HLmN5HJjOZ— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) September 6, 2021
With the Americans pressing to close the first half — including a chance in which they hit the post — Canada were content to head into the break with the game tied at zeros, especially considering the US out-possessed Les Rouges by a margin of 76-24 per cent.
And although the red and white, who were actually sporting their black alternates for the first time, had chances, including another great look to start the first half, it would be USA opening the scoring in the 55th minute through former Philadelphia Union youngster Brendan Aaronson.
The attacking midfielder made a streaking run through the middle, timed perfectly, to cap off a nice run of play from the Americans to make it 1-0.
Aaronson gives USA the 1-0 lead 54 minutes in. pic.twitter.com/kl90egV7V7— TSN (@TSN_Sports) September 6, 2021
Moments later, however, Canada would get their goal.
A great ball down the left-hand side from Sam Adekugbe would release Davies on the wing and the Bayern Munich star would burst past his defender before squaring a pinpoint pass for Larin to tie game at one goal apiece.
That was Larin’s 12th goal of the calendar year and his 20th overall for Canada, moving him just two back of Dwayne DeRosario’s all-time scoring record. What a year he has had.
What a play from the best player in CONCACAF…— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) September 6, 2021
… and Cyle Larin scores AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/RtdOOeHNLD
In the 75th minute, worry began to set in for Canadian soccer fans watching across the country when Davies signalled to be substituted off. The youngster went down holding his leg, but was able to stay on the pitch until he was taken off. Hopefully it was just precautionary and nothing too serious.
Both teams would exchange half-chances the rest of the way, but this game would finish level — a well-deserved point for the Canadians, who really dug in to earn this result.
Les Rouges will wrap up this September window of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers at BMO Field on Wednesday when they play host to El Salvador.