Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Five Things From Canada

In the aftermath of the USA's clinical treatment of Canada in the opening night of Group C, we look at five things to carry forward into the second set of games on the Gold Cup schedule.

Multiple Choice: The United States was calm, collected, and dangerous on first looks. It was the second and third looks letting them down, turning into a panic matched only by the Canadian defenders. A bit more poise and winning time to consider options, and they're likely in the lead a lot earlier. Instead, shot selection went out the window in place of simply putting the ball somewhere near frame. It can work, but the US is too good a team to rely on that style of soccer. Their second goal demonstrated what the US should be doing in those situations, and it's to this team's credit that they made the appropriate adjustments.

Clean Up: There should be no complaints directed at the US defense from Tuesday night's performance. Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Tim Ream, and Clarence Goodson did their jobs. The Canadian attack had its moments, but not what's expected from a team with Dwayne De Rosario and Ali Gerba. Canada can expect better against other teams in Group C, but the US back line wasn't giving enough away for Canada to have much of an opportunity of turning a half chance into a goal.

The Canadian Question: After tonight's as close to Canada as possible rivalry game, the Canadian Soccer Association is once again left to wonder what's happening with their program. Almost was moments like '07 aside, they have to find a way to develop and recruit players to compete at CONCACAF level. Right now, there are just too many gaps to fill. They're also combating a long term image problem with players that have options to represent another country more than likely to take it. Canadian MLS teams might not be the answer, but the CSA had literally two decades to come up with something better between the end of the North American Soccer League and MLS expanding to Canada. Remember when they were going to form a league made up of reserve teams from European clubs?

Group C: Scouting the rest of the group, it's tough to come up with a reason for the US to lose any games. Guadeloupe is an unknown quantity that usually catches someone, but their big game performance might've already happened. It wasn't enough to get a point, and that could be their swansong in 2011. Panama is a competitive CONCACAF team, but there's enough of a gap between then and the United States to favor the US in just about any scenario.

The Rest Of The Field: As we head into the second games, the winners across the groups make sense. Though few should've seen the multi-goal onslaughts coming in both Group A games and one of the Group B openers, the results were to be expected. That includes the 0-0 draw between Honduras and Guatemala in Group B. That's the group with the most to show in their second matchday, with Jamaica likely overmatched against Honduras and Guatemala set to show that Grenada is simply overmatched by the rest of the group. With El Salvador crashing out against Mexico, they don't look up to a return to form against Costa Rica. Group A will probably have to wait until matchday three to give us a game, the Mexico - Costa Rica showdown.

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