Canada upset the U.S. 2-0 in Olympic qualifying Saturday night, setting up a likely win-or-go-home situation against El Salvador on Monday.
The Canadians got second-half goals from Doneil Henry in the 53rd minute and Lucas Cavallini in the 83rd as they looked much sharper after making seven lineup changes following an opening, dour 0-0 draw.
The U.S. played without forward Juan Agudelo, who suffered a torn meniscus in the opening 6-0 win over Cuba. He will return to his club for treatment and, per tournament rules, will not be replaced on the roster.
Canada stacked the midfield, putting three holding midfielders in front of its back line, and chose to counterattack and attempt to win set pieces in the U.S. half. It was an effective strategy, negating Joe Corona, who scored a hat trick against Cuba.
“We knew we were going to have to put out the fire on the break and be organized on set pieces. We didn’t do well on any of those things," said U.S. coach Caleb Porter. "We had our looks. Their goalkeeper certainly had a great game and made some saves. Credit to Canada. They were organized and put some fresh legs in there. That helped them fight hard to the end.”
The Americans will face a similar type of game in Monday's game, as El Salvador will only need a tie to advance to the semifinals following a 4-0 win over Cuba.
“In all the games we’ve been in, when we have bad games, we always respond," captain Freddy Adu said. "We have pretty good character as a team, so I think we’re going to respond.”
USA: 1- Bill Hamid; 2- Ike Opara, 4- Perry Kitchen, 5- Zarek Valentin, 6- Jared Jeffrey (16- Amobi Okugo 68’), 7- Freddy Adu, 8-Mix Diskerud, 10- Joe Corona (14- Joe Gyau, 46'), 11- Brek Shea, 12-Teal Bunbury (15- Terrence Boyd, 56’), 13- Jorge Villafana
Canada: 18- Michal Misiewicz; 2- Andres Fresenga (11- Matthew Stinson, 68’), 3- Russell Teibert, 4- Nana Attakora-Gyan, 5- Doneil Henry, 6- Kyle Bekker, 8- Samuel Piette, 12- Babayele Sodade (20- Evan James, 20’), 13- Lucas Cavallini, 14- Philippe Davies, 19- Randy Edwini-Bonsu (15-Sherif El-Masri, 90’)
Goals: Henry 58’, Cavallini 83’