CanMNT at the Gold Cup group stage recap + USMNT scouting report
The group stage for the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup has reached its conclusion, meaning the knockout stage games are set to begin as the Canadian men's national team meets the U.S. once again, this time in the tournament's quarter-final.
Will it be sweet revenge for the Canadians, who lost to the U.S. in the Concacaf Nations League final a couple weeks ago? Or will the U.S. send the Canadians home earlier than they would have liked in the region's top international tournament?
Here's a quick rundown of where we are (so far) at the Gold Cup:
Path to the Knockouts
The group stage for both teams couldn’t have played out more differently, Canada had a rude awakening to the tournament after drawing Guadeloupe 2-2 in their first match, they’d go on to be kept off the scoresheet in their very next game against Guatemala, drawing that game 0-0 and setting up Canada to be knocked out of the tournament.
If it wasn’t for a 4-2 victory over Cuba as well as Guatemala coming back and securing a 3-2 victory over Guadeloupe late on the final matchday, Canada wouldn’t have made this weekend's knockout stage.
As for the United States, they cruised past their opponents in the group stage, following up an opening day 1-1 draw vs Jamaica with back-to-back 6-0 victories over Trinidad and Tobago & St. Kitts and Nevis.
Second chance for CanadaLess than a month ago, Canada fell 2-0 to the United States at the CONCACAF Nations League final, a devastating result considering just how close they were to John Herdman’s first silverware win for the team.
Now, with an opportunity to better themselves against their arch rivals, it’s very important Canada come into this game leaving their last meetup in the past, as they rightfully should, although the two fixtures fall close to each other, the players featuring in the match are quite different, with the likes of Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and Christian Pulisic sitting this tournament out.
When it comes to Canada’s preparation and mindset heading into the big match, John Herdman isn’t so concerned about how the team fared in group stage action
“It’s all positive, it’s been a learning experience these last three games, proud of the effort, tough conditions, again… but we got what we wanted, US (USA) in Cincinnati so hopefully the Canadian fans get over the border and start filling that stadium up.” said a seemingly excited Herdman following the victory over Cuba.
Herdman’s feeling of confidence and hunger seems to be radiating throughout the team as captain Junior Hoilett also expressed his belief in Canada’s ability to pull off the upset this weekend, following the Cuba match.
“It's gonna be a tough game, but we have a lot of strength in our team to go out and get the result, we gotta work hard in training this week to maximize our strengths and nullify their strengths, so we gotta go hard and stick to the game plan, (if we can do that), I'm sure we’ll put on a show”
Top mission? Neutralize Jesus Ferreira
Jesus Ferreira, 22, has put on a show this season for both club and country, after a breakout campaign in MLS last season, Ferreira has stayed on that upwards trajectory with 10 goals in 18 appearances so far for FC Dallas, and an even more impressive statline of 10 goals in just four appearances for USA this year.
Ferreira has scored a hat-trick in back to back contests heading into the Quarter-Final vs Canada and will likely get some key opportunities against a Canadian backline that conceded 2 goals to both Cuba and Guadeloupe.
Ferreira is a true poacher, his small frame gets him lost in the commotion in and around the box and once he’s on the ball, his tight dribbling and finishing ability allows him to be one of the most dangerous attackers in North America, It will take a collective effort from Canada’s back line as they’ll need to keep a keen eye on the Colombian born forward and protect balls from entering their box at all costs, all Ferreira needs is an inch of space to make you pay.