Jump to content


- - - - -

Canada 0 USA 0: Say what you will, you still couldn't beat us


It's safe to say that unless you're a friend or family member of Matt Stinson or Frank Jonke -- both of whom made their senior national-team debuts for Canada on the night -- Tuesday's scoreless draw between the cross-border rivals will quickly and irretrievably fade from your memory banks.

Yes, the (insert letter other than "A" here) team of Canada holding the (insert letter other than "A" here) team of the USA didn't realistically tell us much about the short- or long-term prospects for either nation. But the USA -- supposedly an "MLS all-star squad", supposedly a group from which coach Jurgen Klinsmann would draw players for World Cup qualifying -- was, on the night, held goalless by the fringe members of a national program that had lost its last two games by a total of 12-1.

Say what you will about the squad, Yanks. But however bad you may think this Canadian side was, you still couldn't beat us.
[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
Now, that may sound pathetic and parochial. But for the fragile psyche of a Canadian soccer fan, results such as this -- ultimately meaningless as they may be -- are a nice little boost now and again. Sure, it'd be even nicer if unexpectedly positive results occurred when things actually mattered, but hey, let's walk before we can run, shall we?

And yeah, it's definitely pathetic and parochial to revel in the schadenfreude of watching American pundits and fans collectively melt down as the game went along. But what the hell; based on my anecdotal Twitter analysis, the mindset of the American fanbase broke down roughly as follows:

Pre-game: "We're going to smoke these Canadian nobody losers! They'll be lucky if it's only 5-0!"

30th minute: "Canada is bunkering! And I'm going to use 'bunker' as a pejorative right now because the team I like is unable to break one down!

45th minute: "Man, that first half was soooooo boring. This game really is pointless, isn't it?"

65th minute:
"Gee, these Canadian nobodies sure are holding their own, for now!" (nervous laughter)

80th minute: "Oh, whatever, good job, Canada, you're holding our D-team to a scoreless draw! Big deal!"

Full time: "That game was so dumb and pointless. Canada is still crappy. They only got a result because our guys were crap. Did I mention that game was dumb? We shouldn't even talk about it, which is totally the same attitude I'd be taking if that blowout scoreline I predicted actually came to fruition."

Now, in fairness (a well-beloved Canadian virtue), the Americans were, by and large, crap. Despite holding a lot of possession, they never seemed especially well-placed to do much of anything with it. A neutral (clearly, your author does not fall into this category, but still) would likely say the game's best chance on goal was Dwayne DeRosario's left-footed strike in the sixth minute, parried away by Sean Johnson.

But as I said after Saturday's friendly against Denmark, anyone expecting something other than what we got -- a pair of largely experimental and therefore largely disjointed squads, comprised of players being put on audition for future roles -- was kidding themselves. We should, of course, be happy with the draw insofar as it wasn't a loss (particularly a lopsided one), but to place undue importance on the scoreline in games like these ones (or Canada's next match, against Japan in March) would be to miss the point entirely.

The idea, of course, is to get an idea of what we've got going forward. And the lineup fielded against the States was largely incomplete -- it was a Western Hemisphere-based team, to start, and didn't even include some players who will surely play a role with the CanMNT going forward, such as Will Johnson and Lucas Cavallini.

Still, a number of players acquitted themselves well. Kyle Bekker once again looked largely comfortable in the midfield (though there's still work to be done), Nik Ledgerwood was surprisingly effective at right back (given that he's had some troubles there with the national team before), Dejan Jakovic and Nana Attakora stood tall in the centre of defence, and Simon Thomas earned the clean sheet in his first start with the senior national team.

Will this game be remember for its epic importance in terms of world rankings? Nope.

How about its aesthetic beauty? Definitely not.

Or for the way that one player definitely stamped their name onto the roster of their senior national team for years to come? Nope, not that either.

As I said, this game will quickly be lost to the sands of time as the Americans jump back into World Cup qualifying and the Canadians continue the long, painful road of rebuilding.

But still, for one night, we frustrated and antagonized our arrogant pals to the south. And as pathetic and parochial as it may be, given the circumstances, that makes this evening a success in my books.

.


0 Comments


or Sign In