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    I'd eight to be the USVI!

    Duane Rollins

    They really should have put one in their own net just for the symbolism of it. I mean, 8-0 is nice – historic, even – but 8-1 would have been a delicious result in the first competitive game of John Herdman’s men’s coaching career.

    If you’re reading this site, I don’t need to explain why.

    Alas, the Red and White played it straight and find themselves solidly in second place of the CONCACAF Nations League qualification after most of match-day one is completed.

    The plus 8 is the vital number here. As I wrote Friday, there are some games where the sports clichés don’t factor. This was one. The US Virgin Islands, as they currently stand, would never beat Canada. Never. It doesn’t matter that the ball is round. It was literally impossible that they could win. The talent gap was that great.

    What they might have done, however, was hold Canada to a relatively small score – say 3-0 or 4-0. That doesn’t sound that bad, but in this format the big teams need to beat the minnows up. Otherwise they could easily find themselves on 10 points and out of group A (since the pot A teams play each other any team with 12 points will be guaranteed a spot in the top group once the full competition starts).

    So, Canada needed to run the score and run the score they did.

    Beating up USVI isn’t to be taken too seriously, but it is refreshing to have seen Canada so quickly get off the mark. That’s not always been this countries strong suit, after all.

    There haven’t been a lot of surprises thus far in the Nations League, but it has proven to be a lot of fun. As previously stated, this is about getting consistent games for countries that have struggled to book friendlies in the past.

    It’s also Gold Cup qualifying and although Canada would have to bomb in unimaginable ways to bring that into play, the expanded format of the 2019 tournament could make for some great drama towards the back end. A country like Saint Lucia, who won 3-0 this week, is suddenly in the mix and we should not dismiss how important it would be for a nation like that to make a Gold Cup.

    All in all it was a good weekend for Canada and CONCACAF.

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    • Makes you wonder what this team would look like under Zambrano. Judging from that comment, he would have gone all out against Mexico in this one. I could see us shocking Mexico under OZ in this game, only for Tata and Mexico to figure us out in the semifinal. Now let's be clear, Martino is a world class coach and may figure us out anyways, but he has a lot less high quality data to analyze since Herdman only gave him a taste. This is what I appreciate about Herdman's approach. Even if we make it deep and fall to Mexico again, at least Herdman's intent was there for all to see. He's playing the long game and that is very refreshing to see at the very least.
    • “I think as a measuring stick, we were able to see 21- and 19-year-old players with no experience against this type of opposition, and living there,” Canada manager John Herdman said postgame. “Living against their $35 million-dollar players. Tonight was real learning for those guys.” Can anyone tell me where/who these $35 million dollar players were?  Mexico is good but why do we have to exaggerate so much?  You would think we were playing Argentina.   In fact, the two of the three most valuable players last night in terms of market value were both CANADIAN.  We need to get that though our heads and respect our opponents but not build them up.  According to transfermarket they had one guy worth anywhere near the number Herdman threw out - Raul Jimenez.
    • Glad you're finally done because you've been spewing some serious nonsense and I don't have an UEFA A license nor have I coached or played professionally(well not soccer anyways) but I can see what Herdman is doing. You and everyone that thinks a result here and now against  Mexico is more important than the long term goals of this squad are just laughable.
    • Cheeky line, but I'm still going to save my judgement on Herdman until the end of the tournament. OZ was a stepping stone but he was not our savior by any means. OZ had us playing attractive footy,  helped springboard Cav's & MAK's club career and got us out of a tough Gold Cup group stage. What I do remember from a critical standpoint about 2017 Gold Cup though Re:OZ 1) Honduras & CRC were 100% more focused on WCQ in 2017, as admirable as the two ties in groupt stage were, Honduras barely cared about the 2017 Gold Cup (at least in my eyes). 2) Half our team looked absolutely gassed in the QFs against Jamaica, felt only Hoilett  showed up. 3) OZ made a massive error by starting Vitoria and Jakovic at CB vs Jamaica's speed before subbing in James after both goals, especially since both were already fatigued after the group stage. His decision starting those two lack of pace CB's ultimately costs us the match, especially with Jamaica scoring 5 mins in. When James came in, in the 2nd half, I don't think Jamaica had another shot or counter. I'll save my judgment regarding Herdman until after the tourny is done.    
    • He would have failed. You make it sounds so easy... Seriously, if there are things to take away from this experiment is that you dont sit down defending because they eventually break your defense  The other thing is that if you press their defense, they prove vulnerable and make mistakes to exploit. Lesson is, you got to take it to them, not park the bus  
    • Totally agree that role was begging for Akindele, but Herdman made his choice. What's done is done. I don't see Larin suiting up in that role much anyhow. I think it was partly out of necessity to keep Hoilett fresh for Cuba. What's disappointing (but expected) is that Larin is not playing instinctively. He is definitely putting in the work to stay fit and focused, but it's difficult to find your rhythm when you haven't played regularly. I can see improvements in his game, developed by virtue of training with a high level team like Besiktas week-in and week-out, but now he needs to just find his rhythm again so that he can be the instinctive finisher we know he can be. 
    • I wasn't sure about Osorio after the first game but man did he ever put in a great shift. Also I don't think it's a coincidence that the two guys most familiar with playing in Mexico (Oso and Cav) were two of our best players. Exposure to these leagues and players goes a long way.
    • How is he trolling? You've made so many ridiculous statements but he's the one trolling? 
    • I thought this twitter commentary was notable:  
    • I would argue that Herdman achieved exactly what he wanted, which was to rotate the squad and keep the game within reach until he could bring on some of our big guns. I was impressed by the discipline, fitness and commitment of our guys to keep the defensive shape in the first half. That said, I think KJ was right in that Larin left ZBG with a lot to do defensively. I doubt we will see Larin in this role much in the future.
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