Match Preview: USMNT face off against Canada looking to head to Gold Cup semifinals

Jonathan Osorio, of Canada, right, grabs Timothy Weah of the United States during the first half of a CONCACAF Nations League final match Sunday, June 18, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The USMNT will look to continue their dominance in Concacaf, as they face off against northern neighbors Canada in the Gold Cup quarterfinals on Sunday at 7:30 PM EST. The USMNT finished first place in Group A with 7 points, winning against both St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago, while drawing with Jamaica. Canada finished second in Group D with 5 points, winning against Cuba, while drawing against both Guadeloupe and Guatemala. The two clubs most recently faced off in the Concacaf Nations League Final, with the United States defeating Canada 2-0 to bring the trophy home.

Gold Cup
Jonathan Osorio, of Canada, right, grabs Timothy Weah of the United States during the first half of a CONCACAF Nations League final match Sunday, June 18, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

USMNT vs Canada Preview

Throughout their history, the United States has not faced off against Canada a lot in the Gold Cup, but they have been dominant in the matches that they have played. The USMNT has a record of 4-0-1 against their neighbors while outscoring their competition 7-1 in the process. The last time these two teams faced off in the Gold Cup was in the 2021 group stage, where the United States defeated Canada 1-0 to clinch first place in Group B. The United States will look to continue its dominance over the Canadians, as they try to move on to the semifinals of the Gold Cup.

Gold Cup
U.S. forward Brandon Vazquez (19) celebrates his game-tying goal against Jamaica with teammates, including forward Jesus Ferreira (9), during the second half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match Saturday, June 24, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

Gold Cup So Far

Canada’s performance in the Gold Cup so far is not what manager John Herdman wanted to see from his team. For a team that is trying to establish itself as the King of Concacaf, a second-place finish in a group with Guadeloupe, Guatemala, and Cuba is underwhelming. While all three of these teams deserved their spots in the Gold Cup, Canada would most likely have wanted to finish top of the group and show that they are one of the teams in Concacaf that are not to be played around with.

In their first game of the group stage, Canada drew to Guadeloupe 2-2, with Guadeloupe scoring a stoppage-time equalizer in the 90th minute. Canada would then draw their second game of the group stage against Guatemala, with this score being 0-0. It was a well-fought match with both teams having a small number of chances on target, but in the end, it was a scoreless draw.

The third and final group stage match for Canada was against Cuba, and Herdman’s team looked more like themselves in this match. They were able to defeat Cuba 4-2, with goals scored by Junior Hoilett, Jonathan Osorio, Jayden Nelson, and Liam Millar. The Canadians will look to continue their good form against the USMNT on Sunday night and will look to a few players to do so.

Gold Cup
AL RAYYAN, QATAR – NOVEMBER 23: De Bruyne Kevin forward of Belgium & Johnston Alistair defender of Canada during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Belgium and Canada at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Al Rayyan, Qatar. (Photo by Photo News/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire) ****NO AGENTS—NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

The X-Factors

While there are a few names that could be dangerous for Canada against the USMNT, there is one specific name that sticks out. This player goes by the name of Junior Hoilett. The 33-year-old currently plays for Reading in League One in England and has been an important player for Canada throughout his time. Hoilett was able to get on the score sheet for the first time in the tournament against Cuba, and he also has two assists so far. Containing him will be an important thing for the United States to do, as he will be able to create chances for Canada, whether that be through passing or shooting the ball. 

For the United States, there is one big name that sticks out as the X-Factor, and that is someone who has been one of, if not the top player of the entire Gold Cup. This individual is Jesus Ferreira, who has been leading the United States attack at the striker position. Ferreira has been absolutely lethal in this tournament, scoring 6 goals so far, which is the highest scorer by a large margin. He has been a dominant force and has definitely been the USMNT’s top player. Ferreira will look to continue his scoring form against Canada, as the team looks to move onto the semifinals.

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United States’ Jesus Ferreira, right, is congratulated by teammate Djordje Mihailovic (14) after scoring during the second half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match against St. Kitts & Nevis Wednesday, June 28, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


In between the match against Trinidad and Tobago and this upcoming match, the United States did make a roster change, with Jackson Yueill replacing the injured Alan Sonora. Yuell does have some familiarity with the USMNT, making 16 international appearances for the Red, White, and Blue. 

When it comes to the Starting XI for the match against Canada, I can see manager B.J. Callaghan making some changes from the lineup that we saw against Trinidad and Tobago. Cade Cowell could appear in the starting eleven after an impressive performance off the bench against Trinidad and Tobago. With Jordan Morris returning back to action after his injury, there is a chance that Cowell replaces Zendejas after some disappointing performances by the man from Club America.  

With the roster moves that have been made, I can see B.J. Callaghan rolling out with a lineup as follows: Turner, Jones, Neal, Robinson, Reynolds, Sands, Mihailovic, Busio, Morris, Cowell, and Ferreira. This is a strong starting eleven for Callaghan as he will look to move onto the semifinals of the Gold Cup and try to gain yet another international trophy for the United States. 

The United States has had a pretty easy road so far in this Gold Cup, but this match against Canada could be a difficult one for the team. Canada has always proven to be a tough matchup for the USMNT, and with a smaller strength lineup, we will be able to see what this team is truly made of.

Gold Cup
United States forward Jesús Ferreira celebrates his first goal against Trinidad and Tobago during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match on Sunday, July 2, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/John Locher, AP Photo/David Banks, News/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire, AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, & AP Photo/Chris Carlson