By: David Alter
Canada fell to the United States 2-0 in their opening match at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The first 30 minutes saw Canada sit back while the United States completely dominate the play, owning possession of the ball as Canada was forced to do nothing but sit back and try hang on until they could find a breakthrough.
Canadian keeper Lars Hirschfeld did an excellent job of keep the United States off the score sheet with several early saves. But on the most harmless shot of all, American striker Jozy Altidore would fire a shot from the side that Hirschfeld would struggle with, as it would bounce off his hands and into the net.
Had it not been for Canadian keeper Lars Hirschfeld, Canada could have been down much more early on.
After the 30th minute Canada began to finally show some attack in their game. Dwayne De Rosario would get Canada’s first chance, a deflected shot from just outside the box that would go just wide.
Canada would trail 1-0 going into the second half where they would continue to apply pressure as it looked like they were finally going to break through with Atiba Hutchinson nearly getting through for an opportunity. They would fail to capitalize and Altidore would be a catalyst for Ryan Dempsey’s goal in the 62nd minute (an excellent cross for the assist) which would virtually secure the win.
Credit to Canada, they did continue to fight even when the game looked completely out of reach in the final ten minutes. In the 85th minute, American keeper Tim Howard robbed Canada’s Ali Gerba of a sure goal with what looked like an empty net. But a sprawled-out Howard jumped up off the ground…out of position.. to get his mits on it to force a corner.
“We kind of expected that” says midfielder Dwayne De Rosario when asked about the Americans intensity in opening of the match. “It was just weathering the storm for the first 15 minutes which we did, even though we gave up the easy goal, But the way we close off the first half, I think we were very pleased with it.”
Striker Will Johnson lamented on both goals, including the heartbreaking second tally.
“Obviously giving up that goal (in the 15th minute) really hurt” says Johnson. “Two give up two goals the way we did, we definitely shoot ourselves in the foot with goals like that.”
Midfielder Terry Dunfeild was perplex a little bit that both teams weren’t given time to warm up on the field after the other group match between Guadeloupe and Panama went longer than scheduled.
“We weren’t able to warm up on the pitch and it started to cut up right away” says Dunfield. “But it was the same for both teams so we can’t dwell on that one.”
The Canadians have not beat the Americans since 1985, leaving many to wonder if this is still a rivalry anymore.
“I think so, it’s a healthy rivalry” says Canadian Head Coach Stephen Hart. “We will continue to learn from the experiences and continue to do better.”