Three Canada takeaways from Gold Cup defeat to USMNT

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For the first time since the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup, Canada failed to score in a competitive game. That ends a 21-game run with at least one goal, not counting friendlies. This also snapped a nearly two-year unbeaten run since, ironically, the 4-1 defeat to the US in Concacaf Nations League in November 2019.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying. After a disastrous start, conceding just 20 seconds into the match, Canada responded well following a tactical shift from a 3-4-3 to a 4-4-2 after a hydration break in the 30th minute. Prior to that, though, the USA were dictating the tempo and conceded very little to their opponents.

“I thought the US were able to cause that back five problems,” Canada coach John Herdman said in his post-match press conference. “Obviously Gregg [Berhalter] had put some work in to just put [Sebastian] Lletget in positions that were difficult for us.

“But I think we adapted at the water break and we were able to shift into a 4-4-2 in that three-box, three attacking and started to take control of the games.”

Those tweaks enabled Tajon Buchanan to be deployed further forward and he caused a ruckus as a result. The New England Revolution attacker had three key passes and four shots, most of which were generated once he moved into an attacking role.

Most of Canada’s chances were generated down the flanks once the US sat off following Shaq Moore’s goal. They pressed and recovered possession well, but couldn’t produce any clear-cut chances once they progressed the ball into the box.

Herdman said there were discussions with the squad ahead of the game about sending in early crosses to get the ball in behind the American backline, but they were unable to do so.

“I think we had enough shots, we got into enough good areas,” Herdman said. “I don’t think we were threatening enough when we got in and around that penalty area. There were moments we just had to serve the ball into the box. We’ve got real predators in there in [Cyle] Larin, [Lucas] Cavallini. We just wanted that extra pass to come back across and I just thought that was a big missed opportunity.”

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