An MLS-based U.S. Men's National Team (USMNT) disappointed with a dismal scoreless draw with Canada on Jan. 29 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. All 11 USMNT starters play in MLS.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is 11-6-5 with the USMNT as he kicked off his third year as head coach, but the much anticipated improvement has yet to reveal itself and worries about the upcoming Hexagonal are intensifying.
The inability of the USA to cut through Canada's B team, which allowed 12 goals in its last two matches, foreshadows the USMNT's upcoming Final Round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, which kick off on Feb. 6, versus Honduras. Klinsmann is expected to select several of Tuesday's players for the roster for the dangerous qualifiers.
The USA is now unbeaten by Canada in 16 games (8-0-8), although Canada is seldom regarded as a threat. This was the USA's second consecutive scoreless draw against Canada, the other recorded on June 2, 2012. Alarmingly, next week's opponent Honduras eliminated Canada from World Cup Qualifying 8-1 last October.
Intensity of play lacking
Canada bunkered in early and stayed that way, but USA couldn't create enough chances and strikers couldn't put away the few opportunities despite the feeble Canadian back line, which relied heavily on defender Dejan Jakovic.
2012 MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski had a shaky start and poor service, but found the game about 30 minutes in. Wondolowski's focus intensified and he made his most dangerous attempts shortly before the half, but Klinsmann pulled him off for Joshua Gatt. Also at the break, Benny Feilhaber entered for struggling Beltran and delivered some nice dead balls into the box. Seeing how Feilhaber was looking for a striker and Wondo was looking for service, it's curious Klinsmann didn't team them up in the same half. But Klinsmann was preparing for Honduras next week and may have focused on certain other pairings rather than getting a result in a low-key friendly with Canada. Either way, the overall quality of play should have been better.
Five MLS players earn first cap
Five U.S. players made their international debuts with the senior team: Left back Tony Beltran, center back Matt Besler, right back Justin Morrow, forward Will Bruin and midfielder Alfredo Morales. U.S. goalkeeper Sean Johnson, making his first career international start, was only forced to make one save. Midfielder Kyle Beckerman wore the captain's armband for the first time in his 24 appearances.
Brad Davis made his first National Team appearance since Feb. 24, 2010, but the reliable playmaker delivered a sub-par performance.
Upcoming World Cup Qualifiers
The U.S. opens the Hexagonal on Feb. 6 against Honduras in San Pedro Sula. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CT at Estadio Olimpico, and the game will be broadcast live on beIN SPORT.
The U.S. then hosts a World Cup qualifier on March 22 against Costa Rica at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. The game kicks off at 8 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN and the Univision Family.
Match: USA vs. Canada
Date: Jan. 29, 2013
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium - Houston, Texas
Kickoff: 8 p.m. CT
Weather: 75 degrees, rainy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
CAN 0 0 0
USA : 12-Sean Johnson; 3-Tony Beltran (21-Benny Feilhaber, 46), 5-Omar Gonzalez, 4-Matt Besler, 2-Justin Morrow; 6-Kyle Beckerman (capt.) (14-Alfredo Morales, 74), 7-Graham Zusi (18-Juan Agudelo, 64), 11-Brad Davis (17-Alejandro Bedoya, 64), 8-Brad Evans; 10-Chris Wondolowski (19-Joshua Gatt, 46), 9-Eddie Johnson (23-Will Bruin, 74)
Subs not used: 1-Bill Hamid
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
CAN : 22-Simon Thomas; 2-Nik Ledgerwood, 3-Ashtone Morgan, 4-Nana Attakora (13-Doneil Henry, 64), 5-Dejan Jakovic; 7-Terry Dunfield (16-Matthew Stinson, 51), 8-Kyle Bekker (17-Kyle Porter, 90), 9-Tosaint Rickets, 11-Russell Teibert (19-Evan James, 89); 12-Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault, 14-Dwayne De Rosario (capt.) (10-Frank Jonke, 81)
Subs not used: 6-Philippe Davies, 15-Emmanuel Gomez, 18-Roberto Stillo, 20-Mason Trafford, 21-Andres Fresenga
Head coach: Colin Miller
Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 11 / 2
Shots on Goal: 4 / 1
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 13 / 23
Offside: 2 / 1
CAN - Ashtone Morgan (caution) 78th minute
CAN - Nik Ledgerwood (caution) 79
Referee: Raul Castro (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Ramirez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Melvyn Cruz (HON)
Fourth Official: Jair Marrufo (USA)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Omar Gonzalez