Canada Beats USMNT 2-0 to Remain Undefeated in 2022 World Cup Qualifying

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 30, 2022

Canadas Cyle Larin (L), celebrates his first half goal with Richie Lareya during the World Cup qualifying match between Canada and the United States in Hamilton, Ontario, on January 30, 2022. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images)
GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images

O Canada. Two-O, Canada, to be precise. 

The Canadian men took control of the top of the CONCACAF table on Sunday afternoon, beating the USMNT 2-0 in World Cup qualifying. Canada now sits at 22 points, four clear of the second-place United States and five points above Mexico. Canada is also undefeated in qualifying.

B/R Football @brfootball

CANADA DEFEAT THE USMNT 2-0<br><br>Still unbeaten in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying 🇨🇦 <a href="https://t.co/F4swmVjBQd">pic.twitter.com/F4swmVjBQd</a>

Paul Carr @PaulCarr

🇨🇦 Canada gets its first WCQ win vs the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USMNT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USMNT</a> since 1980 (fourth WCQ meeting since then).<br><br>🇨🇦 Canada is the first team to take eight total points off the U.S. and Mexico in a final round.

Jeff Carlisle @JeffreyCarlisle

FT: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/usmnt?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#usmnt</a> 0-2 Canada. The US simply wasn't sharp enough, nor did it play fast enough in the final third. The subs provided a spark, but that was too late. Credit Canada. They played like a team with something to prove, and now they can practically touch a spot in Qatar.

Stu Holden @stuholden

Canada 2 - 0 USA. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USMNT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USMNT</a> thoroughly beaten and incredibly disappointing. Canada have essentially punched their ticket to Qatar 2022.. what an amazing Octagonal they are having.

James Tyler @JamesTylerESPN

absolutely dominated today -- and some felt it would be "easy" when Alphonso Davies was ruled out

Cyle Larin scored the decisive goal in the seventh minute, as a bad turnover by the United States led to a lightning-quick counter for the Canadians:

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

WHO OTHER THAN CYLE LARIN? 🇨🇦 👏 <a href="https://t.co/1BwBvqe3ME">pic.twitter.com/1BwBvqe3ME</a>

Paul Carr @PaulCarr

🇨🇦 Canada hadn't scored in the first half against the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USMNT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USMNT</a> since 1993, a 15-game drought.<br><br>🇨🇦 23rd int'l goal for Cyle Larin, passing Dwayne De Rosario for most goals in team history.

Stu Holden @stuholden

Watching that Larin goal again- take your pick for who’s to blame. Turner goal kick poor- if you’re going to kick it long, you have to push your line up / get team shape. Robinson and Richards so slow to react. Bad goal to concede so early

And Sam Adekugbe sealed the deal in the dying moments for Canada's second goal.

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

SAM ADEKUGBE SCORES HIS FIRST GOAL FOR CANADA. 🔥🇨🇦 <a href="https://t.co/AyCWcvrqox">pic.twitter.com/AyCWcvrqox</a>

The United States had its moments, holding large chunks of possession and pushing forward into the box. But the Americans were poor in the final third, lacking the crisp passing and clinical finishing needed to beat a very solid Canadian side. 

The United States' best chance to equalize before allowing the second goal came from Weston McKennie—only to see Milan Borjan make a miraculous save:

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

WESTON MCKENNIE OFF THE CROSSBAR. A HUGE SAVE FROM MILAN BORJAN. 🧤 <a href="https://t.co/Y09wgnivZi">pic.twitter.com/Y09wgnivZi</a>

So for a United States team that looked a step off the pace against Canada, where does the blame lie? In the tactics?

Taylor Twellman @TaylorTwellman

Do you see the "freedom of thought"? <br><br>Do you see the "explosiveness" that you saw from Canada? <br><br>Do you see "plan B" when it comes to chasing games or changing games?<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USMNT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USMNT</a> <a href="https://t.co/7i7Iq3eM9T">https://t.co/7i7Iq3eM9T</a>

Maximiliano Bretos @MaxBretosSports

It was not a dominant performance.<br>Canada executed their game plan, as they always do, and won. <a href="https://t.co/hc4CWL6670">https://t.co/hc4CWL6670</a>

Will Parchman @WillParchman

Canada had more shots on goal. <br><br>It’s almost like Gregg only looks at the possession stats when determining if the US played well. <a href="https://t.co/GHuonDiWtU">https://t.co/GHuonDiWtU</a>

Kyle Bonn @the_bonnfire

Berhalter asked about Canada’s physicality: “Actually, they couldn’t handle OUR physicality, we gave it to them up and down the pitch.”<br><br>This is an aggressive and defiant Berhalter after a signature loss <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USMNT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USMNT</a>

In its best player, Christian Pulisic, looking flat for a second straight appearance?

Maximiliano Bretos @MaxBretosSports

The story continues to be lack of form of Christian Pulisic. I truly believe this is the handiwork of his recent time with Chelsea. <br>Happy to see him that corner on Borjan save, hopefully sign his confidence returning. <br>Where are the goals for the USMNT??

Sir Lucas Closed Caption @AndyGlockner

Pulisic really looks a shell of himself at the moment. Just not very good.

Or is Canada just better? It certainly has been thus far in qualifying.

Ives Galarcep @SoccerByIves

There was a time when Canada was considered a soft team. Today? They were the tougher team, had more bite. They brought the edge, and took the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USMNT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USMNT</a> out of their comfort zone.<br><br>Also, David, Larin and Buchanan were clearly sharper than USA's attackers, who were just plain flat

In this qualifying period, the United States continues to veer between promise and inconsistency. They'll follow poor halves with excellent showings down the stretch. A good game will be followed by disappointment. Players will look world-class in one moment and mediocre the next. 

Perhaps that partially comes with the territory for a talented but young roster. Some blame will fall on manager Gregg Berhalter for the flat showing after Thursday's 1-0 win over El Salvador. 

Granted, the end game is qualifying for the World Cup, and the United States remain in excellent position to do so. The top three teams in CONCACAF qualifying receive an automatic berth to the World Cup, while the fourth-place team goes to an intercontinental playoff with a chance to qualify.

But Sunday's disappointing loss makes Wednesday's showdown with Honduras (7:30 p.m. ET) in Minnesota all the more important. Canada, meanwhile, can all but clinch its berth with points at El Salvador on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET). For the moment, they are the kings of CONCACAF.