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Canada vs. USA: Team USA Must Build Momentum Heading into World Cup Qualifying

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJune 3, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - MAY 30: Hulk #20 of Brazil and Maurice Edu #7 of USA go after the ball during an International friendly game at FedExField on May 30, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Brazil spanked Team USA like an unruly child, but the Americans must put that loss behind them and focus on beating our neighbors to the north.

A friendly against Canada is on the horizon, and beyond that lies two critical World Cup qualifiers.

While the results of most friendlies are meaningless, Team USA actually has quite a bit to play for on Sunday.

National pride aside, if the U.S. stumbles against Canada, they will head into the most important matches of the year (thus far) with an unbelievable amount of pressure and no semblance of momentum. 

The U.S. has been dominant at times during their recent stretch, with the shining example being their 5-1 beatdown of Scotland. But as Wednesday's 4-1 loss to Brazil proved, Jurgen Klinsmann's squad still has plenty of issues.

Luckily, a few of those problems could be fixed Sunday against Canada.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 11:  Jozy Altidore of USA is challenged by Jeremy Mathieu of France during the International Friendly between France and USA at Stade de France on November 11, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The Americans will receive a major boost up front from Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore. Dempsey has barely played under Klinsmann after suffering a groin injury and Altidore hasn't worn the red, white and blue since February.

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If both players can establish some rhythm in Toronto, the American offense will be in good shape heading into their June 8 match against Antigua and Barbuda. 

The harder problem for Team USA to fix will be their lack of depth and talent on the backline.

After Oguchi Onyewu got shredded by the speed of Brazil, it's clear that Klinsmann will have to experiment with different lineups in the back. He doesn't have many options, but Sunday will be the perfect time to try Geoff Cameron or Clarence Goodson in the middle of the defense.

If one of them can step up and prove to be a reliable option next to Carlos Bocanegra, the Americans can solidify their starting lineup at the perfect time.

Team USA hasn't lost to Canada since 1985, going 8-0-6 since then.

If they can continue the trend on Sunday, they will build up some much needed confidence and momentum before beginning the games that count.

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