Photo Credit: Northern Futbol Podcast Twitter account.
The Canadian Men’s National Team had the chance to win a trophy for the first time in 23 years and send off captain Atiba Hutchinson in style. But instead, we are going to be sitting here talking about a very disappointing performance in the CONCACAF Nations League final.
It wasn’t a good one from Canada. At all.
Simply put, Canada were pretty terrible. Also, I am not taking anything away from the US’s performance. They were good.
From the start, Canada looked unprepared. Canada was like when you take an exam that you pulled an all-nighter studying for.
The US had a game plan, but they stuck to it. Canada on the other hand couldn’t adapt. Let’s start with the set pieces.
The Canadians looked lost defending them. Alistair Johnson and Scott Kennedy were doing a poor job with the clearances. The US made them pay early as Johnson lost Chris Richards and his header beat Milan Borjan. Borjan probably should have had that one.
It felt Canada was just chasing the US in the game, especially in the first half. The Canadians on the second US goal were left in the dust by the goalscorer Folarin Balogun and Gio Reyna.
The defending was an all-around mess like the new Avenged Sevenfold album. Canada was letting Reyna, Balogun, Christian Pulisic and Timothy Weah get by them easily.
It also looked like Canada couldn’t string three passes together. They gave the ball away like Oprah Winfrey gave free prizes to the audience.
Alphonso Davies, in particular, was not good. Yes, he hasn’t played much since late April due to injury but that can’t be an excuse. Davies was trying too much, especially in the second half. Instead of passing to wide-open teammates, he decided to shoot from a distance…but his shots would have been good for three points if he was playing in the NFL or CFL.
Canada’s other big name, Jonathan David was unfortunately in the pocket of Walker Zimmerman. He did not look noticeable until late in the second half when he decided to pass the ball across the box instead of taking a shot on Matt Turner. David should have shot there.
Cyle Larin also had a great chance in the second half after his first shot was blocked but he skied it over the bar. Larin’s passing also was very poor and like most of the Canadian players, he looked static all game.
When Canada had the ball, they did nothing with it. They were passes that were easily taken by the American players or they kept overpassing.
Even 2-0 up late, the US were sticking to their plan and managed to keep Canada off the scoresheet. Canada decided to stick to their plan which wasn’t working anymore. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results as Albert Einstein famously once said.
But you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that Canada’s attack was so lethargic and pitiful.
John Herdman was clearly outcoached by US interim coach BJ Callaghan. He needs to get back to the drawing board after this.
If there is one positive that is Sam Adekugbe looked good coming on in the second half. He was trying to create something for Canada.
But other than that, it was once again a dreadful performance from Canada. Poor defending, bad passing and it was just an all-around frustrating match to watch.
Stat of the match
In addition to scoring the first goal, Richards had seven clearances for the United States including four headed clearances.
What do you mean the game starts at 6 PM?!
I really hate how they do this in North American sports. I could’ve sworn the game was supposed to start at 5:30 pm Pacific Time.
Ohhhhh…Un-Bie-Vable…wait wrong Neville
Fresh off getting fired by Inter Miami, Phil Neville was hired as one of Canada’s assistant coaches last week. It’s a weird hire. Maybe, he planted some bad ideas in Herdman’s tactic sheets.
This is why I hardly ever make predictions on Twitter. I was optimistic when I saw Kaylyn Kyle’s prediction but too bad it aged like milk.
Stuck in Vallodid
Despite Real Vallodid getting relegated to La Liga 2, reports say they want to sign Larin permanently. He scored eight goals with Real Vallodid in 19 La Liga games on loan from Club Brugge. Perhaps Larin is stuck in Valladolid and the one we saw on the pitch on Sunday night is an imposter.
You just got to shoot
It was painful watching Canada pass the ball too much instead of shooting. It was like the ball was a hot potato.
Aviators under pressure
Herdman is under pressure. He was outcoached at the World Cup and he was outcoached in the CONCACAF Nations League final. Is he the right guy for Canada going forward? Herdman did a great job of bringing Canada to the level they are at now but can he take them further? There is still the Gold Cup to be played in a few weeks plus other tournaments between now and 2026 so we’ll see. If he doesn’t deliver, then maybe Canada Soccer should start looking elsewhere.
Thank You Atiba, too bad you have to leave the game this way
Hutchinson has been playing for Canada’s men’s senior team since 2003. But as you all know, he is hanging up the boots and Sunday was supposed to be his swan song. Unfortunately, he didn’t come off the bench and his career ended in defeat. Hutchinson deserved a better send-off. He’s been through the highs and lows with Canada. From being ranked 122nd in the world, to losing 8-1 to Honduras to qualifying for the World Cup, Hutchinson was there.
But now, retirement is next and all the best to Hutchinson. If only, they could have sent him off better, he had one hell of a career.
As mentioned, the Gold Cup is next for Canada and with many players taking the summer off, it will be a different squad. The Gold Cup for Canada begins on June 27 at BMO Field against the winner of the prelim round.