Socialize

RSS Feed

Canada’s inexperienced squad holds U.S. to 0-0 draw in soccer friendly


CANSOC

Pat Sullivan/The Associated Press Tony Beltran of the U.S., left, collides with Canada’s Russell Tiebert during the first half of their soccer friendly on Tuesday night in Houston. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.

HOUSTON—Canada’s men’s soccer team concluded its January training camp with a confidence-building 0-0 performance against the United States on Tuesday.

The young Canadians were under pressure for virtually the entire 90 minutes against a more skilled American side on a rainy night.

But to their credit, the Canucks dealt with everything that came their way.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Canada frantically defended a final American free kick in the fourth minute of stoppage time. After the ball was cleared, the referee blew the final whistle and the Canadian bench erupted in celebration.

The team is in rebuilding mode since being eliminated from World Cup qualifying last year and finishes their pair of January games, which featured a largely experimental group of players, with a draw and a loss following Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Denmark in Tucson, Ariz.

It’s the second straight scoreless draw between the Canada and the U.S. after a 0-0 draw at Toronto’s BMO Field in June.

Canadian captain Dwayne De Rosario, one of the few veteran players on the squad, tried to lead by example and nearly had his team on the board in the sixth minute.

Right back Nik Ledgerwood fired in a cross, and while it was over De Rosario’s head, he chased the ball down and fired on a hop with his left foot, forcing U.S. goalkeeper Sean Johnson to punch clear.

From there Canada had to defend wave after wave of American attacks as the hosts held 70 per cent of the possession in the first half. The Canadians packed the defensive end and the Americans simply lacked the quality to break down the resolute defence.

For a team looking for confidence it was certainly a first half to build on as three players made their first appearance at the senior level for Canada.

The U.S. pressure mounted as the night wore on, with Canada having to deal with a number of dead-ball situations.

De Rosario also had Canada’s best chance in the second half. Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert delivered a left-footed free kick from the right side that De Rosario got his head to but it went agonizingly wide of the post in the 55th minute.

thestar.com – Sports