In upsetting the USMNT, Canada proclaims itself as CONCACAF best


Canada Soccer

Jose Pacheco

It appears that the power shifts in the CONCACAF region aren’t done just yet.

The U.S men’s national team looked to assert their dominance and extend their lead atop the World Cup qualifying table over the Canadians on Jan 30. in their qualifier match, a dominance that came into question after they struggled against El Salvador. Expected to outscore their opponent quickly, the national team managed a mere 1-0 result.

The game against Canada has shed some light on the current struggles of the U.S men’s national team, after they wound up losing 2-0 to Canada. The first goal came from Cyle Larin in just the first 10 minutes of the match with the second goal coming from Sam Adekugbe to finish off the game in the fifth minute of added time of the second half.

This match raises questions about their performance before their upcoming match with Honduras. However, with four matches remaining in the World Cup Qualifiers and amid their high standing in the qualification table, the U.S. remains in a comfortable position to advance to Qatar 2022, unless something disastrous happens. The U.S. soccer team’s struggles should raise alarms for their playstyle but this team has made adjustments on the road in the past.

Now in the spotlight is Canada after stunning the Americans to lead the standings for the first time in history.

Soccer culture is not deeply rooted in Canada as there wasn’t an official professional soccer league until 2019. But soccer has been becoming more popular in recent years. Canadian teams have shown they can compete in top level tournaments in the past two years, take for example the women’s national team winning the Gold Medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and now the men’s team leading the World Cup qualifiers. Players like Alphonso Davis, who currently plays for Bayern Munich, one of the most dominating clubs in Europe recently has inspired a young generation of Canadians to follow his footsteps and aspire to play for a top European team.

A country that hasn’t been to a World Cup since its sole appearance in 1986 now remains as the only undefeated team and leaders of the CONCACAF with a spot at the Qatar 2022 World Cup practically secured, with decisive wins over Mexico and the home. It was their first win against Mexico in 20 years, 41 years against the U.S.

Not long ago, Mexico was the regional soccer powerhouse. Even though the U.S would contend in the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers monetarily shifting that distinction to their side, it would always find its way back to Mexico.

Mexico is still seemingly finding its new identity with new players and a new playstyle that has failed to deliver in the past tournaments where the U.S. won, but now, a new rival has emerged, fit enough to challenge both Mexico and the U.S and proclaim itself the best team in the North American Region.

For now, Canada looks to further extend its lead and finish securing its ticket to Qatar while proving they’re not the same Canadian team of the past but a newly renovated and improved team that should be taken seriously in the region.