Canada was the second time in a month that the United States Men’s National Team faced them. Cristian Roldan was substituted for Julian Gressel in this game by interim coach B.J. Callahan from the lineup that was used in the 6-0 thrashing of Trinidad and Tobago. Unusual behaviour occurred right at the beginning of the game. Right near to the endline and directly into the linesman’s face, Kamal Miller successfully cleared the ball in the first few seconds. The referee team initially attended to the bleeding, injured linesman, at which time the game was stopped for around 10 minutes.
As soon as the game began, it was first a little lacklustre. By failing to enter the US’s final third, Canada effectively lost control of the ball. While under little pressure, the USMNT was sometimes sluggish and lethargic, squandering passes or playing the ball into Canadian defenders.
After thirty minutes, things began to change.
In the 33rd minute, DeJuan Jones did make a rush into the box for the US, but the ensuing corner produced nothing. The USMNT defence resisted Canada’s attempts to ultimately make their way down the right side of the team and earn a free kick. Before forcing a foul around the midway line, the US was able to play out of pressure with a quick little move. In the 38th minute, the US was able to re-establish itself and assault the Canadian goal after recycling play. They were able to keep possession even if they weren’t able to control anything that directly affected St. Clair. It was obvious that the young American team was beginning to find its groove. Lucas Cavallini received a yellow card for grabbing Sands in the back of his ankle during Canada’s attempt to sabotage it with a hazardous foul in the 41st second.
At that point in the half, Bryan Reynolds’ misplay of a cross into the US defence gave Canada its most dangerous opportunity. Lucky for the US, an own goal was averted. Although Canada claimed Miles Robinson had handled the ball, the ensuing corner was cleared away. In fact, when Robinson flailed his hand towards the ball, it seemed as if the ball had struck it. After a review, the referee determined that Busio was really fouled mere seconds earlier, therefore a free kick was awarded in place of a penalty.
The US was able to enter the box off of a free kick in the 56th minute, but they could only muster Ferreira’s feeble bouncing effort, which St. Clair easily blocked. When the half (finally) concluded, there was a little of a brawl, with the Americans angry that the referee had disregarded two separate instances at the very end of the half when Canadian players attempted to tackle Alejandro Zendejas.
The US dominated the ball to start the second half as it ended. In the Canadian penalty area’s left side, near the byline, Jones was successful in winning a potentially dangerous free kick. St. Clair batted it away after Gressel made it into a shot that was intended for the target.
Another yellow was given in the 56th minute as Alejandro Zendejas was hacked down in midfield by Canada, who had continued to use this tactic against American players. Busio was waiting on the right side, so the kick was promptly executed and played down there. Busio’s cross fizzed in without any runners in the box, however.
Kamal Miller received a yellow card for Canada’s 57th-minute foul on Busio near the top of the Canadian penalty box. Busio took the next free kick, but the Canadian wall rose to block it high over the crossbar.
Thanks to some deft combination play, especially by Ferreira in the 61st minute, the US was able to play down the left side. After Zendejas’ shot was blocked and cleared, he was able to thread the ball to him. After the rapid Canadian onslaught, the US was able to recover, but Neal lost a loose ball in the final third, renewing the Canadian attack. The US was briefly concerned before that swiftly collapsed.
Gressel attempted to get an American head on his cross in the 68th minute, but was unsuccessful. Within the box, the US was able to make a comeback and locate Busio, who fired a shot that was well stopped by St. Clair. US swiftly bounced back after restart. In the final third for Canada, Cade Cowell, who had replaced Zendejas a few minutes earlier, surged alone from midfield, but his effort was weak and well wide.
Brandon Vazquez and Matt Miazga from FC Cincinnati entered the game for Mihailovic and Neal, respectively, in the 73rd minute, much to the pleasure of the home crowd.
At the top of the box, Cade Cowell managed to latch onto a long ball in the 74th minute, but St. Clair simply swept it into his arms. Just one minute later, Cowell found Vazquez at the top of the box, but Vazquez was unable to find the back of the net with his attempt. In the 77th minute, Vazquez again attempted to score, but Gressel was clearly offside throughout the play.
After the US pushed St. Clair into an errant ball out of bounds in the 85th minute, Cade Cowell had a shot, but the angle from which he took it was much too tight to truly threaten the goal.
The US was successful in finding Busio wide open on the left in the 86th minute by throwing numbers into the box. Before the referee deemed the defence to have committed a foul, the Canadian defence cleared the cross. The USMNT at long last achieved success. DeJuan Jones sent an exquisite curling pass to Brandon Vazquez from deep in the middle of the pitch. Vazquez blasted it into the net while competing in the stadium that his club team calls home.
After a second VAR review, a second handball by Miles Robinson within the penalty box was uncovered even though everything seemed to have resolved. And the official pointed towards the penalty area this time. The ball was well placed in the goal by Steven Vitoria. Then back to level, instantly. Vazquez attempted another headed shot in the 97th minute, but it was insufficient to save the game from going into extra time.
When the USMNT’s pressure let up in the 94th minute, Canada profited. Jane Russell-Rowe and Jacob Shaffelburg, both Canadian replacements, worked together to set up an opportunity, but Russell-Rowe’s effort sailed over the crossbar. Bryan Reynolds on the US’s right side was able to be overtaken by Shaffelburg on the right side thanks to his speed and fresh legs.
The US was able to regain the offensive in the 96th minute, but Canada was able to clear, and Cade Cowell was given a fairly peculiar yellow card on the play.
Matt Miazga and Busio were able to have headed attempts for the US as the first half of extra time came to an end, but they were unsuccessful. A similar shot block by Cade Cowell resulted in a corner. After taking that corner, Matt Miazga managed a headed shot that required St. Clair to make a quick reaction stop.
The US’s offensive play continued into the second minute of overtime. A second ball was delivered towards Vazquez and the Canadian backline, and Busio promptly had one of his shots stopped. Shaffelburg, though, made the breakthrough for Canada when he outran the US squad and slipped the ball past Turner and between Miazga’s knees.
The United States may press forward. When Cristian Roldan entered the game, Jesus Ferreira attempted a headed shot (excuse me?!). Second American innovation followed shortly after that. Busio ultimately caught Matt Turner’s errant ball that was sent into the box. Busio sent it right at the custodian, who swiped it away before it went straight through his own defender and back into the goal. Scott Kennedy scores to make the score 2-2.
Jesus Ferreira whipping in a couple risky corners helped the USMNT press forward but they were unable in getting off a shot. Even though Matt Miazga was given a yellow card at the very end of the game for shoving the referee, a penalty shootout was still going to be necessary.
During the coin toss, a fight broke out between Steven Vitoria and Matt Turner. And while Vitoria uncomfortably stood there with the ball in his palm, the teams battled about where they may stand during the shootout. That may have been a difference, or it might have been something else. Matt Turner, though, blocked the initial shot.