North American soccer fans are in for a treat on Sunday when Team USA takes on Canada to close out Group B play at the Gold Cup. Both teams are tied atop Group B (2-0-0, 6 points) and have overwhelmed their opponents on both sides of the field thus far. The USMNT is looking to follow up its Nations League title with another trophy while the Canadians would love to take home the Gold Cup.
Championships aside, both teams have spent the last year racking up wins and gaining momentum towards World Cup qualifying later this year. Canada only has one World Cup appearance on its resume (1986), while the U.S. hasn’t qualified since 2014. So there are bigger stakes in play but right now the focus is on this Gold Cup. Both teams have already advanced to the quarterfinals, but they look to finish group play with a spotless record.
Concacaf Gold Cup Group B: United States vs. Canada
When: Sunday, July 18 at 5 p.m. ET
Where: Children's Mercy Park (Kansas City, Kan.)
TV: FOX and Univision
Three Things to Watch
1. Team USA has been on a roll
The Americans secured their spot in the knockout stages after a dominant 6-1 win over Martinique on Thursday. They got goals from multiple contributors, reeled off 20 shots, and stifled Martinique on defense (held them to nine total shots, collected nine steals). Martinique’s lone goal came from a first-half penalty kick. Despite not having Christian Pulisic and Zack Steffen on the current roster, the U.S. has shown thus far that they can get it done with anyone in their player pool.
2. Oh, Canada
Our neighbors to the north have shown that they are serious about winning their first Gold Cup title since 2000. The Canadians defeated both Martinique and Haiti by a combined score of 8-2 which earned them a quarterfinal spot. They made the quarterfinals in each of the last two Gold Cups (2019, 2017), but haven’t reached the semifinals since 2007. They were eliminated by the Americans that year, and Canada would love some payback.
3. Players to watch
Daryl Dike scored twice for the United States against Martinique, Gyasi Zardes also found the back of the net, as did 20-year-old Nicholas Gioacchini. If Team USA continues to get production from multiple players, it could be well on its way to its first Gold Cup championship since 2017. Canadian forward Cyle Larin leads all goal scorers in this tournament with three goals, while teammate Stephen Eustaqio is right behind him with two goals. The U.S. will need to focus its defense on these two players.
The Americans are 16-11-10 all-time against Canada and have outscored them 59-39 along the way. But the Canadians won the last matchup with Team USA during the early stages of the Nations League in late 2019. Canada has won each of its last eight games by a combined score of 39-3 and held five of those opponents scoreless. The USMNT has an 8-1 record in its last nine contests and has won five straight. This game just might be too close to call.