January 29, 2013
HOUSTON, WE HAVE NO GOALS
U.S. in frustrating scoreless draw with Canada
HOUSTON -- Score one for underdog Canada, because the United States certainly could not score against its rivals to the north on Tuesday night.
In fact, neither team could score in what wound up as a scoreless draw in the international friendly at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The game turned out to be a moral victory and a victory for Canada's morale in wake of the Maple Leafs' 4-0 friendly defeat to Denmark on Saturday. The Canadians deployed a young team mixed with some veterans as they try to retool after failing to qualifying for this year's CONCACAF hexagonal in World Cup qualifying.
The game was much more meaningful for the U.S., whose team was dominated by 19 Major League Soccer players, over the short term with qualifying starting against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Wednesday, Feb. 6. Players were battling for spots on the team, which was expected to be dominated by the country's foreign legion.
Coming off that spanking at the hands and feet of Denmark, Canada interim head coach Colin Miller decided to deploy five midfielders to stop-up his American counterparts in an attempt not to duplicate the weekend disaster. Captain Dwayne De Rosario was the lone striker for the visitors.
The Canadians' strategy worked as it bottled up and frustrated the American attack for most of the evening.
As it turned out, De Rosario almost put the Canadians on the board six minutes into the match as he made something out of nothing, firing a left-footed shot from eight yards out that goalkeeper Sean Johnson managed to save.
Two minutes later, Eddie Johnson tried to create the U.S.'s first scoring opportunity, as he worked his way through a pair of defenders on the left side. His cross, however, could not find anyone in the penalty area.
Slowly, but surely the Americans began to assert themselves and it nearly paid off in the 19th minute. Midfielder Brad Davis fed Chris Wondolowski and last year's MLS Golden Boot winner whipped a 22-yard shot that goalkeeper Simon Thomas dived to his left to save.
Wondolowski had a much closer effort in the 28th minute, but he knocked his eight-yard attempt wide left.
Barely two minutes later, U.S. captain Kyle Beckerman tried a looping shot, but Thomas had little problem handling that.
De Rosario tried something different in the 38th minute. He shuffled off a free kick on the left side to a teammate and the D.C. United midfielder ran through the American defense, received the pass, but could not get a good shot on net, which he sent wide left.
Normally a playmaker, Davis found himself with the ball some six yards out on the right side, but he could not get enough mustard on it and the Canadians knocked it over the line for a corner kick in the 52nd minute.
De Rosario continued to be a threat in front of the U.S. goal. In the 55th minute, the veteran headed a free kick wide left from nine yards.
Johnson tried to break the deadlock in the 60th minute, but he skied a 16-yard shot well over the net.
Benny Feilhaber set up a dangerous play in the 67th minute as he floated in a free kick from the right side that central defender Omar Gonzalez headed over the crossbar.
U.S. midfielder Joshua Gatt raced down the left flank in the 72nd minute and took a short shot that was blocked by the defense. The ball came back to Gatt, who sent a cross to the right side, but no one was there.
Feilhaber was presented with another free kick opportunity in the 78th minute after Juan Agudelo was fouled outside the penalty area. This time, however, he rammed his attempt into the defensive wall.
Five minutes into stoppage time, Feilhaber had yet another free kick. Instead of shooting at the goal, he tried to set up Alfredo Morales, whose shot was blocked by the defense.