Canada forward Cyle Larin (17) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match against Martinique Sunday, July 11, 2021, in Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
- Neighbouring rivals will go head-to-head Sunday, July 18, to decide who wins Group B at the Gold Cup
- Both United States and Canada have won both their round-robin games, with Canada ahead on goals scored
- Read on for a match preview, full odds and a best bet for this decisive clash
Given that much is still unknown about how the rest of the Gold Cup group stage will play out, most notably where tournament favorite Mexico will place and which side of the knockout bracket it will end up on, Canada and the United States enter their third and final group match somewhat in the dark.
Both have already clinched berths in the knockout phase, with Canada knowing a draw will be enough for it to claim first place on goals scored. One team will face Costa Rica, with the other meeting Jamaica. But with those two not playing each other until Tuesday to determine the winner of Group C, neither Canada nor the U.S. will have that in mind entering their match on Sunday, July 18.
USA vs Canada Odds
|USA vs Canada||USA -1.5 (+215) | CAN +1.5 (-425)||USA -120 | CAN +450
|Ov 2.5 (+115) | Un 2.5 (-140)|
Odds as of July 17 at DraftKings.
Canada Riding High
A new-look Canadian squad has been firing on all cylinders since head coach John Herdman took the reins just over three years ago, winning 20 of its 24 games in that time. And, even without an injured Alphonso Davies, the form that propelled Canada into the final round of World Cup qualifying for the first time in a generation has accompanied it to this Gold Cup, with the team scoring eight goals and conceding just twice in a pair of lopsided 4-1 victories.
HIGHLIGHTS: #CANMNT 4:1 HAI #GoldCup21 pic.twitter.com/PLKL2iy9Fz
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) July 16, 2021
The top-scoring team at this Gold Cup also has the leading goalscorer, too, with striker Cyle Larin in the form of his life with three goals so far.
Cyle Larin sets Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team record for goals in a calendar year.#CANMNT 🔥 pic.twitter.com/dq9O8pAMLh
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) July 16, 2021
With two goals in last Thursday’s 4-1 win against 10-man Haiti – who were already depleted due to COVID withdrawals – the Besiktas forward set a record for most international goals scored by a Canadian man in a calendar year.
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Canada Confident Against U.S.
In addition to rolling in on a wave of offense, Herdman’s team also has the knowledge that it can beat its neighbour to the south. A 2-0 win in Toronto in October 2019 broke a 34-year winless run in the rivalry, and gave this youthful Canadian team confidence that it can play with, and overcome, its much ballyhooed rival.
Of course, the U.S. promptly beat Canada 4-1 in the return fixture on American soil a month later. With Sunday’s game taking place in Kansas City, Canada will have to contend with a hostile crowd once again.
America Stretching Its Legs
In distinct contrast to Canada, the U.S. did anything but roll into this tournament, with a 1-0 opening win over Haiti causing much consternation among the fans and media.
At 23 years, 84 days, last night’s Starting XI was the youngest fielded by the #USMNT in official competition! 🇺🇸😮🙌 #TheFutureisUS | #GoldCup21 pic.twitter.com/FbA2GgzxaA
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) July 16, 2021
Observers were particularly worried as head coach Gregg Berhalter had chosen to go with a new-look squad, opting to give star European-based players such as Christian Pusilic and Claudio Reyna a rest in favour of using more Major League Soccer stalwarts.
However, some of those fears were swept aside in the Americans’ second game, as they rolled to a 6-1 blowout of Martinique that saw striker Daryl Dike open his tournament account with two goals.
USA vs Canada Key Stats
|5-0-0||Record In Previous Five Games||5-0-0|
|29||Goals For In 2021||39|
|7||Goals Against In 2021||3|
|Runners-up||2019 Gold Cup Finish||Lost in quarter-finals|
With both teams having already qualified for the quarter-finals, and with both facing an uncertain road ahead until other games decide final positions, there is a good chance that both Berhalter and Herdman choose to rotate their starting lineups here. Canada might need to do so especially, with six players currently on yellow cards and facing suspensions.
Here’s John Herdman’s full quote on #CanMNT dealing with the yellow card situation — said it was really frustrating to play with that as a factor, players at times hesitant. pic.twitter.com/k6W99lUjDG
— Charlie O’Connor-Clarke (@charliejclarke) July 16, 2021
This makes betting this game far more of a mixed bag than usual, even with Canada coming off eight straight victories, while the U.S. is riding high after five wins in a row.
Canada has improved vastly in terms of talent level in the last few years, with the emergence of the likes of Tajon Buchanan and Richie Laryea. However, it loses out to the States in terms of depth. If both coaches choose to rotate their starting lineups, it’s possible the U.S. might have an edge.
Pick: Draw (+225)
For the last 20 years, Paul Attfield has worked in sports media. Starting out in his native Britain with the likes of The Independent, he eventually switched continents, with his work appearing in the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Yahoo Sports since.