Connect with us
[the_ad id="89560"]

Sports

U.S. shows plenty of respect to Canada ahead of World Cup qualifying showdown

Published

6 minute read

The U.S. takes the field Sunday with plenty of respect for the Canadian team that awaits them in Hamilton.

For one, the second-place Americans (5-1-3, 18 points) are looking up at Canada (5-0-4, 19 points) in the CONCACAF World Cup final qualifying round standings.

“We know that they’re going to be fired up,” said U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter. “We know they’re playing in front of their home fans. We know they’re going to be confident and it’s going to be a competitive game. And if we can embrace that, we’ll be OK. And it’s a good opportunity for us to move up in the standings.”

Both teams are coming off wins Thursday.

The 40th-ranked Canadians recorded their first victory in Honduras since 1985 with a 2-0 decision over the 76th-ranked Hondurans in San Pedro Sula while the 11th-ranked Americans downed El Salvador 1-0 in Columbus.

Canada closes out the international window on Wednesday at No. 70 El Salvador. Just three matches remain for coach John Herdman’s team after that.

Thee top three sides come March will represent North and Central America and the Caribbean at Qatar 2022 with the fourth-place country taking on an Oceania opponent to see who joins them.

Canada is leading the way in the region, muscling past traditional CONCACAF heavyweights Mexico and the U.S.

“They have a talented group of players, make no mistake about it,” said Berhalter, listing off Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan and Jonathan Osorio.

“They’re a well-coached team. They know how to play. They’ve a clear philosophy and they deserve to be where they are,” he added. “So for us it’s an opportunity, that’s all it is, an opportunity to try to get first in the group and that’s where we want to finish.”

Added U.S. defender Walker Zimmerman: “I think there’s been a shift in their mentality. They play with a chip on their shoulder. They play with something to prove and they play with an intensity that is very high. So they’re a confident group.

“And so whenever you go out there, you know that they’re going to compete and that you have to match that level of intensity and desire. I think that’s something that John has brought to that group. And that’s a strength of theirs. We’ll have to be up for it.”

The Americans will be without two players at Tim Hortons Field.

Berhalter said defender Brooks Lennon has returned to Atlanta United to have a “slight” ankle injury evaluated while Lille forward Tim Weah was unable to get into Canada due to his vaccination status.

Weah had his first vaccine dose and then contracted COVID-19 while awaiting his second shot, a combination that meets full vaccination requirements in France but not in Canada, Berhalter explained.

“This was a nuanced technicality that we were hoping was going to get pushed through and unfortunately it didn’t.”

Canada is without Davies, the Bayern Munich star who has been sidelined by myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, after testing positive for COVID. The 21-year-old from Edmonton was an enthusiastic observer of the win in Honduras, however, livestreaming on Twitch as he watched the game.

Influential midfielder Stephen Eustaquio missed the Honduras match in the wake of Portuguese reports that he had tested positive for COVID. Herdman said he still hopes Eustaquio will play some role in the window.

Berhalter and Herdman are colleagues as well as rivals, with Herdman acknowledging in the past that he shares notes with his U.S. counterpart.

“He’s done a great job with the program. I’ve said this over and over,’ said Berhalter. “I think it’s the talented players that the group has, but it’s also his strong leadership and painting a vision for where the Canadian program can go. And once you have people buying into that vision, it’s no surprise that they’ve had the success that they’ve had.

“We’ve been able to bounce some ideas and some notes off each other through qualifying. We’re pulling for the Canadian team to qualify, there’s no secret about that. It’s only (Sunday) that I want them to lose. And then every other game, I’m happy that they win.”

Sunday’s game originally sold out in hours with Canada Soccer expecting a capacity crowd of 24,000. But stricter pandemic-related restrictions capped attendance at 12,000 with the first ticket sale voided.

Canada and the U.S. tied 1-1 when they met Sept. 5 in Nashville in the second game of the final qualifying round.

The U.S. won 1-0 when they met at the Gold Cup in July in Kansas City where the Americans scored in the first minute and then held off a Canadian charge the rest of the way.

While the Americans lead the overall series between the two North American rivals at 16-9-12, Canada has a 6-4-4 edge in World Cup qualifying.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2022

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Storytelling is in our DNA. We provide credible, compelling multimedia storytelling and services in English and French to help captivate your digital, broadcast and print audiences. As Canada’s national news agency for 100 years, we give Canadians an unbiased news source, driven by truth, accuracy and timeliness.

Follow Author

International

Canadian swimmer says she was drugged at world championships

Published on

Canadian swimmer Mary-Sophie Harvey says she was drugged on the final day of the world aquatics championships and suffered a rib sprain and a concussion.

Harvey said in an Instagram post that there is a four-to-six hour window where she has no recollection of what happened, and that she remembers waking up with the Canadian team manager and doctor by her bedside.

She also posted photos of bruises on her body.

Montreal’s Harvey competed in the women’s 200-metre individual medley at the world championships in Budapest, Hungary, finishing eighth. She also earned a bronze medal in the women 4×200-metre freestyle relay after swimming in the preliminaries.

“We are aware there was an incident the night before departure from Budapest,” Swimming Canada spokesman Nathan White said in an email to The Canadian Press. “As soon as team staff became aware, Mary received excellent medical treatment from our team physician on site, and was cleared to travel home.

“Staff have been in contact with Mary since her return and we are offering her support. We continue to gather information on the situation, and the file has been forwarded to our independent Safe Sport officer.”

Harvey said she debated on whether to write her post, but said “these situations sadly happen too many times for me to stay silent.”

“I’m still scared to think about the unknowns of that night,” she wrote. “I’m still in a way, ashamed of what happened, and I think I always will be. … But I won’t let this event define me.”

The 22-year-old Harvey competed for Canada in last year’s Tokyo Olympics. She’s scheduled to swim in this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2022.

Continue Reading

Sports

Montreal Alouettes fire head coach Khari Jones, defensive co-ordinator Barron Miles

Published on

MONTREAL — Danny Maciocia is returning to the CFL sidelines.

The Montreal Alouettes GM assumed interim head-coaching duties with the CFL club Wednesday after the club fired head coach Khari Jones and defensive co-ordinator Barron Miles.

Noel Thorpe returns to the franchise as defensive co-ordinator and defensive backs coach.

Maciocia made the move with Montreal (1-3) on a bye week. The Alouettes return to action July 14 hosting the Edmonton Elks.

In a statement, the Alouettes said Maciocia will serve as head coach until the end of the ’22 season.

“This kind of decision is always difficult to make, but we felt that we needed to make it early in the season while there is still time,” Maciocia said. “We want to thank Khari Jones and Barron Miles for their work, and wish them the best in the future.”

Maciocia’s decision to let Jones go wasn’t entirely a surprise. It was former Alouettes GM Kavis Reed who promoted Jones to head coach from offensive co-ordinator when the club abruptly announced just before the ’19 season that Mike Sherman was longer the head man.

The amiable 51-year-old Jones posted an 18-18 regular-season record over two-plus seasons with the Alouettes, who’d reached the playoffs during Jones’ first two years but were eliminated in the East semifinal.

Montreal finished third in the East Division last season with a 7-7 record before losing to Hamilton 23-12 in the opening round of the conference playoffs.

The Alouettes were 10-8 in 2019. It was the franchise’s first winning campaign since 2012 and first playoff appearance since 2014 and secured Jones a three-year extension.

Maciocia was named Alouettes GM in 2020 but before that had served as the head coach of the Montreal Carabins from 2011-19, winning a Vanier Cup in 2014. Over nine seasons with the Carabins, Maciocia compiled a 57-16-0 record.

Maciocia also has CFL experience as a head coach with Edmonton (2005-08), winning a Grey Cup in ’05. He also served as an assistant with Montreal (1997-2001) and Edmonton (2002-04).

Thorpe returns with the Alouettes for a third time. He began his CFL coaching career with Montreal in 2002, winning a Grey Cup with the Alouettes after spending six seasons with the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser.

Thorpe won a Vanier Cup with UBC in 1997.

Thorpe coached special teams and defensive backs with Montreal from 2002-07. He returned in 2013 as the club’s defensive co-ordinator and assistant head coach, positions he held through 2017.

He also served as a defensive backs coach, special-teams co-ordinator and assistant head coach with Edmonton (2008-10) and also worked as a defensive co-ordinator with the Ottawa Redblacks (2018-19).

Thorpe has a history with Maciocia. The two worked together in Edmonton in 2010 as well as the Carabins in 2011-12 when he served as the university team’s special-teams co-ordinator.

Thorpe also spent the ’21 season as Edmonton’s defensive co-ordinator. But after the team hired Chris Jones as head coach/GM, the franchise announced Thorpe would not be retained.

Thorpe, a Vancouver native, rejoins the Alouettes after helping the Birmingham Stallions win the USFL championship.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2022.

Continue Reading

Trending

X