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United States vs Canada

Wasteful again! USMNT outshone by superstar Davies as Canada steals a road point

03:28 BST 06/09/2021
Alphonso Davies Canada USMNT 2021
What was supposed to be a party ended in boos as the U.S. dropped points once again

So much has been said about the U.S. men's national team's incredible surge of young talent and, fittingly, Sunday's World Cup qualifier was decided by the most talented player on the field.

The USMNT's only problem? That player was not named Christian Pulisic and competed for Canada, and it only took one moment to unleash him.

Alphonso Davies proved the USMNT's undoing on Sunday as he helped set up Cyle Larin for an equalizing goal just moments after the USMNT's opener. The 1-1 draw gives Canada a crucial road point on its road towards Qatar, while the U.S. has now failed to win either of its first two qualifying matches.

All it took was one burst from the Bayern star to silence the Nashville crowd and put a damper on what was supposed to be a party in the USA. When the final whistle sounded, boos rained down on the USMNT as the mood around the program grows more tense.

Davies, playing as a winger as he usually does on the international level, torched DeAndre Yedlin in the 62nd minute, leaving the USMNT veteran in the dust as he darted down the left side.

With John Brooks ball-watching in the center, Davies picked out Larin in the center of the box, leaving the Besiktas star with a simple tap-in. That tap-in was all Canada needed as the nation escaped Nashville with a point in hand and a bit of momentum after earning a result against one of the region's powers.

It will be a frustrating result, meanwhile, for the USMNT, which looked like the only winners until falling apart late. The squad dominated possession, generated a few half chances and, ultimately, converted one just moments before Davies' moment of magic.

The USMNT's goal, its first of World Cup qualifying after a scoreless draw in El Salvador, was created and scored by Brenden Aaronson, who shined for a U.S. team that was without Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie. After tracking back to win the ball in the midfield, Aaronson was teed up by Antonee Robinson in the 56th minute to give the U.S. the lead.

The lead lasted just six minutes before Davies and Canada sucked the life out of the Nashville crowd. The goal wasn't Canada's only big moment, as the side almost scored on a similar sequence following a Sergino Dest giveaway in the first half, but it was all the group needed.

And so the U.S. was hit with a draw that really did feel like a loss. Sunday's game truly felt like three points for the taking, both in the build-up to and during the game. The U.S. controlled possession and frustrated Canada until shrinking once it needed to chase another goal. There were brief glimpses of creativity in the latter stages, but those glimpses weren't enough to earn what felt like a much-needed three points.

So what does it all mean? With two points in hand, Canada will be feeling relatively okay, even after dropping points to Honduras in its opener. Next up is a home match against El Salvador, one that is certainly winnable and could give Canada a very respectable five-point haul from three games.

The U.S. will also hope to reach that five-point mark, although its road there will be difficult. After squandering points in their first two games, the Stars and Stripes now face a difficult trip to Honduras. The recent El Salvador draw was a reminder of just how hard trips to Central America can be, and anything less than a win on Wednesday will leave the U.S. in an early hole. 

Gregg Berhalter's men don't need to panic just yet, as the USMNT will play 14 games on its road to qualify for Qatar. But the first two steps of that journey have been less-than-inspiring as the U.S. has a lot of work to do in the coming days, weeks and months.