The U.S. national team scored after just 20 seconds and it made sure the lead held up for the 90-plus minutes that followed, halting Canada’s eight-game winning streak with a narrow 1-0 win in both teams’ Gold Cup group-stage finale.
The victory allowed the Americans to finish at the top of Group B with a perfect record, overtaking Canada, which finished in second place and will have gripes over two penalty kick shouts and a dangerous tackle from behind that injured starting forward Ayo Akinola.
U.S. right winger Shaq Moore crashed the far post in the opening seconds and tapped home a cross by Sebastian Lletget to get the USA off to a dream start. It was the fastest recorded goal from the start of the match in modern USMNT history.
But the Canadians took the initiative from there and were hoping for a penalty call in the 9th minute when Richie Laryea went down in the box after a challenge from Walker Zimmerman. There was another penalty shout in the 50th minute when Laryea went down in the box after a push from Moore, but the referee didn’t point to the spot.
The U.S. failed to hold possession and defended deep, clearing several balls from its own penalty area. The most dangerous Canadian threat would come from a curling Tajon Buchanan shot that narrowly missed the far right post.
”I’m always shouting for penalties,” Canada head coach John Herdman said following the match. “But I can’t see from those distances. Whenever a defender [USA’s Walker Zimmerman] falls across an attacker like that, you always feel it’s going to go your way. I thought it was going to go our way. The push on Richie [Laryea]? I’m not sure. You’re never close enough. If they’ve got VAR, you’ve just got to trust they make the right decisions. We’ll get some decisions in the next rounds I’m hoping.
“At the end of the day I think we had enough shots and got in enough good areas, but I don’t think we were threatening enough when we got in and around that penalty area … If we were more clinical we may have come away with something else there.
The USA and Canada advance to the quarterfinals from Group B and will face Costa Rica or Jamaica from Group C depending on how the latter two teams finish in the final standings. Both quarterfinal matchups will take place on Sunday, July 25.
USA vs. Canada final score
USA: Shaq Moore (Sebastian Lletget) – 1st min.
(All times Eastern)
Final: USA 1, Canada 0
Final: The USMNT got the victory it wanted even though the performance was its least impressive showing of the Gold Cup so far. It finished top of Group B, ensuring it will only meet Mexico in the final (as long as Mexico also finishes top in Group A), while Canada will feel it deserved at least a draw from the match. But the equalizer never came, two penalty shouts didn’t materialize and the Canadians lost starting forwards Cyle Larin and Ayo Akinola to injury. Both teams will have a full week to get things sorted ahead of the single-elimination quarterfinal stage next Sunday.
94th min: Cavallini fires a shot, but it’s right at the goalkeeper. And tempers flare as the match nears its conclusion.
90th min: Canada’s Laryea attempts a curler of his own that doesn’t come off. Canada has five minutes of stoppage time to get the equalizer.
88th min: Dike’s back on the field holding his shoulder and then it’s James Sands getting treatment and he’s limping off the field. It’s an incredible series of injuries that have struck both teams in this game.
81st min: USA’s Daryl Dike is down with a left shoulder injury, but the USA has made all five of the substitutions it’s allowed. He’s getting treatment.
79th min: While both teams try to find their footing after the changes, Buchanan nearly ties it for Canada. Back on the left wing, he curls a ball to the far post and just misses tucking it inside the post.
68th min: SUBS – The USA and Canada make changes after the hydration break. Canada brings on Mark-Anthony Kaye for Samuel Piette and Tyler Pasher for Junior Hoilett. The USA brings on Jackson Yueill, Cristian Roldan and Matthew Hoppe for Gianluca Busio, Kellyn Acosta and Gyasi Zardes. The match was not a memorable one for the latter three.
68th min: Two U.S. defenders with consecutive header clearances in their own box. The USA is preparing subs: The Americans continue to be on their heels and can’t really threaten Canada’s goal.
62nd min: The USA wins a free kick just outside the Canada area for the same type of pushing foul that earlier sent Laryea to the ground in the penalty area. Nothing comes of it for the USA, as ‘keeper Maxime Crepeau snags the delivery in the box.
59th min: Donovan Pines with an error in the back, but Canada can’t take advantage and Pines wins the ball back.
58th min: SUB – It’s by the USA: Reggie Cannon replaces goal scorer Shaq Moore at right wing.
52nd min: Another injury. This time it’s Canada’s Cyle Larin who’s down on the ground receiving treatment and fellow forward Lucas Cavallini comes on to replace him.
50th min: Richie Laryea takes a tumble in the box again on a penetrating, attacking run alongside Buchanan. But no PK there for the ref. It looked like U.S. defender Shaq Moore got away with a push on Laryea, who went down easy.
— Derek Van Diest (@DerekVanDiest) July 18, 2021
48th min: Save of the match so far by U.S. ‘keeper Matt Turner. Canada has come out on fire. Not the start that the USA was hoping for.
46th min: Cyle Larin with an early chance for Canada on a U.S. giveaway, but the ball ends up in the hands of American goalkeeper Matt Turner.
Halftime score: USA 1, Canada 0
Halftime: The lack of a penalty call for Canada on the Zimmerman-Laryea play is not sitting well with Canadian observers:
Halftime: The USA got a goal after just 20 seconds and didn’t need to do much else, seemingly happy to sit back and defend the lead. The injuries to Zimmerman and Akinola forced a few in-game adjustments for both teams, but it was Canada which took the initiative to end the half. There was just one shot on goal in the first half (the goal) — Canada isn’t dangerous enough in attack outside of Buchanan’s initiatives, and the USMNT is also struggling to hold on to the ball and build attacks. There could be changes on both sides after halftime.
46th min: It’s Canada finishing strong in the first half, but the USMNT has numbers in its own box and the Canadian shots and passes have a hard time finding a way through.
41st min: It’s Buchanan again attempting to spark the Canada attack. He converges from the right and fires a left-footed shot that is blocked. The USA’s Sam Vines and Sebastian Lletget are not keeping him out of their sight.
37th min: During the hydration break Canada moved Tajon Buchanan from the left wing to the right wing. Buchanan promptly lays a ball to Osorio, who takes a shot in the box that is blocked. But Osorio didn’t get a lot of force behind that one with his left foot.
31st min: Hydration break. A chance to point out that Sebastian Lletget is wearing the captain’s armband after the injury to Zimmerman.
30th min: Canada’s Kyle Miller with a fantastic sliding tackle to interrupt a Dike run at goal. If Miller doesn’t win that tackle, Dike is in alone on goal.
25th min: USA’s Daryl Dike with a shot inside the box that finished wide of the goal. He muscled off a defender to get free, but couldn’t get around on the ball.
24th min: Osorio is officially on for Canada. Looks like the formation will be more of a 3-5-2 with Junior Hoilett and Cyle Larin as the forwards.
21st min: Canada’s Akinola comes back on, but he doesn’t last long. He’s asking for a substitution and he’s understandably emotional about having to come off. Jonathan Osorio getting ready to come on.
17th min: Sands with a late tackle from behind on Canada’s Ayo Akinola, who stayed on the ground and needs treatment. Akinola, born in the USA, is facing a U.S. team for which he appeared and scored in December 2020. He made a one-time switch to represent Canada, where he grew up.
15th min: And it’s 23-year-old center back Donovan Pines who takes Zimmerman’s spot in the back line. The 23-year-old only made his USMNT debut during this Gold Cup group stage.
14th min: Cyle Larin goes down in the box on a challenge from James Sands, but no penalty call coming from the referee. Instead, the ref whistles a hand ball against Larin.
13th min: Play resumes. No penalty. The referee deemed it to be a fair challenge — two players going for the ball.
Better stated: If the play had gone to On Field Review, the Referee would have seen the Canadian foul in the Attacking Phase of Play (APP) which would have negated any decision for a PK! https://t.co/4bIyGA75L8
— Joe Machnik (@DrJoeMachnik) July 18, 2021
12th min: Zimmerman, the U.S. captain, appears to be injured on the play and the USMNT is already preparing a sub.
9th min: Looks like a penalty for Canada! Richie Laryea beats Walker Zimmerman down the right into the box and the U.S. defender seems to throw himself at Laryea. The referee doesn’t make a call and leaves it to the VAR. An argument can be made that Laryea fouled Zimmerman (tugging on the arm) to cause Zimmerman’s fall.
4th min: Shaq Moore’s breakout Gold Cup continues. He was excellent in the two previous matches. Reggie Cannon is going to have a tough time winning that right wing spot back.
2nd min: This USMNT team under Gregg Berhalter is known to swarm and push numbers forward from the opening whistle. They crashed the net there to shock Canada. And it’s the fastest recorded goal in USMNT history:
1st min: USA in the lead after just 20 seconds!
4:55 p.m.: You know it’s a big game when Patrick Mahomes is in the building:
4:50 p.m.: Scene is set for the most interesting group-stage match in this tournament.
Now THIS atmosphere right now at Children’s Mercy Park feels like a major tournament. Already loud, tons of hype in the stadium production, that sort of thing. By God, there’s even a Simba Cam. #CANMNT #USMNT #GoldCup21
— Briar Napier (@BriarNapier) July 18, 2021
USA vs. Canada starting lineups
Both teams are coming out with three center backs, which should add a fascinating twist to the matchup.
Starting lineup (5-3-2, left to right): 1-Matt Turner-GK — 3-Sam Vines, 12-Miles Robinson, 16-James Sands, 5-Walker Zimmerman (capt.), 20-Shaq Moore — 23-Kellyn Acosta, 6-Gianluca Busio, 17-Sebastian Lletget — 9-Gyasi Zardes, 11-Daryl Dike
Starting lineup (3-4-3, left to right): 16-Maxime Crepeau-GK — 4-Kamal Miller, 5-Steven Vitoria (capt.), 2-Alistair Johnston — 12-Tajon Buchanan, 6-Samuel Piette, 8-Liam Fraser, 22-Richie Laryea — 10-Junior Hoilett, 20-Ayo Akinola, 17-Cyle Larin
How to watch USA vs. Canada
- Date: Sunday, July 18
- Time: 5 p.m. ET
- TV channel (USA): Fox
- Spanish-language TV (USA): Univision, TUDN
- Streaming (USA): fuboTV , Fox Sports app, TUDN app, TUDN.tv
- Streaming (Canada): OneSoccer
USA TV & streaming
The USA vs. Canada Gold Cup group match will be broadcast in the USA on the Fox broadcast network and on Univision and TUDN in Spanish.
All three networks can be streamed on fuboTV (free 7-day trial). The match is also available on the Fox Sports app, TUDN app and TUDN.tv for authenticated users.
Canada TV & streaming
The match will be carried by OneSoccer. Fans can subscribe to OneSoccer on AppleTV, Roku, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices, as well as PCs and Macs.