DETROIT — After four long years, Canada finally get a shot at redemption against the United States.
The last time the two sides faced each other was in the semifinal round of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2007, a game that ended in controversy. Midfielder Atiba Hutchinson — having intercepted a ball headed backward by American defender Oguchi Onyewu — thought he had leveled the score in stoppage time, but referee Benito Archundia rescinded the goal due to an offside call by his assistant.
The decision left the Canadian players shocked, and it allowed the Americans to advance to the final — a game they won over archrivals Mexico.
Four years later, and the Canucks say that the ending to that game still stings.
“I think pretty much the whole team has kind of got that in their heads from the last time,” Hutchinson said at Canada camp last week in Toronto. “That’s the last time we played them, a couple of Gold Cups ago, so I think it is a little bit of getting back at the States, and we always look forward to playing in a game like that.”
Toronto FC’s Julian de Guzman, the MVP of that Gold Cup tournament four years ago, agreed.
“It still has a bad taste in our mouth,” de Guzman said. “Playing against the States, there’s always something special involved. And now we’re playing against them and it’s not just a friendly match anymore, it’s a tournament that we want to come out the best at.”
Both Hutchinson and de Guzman said they were looking forward to kick-starting the tournament against the Americans, not only because of the retribution factor but also because the Canadians are eager to match up with one of the tournament heavyweights.
“The States are definitely the favorites in this game, but we’re going to go out guns blazing and not going to hold anything back,” de Guzman said. ”I think we’re excited to play this game against the States to start the tournament off. You couldn’t ask for a better start going into this tournament, and this is the type of spark we need when you’re involved in the Gold Cup.”
Added Hutchinson, “They’re a good team, and we have respect for them. It’s going to be a good game for us to go out there and hopefully we can get the result that we’re looking for."