The luck of the draw Monday night sees a rivalry resume, with the US men’s national team joined by Canada in Group B at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup. They’ll also square off against Martinique and a team that’ll be determined via the 2021 Gold Cup Preliminary Round.
While the USMNT has their own promising crop of youngsters, head coach Gregg Berhalter feels Canada does as well. There’s left back Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich and forward Jonathan David at Lille, or even more veteran MLS standouts like Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Lucas Cavallini, Toronto FC right back Richie Laryea and LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye. The list carries on, leading to a mutual level of respect.
“They have talent and for them it’s about putting it together and competing as a team,” Berhalter said after the draw. “And they’ve shown to be making progress on that. They were two challenging games when we played them. They kicked our butt up in Toronto and we beat them pretty good in Orlando. And we’re looking forward to playing them in the Gold Cup because we know it’s going to be a competitive game.”
As Berhalter mentioned, the USMNT and Canada squared off twice last year in Concacaf Nations League action. Canada nearly advanced to the semifinals, instilling worry after a 2-0 win in Toronto on Oct. 15, 2019. But the USMNT roared back with a 4-1 win one month later in Orlando, setting up passage to the regional competition after topping Group A.
Canada head coach John Herdman expects the rivalry blood to resume. On the USMNT side, their young core includes the likes of Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Weston McKennie (Juventus) and Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund).
“That match means a lot to our players,” Herman said. “It’ll be the game that I’m sure all the players will want to play in. And you can’t hide that rivalry. It sort of ignited last October and November, and I think from that it’s created a healthy rivalry. It’ll be a good match and the players will certainly circle that on the Gold Cup schedule.”
Looking historically, the USMNT owns a 15-9-11 record against Canada. Last October’s setback was their first defeat against their northern neighbors since 1985, ending several decades of relative dominance.
The USMNT’s won six Gold Cups, with their last triumph in 2017. They also trail Mexico (eight) for the regional lead, while Canada’s sole victory came in 2000.
The 2021 edition will begin July 10 of next year with 16 teams. A full rundown of the groups and draw procedure can be found here.