New England Soccer Today

Tied in Toronto

Tim Howard made three saves in shutting out Canada on Sunday. (Photo: Chris Aduama/

Three games in eight days seemed to get the better of the U.S. Men’s National Team as they settled for a scoreless draw with Canada in international friendly at BMO Field in Toronto on Sunday night.

After defeating Scotland, 5-1, on Saturday, May 26, and falling to Brazil, 4-1, despite a decent performance, on Wednesday, May 30, using a 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 formation in both, the U.S. switched to a 4-4-2 on Sunday. Whether it was the formation or just tired legs from the busy schedule, the U.S. never really seemed to get it going offensively even with 62% of the possession.

The U.S. first threatened Canada’s net in the 15th minute on a shocking long effort from Edgar Castillo. The left back volleyed an effort from 40 yards that Canadian goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld could only punch over the crossbar.

Canada had a good early chance in the 23rd minute after the U.S. failed to clear a long throw into the box. The ball eventually fell to Tosaint Ricketts who managed to hit a low shot on frame from about 10 yards. U.S. ‘keeper Tim Howard was quick to get down and make the save.

In what was a fairly quiet first half, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan combined for the best chance of the period in the 40th minute. Dempsey played a give-and-go with Donovan at the top of the box before the former New England Revolution attacker ran in on goal. Hirschfeld was quick off his line to push the ball wide before Dempsey could get a shot off.

Seven minutes into the second half the U.S. created a nice chance on the counter attack. Jermaine Jones found Donovan on the right flank and the all-time leading goal scorer for the U.S. sent a cross towards the far post. Jones, who had made a run into the box after finding Donovan, met the cross and sent a header on frame, but saw his effort blocked by a Canadian defender.

After bringing Simeon Jackson for Olivier Occean in the 65th minute, Canada went on the attack. First, Julian de Guzman forced Howard into a save with a weak shot from the top of the box in the 67th minute. Then, a minute later, Jackson attempted to chip a shot over Howard, only to see his effort go just high of the net.

Canada should have grabbed the winner in the second minute of stoppage time when Dwayne De Rosario made a great run through the left side of the U.S. box and sent a left footed cross in front of goal. Just about a yard off the goal line in front of net, Jackson somehow missed the net.

Seconds later it was the U.S. with a chance to grab the lead with nearly the last kick of the game. A long free kick from Michael Bradley found an onrushing Clarence Goodson, who powered a header on frame. Hirschfeld managed an acrobatic save – the best stop of the night – to tip the shot over the net.

The U.S. begins World Cup Qualifying against Antigua & Barbuda on Friday, June 8, at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

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