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World Cup Qualifier Picks: Canada vs USA
Our expert picks, tips, odds and predictions as Canada host the USA in a crucial World Cup 2022 qualifier.
Freelance soccer writer with years of experience providing tips and gambling strategy for Paddy Power, Pinnacle and Cloudbet among others. A self-confessed stat nerd, Andrew can sift through the numbers to highlight value in the market. Full bio here.
|Canada vs USA odds||(via Fanduel)|
|Where||Tim Hortons Field|
|When||Sunday Jan 30|
World Cup Qualifier Picks – Canada vs USA
The home team
The year 2022 looks set to be one of the greatest in the history of Canadian soccer.
Canada’s men’s team has only once previously qualified for the World Cup, in 1986, and when there they lost all three games without scoring.
With five qualification matches to go, John Herdman’s side are well placed to finish in the top three of the group and secure automatic passage to Qatar in November.
Based on both the current table and the FIFA rankings this is their toughest remaining match so if they can get a positive result they will be firmly on course to qualify.
Alphonso Davies, still recovering from COVID-19, will be missed – he assisted Canada’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw between these teams last September – but the Canadians have a strong record on home turf.
They are unbeaten in this stage of qualifying, winning their last four matches in a row, and beat USA, (their first win against them since 1990), when they last hosted this fixture back in 2019.
The away team
Where Canada has little World Cup experience, the USMNT have been regular participants.
But they failed to qualify in 2018 and while they are well placed to reach Qatar, a win to leapfrog their neighbours from the north would make their progress all-but guaranteed.
And aside from a surprise loss in Panama in October, when they were -105 to win, USA’s form has generally been good.
They won four and drew one of their last five games (albeit one was a friendly) and that stretch includes a vital victory over Mexico.
But their matches are usually close, and they don’t tend to score many goals, having only found the net more than once in two of their last six matches.
Apart from a thumping 6-1 win over Martinique, their five other victories in their triumphant Gold Cup campaign last summer were all 1-0 (the final after extra time) too.
USA might have dominated the head-to-head over the last 30 years or so but it hasn’t had many big wins over Canada in recent years.
Only once in the last seven clashes have they won by more than a single goal, and there won’t be much between the sides here either. While both teams will obviously be looking to win, a draw wouldn’t be a disaster.
A lot may depend on whether the USMNT can make better use of the ball than they did when drawing 1-1 with Canada in the reverse fixture last September. Greg Berhalter’s side might have had 72% possession and won the shot count by 11 to six, but the on target and clear-cut chance tallies were both two apiece.
Having utilised a 4-3-3 formation in most recent matches, there’s no reason to think Berhalter will change here. But perhaps he should – Herdman successfully combated USA’s system with 5-4-1 tactics last time they met and did the same when beating Mexico 2-1 at home in November.
One to watch (Canada): Jonathan David Canada’s Jonathan David isn’t just one to watch in this match but a player worth keeping an eye on generally, as he is rumoured to be interesting several of the big clubs in the English Premier League.
The 22-year-old is the second top scorer in Ligue 1, the French top division, and joint-top for non-penalty goals. He scored in the win over Honduras on Thursday and with four goals in his last 10 appearances for Lille he is in very decent form.
He favours chance quality over quantity of shots, but if his teammates can provide a decent opportunity or two then David can cause USA problems.
One to watch (USA): Weston McKennie
Weston McKennie joined up with the USMNT having found his shooting boots in recent weeks with Juventus.
He scored against Internazionale in the Supercoppa Italiana and Udinese in Serie A in his last three club matches and has taken a total of 11 shots in his last five. As he had only had two in the five prior to that, the 23-year-old’s goal threat has moved up a notch in 2022.
Though he missed a clear-cut chance in the narrow victory over El Salvador last time out, McKennie scored his eighth international goal in the 2-0 win over Mexico in November so looks well set to contribute here.
• Canada is unbeaten in nine matches and hasn’t lost on home turf for almost six years.
• USA doesn’t lose too often either, particularly against Canada.
• Both teams possess players in good form so while it should be a close game there should be goals.
World Cup Qualifier Picks:
- Match result: Draw (+200)
- Both teams to score, yes (-118)
- Jonathan David to score first (+550)
- Weston McKennie to score any time (+660)
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