If Canada has to work hard to secure a 1-1 draw with Honduras on Thursday night, the task will be even greater against the United States on Sunday night.
The Canadian national team continues its campaign to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022 by visiting the Americans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
It will be the second in a series of 14 matches in which they have claimed their first Canadian World Cup ticket since 1986.
Unifoliate reps put up an uneven performance against Honduras as the curtain lifted at BMO Stadium.
Like Canada, the United States opened the playoffs with a draw. The difference is that this 0-0 point against El Salvador was taken abroad.
Although the US team ranks higher than Canada, Canadian players are not at all intimidated.
Canadian defender Alistair Johnston insisted: “We know their players and their personalities, we are comfortable facing them because we know what to expect of them.”
“But we can’t end up in a hole early in the game because it is a team that presses and crushes. They will want to put in a show and we expect an American team to fly over the field.”
There is no arguing that one point is sufficient in the Sunday evening lottery.
“I don’t think we’re going there to play for 0-0, it’s not in our team’s DNA,” said Johnston.
With matches following each other between last Thursday and next Wednesday, fatigue will set in quickly.
This is why we may see some changes in coach John Herdman’s starting line-up.
“We are in a hostile territory, it is very important to take advantage of our depth by making a certain rotation because there are a lot of matches in a short period of time,” Herdmann said.
“We have world-class players, and we can do that.”
In the first game played earlier this week, the Canadians got off to a good start before they were overwhelmed with excitement by playing their first home game in nearly two years.
The team was disorganized and gave way to Honduras, who led 1-0 shortly before the break, and Canada equalized in the second half.
However, it was a lack of opportunism that prevented Canada from collecting the three points against its opponent, Honduras.
“In coming out of this game there was a bit of a frustration, but a little excitement because we know what we can offer. We got rid of the rust with this match,” Alistair Johnston admitted.
The situation will be somewhat special for Johnston who will find himself in front of his supporters.
He wears the colors of the Nashville SC club that joined MLS last season.
“It would be weird for me to play at Nissan Stadium, to be on enemy territory while in the locker room, which has never happened to me.
“The fans have been good to me for the past year and a half, but I can’t wait to see what they can throw at me.”
♦ Canada will play its next match on Wednesday night against El Salvador at BMO Field in Toronto.
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