The U.S. men’s soccer team lost to Canada for the first time in 34 years, allowing second-half goals to Alphonso Davies and Lucas Cavallini in a 2-0 defeat Tuesday night in Toronto in the CONCACAF Nations League.
A little over two years after the Americans failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup by losing at Trinidad and Tobago, they saw their 17-match unbeaten streak against their northern neighbor come to an end.
“The first thing that stands out to me is desire, the desire of Canada,” said U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter. “Give them credit, but having said that, the minimum we expect is to match that. We need to compete on every single play in games like that, and that’s important. I don’t think it was lack of effort, I don’t think it was purposeful, but I wasn’t happy with the desire that we displayed.
Davies turned in a cross from Scott Arfield. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen put a palm up to block Davies’ shot but the ball still dropped over the line as Canada’s players rushed to join Davies for a raucous celebration.
Cavallini added a 90th-minute goal for 75th-ranked Canada, taking a long pass and beating Steffen to the near post with a low shot.
Christian Pulisic had a point-blank shot saved by goalkeeper Milan Borjan in the 51st minute.
The 21st-ranked U.S., coming off last week’s opening 7-0 home rout of Cuba, had nine wins and eight draws against Canada since a 2-0 exhibition defeat at Vancouver, British Columbia, in April 1985.
Canada is trying to climb into the top six in the region in FIFA rankings, which will be used next summer to determine the nations in the hexagonal that will produce the three direct qualifiers from the North and Central American and Caribbean region for the 2022 World Cup.
The U.S. and Canada meet again Nov. 15 at Orlando and the U.S. faces Cuba four days later in the Cayman Islands.
• Roberto Alvarado and Jose Juan Macias scored as Mexico beat Panama 3-1 in a Nations League match in Mexico City.
European qualifying: With an equalizer in stoppage time, Spain earned the point it needed against Sweden to qualify for the 2020 European Championship, and Ireland missed its chance to seal a spot in next year’s tournament by losing to Switzerland.
Already qualified Italy routed Liechtenstein 5-0 for a record-equaling ninth straight win.
After conceding a late equalizer against Norway on Saturday to miss an opportunity to qualify, Spain salvaged a 1-1 draw in its visit to Sweden with a goal by Rodrigo two minutes into injury time at Friends Arena.
A win would have secured Ireland a berth at Euro 2020, but a 2-0 loss to Switzerland means it will need to beat Denmark in its final match to guarantee a place in next year’s tournament. Switzerland regained control of its qualifying destiny with the home victory in the tight Group D, moving one point behind group leaders Ireland and Denmark.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Canada-s-soccer-win-over-U-S-is-first-in-34-14537551.php.