After 34 years without a victory and 12 without a goal, Canada erased its nightmare record against the United States on home soil.
Tuesday’s 2-0 euphoric win for Canada at BMO Field against the rival Americans, was led by Alphonso Davies’ 61st minute finish and Lucas Cavillini’s 91st minute volley that smashed into the back of the net.
It was on the touch line rather than on the pitch, where the Canadian goalkeeper chose to heap most of his praise following the match.
“This man right here sitting beside me has brought a [new style] of football to Canada,” said Milan Borjan, proudly on head coach John Herdman after the clean sheet performance. “I have to thank him for bringing the energy— spirit and belief to the team.
“It was a big win and it goes to our coach.”
Canada’s CONCACAF Nations League win over their southern counterparts was the first since April 2, 1985 at Vancouver’s BC Place, in a match that ended with the same scoreline.
Since that time in which Canada earned its only FIFA World Cup berth to date, the United States has qualified for every World Cup event except 2018 in Russia.
After Tuesday’s performance, the Canadian gaffer highlighted what could be the start of something special for Canada’s men’s national soccer program.
“They’ve been hurting for a long time,” said Herdman. “They’ve wanted a night like this for a long time as well, and they delivered.
“I’m not naive enough to think it’s going to be my ideas and my passion [to change the program]. It’s trying to draw that passion out from what’s already there [in the team].
“I’ve got a great support staff to help with that and there’s more to come.”
If there was one player from the great white north who could match the attention drawn on his manager, it was Davies.
The 18-year-old, who plays his club soccer for top German side FC Bayern Munich, was named earlier in the day to the twenty-man shortlist for Europe’s Golden Boy (top U-21 player).
On the pitch in front of 17,126 the Ghanan-born midfielder evidently displayed his ability that had top clubs overseas fighting for his rights from the Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS) before the move to Germany.
Both sides were quick to praise the Edmonton, Alta., native post-fixture but it was a meeting prior to the match that the 44-year-old head coach revealed drew inspiration to his star midfielder.
“We went back and I showed him some clips of his playing days with the Whitecaps,” said the Consett, England native. “It was where when he got kicked he’d get back up. When a ball went in behind him, he’d recover and fight to get it back.
“I think a little bit of that was missing before, tonight he was free.”
In the 61st minute as the United States began to accumulate high quality scoring chances, Canadian midfielder Scott Arfield sent a perfect ball across the box to Davies who then finished with a smooth touch that sent the ball just past the goal line.
Davies revealed it was “the biggest goal of his career,” and described the feeling of scoring at home in a marquee matchup.
“There’s a million emotions running through me,” said Davies. “I really don’t know to act in that moment. Everyone is jumping and you can caught get on the ankles—you don’t feel that till after when the adrenaline wears off.
“Job is not done though, we need to repeat what we did tonight next month.”
The CONCACAF Nations League offers another route to qualify for the FIFA World Cup, outside of the “hex” where the top six ranked national sides in the region compete in a group stage for two spots in Qatar 2022.
Canada who is the seventh highest (75th) ranked CONCACAF nation will look to take advantage of this new opportunity and catch El Salvador who is ranked 72nd.
The Reds who sit atop of the League A, Group A standings with two victories over Cuba and now one against the U.S., wrap up in Orlando, FL., in a rematch with their rivals Nov. 15.