- It’s a top-of-the-table battle in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Sunday, January 30th
- Just one point separates first-place Canada from the second-place United States
- Read on for betting odds, a full preview, and the best bet for this CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match
The sharp end of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying will come into full focus on Sunday, January 30th, at 3:05pm ET when first-place Canada plays host to the second-place United States at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Just one point separates the neighbors, with both still very much on course to qualify for this year’s World Cup with five games to go.
Some of the immediate pressure is off both teams, with the pair sitting five and four points clear, respectively, of fourth-place Panama, which is currently slated to miss out on automatic qualification to go into a one-game playoff with the leading team from Oceania.
But given the rivalry on offer, with Canada just a few years removed from a first win over its neighbor in 34 years, it’s certain to be a closely contested game, as is reflected in the World Cup odds.
Canada vs United States Odds
|Canada vs United States||CAN -0.5 (+205) | USA +0.5 (-250)||CAN +195 | USA +165
|Ov 2.5 (+155) | Un 2.5 (-195)|
Odds as of January 29th at DraftKings
Canada Only Unbeaten Team in CONCACAF
Entering this game off the back of four straight wins, and the only remaining unbeaten side in the eight-team final qualifying group, Canada is in an unfamiliar position as it attempts to qualify for a first World Cup since 1986.
But this Canada is powered by a new generation of talent, a group that has seen it score the most goals in through nine games (15), and concede the joint fewest (5).
Davies Out vs USA
Just as impressive, the momentum doesn’t get disrupted when the squad is shorn of its best player, Alphonso Davies. The Bayern Munich wingback is currently out with inflammation of the heart that developed after he contracted COVID-19.
He missed an earlier match against El Salvador with injury and his teammates rallied to win 3-0, before he missed last Thursday’s match in Honduras, when the squad shook off the weight of history to win a first match in the Central American country in 37 years.
Most 🚫 clean sheets in the @Concacaf Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
3- Milan Borjan🍁
3- Mario Gonzalez
3- Luis Mejia
3- Keylor Navas
3- Matt Turner pic.twitter.com/uT8qF8RdFb
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) January 28, 2022
Though it’s fair to say any team in the world, at club or national level, would miss the electric pace and soccer IQ of the greatest male player Canada has ever produced, it seems has though Canada has enough in its locker to get by.
Still, head coach John Herdman can take great heart when he looks down the rest of his roster and sees the likes of Jonathan David, Cyle Larin and Tajon Buchanan, who all now ply their trade with well-established clubs in Europe.
Most ⚽️ goals in the @Concacaf Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
4- Cyle Larin 🍁
4- Jonathan David 🍁
3- Rolando Blackburn
3- Ricardo Pepi
3- Cecilio Waterman pic.twitter.com/MQ3socV48j
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) January 28, 2022
It was Buchanan and David that came to the forefront on Thursday, as the Bruges winger help force an own goal, before Lille striker David scored a highlight-reel goal to wrap up the three points. But when those two aren’t making their mark on the scoresheet, there’s always the presence of Larin, who has tied the national-team record for goals at 22, after scoring a record 14 goals in 13 appearances in 2021.
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American Win Puts Them in First
After grinding out a 1-0 win at home against El Salvador on Thursday, Gregg Berhalter’s US squad will embrace the opportunity to leapfrog Canada in the standings and claim top spot on Sunday. Both teams have much to play for, as a win Sunday combined with another in the next CONCACAF matchday on Wednesday could see either team clinch their World Cup finals spot provided other results go their way.
— Concacaf (@Concacaf) January 28, 2022
And while Canada may have upended the weight of history in the Americans’ last visit to Canadian soil, winning 2-0 in Toronto in 2019 in the Nations League, the US has won two and drawn the other of the three meetings since then, most recently the 1-1 draw in Nashville last September.
The current head-to-head is:
Canada wins – 6
USA wins – 4
Draws – 4
— ⓕⓡⓐⓣⓔⓢ (@CratesOfFrates) January 28, 2022
Interestingly though, despite the lopsided 16-9-12 US edge in all-time head-to-head contests, Canada actually owns a 6-4-4 edge in World Cup qualifying meetings, although the last of those six wins came back in 1980.
Canada vs US World Cup Qualifying Stats
USA Juggling Roster Seeking Right Combination
Despite the depth of talent available to him, Berhalter still seems unsure of his best lineup more than halfway through this World Cup qualifying cycle. The American head coach changed five starters on Thursday from the previous match last November, and the star trio of Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie all started a game together for the first time in three years.
It’s a similar story upfront, where he seems unsure whether Ricardo Pepi, David Ferreira or Gyasi Zardes off the best return as first-choice striker.
But Berhalter needs to get it right, particularly on the road, where the US has won just one of their past five games.
Canada vs United States Pick
Sunday’s game promises to be tight contest between too sides that don’t need to go hell-for-leather to get all three points on offer. When you factor in the weather conditions, which are likely to be below freezing, as well as the artificial turf that the game will take place on in Hamilton, this really could go either way, and there are pros and cons to betting both ways.
However, for me, honors even seems the most likely outcome, particularly with both teams facing a third qualifier in seven days on Wednesday.
Best bet: Draw (+170)
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