When and Where: The Concacaf Men's Olympic Qualifying Group A soccer match between Canada and the United States gets under way in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday at 7 p.m. EDT. A live stream is available with free registration at Concacaf TV.
Preview: The United States under-23s will be looking to secure their spot in the semifinals of the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament with a win over Canada on Saturday.
After a comfortable 6-0 victory in their opening Group A contest against minnows Cuba on Thursday, the U.S. club appears a virtual certainty to progress to one of the last four spots in the tournament, but it needs to be on its guard to avoid a costly slip-up.
With only the two semifinal winners progressing to the London Olympics this summer, the U.S. team will be desperate to top its group and ensure that it avoids Mexico in the all-important semifinal tilt.
The U.S. club looked impressive going forward against Cuba, as you would expect with the side packed with a number of talented players at the top end of the field.
Especially in the first half, the combination play between captain Freddy Adu, Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo, and hat-trick scorer Joe Corona was at times excellent.
But U.S. under-23 coach Caleb Porter recognized that his team cannot rest on its laurels, particularly on defense.
The defending could have been a little tighter, Porter said, according to USSoccer.com. It's a little bit to be expected in the first game of the tournament. It's been a long wait for this first game, and I think that showed a little bit in the nervousness out of a few guys.
The U.S. squad is sure to face tougher opposition in the form of Canada in Saturday's encounter. The Canadians drew 0-0 against El Salvador in their opening game, in large part thanks to the exceptional goalkeeping of Michal Misiewicz between the Canadian posts.
The under-23s of Canada will be desperate to get something from the match with the U.S. team to give them a much better chance of progressing to the last four.
Team News: Juan Agudelo will miss the rest of the tournament after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee. Teal Bunbury, who replaced Agudelo against Cuba, will start in his place against Canada.
Prediction: The U.S. club looked a little shaky early on Thursday, perhaps unsurprisingly for a lineup not all that familiar with each other. They should be more focused and cohesive from the outset against Canada.
Despite the form of Misiewicz, the U.S. squad's attacking talent should be too strong for Canada, although much focus will also be on the progress of a somewhat suspect U.S. defense.
U.S. U23 3-1 Canada U23