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Canada stays humble, focused after historic win over USMNT

Canadian players dedicated 2-0 win over U.S. to head coach John Herdman.

Canada midfielder Alphonso Davies moves the ball up the field during the first half of a CONCACAF Nations League soccer match against the United States on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Toronto. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press via AP

TORONTO — The Canadian men’s national team recognizes that its 2-0 win over the U.S. will go into the history books. However, with one game left in the Concacaf Nations League group stage, there’s little time for celebration and the team is ready to move on.

“Yeah we made history, but our job is not done,” Alphonso Davies said. “We play them again next month, so our focus is on if we can repeat what we did [Tuesday] in November.”

Canada will meet with the U.S. on their home turf in the next international window. The Americans will host Canada in Orlando, Florida at Exploria Stadium on Nov. 15.

“Obviously it’s going to be tough playing in their home country so we got to be focused,” Lucas Cavallini said. “Just like we did in this game, we got to go into the next game with the same mentality and prepare well. It’s going to be like a final for us and we’re willing to prepare to the best of our abilities”

For Orlando City SC’s Kamal Miller, Canada’s next game will be a special one playing on his club’s pitch. The fullback believes that another result against the U.S. could build some real momentum for Canada.

“I feel that the tides are turning a little bit,” Miller said. “Just tonight is one win. We’re on baby steps. But we’re looking at taking another step Nov. 15. We’re going to prepare well for that game again. It’s going to be a new game, a new challenge. We’re going to go in there looking to do the same.”

A win for John Herdman

A teary-eyed Milan Borjan took the time to thank manager John Herdman, who was sitting next to him during Canada’s post-game news conference. The goalkeeper dedicated the team’s 2-0 win to the 44-year-old Englishman.

“This man sitting right beside me, he brought new football in Canada,” Borjan said. “I just want to say right now, in front of all of you, thank you for bringing the spirit, the belief, the energy to these guys. This is a big win for us and this one goes to this man right here.”

This was Herdman’s first ever win against a U.S. team at the helm of a Canadian side. For Cavallini, Herdman emanates his love and passion for his job and it bleeds onto his players.

“I think that every minute of the day he has a motivational speech,” Cavallini said. “That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re doing important things and we hope to keep going.”

After falling in the Gold Cup quarterfinal against Haiti, Herdman’s job came under question. For young striker Jonathan David, there is no doubt that Herdman will lead Canada to good things.

“This guy knows what he’s doing, that’s all I can say,” David said. “He has a tactic for every game and this game, obviously we played it differently than Cuba. That’s why I think that he’s a tactician. He’s got his game plan and when we follow, we get the result.”

Inexperienced back-line earns clean sheet

Canada’s back-line had been questioned all through the preparation for Tuesday’s game. Without regular starter Doneil Henry, who was suspended, Canada gave the nod to Miller, Steven Vitoria, Derek Cornelius and Richie Laryea. 

Cornelius, Miller and Laryea were all under the age of 24 and struggling to find regular playing time. At his club, Vitoria recently earned regular minutes at Moreirense of the Portuguese first division. Among all four members of the back-line, there were just 30 caps for the national team. They held strong though, and kept the U.S. from scoring.

“That’s the sort of pride you think about, what we put together out there and how strong they stood to keep a clean sheet,” Herdman said. “You’re buzzing as a coach when you see guys stepping to the next level of human performance and binding together as a group.”

For Miller, the confidence that the four men had in each other and good communication was what led to the victory. 

“The clean sheet is huge,” Miller said. “Throughout the week we’ve had meetings with all the defenders and we said that clean sheets will win us theses games. We know our front guys will get us something so we just gotta do our part and they’ll take care of business.”

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