Cuba just pushed one past a sleepy Canadian defense in the dying minutes of the Group A opener Monday at LP Field in Nashville.
It changes the situation for the United States, although not in immediate terms.
Caleb Porter’s under-23 side still must win tonight against El Salvador in order to advance. A tie isn’t good enough. But if the United States does turn up with a “W,” it now wins the group.
That could be huge if Mexico finishes atop Group B on Tuesday; the Americans would avoid a do-or-die semifinal against Mexico. So the road to London may not go through Mexico after all.
Based on previous Group A matches, no way Canada should have done anything other than win in a romp tonight against a Cuban side with little to play for. Then again, Canada has a certain history of these things.
Just a few months ago, Dwayne De Rosario was leading the full Canadian national team to what appeared to be a successful Gold Cup run. And then …
Panama’s Luis Tejada bundled in a ball in injury-time, drawing level with Canada in the teams’ Gold Cup group play finale at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City.
Just like that, Canada was eliminated. They were just seconds away from going into the knockout stages and seemed to have the game under control.