The United States-Canada soccer “rivalry” has long been a series of what kids might call “two-hit fights.”
The United States hits Canada; Canada hits the floor.
The southern neighbor carries a 14-game unbeaten streak into tonight’s contest from BMO Field at Exhibition Place, just beyond the reaches of downtown Toronto.
But it wasn’t always this way. Veteran Soccer America writer Paul Kennedy reminds us of two things: despite conventional wisdom, there really is some soccer history in North America, and; Canada once carried the bigger stick in this border battle.
It was a one-sided rivalry back in the 1970s, as well, as the North American Soccer League rose majestically. Only, there were precious few kickers from the States on the NASL fields of those days. (In fact, league rules required teams to put two U.S. citizens on the field through much of the 1970s – and that got tricky sometimes as coaches strained to find a couple of worthy candidates.)
So, it was all Canada. The worm didn’t turn until the late 1980s … but turn it certainly did.