Dull draw in US-Canada friendly clash
HOUSTON, USA (AP) — The United States prepared for its opening game in the final round of World Cup qualifying with a dull 0-0 draw against Canada on Tuesday as defender Omar Gonzalez returned to the American national team line-up after a two-year absence.
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann changed all 11 starters from November's 2-2 draw at Russia and is likely to change the entire line-up again for the Feb 6 qualifier against Honduras at San Pedro Sula.
Gonzalez, making his third international appearance, was joined by three players making their national team debuts: Tony Beltran, Matt Besler and Justin Morrow. Will Bruin and Alfredo Morales made their debut when they entered in the 74th minute.
Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and most other regulars remained with their clubs in Europe for weekend matches.
On a night when the 28th-ranked Americans' movement was slow and accuracy was sloppy, Benny Feilhaber generated the only US shot on target in the second half.
No 64 Canada, rebuilding after getting knocked out in the semifinal round World Cup qualifying last year, was coming off a 4-0 loss to Denmark on Saturday. Hard rain began falling with about 10 minutes left, putting an extra damper on the night for the US team.
Canada goalkeeper Simon Thomas easily scooped up Feilhaber's shot from the right side in stoppage time, and when Honduran referee Raul Castro blew the final whistle, several Americans bent over and shook their heads in frustration.
Chris Wondolowski had the first two shots for the US, a soft bicycle kick in the 13th minute and a long try from the top of the penalty area in the 18th. Otherwise, the Americans looked disjointed on offence, misfiring on most of their passes and giving away sloppy turnovers in traffic.
The US team finally created some chances in the final minutes of the first half, including two corners.
The Canadians, who fielded their youngest squad since 2006, tended to drop back and look for counterattacks.