Canada beats US to close in on World Cup berth

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(AFP/Reuters) – Canada took a giant step towards their first World Cup qualification in 36 years on Sunday. Canada struck early and again late on to defeat the U.S. men’s national team 2-0 on Sunday to remain unbeaten and extend their lead in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.

Canada collected a goal kick from U.S. keeper Matt Turner in the seventh minute and Jonathan David set up Cyle Larin, who raced forward and fired in past a diving Turner, sending the fans at Tim Hortons Field into a frenzy.

Sam Adekugbe added a second deep into second-half stoppage time to wrap up victory for Canada.

“The guys feed me the ball, and Jonathan up top helps me a lot,” said Larin, who became Canada’s all-time leading goalscorer with 23.

“We’re a close team. We’re a brotherhood.”

Canada top the standings with 22 points, while the U.S. are second on 18 and Mexico, who play Costa Rica later on Sunday, are third with 17 points in the eight-team group.

Canada have emerged as the surprise package from the Central America, North America and the Caribbean qualifying region, and are now firmly on course for only their second trip to the World Cup after reaching the Mexico finals in 1986.

The top three sides in the eight-team round-robin table qualify automatically for this year’s finals in Qatar.

But the defeat piles pressure on USA coach Gregg Berhalter, whose team face Honduras at home on Wednesday before a tricky final three games in March which includes away trips to Mexico and Costa Rica and a home game against Panama.

Reuters / AFP

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