Morris Brace Moves U.S. Past Canada in First Game of Olympic Qualifying

by Deny Gallagher

The United States earned their first three points of Olympic Qualifying Thursday night as a result of 3-1 victory over Canada.

It was a Jordan Morris brace, combined with a Luis Gil penalty that saw the Americans through in the first match of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

It took the United States just 34 seconds to find the back of the net courtesy of a Morris header. The United States wasted no time with crisp passing, outwitting the Canadian midfield. On the right flank, Jerome Kiesewetter darted toward the edge of the box to play a great ball into a dangerous area. The Stanford product demonstrated great strength and movement to complete the dream start for Andi Hertzog’s side.

The hot start cooled off around the 10th minute, as Canada was able to find a spell of possession, but failed to threaten goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

In the 21st minute, the United States almost scored again courtesy of Kiesewetter chasing down a through ball from the midfield. The Stuttgart man made a defender miss, but Canadian keeper Maxime Crépeau deflected his shot out of play.

At the end of the half it was the United States who had the 1-0 lead, despite not having the better of possession.

The Canadians got off to a fast start in the second half getting an opportunity within minutes, but none that caused a serious threat to Steffen’s goal. Canada continued their hot pursuit of an equalizer with substantial possession and some shaky defending by the Americans. The visitors never quite found that final ball to breakdown the U.S. backline to keep the host’s lead in tact.

Jerome Kiesewetter was a man on a mission against Canada, and in the 63rd minute, he came close once again to grabbing his first goal of the evening. Emerson Hyndman played a great ball on the ground that put Kiesewetter in on goal. It took a tremendous effort once again by Crépeau to force a corner, and to keep this one at 1-0.

In the 73rd minute, the United States was able to distance themselves from Canada. Once again, Emerson Hyndman played a terrific through ball that found Jordan Morris. While embracing the contact, the 20-year-old was able to gain control and slide it just under Crépeau and into the back of the net.

The insurance goal would become all too important less than 10 minutes later when Michael Petrasso of Canada was able to get just enough on a corner to deflect its trajectory. The slight change in path allowed for the ball to sneak past Steffen and into the far side netting to make it 2-1.

With renewed vigor, Canada chased an equalizer. That effort was fruitless as Kiesewetter would earned a penalty in stoppage time. Second half sub Luis Gil stepped up and converted to make it 3-1.

The United States now move three points closer to their goal of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games, and look towards Saturday where they face Cuba in their second match of the group stage.

 


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