If you had told a Syracuse Orange soccer fan a decade ago that three players who used to wear Orange would be on the pitch at the same time for a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier, you would have thought they were crazy. If you’d have said they’d be starting for the USA and Canada, you would have told them to go home. Well, I’m here to tell you that it has now happened, former Orange standouts Miles Robinson, Tajon Buchanan and Kamal Miller all started the match Sunday between the USA and Canada, who at the time of kick were numbers one (Canada) and two (USA) in qualifying.
Off the bat, Robinson got a bit turned on the opening goal, allowing Cyle Larin to take Matt Turner one-on-one off of a well worked one-two to set him through, allowing the Canadians to take a 1-0 lead. After the misplay, Robinson completed the game solidly, a few times taking Buchanan on solo and coming out the better on the deal.
For Canada, Buchanan himself looked dangerous on the wing and oftentimes was up against Barcelona’s Sergino Dest and holding his own. The two got a bit chippy at numerous points, and was a good matchup on both offense and defense all afternoon. He did get a yellow late on with some CONCACAF-ery and time in the 88th minute. Buchanan was everywhere until the final minute, very active and very potent for Canada.
Miller wasn’t mentioned much, which usually is a good thing for a centerback, keeping Gyasi Zardes and Ricardo Pepi controlled, while still having to deal with Christian Pulisic and Brenden Aaronson running on to him at points.
Because of the early goal, it was a pretty one sided affair, but the US was having some difficulty breaking Miller and Canada down, going into the half 1-0 Canada. That score held until Sam Adekugbe added a second at the final whistle, with the Canadians winning 2-0, their first win against the US since 1968 in World Cup Qualifying. A three play later in the week on Wednesday, February 2, with Robinson finishing the window against Honduras, and Buchanan and Miller taking on El Salvador. Canada is top of the table at this point and looks to stay that way through the window.