Canada and the United States will meet in a friendly soccer international at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on January 29.
It will be the Americans’ last game before the start of the final round of regional 2014 World Cup qualifiers, which begins for the United States on the road in Honduras on February 6.
“The match against Canada will come at the end of an important training camp as we get players ready for the World Cup qualifier against Honduras and also get a good look at some up and coming players in the national team pool,” said U.S. head coach, Jürgen Klinsmann. “Obviously, we have a great history with Canada and they were unlucky not to qualify for the final round. The stadium in Houston is awesome and the fans have been incredibly supportive there. For us it’s a great way to start off the centennial year of U.S. soccer.”
Canada has not beaten the United States in their last 15 meetings. The teams last met in June in Toronto when they played to a goalless draw in the match that celebrated the Canadian Soccer Association’s 100th anniversary.
The national team’s last win over their American counterparts was a 2-0 shutout in April 1985 in Vancouver.
The Canadians will meet Denmark in Arizona on January 26 before their meeting with the Americans.
Canada – which failed to advance to the final round of the 2014 World Cup regional qualifier – climbed eight spots to 64th in the latest International Soccer Federation (FIFA) rankings. It is the country’s highest ranking since 2009 and third-highest final ranking in the last decade.
Haiti jumped 18 spots to 39th in the world and in the process toppled Jamaica as the top Caribbean team. The Jamaicans crashed out of the Caribbean Soccer Union tournament in the preliminary stage in Antigua two weeks ago.
New Caribbean champions Cuba leapt 41 spots to number 100.
Panama is the region’s second best side at number 51, ahead of Jamaica (56), Honduras (58) and Costa Rica (66). Mexico, ranked 15th and the 28th-ranked U.S.are the top sides in the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean region. Trinidad & Tobago is 68th.
In Major League Soccer news, Toronto FC will kick off its 2013 season on March 2 in Vancouver. The local team, which won just five games this year, will play its first home game the following week against Sporting Kansas City on March 9 at BMO Field.
Toronto FC visits Montreal on March 16.
Both Toronto and Montreal will take part in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic tournament in February in Orlando.
Toronto FC recently acquired 2010 United States Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year, Gale Agbossoumonde, via a league lottery.
The Togolese-born American made his professional debut three years ago with Miami FC of the United Soccer League.
New Toronto FC president and general manager, Kevin Payne, said the club is thrilled with the acquisition, who made his U.S. senior team debut two years ago against South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Cup Challenge.
“He’s a young and immensely talented centre back with solid international experience at the Under-17 and Under-20 level for the United States, and we hope he will be a member of our team for years to come,” said Payne.
By RON FANFAIR