United States opens 2013 with scoreless draw against Canada

11:58 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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Houston, TX (Sports Network) - The United States opened its 2013 schedule with a 0-0 draw against Canada on Tuesday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The Americans went an impressive 9-3-2 in 2012, a mark which included wins in Italy and Mexico, but throughout much of Tuesday's contest, the home side was unable to find the final ball, despite getting some chances.

U.S. regulars such as Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey did not participate in the team's January preparatory camp as manager Jurgen Klinsmann's starting lineup included all MLS players for the first time since 2007.

The Americans had the better of the play for most of the first half, but it was Canada that produced the first good chance of the contest.

Just six minutes in, Canada striker Dwayne De Rosario got on the end of a cross from Nikolas Ledgerwood and fired a shot that appeared earmarked for the top-left corner, but U.S. goalkeeper Sean Johnson was able to parry it away.

The hosts got their first great opportunity in the 28th minute when reigning MLS MVP Chris Wondolowski collected a ball in the penalty area off a nice low cross from Tony Beltran, but sliced it wide right.

The Americans dominated play in the first half, keeping 69 percent of the ball and firing eight shots, but neither side was able to find the back of the net.

Coming off a 4-0 defeat to Denmark on Saturday, Canada made the proper adjustments during the first half, keeping as many players as possible behind the ball and forcing the U.S. to try to pass its way through the back line.

To try to counteract Canada's defensive approach, Klinsmann switched to a more attack-oriented 4-3-3 formation for the second half and brought on Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber and 21-year-old winger Joshua Gatt.

In the 53rd minute, Brad Davis had a fantastic chance to give the United States the lead as a ball fell to his feet in the box, but the set-piece specialist for the hometown Houston Dynamo pushed his right-footed strike just past the far post.

13 minutes later, Feilhaber was taken down to win a free kick just outside the box and lofted one into the area, but Omar Gonzalez's powerful header just sailed over the bar.

The U.S. had one last fantastic chance in stoppage time when Gatt won a free kick outside the penalty area, but the ensuing right-footed blast by Alfredo Morales was blocked.

The result extends the Americans' unbeaten run against Canada to 16 consecutive matches and they are 13-8-11 all-time against their rivals to the north.

The Americans will continue along their path to the 2014 World Cup on February 6, when they open the hexagonal round of qualifying against Honduras.

The Sports Network

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