Kellyn Acosta has become an important presence on the USMNT. (Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)
After nearly a two-year layoff from U.S. men’s national team call-ups, midfielder Kellyn Acosta returned to the fold for the first time in Decemeber 2020.
Since then, he has established himself as a key part of the squad. He was one of two players to lift both trophies with the USA this summer. With his appearance in the scoreless draw at El Salvador Thursday, Acosta has taken the field for the USA in 15 consecutive games, the first player since DaMarcus Beasley did so in 2003-04.
The Colorado Rapids midfielder is just the fourth player to make 15 consecutive appearances in this millennium, joining Beasley, Landon Donovan (2002-03) and Jeff Agoos (2001-02).
In other information about the USMNT (as compiled by U.S. Soccer):
The USA’s 25-man roster will have an average age of 24 years, 87 days on Sunday vs. Canada. The team averages 18 caps and seven in official competition.
With seven goals from the 2018 cycle, 22-year-old forward Christian Pulisic enters the 2022 campaign tied with Michael Bradley for seventh on the USMNT’s all-time WCQ goal scoring list.
Pulisic also sits tied for fourth on the USMNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying assists list with six.
While Kellyn Acosta has appeared in all 14 matches for the USA this year and 15 consecutive, midfielder Sebastian Lletget is second on the team, logging minutes in 13 of 14 games this year.
Konrad de la Fuente made his first appearance in official competition for the USA vs. El Salvador.
The lone uncapped player on the roster is 18-year-old forward Ricardo Pepi, who represented the USA at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup alongside George Bello and Gio Reyna.
After 12 players made their World Cup qualifying debuts on Thursday, seven more will look for their first qualifying action vs. Canada: George Bello, Ethan Horvath, Mark McKenzie, Ricardo Pepi, James Sands, Zack Steffen and Walker Zimmerman.
Tim Weah was forced to withdraw from the roster due to an injury suffered in training with his club prior to departure for camp.
USA vs. Canada
Sunday will be the 28th meeting all-time between the USA and Canada. The USMNT holds a 16-9-11 advantage all-time and is 12-1-6 in the modern era (since 1990), outscoring Canada 28-6 during that span.
Canada holds the advantage in World Cup qualifying as the U.S. trails 4-6-3. In home qualifiers, the USA is 3-1-2. After losing its first home qualifier to Canada in 1957, the USMNT is an undefeated 3-0-2 since.
The U.S. and Canada last squared off in the group stage of this summer’s Concacaf Gold Cup, a tight 1-0 win for the USA that clinched the top spot in Group B. Right back Shaq Moore scored the fastest goal in USMNT and Gold Cup history when he netted just 20 seconds into the match.
Seven current U.S. call-ups played in the match: Kellyn Acosta, Reggie Cannon, Sebastian Lletget, Cristian Roldan, James Sands, Matt Turner and Walker Zimmerman.
Thirteen of the 15 players to take the field for Canada in that match are back for World Cup qualifying: Tajon Buchanan, Lucas Cavallini, Maxime Crepeau, Liam Fraser, Junior Hoilett, Alistair Johnson, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Cyle Larin, Richie Laryea, Kamal Miller, Jonathan Osorio, Samuel Piette and Steven Vitoria.
The nations also met during the group stage of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League in fall 2019. After a 2-0 loss in Toronto during the October window, the USA rallied for an emphatic 4-1 win in November in Orlando that set the U.S. up to clinch Group A and advance to the Nations League Final Four.
Sergiño Dest became officially cap-tied to the U.S. during the Nations League win vs. Canada in Orlando and notched his first international assist on the game’s opening goal.
Concacaf representatives from the last two UEFA Champions League champions will square off on Sunday. Christian Pulisic helped Chelsea win the tournament in 2020-21 while Alphonso Davies played a key role during Bayern Munich’s title run in 2019-20.
The USMNT is 5-2-1 in Tennessee all-time and 4-2-1 in Nashville. Its last match in Music City came in the 2019 Gold Cup semifinals, a 3-1 victory vs. Jamaica.