Canada’s men’s national soccer team will begin its quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup tonight at BC Place. Their first competitive match in Vancouver in 11 years is an important one, against Honduras.
Canada (FIFA rank: 102) vs Honduras (FIFA rank: 95)
Game Time: 7 p.m.
Technically, we’re actually already in the 4th round of 5 qualifying rounds for the CONCACAF region, but really, this is when things get serious.
Canada (102) is in a group with Mexico (24), El Salvador (94) and Honduras (95). They’ll play a home-and-home with each team, with the top-two teams advancing to the final round of qualifying.
Canada is the lowest ranked team of the four, but not by much, and have a very real chance of making it to the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying for the first time since the 1998 World Cup.
The final round of CONCACAF qualifying consists of six teams competing for three automatic World Cup berths.
Canada is bolstered by recent addition, Junior Hoilett, who should be a threat to score. Veteran midfielder Atiba Hutchinson is also a player to keep an eye on. Three Whitecaps are on the roster, most notably Russell Teibert.
|3||FB||Samuel Adekugbe||CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps||20|
|2||FB||Fraser Aird||SCO / Rangers||20|
|23||M||Tesho Akindele||USA / FC Dallas||23|
|18||GK||Milan Borjan||BUL / PFK Ludogorets Razgrad||28|
|6||M||Julian de Guzman||CAN / Ottawa Fury FC||34|
|17||FB||Marcel de Jong||USA / Sporting Kansas City||29|
|5||CB||David Edgar||ENG / Sheffield United||28|
|16||M||Kianz Froese||CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps||19|
|9||F||Marcus Haber||ENG / Crewe Alexandra FC||26|
|10||W||David Junior Hoilett||ENG / Queens Park Rangers||25|
|13||M||Atiba Hutchinson||TUR / Beşiktaş J.K.||32|
|12||CB||Dejan Jaković||JPN / Shimizu S-Pulse||30|
|4||CB||Manjrekar James||HUN / Diósgyöri VTK||22|
|8||M||Will Johnson||USA / Portland Timbers||28|
|21||F||Cyle Larin||USA / Orlando City S.C.||20|
|19||CB||Wandrille Lefèvre||CAN / Impact Montréal||26|
|20||CB||Karl W. Ouimette||USA / New York Red Bulls||23|
|14||M||Samuel Piette||ESP / Racing Ferrol||21|
|11||W||Tosaint Ricketts||TUR / Boluspor FC||28|
|22||GK||Kenny Stamatopoulos||SWE / AIK Fotbol||36|
|15||M||Adam Straith||NOR / Fredrikstad||25|
|7||M||Russell Teibert||CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps||22|
|1||GK||Simon Thomas||NOR / Strømmen||25|
Canada begins their quest to advance to the final round of qualifying against the team that ended their dream for the 2014 World Cup. Honduras thumped Canada 8-1 three years ago, in one of this country’s most embarrassing performances.
2 Hondurans in the box, seven Canadians, and yet Honduras still wins the header to score the 8th. #gutless
— Paul Chapman (@PaulChapman_) October 16, 2012
But this is a new team and there is reason for optimism: they can score goals. “Not since Dale Mitchell, Alex Bunbury, John Catliff and Paul Peschisolido were in the lineup together in the early-to-mid-’90s has there been this much hope for goals” Paul Dolan told the Province.
I'm told 18,000 seats sold for tomorrow night's #CanMNT – Honduras match. Surely walk up will push that towards plus-20k.
— Kurtis Larson (@KurtLarSUN) November 12, 2015
Coincidentally, that’s the last time that Canada was knocking on the door for the World Cup, at a time when CONCACAF had only one automatic berth.
Even though it’s the first game of the round, tonight’s game will be hugely important for Canada. If they are to advance, they will need to do well at home.
A large crowd should help Canada’s home field advantage, as will playing on field turf. Canada’s cold weather advantage won’t be a factor though, the roof will be closed against the wishes of the Canadian Soccer Association.
I've asked PavCo what concerns are over opening roof during storm. CSA has made it clear they want it open. I'm hearing that's not likely.
— Marc Weber (@marcdweber) November 12, 2015
***UPDATE: The roof will be OPEN
— BC Place (@bcplace) November 13, 2015
But hey, if things don’t go well in this one, perhaps Canada could employ a different tactic next time…
#CanMNT should play a fall/winter World Cup qualifier in Fort McMurray…
— Mike Martignago (@MikeMartignago) September 14, 2015
Nov 13: Honduras @ Canada
Nov 17: Canada @ El Salvador
Mar 25: Mexico @ Canada
Mar 29: Canada @ Mexico
Sep 2: Canada @ Honduras
Sep 6: El Salvador @ Canada