Canada has announced its 23-man roster for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador and Honduras.
Canada will play a pivotal match against Honduras on Friday, September 2, followed by another against El Salvador at BC Place in Vancouver on Tuesday, September 6.
Canada (1W-1D-2L) currently sits in a tie for second place after four matches in Group 1. They’ve already played both of their matches against the top team, Mexico, so they’re in a reasonably good position to move on. The top-two teams in their group move on to the final round of qualification in the CONCACAF region.
With Mexico having already clinched top spot, it leaves Honduras, El Salvador, and Canada in a fight for second. Should Canada move on from this group, it would mark the first time our country has made it to “the Hex” in 20 years.
Canada has not made it to the World Cup since 1986.
“Our players have demonstrated an excellent commitment along the way,” said Benito Floro, Canada’s head coach. “The players trust in their capacity to achieve a place in the Hex.”
There are four changes from the team we last saw play Mexico in March. Maxime Crepeau, Jamar Dixon, Simeon Jackson, and Andre Hainault will draw in, while Simon Thomas, Julian De Guzman (injured), Iain Hume, and Will Johnson are out.
Johnson is the surprise omission on this list. The Toronto FC midfielder had been a fixture on the national team in recent years. He recently returned from injury, but was fit enough to play two matches in the last week.
The big challenge for Canada, as it usually is, will be to score goals. Canada has just one goal in four matches in this round. Cyle Larin, who is currently tied for fourth in goals in MLS, will be one player looked upon to remedy that.
“We will only have a short window with the players in late August, just a few days for practising tactical matters and preparing a positive mentality,” added Floro. “As we have done in previous camps, we will ensure we are focused, efficient, and detailed in our work ethic so that we can continue to have a positive environment for the players.”
Canada is hoping for a good crowd at BC Place on September 6, after 54,798 people came to watch the national team play Mexico in March. While that level of attendance is unlikely this time, expect a respectable crowd closer to the 20,108 that showed up for the match against Honduras in November.
Here’s the full roster:
|1||GK||Maxime Crepeau||Montreal Impact||MLS|
|2||FB||Nik Ledgerwood||FC Edmonton||NASL|
|3||CB||Manjrekar James||Vasas Budapest||Hungary|
|4||CB||Dejan Jankovic||Shimizu S-Pulse||Japan|
|5||CB||David Edgar||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||MLS|
|6||M||Jamar Dixon||Ottawa Fury||NASL|
|7||M||Simeon Jackson||Walsall FC||England|
|8||FB||Doneil Henry||West Ham United||England|
|9||FB||Marcus Haber||Crewe Alexandra FC||England|
|10||M||David Junior Hoilett||Queen’s Park Rangers||England|
|11||M||Tosaint Ricketts||Toronto FC||MLS|
|12||CB||Andre Hainault||FC Magdeburg||Germany|
|13||M||Atiba Hutchinson||Besiktas JK||Turkey|
|14||M||Samuel Piette||CD Izarra||Spain|
|15||CB||Adam Straith||Fredrikstad FK||Norway|
|16||M||Scott Arfield||Burnley FC||England|
|17||FB||Marcel De Jong||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||MLS|
|18||GK||Milan Borjan||PFK Ludogorets Razgrad||Bulgaria|
|19||CB||Steven Vitoria||Lechia Gdansk||Poland|
|20||FB/CB||Karl W. Ouimette||Jacksonville Armada||NASL|
|21||F||Cyle Larin||Orlando City SC||MLS|
|22||GK||Kenny Stamatopoulos||AIK Fotbol||Sweden|
|23||M||Tesho Akindele||FC Dallas||MLS|