It is not a big name opponent, it is not even a game on Canadian soil that would give the Canadian Soccer Association the chance to spread games around. Instead, it is just what the doctor ordered for the Canadian men's national team as a game against Trinidad & Tobago in Lauderhill, Florida gives them a chance to get some of the roster together for a bit of training and a match.
This match makes good sense because with the August FIFA window for friendlies being so small there was no real chance of getting the full roster together for a proper training camp and a high profile friendly. It was key to make something work to try and build on a successful slate of spring games and get ready for two massive games against Panama on September 7th and 11t
With the trip to Panama in mind it made sense for Canada to set the match in the hot conditions of Florida and on a less than world class field since it will give them a chance to emulate the conditions they will possibly face when they go to Panama City and Estadio Rommel Fernández.
Hart did confirm that he was not expecting to be able to bring together a full strength roster despite the match taking place on a FIFA international date when clubs are required to release players. It is unlikely that we will see any of the European based players as for the most part they will be preparing for the start of their season. With only time for one practice and the match it would not be worth flying in those players for such a short time.
What Hart does hope to do with this match is get a good mix of players involved with some of the regular call-ups being included along with some new faces. It should give Hart a chance to see a few more players first hand which can only help with improving the squads depth going forward.
Just a quick look at Toronto FC's schedule and you can see that there is a conflict. Toronto is in action against the Portland Timbers on the 15th and Paul Mariner will not be overly eager to possibly have to cope without Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry, Terry Dunfield, and Matt Stinson. Hart noted that he had yet to talk with the coach about available players but it would be a surprise if he were to be able to call up everyone he wanted from the club.
Hart noted that they had talked with two South American teams about a possible friendly but the game that they worked out with T&T worked well for both sides and having it in Florida served as the best preparation for the games against Panama.
In the end, it is not at all the ideal mega-friendly we might have hoped for and chances are we may not even be able to watch the game back home in Canada but as Hart noted, "This is the one time we can get to play and it's better to play the game than not to have any game at all. It is what it is."
It is nice to at least get some preparation in for the squad even if it is far from ideal.