A year ago right now we all had hope, nervous hope, probably no-one was convinced at all, but there was hope as we waited for October 16th 2012. The second date of the October international break, the last day of qualifying to see who went forward to 2013's Hex and who didn't. Canada had done all that could be reasonably expected of them and got themselves to the last game still with a chance of qualifying, heck a draw would have been enough, as tough as that was going to be in Honduras. Even then we all knew 2013 was going to be a rough year for TFC, but if Canada could qualify and give itself 10 important on top of the Gold Cup, well that would make the year a lot more tolerable.
Anyway, 8-1 happened and now here we are, Honduras are almost certain to qualify for the World Cup, while Panama, the other team from Canada's group to qualify has a small chance of making the 4th place playoff if things go hilariously bad for Mexico today. Canada is in full regroup and rebuild mode and playing a friendly against Australia in London.
Credit to the CSA who have at least provided friendlies for the team to play throughout the year, this will be the 11th, the previous 10 providing a combined one goal, and this is now the second training camp under new Boss Benito Floro's eye. Give the two games against Mauritania weren't streamed, this will be our first chance to see what's new if anything under the new regime.
What should we expect? Well probably not much really, it's still more or less the same players that haven't been setting the world on fire so far this year, and it's way too early to expect Floro to have made much of a difference. Still, he's not really thinking about Australia, instead focusing on his own plan and system, though as he said, the players have had 'not enough days to assimilate the teaching' and in an interview with some press yesterday, at least going by Kurt Larson's tweets, he's very much focusing on the future and being able to teach the young kids the right way to play so they're ready when they get older to play well for the senior team. Sensible stuff, but not really anything to get excited about for this game.
Here's the squad again, really gets the pulse racing doesn't it?
GK - Milan Borjan | TUR / Sivasspor
GK - Lars Hirschfeld | NOR / Vålerenga Fotball
D - Doneil Henry | CAN / Toronto FC
D - Dejan Jaković | USA / D.C. United
D - Adam Straith | GER / Wehen Wiesbaden
D - Marcel de Jong | GER / FC Augsburg
D - David Edgar | ENG / Burnley FC
D - Ashtone Morgan | CAN / Toronto FC
D/M - Nik Ledgerwood | SWE / Hammarby Fotboll
M - Kyle Bekker | CAN / Toronto FC
M - Dylan Carreiro | ENG / Queens Park Rangers
M - Julian de Guzman | GRE / Skoda Xanthi
M - Atiba Hutchinson | TUR / Besiktas
M - Jonathan Osorio | CAN / Toronto FC
M - Samuel Piette | GER / Fortuna Düsseldorf
M/F - Stefan Cebara | Unattached / sans club
M/F - Dwayne De Rosario | USA / D.C. United
M/F - Michael Petrasso | ENG / Queens Park Rangers
M/F - Russell Teibert | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F - Marcus Haber | ENG / Notts County
F - Iain Hume | ENG / Preston North End
F - Simeon Jackson | GER / Eintracht Braunschweig
F - Tosaint Ricketts | NOR / Sandnes Ulf
So it's best to not expect too much, or read too much into what happens, but hopefully we'll be given something to believe in, at least get occasional faltering glimpses of how Floro is trying to get them to play, and hopefully we can see some encouraging signs from some of the younger players such as Russell Tiebert, Samuel Piette, or the TFC quartet of Morgan, Henry, Osorio and Bekker. Hell, just getting to see Bekker play would be nice, he's looked good in previous friendlies as if the slower pace and decreased intensity allows him to shine.
As for Australia, well they've got a World Cup to play for next year and a new coach to impress after recently parting ways with Holger Osieck so you'd think there'd be all the motivation they'd need to get themselves up for a game against Canada, in England. At the very least it'll be a blessed relief to play a weaker team after over extending themselves led to consecutive 6-0 defeats against Brazil and France.
So yeah, feel the excitement and don't you dare watch all those European World Cup Qualifiers going on at the same time that you know, might actually mean something. We won't be doing a seperate game thread for this one so we'll have team news and comments and such like in this comments section instead. See you there. Until then, here's Gavin day in his new job.