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A Central Concern for CMNT

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Kevin McKenna in action for his German club.
Kevin McKenna in action for his German club.

Earlier today the twitter account for the Canadian Soccer Association announced that Kevin McKenna would not be able to join the CMNT squad for the upcoming matches.  At first this news does not seem all that major since Canada is once again taking on teams that they will be expected to beat with ease but it does create a real shortage of central defenders available for selection come Friday night.  McKenna's spot in the roster will be taken by Jonothan Beaulieu-Bourgault who plays for German third division side SC Preußen Münster and is naturally a defensive midfielder.  The 23 year old was part of Canada's squad in September as well as for this past summers Gold Cup.

The fact that Stephen Hart has gone with a midfielder to replace McKenna, a centre back, is what concerns me about this news.  If you go down the roster now and look at who is available and is a natural central defender the options are now rather limited.  Adam Straith and David Edgar are probably the only two players now with the team that I would say are natural in that position.  Ante Jazic, Nik Ledgerwood, and Ashtone Morgan are the other defenders in the squad now and all of them are much better on the left or right side.  So that leaves Canada looking very thin in the back line.  They have an 18 man squad but now only 5 of them are natural defenders so with Hart preferring to play a back 4 there really will be no room for anyone in the back line to pick up a knock.  

So why would Hart not have replaced McKenna with another defender instead of a midfielder?  It is hard to say but his options will have been limited in part by who was willing to accept a call and who was actually fit.  Mike Klukowski would have been capable of filling in on the back line but he is currently injured.  Same thing for Marcel Dejong who despite not being a natural defender would have provided cover for the back line as he is capable of playing defense along with defensive midfielder.  The other name that comes to mind is Andre Hainault who is reported to have turned down the call to come and play for Canada.  He would have been the best option to replace McKenna but for reasons that have not been made public, I am assuming since he is in the middle of a playoff race, Hainault decided not to join the squad this time around.

Sure Canada should still win these games with relative ease but it is kind of worrying that at this stage in the qualifying cycle Canada seems to have a real lack of depth in the back line.  It would be much nicer to know that even if a few players are out hurt or otherwise unavailable coach Hart would have enough options around to ensure that he can bring more depth in the back line along.  Maybe someone like Nana Attakora will help provide depth, just as Ashtone Morgan is doing at left back, down the road but for now things just look a little bit thin.