Benito Floro has spent the early years on the job with Canada doing the thankless job of trying to find anyone capable of contribution to his squad. He has searched high and low to try to expand the player pool at his disposal and while it has not led to him discovering many diamonds in the rough or really growing the player pool he cannot be faulted for not looking under just about every rock imaginable to improve the Canadian Men's National Team.
He may have finally caught a much needed break though with a number of players finally moving off the fence and in to the player pool. With Junior Hoilett and Fraser Aird both making the decision to represent Canada instead of Jamaica or Scotland respectively the midfield pool got much deeper. Add in the fact that Lucas Cavallini accepted a call-up for the first time in what feels like ages and the roster for the upcoming friendly against Ghana is looking like one of the strongest that Floro has had to work with since taking over the program.
Both Hoilett and Cavallini should provide scoring threats which is something that the team has been lacking in for quite some time. Their presence in the team could take the pressure off the likes of Cyle Larin and Tosaint Ricketts to carry the scoring load in the next round of World Cup qualifying.
Floro has shown that he can set the team up to be tactically strong and defend well as a group but the struggle has been finding goals. It was what led to Canada crashing out of the Gold Cup without making much of an impact and was the main reason they failed to reach the Hex during 2014 World Cup qualifying. He may now finally have the kind of scoring options that could lead to the team not needing to convert 100% of their chances just to win games.
Along with the new players that Floro has to work with is a good mix of veterans and young players. Some key players like Atiba Hutchinson, Julian De Guzman, Nik Ledgerwood, and Will Johnson are missing from this roster but Andre Hainault, David Edgar, and the other veteran players should be more than able to step up and fill the leadership void on this roster.
With many of the players that Floro has called for this game being on the fringes of his normal roster it opens the door for them to try and earn a place in the coach's plans moving forward. They may have a hard time winning the game against Ghana (depending on what sort of squad they send) but what this game should accomplish is continue to deepen the player pool which could be vital when the next round of World Cup qualifiers start in November.
From a Toronto FC perspective the roster has a few reds on it. While the players who will hopefully be busy helping TFC push towards the playoffs are missing as Ashtone Morgan and Jonathan Osorio were left off the roster the team will still be represented by a pair of youngsters in Jordan Hamilton and Manuel Aparicio. The duo spent most of the year with TFCII but have done enough to earn their first call-ups of the year.
The TFC duo along with the other new faces in this camp bring the total number of players selected for camps by Floro so far this calendar year to an impressive total of 53. That is a very high number considering that Canada has not had a whole lot of camps this year and just goes to illustrate just how hard Floro has been working to try and find players that can contribute to this program moving forward. The real key will be finding some young talent that can step in and contribute in the short term as Floro has now called up 35 players under the age of 26.
With this roster in place it certainly adds more excitement to the upcoming friendly as it will be good to see how the new faces look in Umbro red.