Canada vs. Honduras. The nightmare that still sticks out in Canadian Soccer memory. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. While expectations are low, Canada is in a position where it could realistically get a good result against Honduras. The team Floro has selected, however, is not in that position.
We'll start with the obvious. Jonathan Osorio - the only Canadian attacking MLS player not named Cyle Larin to have a half-decent season this year - has been left off the roster. In his place, youngster Kianz Froese (208 MLS minutes). In a must-win game with everything on the line, Osorio should be a no-brainer.
Then, there's the tactics. Lately, Canada has been hard to score against. This is a good thing. What is not good, though, is that we've decided that fully committing 10 players to defense is a viable strategy for a soccer match. Cyle Larin is good, but he needs service. Who provides service? See above.
At least Kyle Bekker's not on the roster. Tesho Akindele and Junior Hoilett provide decent speed on the flanks, and we could see a central midfield three of Hutchinson, Johnson, and De Guzman from the start. Although that's an aging group, they know how to grind out a CONCACAF game, which this matchup most assuredly will be.
Honduras actually looks less threatening than in recent times. Jerry Bengston is back, which doesn't exactly thrill those who remember the awful 8-1 game. Also suiting up for Honduras are MLS-ers Oscar Boniek Garcia and Luis Garrido of Houston, as well as former TFC target Arnold Peralta.
Andy Najar - a player MLS fans are familiar with - is arguably the Honduran player who plays most consistently at a high level, plying his trade with Anderlecht in Belgium. Blessedly, Najar is not on this roster.
Players To Watch:
Cyle Larin: Fresh off of a Rookie of the Year campaign in MLS, Larin looks like he could be Canada's goalscoring solution for the next few cycles. He is a good finisher but heavily relies on a decent service, meaning chances will be at a premium and he must capitalize on them (see the miss vs. Guatemala as a must not happen).
Fraser Aird: The young man is listed as a fullback, and likely a fullback he shall remain, despite much of his short career being further up the pitch. Aird provides a modern fullback option (aka - Not Nick Ledgerwood or *gulp* Doneil Henry) which means crosses into the box.
Jerry Bengston: Despite being a horrible MLS player, Bengston is lights-out for the Honduran National team. He is the leading active goalscorer for Los Catrachos with 21. Compare that with active leader Tosaint Ricketts, who has 12 for Canada.
Arnold Peralta: The defensive midfielder was so highly touted by the Kevin Payne administration that we all got sick with excitement. EA Sports added him to the roster on FIFA 13 despite him never signing a contract. It'll be nice to finally see what we missed.
The Game kicks off at 10:00 PM ET and you *gasp* can catch it on TV! TSN will be showing the game.
Don't forget to follow along on the WTR game thread and check back for more coverage of the national team.