What better way to prepare for a World Cup qualifier against one of the best teams in CONCACAF, then to play against one of the best teams in CONCACAF? That seems to be the mentality of the Canadian Soccer Association, which has scheduled a friendly for the Canadian men's national team on February 5th against the United States.
This comes as part of a national team camp between January 25 and February 6 with an emphasis on preparing for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Mexico. Canada plays Mexico at BC Place on March 25, and then travels to Azteca stadium on March 29, likely to be at Estadio Azteca.
The game is set to be played in Carson, California at the Stub Hub Centre, which is the home of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy. Kick off has yet to be determined as of the publishing of this article.
The match does not fall on an official FIFA international date, and therefore the rosters of both teams are likely to be comprised of Major League Soccer players in preseason as well as those who play in Northern Europe. Most European players are in season at this time.
Nonetheless, this match will serve as a strong test for Canada. It comes as just the latest friendly against top FIFA opposition under the Floro era, including Colombia last October, Ghana this October, and Australia in 2013. Canada has faired well of late in these friendlies, drawing 1-1 with Ghana while losing 1-0 to Colombia on a late free kick.
Canada has also had strong recent success against the United States. In 2012 they would draw the state 0-0 twice in two friendlies, one as part of their centennial celebrations. These matches were also used as preparation for World Cup qualifiers, which they would ultimately bow out of in the semi-final round.
A similar result would be massive for Canada in their upcoming matches against Mexico, as they need at least a point the give themselves a good chance of staying in second place in their group. Finishing in the top two spots would give the national team their first appearance in the final round of World Cup qualifying since the 1998 cycle.
The United States are also involved in World Cup qualifying, and have the same number of points as Canada through two games: a home victory over St Vincent and the Grenadines and a 0-0 draw with Trinidad and Tobago. As part of their January camp they will also play against Iceland, who recently qualified for Euro 2016.
The most recent FIFA rankings have Canada rising to 88th in the World, 9th in CONCACAF, the first time the have been in the top 100 since the two countries last met in 2012. The United States, meanwhile rose one spot to 32nd in the World and are in second place in CONCACAF behind Mexico.