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Canada Announces Squad for Puerto Rico and Guatemala Friendlies

With the Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifiers on the horizon Canada has announced its roster for a final set of friendlies before these two major competitions.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Canadian national team will have an international flavour when it takes on Puerto Rico and Guatemala in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the end of the month. Canada, USA, Serbia, Sweden, Germany, Scotland, Japan, Hungary, England, Spain and Israel represent the 11 countries where this squad plays its club soccer. Thankfully, there is now only one unattached player on the roster, as Julian De Guzman has once again made the squad. Although, even he has recently been trialing with the Columbus Crew.

However, there is again a notable omission from this team: the NASL has been excluded. For FC Edmonton and Ottawa Fury supporters, this has long been a talking point as its players have consistently been overlooked. The problem for most is not that they aren't on the roster, it is that Benito Floro doesn't appear to be scouting his talent pool at all.

He may be doing more behind the scenes than has been reported, in fact that is a certainty. However, if Floro is not using the time between matches to go coast to coast and scout Canadian soccer talent he is doing a disservice to the program. Top flight talent has slipped through Canadian fingers on more than one occasion, and if it continues to happen the national team will continue to suffer.

A perfect example of coast to coast scouting and understanding the national team player pool can be found in John Herdman. The women's national team head coach has done immense work ahead of the women's World Cup this year and has found several diamonds in the rough. He tried to bring Kara Lang out of retirement, a bold move that almost certainly would have paid off if injuries didn't get in the way. Meanwhile, he brought Jesse Belanger back into the fold as well as several other moves that have been beneficial.

One such player could well be sitting in the NASL, 26-year-old Edson Edward is top of this list, starting 27 games for FC Edmonton last season. Considering the national team doesn't have a natural right back its surprising he hasn't been brought into camp yet for at least a closer look. Andres Fresenga and Drew Beckie of Ottawa Fury are two other defenders who could be in that conversation. Other notable omissions have been Edmonton's John Smits in goal and Mauro Eustaquio in the midfield.

Looking past this, however, it is a fairly strong Canadian team considering the time of year and opposition. Having Milan Borjan back will certainly help in goal. The defense is also far more promising with David Edgar, Andre Hainault, Luca Gasparotto and Marcel De Jong all returning to the fold. Simeon Jackson also makes his return after some time away from the national team.

The Canadian player pool could potentially be expanding slightly, as well. After being omitted from several Scottish national team camp, it appears Burnley winger Scott Arfield could be considering Canada. At this point it is a rumour at best, and one that was likely put in place to get the attention of Gordon Strachan, Scotland's manager. However, if true it would be a massive addition to the Canadian team.

Here is the full roster for Canada's camp. They will play Guatemala on March 27 and Puerto Rico on March 30. Guatemala is currently ranked 82nd in the world (9th in CONCACAF), while Puerto Rico is 160 (22nd in CONCACAF). Canada will be looking to use these matches to improve on their current 116 spot (14th in CONCACAF)

GK- Milan Borjan | SRB / FK Radnički Niš
GK- Quillan Roberts | CAN / Toronto FC
GK- Kenny Stamatopoulos | SWE / AIK
D- Samuel Adekugbe | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
D- Andre Hainault | GER / VfR Aalen
D- Luca Gasparotto | SCO / Rangers FC (on loan at Airdrionians)
D- Dejan Jakovic | JPN / Shimizu S-Pulse
D- Manjrekar James | HON / Pécsi MFC
D- Karl W. Ouimette | USA / New York Red Bulls
D/M- Marcel de Jong | USA / Sporting Kansas City
D/M- David Edgar | ENG / Birmingham City FC (on loan at Huddersfield Town AFC)
D/M- Nik Ledgerwood | GER / Energie Cottbus
D/M- Maxim Tissot | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M- Kyle Bekker | USA / FC Dallas
M- Julian de Guzman | unattached / sans club
M- Randy Edwini-Bonsu | GER / Stuttgarter Kickers
M- Simeon Jackson | ENG / Coventry City
M- Christopher Mannella | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Samuel Piette | ESP / Deportivo la Coruna
M- Russell Teibert | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
M/F- Tosaint Ricketts | ISR / Hapoel Haifa
F- Marcus Haber | ENG / Crewe Alexandra
F- Cyle Larin | USA / Orlando City SC