Tesho Akindele is set to commit his international future to representing Canada. After taking part in a camp with the United States the FC Dallas forward has been selected for Benito Floro's latest roster. Should the forward see the field in either of Canada's games against Dominica it would result in him being cap-tied to Canada which is good news for a country that has a long history of struggling to score goals.
Along with the inclusion of Akindele the roster for Canada first two World Cup qualifiers has a few other surprises. The most important one might just be the return of Will Johnson to the squad. The midfielder seemed to be making a habit of missing games for the national team even before he spent most of the last year sidelined with injury so it is good to see him back on board for another attempt at qualifying for the World Cup. It is also good to see Dejan Jakovic back in the team as he seemed to be left on the outside since his move to play in Japan.
While Floro has once again turned to a number of his regular veterans this squad also has a lot of young players in it. The likes of Manjrekar James, Ashtone Morgan, Karl Ouimette, Maxin Tissot, Samuel Piette, Russell Teibert, Tesho Akindele, Randy Edwini-Bonsu, and Cyle Larin give this team plenty of youth to go along with that experience. For several players in that group these two matches will be their first taste of World Cup qualifying so having that experienced core in place could prove vital for Floro and his team.
The young players will have plenty of guys to look up to as Julian De Guzman, Atiba Hutchinson, Lars Hirschfeld, and Dejan Jakovic have seen just about everything that CONCACAF has to offer during their careers with Canada. They have all been around the block enough times to know just what it takes to get the job done in places like Dominica.
Canada really should come out of these two games as comfortable winners even with all of the youth that Floro has elected to include in this squad. Beating Dominica is not the end goal for this team though as they are looking at a busy summer schedule as many of these players will also have a role to play in the Pan Am games, the Gold Cup, and the next round of World Cup qualifying.
It is a busy year for Floro and his squad as they look to lay the ground work for World Cup qualification, Olympic qualification, and even a potential spot in the Copa America. All of the games coming up on the schedule will likely mean that Floro has to make the most of all the talent at his disposal but for this first round of matches he has been able to go with what is arguably his strongest possible roster given the players who are actually committed to Canada.
The roster is expected to convene in Florida on June 7th where they will train for a few days before making the trip down to Dominica for the first match. That game is scheduled for June 10th after which the team will fly back to Toronto on the 11th to get ready for the second leg. The second leg takes place at BMO Field on June 16th.
A win over the two legs would mean Canada advances to another home-and-away tie in the third round of World Cup qualification. They would learn their opponent for that round in a draw on July 25th where they would also learn their potential opponents for the fourth round of qualification should they reach that stage. The fourth round moves to a round robin format with four teams making up each group.
The full Canadian roster for the upcoming games is as follows:
GK- Milan Borjan | SRB / Radnički Nis
GK- Lars Hirschfeld | NOR / Vålerenga
GK- Kenny Stamatopoulos | SWE / AIK
D- Nana Attakora | USA / San Antonio Scorpions
D- Manjrekar James | HUN / Pécsi MFC
D- Dejan Jakovic | JPN / Shimizu S-Pulse
D- Ashtone Morgan | CAN / Toronto FC
D- Karl W. Ouimette | USA / New York Red Bulls
D/M- David Edgar | ENG / Birmingham City FC (on loan at Huddersfield Town)
D/M- Nik Ledgerwood | GER / Energie Cottbus
D/M- Adam Straith | NOR / Fredrikstad FK
D/M- Maxim Tissot | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M- Julian de Guzman | CAN / Ottawa Fury FC
M- Atiba Hutchinson | TUR / Besiktas
M- Will Johnson | USA / Portland Timbers
M- Jonathan Osorio | Toronto FC
M- Samuel Piette | ESP / Deportivo la Coruña
M- Russell Teibert | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
M/F-Tosaint Ricketts | ISR / Hapoel Haifa
F- Tesho Akindele | USA / FC Dallas
F- Randy Edwini-Bonsu | GER / Stuttgarter Kickers
F- Marcus Haber | ENG / Crewe Alexandra
F- Cyle Larin | USA / Orlando City SC