The player pool for the Canadian men's national team continued to gain depth today ahead of its February 5 friendly against the United States. Steven Vitoria, FF Jaro midfielder Jamar Dixon, and goalkeepers Tyson Farago of FC Edmonton and Callum Irving of the University of Kentucky will all be making their national team debuts.
Vitoria is the most interesting of the group as he has a wealth of experience playing centre back for top sides in the Portuguese first division. However, his selection will not be without controversy as he played for Portugal at the 2007 U-20 World Cup in Canada.
Only one Toronto FC player was named to the camp as Will Johnson will look to continue his strong run of form with Canada. Since returning to the national team last year Johnson has been a mainstay in Benito Floro's midfield and one of Canada's best players. Jonathan Osorio wasn't called up once again, making it clear there is a deeper problem then just him fitting in Floro's system.
Canada's defence will be the main point of interest in this camp as several depth options have been called up. Vitoria will be the most talked about after spending this past season on loan with the Philadelphia Union. He is currently out of club after ending his contract with Benfica. Doniel Henry of West Ham United is also returning to the national team after missing several camps due to injury, while FC Edmonton's Mallan Roberts will return.
The match is an opportunity for both the Canadian and United States national teams to prepare for upcoming World Cup qualifiers, while also taking a look at players based in North America. As it does not fall during an international window, European based players are in season and as a result cannot join the team. Toronto FC's Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are both on the United States roster.
Canada will be using the match to prepare for a crucial pair of World Cup qualifiers coming up in March against Mexico. Playing the second best team in CONCACAF, the United States, will give Canada an important test of their style and structure as well as revealing the type of players built for these matches.
The friendly will be played at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, which is the home of Major League Soccer's LA Galaxy. The venue is fairly ideal for Canada as it will give them a small taste of the atmosphere and climate that they will face when the travel to Mexico on March 25.
The Canadian national team also has an opportunity to use this game to further push themselves up the FIFA, and more importantly CONCACAF, rankings. Canada currently sits 88th in the World, and eight in CONCACAF. A win over the United States, 32nd, would likely push them ahead of Haiti and into the seventh spot in the region.
1- GK- Maxime Crépeau | CAN / Impact Montréal
2- FB- Nik Ledgerwood | CAN / FC Edmonton
3- FB- Samuel Adekugbe | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
4- CB- Doneil Henry | ENG / West Ham United
5- CB / M- Adam Straith | NOR / Fredrikstad FK
6- M- Julian de Guzman | CAN / Ottawa Fury FC
7- M- Iain Hume | Unattached
8- M- Will Johnson | CAN / Toronto FC
9- F- Cyle Larin | USA / Orlando City SC
10- M- Kyle Bekker | CAN / Impact Montréal
11- M- Issey Nakajima-Farran | MAS / Terengganu FA
12- CB- Wandrille Lefèvre | CAN / Impact Montréal
13- M- Jamar Dixon | FIN / FF Jaro
14- M- Marco Bustos | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
15- CB / FB- Steven Vitória | POR / Benfica
16- M- Kianz Froese | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
17- M- Marcel De Jong | USA / Sporting Kansas City
18- GK- Tyson Farago | CAN / FC Edmonton
19- F- Caleb Clarke | Unattached
20- FB / CB- Karl W. Ouimette | USA / New York Red Bulls
21- CB- Mallan Roberts | CAN / FC Edmonton
22- GK- Callum Irving | USA / University of Kentucky
23- F- Tesho Akindele | USA / FC Dallas