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Report: Scott Arfield and Steven Vitoria to Play for Canadian National Team

Canada's year of recruitment continues as the national team has been linked with two new faces ahead of a pair of March World Cup Qualifiers again Mexico.

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

It was fresh faces, or one in particular, who made the difference for Canada in their opening pair of round 4 World Cup qualifiers. Junior Hoilett's cross, as well as his talent on and off the ball, saw the team to a 1-0 win over Honduras, and a massive three points that has Canada in second place in their group.

Hoilett had long been a holdout for the Canadian men's national team, as the QPR winger emphasized his need to be established at the club level first before committing internationally. He was also eligible for Jamaica, but ultimately chose Canada late last year.

It looks like a new year could be bringing even more new faces to a Canadian national team already crucially different from the side that kicked off qualifiers in June. A report from Marc Weber of The Province, a publication out of Vancouver, suggests Scott Arfield could be joining the team along with Steven Vitoria.

The pair would join an already impressive year of recruiting for Canadian manager Benito Floro, who finally managed to convince Hoilett to join the cause. He also added Fraser Aird of Glasgow Rangers who could have played for Scotland before joining Canada and FC Dallas attacker Tesho Akindele who was briefly involved in the United States setup.

Long left out of Gordon Strachan's Scottish National team side, a frustrated Arfield has reportedly decided to join Canada. His father was born in Toronto and he has long been linked with the Canadian team, although initially it was thought to be just to get Strachan's attention.

It appears that the desire to play is real, however, as Arfield is likely to join Canada for a crucial pair of World Cup qualifiers against Mexico in March. The 27-year-old plays as a wide midfielder for Burnley in the English Championship, where he is a regular starter. He has 4 goals in 25 matches for Burnley this season. 

Arfield would add some skill and experience on the right hand side of the Canadian midfield that does not currently exist. At a decently young age he could be doing it for a while as well, and could be especially valuable if Burnley return to the Premier League next season and he plays against World class competition.

The other player linked to Canada, Vitoria, will be far more controversial for Canadian supporters. The 28-year-old centre back played for Portugal during the 2007 U-20 World Cup tournament held in Canada and has been loathed by national team supporters ever since.

Canadian supporters were able to forgive Hoilett after his performance against Honduras for past transgressions. Vitoria would have to do a lot to earn a similar pardon, but a strong performance against Mexico if he is called up would be a good start.

The Toronto native is currently property of Portuguese club Benfica, but is unlikely to remain their this season. He has only ever appeared in a single match since joining the club in 2013. Vitoria spent this last year on loan with the Philadelphia Union, where he had an up and down season for one of the league's worst teams.

Unless a similar MLS loan deal is worked out for next season, which is a possibility, Vitoria will also see his first action for Canada against Mexico. Whether either of these players feature against Mexico after coming in new to the camp and Benito Floro's system will be interesting.

Canada have a February friendly against the United States that would have served as an ideal time to integrate both of these players, but does not fall during an international break. Instead, should Vitoria and Arfield show up Canada will have to hope they are fast learners.

For most Canadian supporters, they will want this news confirmed by Canada Soccer before they get excited. However, the fact that these types of players are continually considering Canada, and many joining the side, is a measurable step forward.