If nothing else, Benito Floro has brought an era of consistency to the Canadian men's national team. He has searched through his player pool, made a few unexpected additions, and now arrived at a group that he feels confident can move the program forward.
That is the theme of today's roster announcement for Canada's upcoming pair of June friendlies in Austria. In preparation for September's crucial pair of World Cup qualifiers, Floro has called into camp a collection of the players who have helped put Canada on the verge of the final round of qualifying for the first time since 1998.
Canada will play a pair of friendlies on June 3 against Azerbaijan at 1:00 p.m. Eastern and then again on June 7 against Uzbekistan at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. The matches come against two lesser-known countries in the footballing world, but two sides who Canada feel will be good tests.
Also announced today is the fact that both matches will be streamed online at CanadaSoccer.com. This comes as welcome news for Canadian supporters after many similar national team friendlies over the years have been difficult or impossible to watch.
Will Johnson is the lone Toronto FC player on the roster, and it remains to be seen whether or not he remains for the entire camp. Negotiations were conducted with the CSA to see if Johnson could return for Toronto FC's second leg of their Canadian Champions semi-final against the Montreal impact on June 8.
Joining Johnson is Queen's Park Ranger winger Junior Hoilett, Scott Arfield, who's Burnley side was recently promoted to the Premier League and Benfica defender Steven Vitoria. Atiba Hutchinson will not be part of the camp as he picked up a minor injury.
The notable omissions from the team include the obvious: Jonathan Osorio. But more surprising, perhaps, is the fact that Vancouver Whitecaps fullback Fraser Aird was not called up. Canada has struggled to find a right fullback in recent years and Aird has been playing consistent and increasingly competent minutes there at the MLS level. Aird does, however, have a bone bruise which may be the reason why he wasn't called.
Here is the full roster:
1- GK- Simon Thomas | NOR / FK Bodø/Glimt
2- FB- Nik Ledgerwood | CAN / FC Edmonton
3- CB- Manjrekar James | HUN / Diósgyöri VTK
4- CB- Dejan Jaković | JPN / Shimizu S-Pulse
5- CB- David Edgar | ENG / Birmingham City
6- M- Julian de Guzman | CAN / Ottawa Fury FC
7- M- Iain Hume | ESP / SD Ponferradina
8- M- Will Johnson | CAN / Toronto FC
9- F- Marcus Haber | ENG / Crewe Alexandra
10- M- David Junior Hoilett | ENG / Queens Park Rangers
11- M- Tosaint Ricketts | Unattached
12- CB- Doneil Henry | ENG / West Ham United
13- M- Michael Petrasso | ENG / Queens Park Rangers
14- M- Samuel Piette | ESP / Deportiva La Coruna
15- CB- Adam Straith | NOR / Fredrikstad FK
16- M- Scott Arfield | ENG / Burnley FC
17- FB- Marcel De Jong | CAN / Ottawa Fury FC
18- GK- Milan Borjan | BUL / PFK Ludogorets Razgrad
19- CB- Steven Vitória | POR / Benfica
20- CB / FB- Karl W. Ouimette | USA / New York Red Bulls
21- F- Cyle Larin | USA / Orlando City SC
22- GK- Kenny Stamatopoulos | SWE / AIK Fotbol
23- M- Tesho Akindele | USA / FC Dallas
24- F- Simeon Jackson | ENG / Blackburn Rovers