After months of speculation and preparation, Octavio Zambrano today made his 23-man squad for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup official. His selections included a few surprises, while also confirming a couple of absences that were already known.
The roster is highlighted by the return of CA Peñarol striker Lucas Cavallini, who has been prolific in the Uruguayan league but has only made three senior appearances for Canada. Scott Arfield and 16-year-old Alphonso Davies are also in the squad.
However, Canada’s roster is also missing a couple of normally key players. While Cyle Larin was cleared for competition today after a DUI charge, he has not been called up. Atiba Hutchinson, meanwhile, is nursing an injury and has not been involved with the national team this summer and MLSers Will Johnson and Tesho Akindele were also not included.
“We have a dynamic team that has speed and offensive weapons,” Zambrano said in a press release. “We have a balance between offence and defence. We want to go forward and have a high tempo, but we also have to make sure we have the defenders that are up to the task in our end.”
Canada kicks off its tournament on July 7 against French Guiana in Harrison, New Jersey. It subsequently plays group-stage games against Costa Rica on July 11 and Honduras on July 14 in Texas. The team hasn’t advanced past the group stage since the 2009 tournament.
Also included on the roster is a trio of Toronto FC players: Tosaint Ricketts, who has recently returned from injury, Jonathan Osorio and Raheem Edwards. This is Edwards’ first inclusion on a Gold Cup roster after making his national-team debut earlier this month against Curaçao.
The trio will join the Canadian men’s national team camp in Alliston, Ontario - along with the Montreal Impact’s Maxime Crépeau, Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Patrice Bernier - tomorrow, following tonight’s Canadian Championship match.
Ricketts, Edwards and Osorio make it five players Toronto will be without for the group stage of the Gold Cup. Justin Morrow has been called up by the United States, while Armando Cooper will represent Panama. Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are both expected to be called up by the USA for the knockout round.
It is worth mentioning that this could also be when Larin rejoins the Canadian squad. Teams are allowed to make up to six changes to their roster after the group stage, with those replacements coming from the 40-man provisional list. Larin was on the Canadian provisional roster, which was released before his DUI.
Below is the full roster that Canada announced for the Gold Cup tournament:
Goalkeepers: Crepeau, Borjan, Leutwiler
Defenders: Aird, James, Vitoria, Jakovic, Adekugbe, Straith, De Jong
Midfielders: Piette, Teibert, Arfield, Hoilett, Davies, Osorio, Kaye, Bernier, Edwards, Petrasso
Forwards: Ricketts, Jackson-Hamel, Cavallini