Welcome to your Canada men’s national team game thread. Join us in the comments section to follow the match live and share your thoughts. We only ask that you keep debate respectful and refrain from any abuse of fellow Waking the Red members, which will not be tolerated. Come on you (other) Reds!
It is a long wait before the Canadian men’s national team play another major international match. The next Gold Cup isn’t until the summer of 2019, and that’s likely around the time Canada will start their qualifying campaign for Qatar 2022.
In the meantime, Canada will start their decompression from the heavy-hitting portion of the CONCACAF cycle with a home friendly against Jamaica at BMO Field today.
It is their first meeting since the Reggae Boyz ended a promising Canadian Gold Cup run in the quarter-finals. Today’s match is far less meaningful in profile, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important game for the Canadian program.
This summer’s Gold Cup, as celebrated as it was by a Canadian soccer fan base that has generally been deprived of wins and even goals in recent tournaments, only matters if it can breed even more success. Because purple patches never seem to last for this program.
There have been some promising moments in the recent past. A 2012 World Cup qualifying campaign that ended a point away from the Hex, for example, and the promise of some prized new recruits. There was a stretch under Benito Floro where Canada looked like it might be on to something. All of this was fleeting.
Today’s game is a chance to start the process of ending that trend. In front of an expected crowd in the neighbourhood of 20,000 - a solid showing for a national game at BMO - Canada can’t pass up a chance to build on their Gold Cup campaign on home soil.
Furthermore, Canada can actually make their path to a World Cup easier by winning games like today’s. The more FIFA points they can string together from friendly victories, the better their world ranking. The better their ranking, the more favourable Canada’s path through qualifying to Qatar 2022 becomes.
CONCACAF is likely to have tweaked their qualifying format by then, but being ranked as highly in the region as possible can never hurt. Games against CONCACAF opponents like Jamaica give them a particularly good chance to gain ground.
So while this match will serve as yet another chance for Zambrano to take stock of an expanded pool of national team players, getting a result is of major importance as well. Canada should already be treating this match as the start of their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. The earlier they start on that front, the better.
TV channel & live stream
TV: TSN 1 & 4, RDS 2
Stream: TSN Go
Orlando City’s Will Johnson, who was originally on the Canadian roster, will miss the game due to an injury he picked up in MLS play.
After not being including on Jamaica’s original roster, Andre Blake has been called up. The Philadelphia Union goalkeeper was central to their run at the Gold Cup, including the quarter-final win over Canada.
Canada: Leutwiler; Petrasso, Didic, James, Adekugbe; Piette, Hutchinson, Osorio; Hoilett, Larin, Davies.
Jamaica: Blake; Powell, Lowe, Taylor, Lawrence; Watson, Binns, Gordon, D. Williams; Kelly, R. Williams.