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Canada vs. U.S. Virgin Islands: Game thread & preview

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Nations League gets underway in Bradenton tonight.

Soccer: 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup-French Guiana at Canada Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Canada’s men’s national team returns to competitive action this afternoon for the first time since July 2017’s Gold Cup matches. The men in red will take on the U.S. Virgin Islands down in Bradenton, Florida as they kick off their CONCACAF Nations League qualifying campaign.

Coach John Herdman has brought along an exciting group of young attacking talent for Canada. It’s certainly fun to speculate (as Mitchell did) over who might make his starting XI — Jonathan David? Liam Millar? Maybe even Alessandro Busti?

This is likely to be a matchup in which Herdman has some room to experiment. The U.S. Virgin Islands sit 199th in FIFA’s World Rankings (while Canada sits 79th). The tiny Caribbean territory has about 104,000 people. So, Canada may have the luxury of injecting a little more attacking spirit into the lineup at the expense of defending.

As far as I can tell, USVI’s last match was in June 2017, a 7-0 loss to Curacao in the Caribbean Cup qualification tournament. They lost by the same scoreline to Guyana just three days before — a rough week for the tiny federation.

Canada’s squad list can be found here. This is sure to be an intriguing game; it may well be a glimpse of the CMNT’s future.

How to watch

Match date/time: Sunday, Sept. 9, 4 p.m. ET
Live stream: oz.com/concacafnationsleague (sign up for a free trial; it lasts until Dec. 1)