Tuesday’s games for Canada and El Salvador concluded TFC players’ involvement during the latest round of international fixtures.
Jonathan Osorio (Canada), Richie Laryea (Canada), Eriq Zavaleta (El Salvador) and Chris Mavinga (Democratic Republic of Congo) were all involved with their respective countries over the last couple of weeks as Canada and El Salvador played four World Cup Qualifiers each, while the DRC faced two fellow CAF nations in a pair of friendly affairs.
Three TFC stars who were initially called up to their national sides but didn’t feature were Yeferson Soteldo (Venezuela), Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica) and Luke Singh (Trinidad and Tobago).
Soteldo was ruled out of Venezuela’s World Cup Qualifiers against Bolivia and Uruguay through injury and is currently with TFC continuing his recovery. He was also named in Venezuela’s Copa America squad, but it seems highly unlikely that he will join his compatriots for the tournament in Brazil, unless Venezuela advance far in the competition without him.
Regarding Lawrence, the full-back was a part of Jamaica’s 30-man squad ahead of their friendlies against Serbia and Japan’s U23 side, but due to reasons beyond the Jamaican Football Federation’s control, Lawrence and a few other players were not able to make the trip.
Singh’s international break was one that required a tough decision with regards to which nation the youngster was going to represent. The 20-year-old was first called up to the Trinidad and Tobago national team for their World Cup Qualifiers, but a few days later, he was also named in the Canadian national team’s “extended” training squad.
It was reported that Singh turned down the Trinidad call up because the nation was already out of contention to qualify for the World Cup, but Waking The Red can confirm that he had turned it down before learning of T&T’s exit from World Cup Qualifying.
Along with Singh, Ayo Akinola, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Jayden Nelson, Noble Okello and Ralph Priso also joined up with John Herdman’s Canadian squad to serve as extras in training.
It’s also worth noting that Toronto FC loanee Liam Fraser was a part of Canada’s initial 24-man roster. The 23-year-old made one appearance this international break, starting and playing the full 90 against Aruba on June 5th.
As for Osorio, Laryea, Zavaleta and Mavinga, how did the four of them fare during an action-packed international break?
CANADA - Jonathan Osorio and Richie Laryea
The Canadian men’s national team made history as they reached the final round of World Cup Qualifying for the first time in 24 years.
A 4-0 aggregate win over Haiti saw them through, and Oso and Richie both had a hand in a momentous feat for Canada men’s soccer.
In Canada’s penultimate first round match against Aruba, Laryea was an unused substitute while Osorio was not included in the 18-man matchday squad. The pair then both started the final first round game against Suriname as Canada recorded a comprehensive 4-0 victory.
Both of TFC’s Canadian stars retained their places in the starting lineup for the second round, first leg clash with Haiti. Oso starred as he provided the assist for Cyle Larin’s goal which steered Canada to a 1-0 road win.
Oso with the— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) June 12, 2021
Canada are up 1-0 pic.twitter.com/ShpAuQt0ZW
For the second leg, Osorio started his third consecutive game, but Laryea was dropped to the bench and was ultimately an unused substitute. Canada and TFC’s No. 21 played 65 minutes before being withdrawn for David Wotherspoon.
Overall, Oso and Richie can look back on an impressive camp with the Canadian national side while also beginning to look forward to those mouth-watering fixtures in the octagon.
EL SALVADOR - Eriq Zavaleta
Having gained clearance by FIFA to represent El Salvador two months ago, Zavaleta was called up to a senior national team for the first time in his career.
He made his debut for El Salvador against the US Virgin Islands and played the full game as his side ran riot and put seven past the island nation.
In El Salvador’s final fixture of the first round against Antigua and Barbuda, Zavaleta started once again and also grabbed his first national team goal, bagging a header to open the scoring five minutes before halftime.
Next up for Zavaleta and co. was Saint Kitts and Nevis in the second round. TFC’s El Salvadoran played the full 90 in both legs and ensured his side didn’t concede a single goal as they recorded a 6-0 win on aggregate.
Four starts, four 90 minute games, four wins, four clean sheets, one goal, and a place in the octagon. Not too shabby for Zavaleta’s first senior international camp.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Chris Mavinga
After just over five years without an international call up, Mavinga was included in the DRC’s national team squad for the time since March 2016. The French-born centre-half started his side’s first friendly against Tunisia and played the full game as the DRC fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat on the road.
For the DRC’s second friendly, which ended in a 1-1 draw with Mali, Mavinga was not involved.
Mavinga and his compatriots will now focus their attention to the start of their World Cup Qualifying campaign, which is set to begin in early September.
With the international break behind them, Toronto FC are back in action this Saturday as they’ll take on Orlando City SC. Kickoff for that match is set for 7:30 pm EST.