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Preview: Canada faces familiar foe Panama in friendly affair

The fellow CONCACAF nation will visit BC Place on Sunday following the cancellation of the Iran match.

Alphonso Davies celebrates after his second half goal against Panama at BMO Field.
Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

UPDATE: The match has been canceled, per Canada Soccer.

Canada will take on Panama in a friendly at BC Place on Sunday evening as the Reds kick off the penultimate international window before the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The Panamanian Football Federation stepped up at the last minute after the original game against Iran was cancelled amid growing backlash from national team players, as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Vancouver, BC will host the men’s national team for the first time since a 4-1 win against French Guiana in March 2019. The match at BC Place will serve as a tune-up before two CONCACAF Nations League fixtures against Curaçao and Honduras.

Canada’s most recent game, back in March, was also against Panama. John Herdman’s team lost 1-0 in Panama City on what was the final matchday of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. That defeat kept Canada in pot 4 for the group stage draw that took place just two days after the match.

Alphonso Davies is back in the fold and could make his first appearance for the national team since Canada’s 2-1 win over Mexico at the “Iceteca” in November 2021. The Bayern Munich superstar scored a sensational solo goal in his last match against Panama at BMO Field. Canadian fans will be excited to see their talisman don the maple leaf once again.

In less positive news, Jonathan Osorio was a late scratch from the team as he deals with a lower-body injury. His absence will be felt and Herdman will hope the dynamic midfielder has a clean bill of health come November. Osorio is a key piece of Canada’s squad, having appeared in all but one of Les Rouges’ Octagonal fixtures.

With only a handful of matches left to be played before the World Cup group stage commences, Herdman will want to make sense of his ideal starting XI, as well as who will be on the plane to Qatar, and who will not.

The Canadian players salute the BMO Field crowd after defeating Panama 4-1 in World Cup qualifying.
Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

This friendly could allow someone like Raheem Edwards to make a statement if given the minutes to do so. The Los Angeles Galaxy wide man has been in great form in MLS, but hasn’t made an appearance for Les Rouges since March 2018.

Others such as Richie Laryea and Steven Vitoria may get a look-in with both players struggling to find minutes with their respective club sides. Given a lack of quality options at centre back, Vitoria getting some meaningful playing time and recapturing the chemistry with his backline would be especially significant. The veteran has missed Canada’s last four matches through suspension, and then injury.

Richie Laryea skips past a tackle during Canada’s 4-1 win against Panama at BMO Field.
Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

Panama head into the match following a 2-0 home victory against Costa Rica in CONCACAF Nations League action. The Panamanians have two more Nations League matches after the friendly in Vancouver, as they will go on to play Martinique both home and away.

Game notes

  • Canada are undefeated at home against Panama (4-1-0).
  • Cyle Larin is one goal away from bringing his tally for Canada to 25.

Predicted lineups

Canada: Crépeau; Adekugbe, Kennedy, Vitoria, Laryea; Edwards, Piette, Kaye, Buchanan; David, Ugbo

Panama: Mosquera; Ramirez, Escobar, Ramos, Blackman; Carrasquilla, Martinez; Yanis, Quintero, Rodriguez; Diaz

Match details

Opponent: Panama

Kickoff time: 7:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 p.m. PT

Watch: OneSoccer, fuboTV

Stadium: BC Place, Vancouver, B.C.