Alphonso Davies headlines Canada roster for March NationLeag
ForwardAlphonso Daviesand goalkeeperMilan Borjanare back with the Canadian mens national soccer team for its March Nations League matches, the federation announced Thursday. Heres what you need to know:
GoaliesDayne St. Clairand Tom McGill will join Borjan on the 23-player roster.
Based on the teams result in the two matches, away against Curaçao on March 25 and at home against Honduras on March 28,Canadacan both reach the 2022-23 CONCACAF Nationals League final and qualify for this summers CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The Honduras match will be the Canadians first at home since returning from theWorld Cup, their first in 36 years, last winter they lost all three group stage games in Qatar. Canada is riding a 15-game undefeated streak at home.
GK- Milan Borjan SRB / FK Crvena zvezda (Red Star Belgrade)
GK- Tom McGill ENG / ENG /Brighton& Hove Albion U-21
GK- Dayne St. Clair USA / Minnesota United FC
CB-Scott KennedyGER / SSV Jahn Regensburg
CB- Dominick Zator POL / Korona Kielce
FB-Samuel AdekugbeTUR / Galatasaray SK
M-Atiba HutchinsonTUR / Beşiktaş JK
M- Mark-Anthony Kaye CAN / Toronto FC
F- Charles-Andreas Brym NED / FC Eindhoven
F-Tajon BuchananBEL / Club Brugge KV
F- Alphonso Davies GER /FC Bayern Mnchen
F-Cyle LarinESP /Real Valladolid CF
Dominick Zator returns to the fold with Canada after spending one Nations League game in 2019 on the bench for the national team. Since then, the center back has moved from the Canadian Premier League to Polands top division, where hes been a regular starter this half of the season.
Known for his work rate and crossing ability and with experience both at center back and at fullback, his versatility could end up serving a purpose as coach John Herdman determines who hell rely on through this window and into the Gold Cup this summer.
A lot of people thought it was a risky play for me to make that jump to Poland, but I knew that if things worked out, it would give me a big jump in my career. That gamble is slowly starting to pay off, Zator toldThe Athletic.
Zator isnt the only former Cavalry FC player who has moved into the national team this window: Midfielder Victor Loturi spent parts of three seasons with the Calgary-based CPL side before moving to Ross County in Scotlands top division in June 2022. After spending the majority of the first half of his season on the bench, Loturi has been earning regular starts in a defensive midfield role and has added two assists in league play. While Stephen Eustaquio remains Canadas most important player and will occupy the starting defensive midfield role for the foreseeable future, Loturi is just 21 and it feels like Herdman is trying to look for succession plans in the middle of the park with the midfield trio of Atiba Hutchinson,Mark-Anthony Kayeand Jonathan Osorio all 28 years or older.
How much playing time these two former CPL players get in the March camp remains to be seen, but their involvement should bolster the hopes of other CPL players that involvement in the young league could lead to greater opportunities down the road.
The CPL was the platform to give me professional games, Zator said. The CPL is a new league, but you can see the quality is growing each year. Without the CPL, I wouldnt be here at this moment, getting the call-up to the national team and playing in the top division in Poland. I probably wouldnt even be a professional footballer without that league.
With Max Crepeau still out with a fractured leg, 22-year-old Tom McGill also gets his first look with the national team. McGill is still years away from getting starts with the national team if at all, but his three starts over the last three months in Premier League 2 with Brighton & Hove Albions Under-21 side is undoubtedly a vote of confidence. Kloke
As much as Herdman and the Canadian players want to move on from a disappointing World Cup in which they failed to get out of the group stage, there are clearly lessons they must learn from the most important tournament of their lives. Some of those lessons could inform how Canada plays in this next World Cup cycle. Will they continue to play an aggressive style against talented opponents? Are there more tactical adjustments the team needs to make to prevent themselves from being exposed in counter-attacks?
After more than three months of reflection on the World Cup, Herdman said stats are very clear: there were some very positive elements of Canadas performance.
Herdman noted how proud he was of Canadas physical output and the data he saw from the World Cup backed that up.
There were some (statistics) about our effort that was unquestionable, Herdman said.
But the gaps in their performances were clear: We underperformed in both boxes, Herdman added.
What stuck out to him was how their opponents overperformed in their goalscoring ability when considering the expected goals the team observed.
We just werent clinical enough, we pulled the trigger when there were better options, Herdman said.
Given that lack of clinical finish, it was clear Herdman wanted to see some rotation in his forwards.Ike Ugbowas part of the World Cup squad and currently plays his club soccer in Frances Ligue 1 but did not get the call into this Canadian team. Ayo Akinola andCharles-Andreas Brymwere added into the forward group. Brym in particular has long been a favorite of Herdman and his seven goals in 21 appearances in the Netherlands second division certainly bolster the 24-year-olds case to become part of the team long-term.
Herdman added that other forwards includingLucas CavalliniandJunior Hoilettwere held out of the camp because of injury. Kloke
Between the mens national teams ongoing CBA negotiations with Canada Soccer, the serious budget cuts to the program and the upheaval at the top of the federation with former President Nick Bontis stepping down in March, the mens team finds itself in a precarious spot after the World Cup.
Theres no doubt whats happening behind the scenes has taken an emotional toll, Herdman said.
Finding more funding for the national team could help settle CBA negotiations, but it could also help Canada book friendlies after this international window against high-end opponents. Herdman made it clear that would be high on the teams list of priorities in 2023.
Canada cant go into its next tournament with only one tier-one game in a decade, Herdman said.
There is a belief within Canada Soccer that with improved performances this summer from the mens team in an effort to move on from a disappointing World Cup, booking friendlies against top European and South American nations will be possible.
The last time we played in Toronto in March, we qualified for the FIFA World Cup, Herdman said in a release. This is just the start of the journey and we hope the fans that were there celebrating will support us on our first step towards our home FIFA World Cup preparations for 2026. Kloke
Canadas World Cup was a failure, but the future appears bright
Kloke: What I learned from covering Canada at the World Cup in Qatar
The rise of mad genius John Herdman from school teacher to Canadas World Cup coach
(Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran / USA Today)
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