• Daniel Squizzato

      As a kid, Squizz spent a lot of time playing soccer, writing and getting overly excited about frivolous things. Not much has changed: he still plays (badly), he still writes (having been published in outlets such as Maclean's and The Globe & Mail) and still has plenty of irrational passion (just wait until the next time the men's national team plays against Honduras).

    • Grant Surridge

      Grant has no soccer playing career to speak of, and probably hasn't been following Canadian soccer as long as you have, but he does spend vast amounts of time reading about soccer online. A proud, self-loathing ex-Winnipeger, Grant also supports Chelsea FC. He writes about the Canadian mens' national team, as well as Canada's rivals in Central America and the Caribbean.
    • New faces aplenty on CanMNT's friendly roster

      Oh yeah, we've got a men's national team too, don't we?

      In the unprecedented excitement of the women's team's Olympic journey over the past several weeks, fans could be forgiven for momentarily forgetting that the men's national team is just weeks away from a crucial World Cup qualifier against Panama on Sept. 7.

      The final preparation for head coach Stephen Hart's men will come in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago on Aug. 15, to be played in Lauderhill, Florida. In a very narrow, 72-hour FIFA international window that sits in the middle of the North American season and right on the cusp of the European season, this was always going to be somewhat of a patchwork lineup. And indeed it is:

      1- GK- Lars Hirschfeld | NOR / Vålerenga Fotball
      2- M- Nik Ledgerwood | SWE / Hammarby Fotboll
      3- M - Russell Teibert | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
      4- CB- Dejan Jaković | USA / D.C. United
      5- CB- André Hainault | USA / Houston Dynamo
      6- M - Julian de Guzman | USA / FC Dallas
      7- M - Terry Dunfield | CAN / Toronto FC
      8- M- Will Johnson | USA / Real Salt Lake
      9- F- Tosaint Ricketts |
      10- F- Lucas Cavallini | URU / Club Nacional
      11- FB- Marcel de Jong | GER / FC Augsburg
      12- M- Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault |
      13- FB- Ante Jazić | USA / Chivas USA
      14- M/F- Evan James | CAN / Impact Montréal
      15- CB- Doneil Henry | CAN / Toronto FC
      16- M- Pedro Pacheco | POR / CD Santa Clara
      18- GK- Milan Borjan | TUR / Sivasspor
      20- M - Patrice Bernier | CAN / Impact Montréal

      The new: Four of the standouts of the U23 team's Olympic qualifying tournament this past spring -- Henry, Teibert, Cavallini and James -- are earning their first call-ups to the senior national team.

      Hart said the friendly presents "a good opportunity" to get another look at Cavallini, who's a young striker that "plays in a different type of league (down in Uruguay)" but that "if he plays consistently and keeps his head on his shoulders, he can develop very rapidly."

      James, though he's seen little time with the Impact this season, brings versatility that was appealing to Hart: "We were becoming a bit thin at the wide position, and Evan can fill that void."

      The returning: A pair of national-team veterans, Dunfield and Bernier, are back in the squad based on their body of work so far in MLS this year. Bernier had been left off the team thus far in World Cup qualifying due to an injury and Hart's desire to see him reingratiate himself into a starting lineup -- he's done that and more with Montreal this year.

      "He is one of the most important players at that club," Hart said. "I'm happy that he took the time to play himself back into selection."

      Marcel de Jong has also made a triumphant return from injury and is back to match fitness. "He wants very much to prove that he should be a part of this (qualifying) campaign", said Hart. While Canada's back line has performed admirably thus far in 2012, the addition of de Jong's quality is a welcome sight.

      The absent: A number of the squad's biggest names -- Kevin McKenna, Dwayne DeRosario, Atiba Hutchinson, Simeon Jackson, Olivier Occean -- are absent, though given the circumstances surrounding the game, that shouldn't be especially surprising. DeRosario, said Hart, would have gotten the call if not for a minor shoulder injury picked up this past week. Hart added that "there's one or two players that aren't 100% healthy" -- but, as is customary, he declined to name them.

      Hutchinson and McKenna have both battled injury concerns over the course of the past two years, so here's hoping these are nothing more than preventative exclusions. For what it's worth, Hart noted that ailing midfielder Josh Simpson -- who broke his leg several months ago -- has just gotten off crutches but "he is telling the guys he is fighting to be back by October."

      The inspiration:
      The first question posed to Hart during Friday's media call was, of course, about the success of the women's national team in London. And Hart was unabashed in his praise: "I think it's been fantastic, I've seen all the games. ... The game has been crying out for that sort of boost, and my hat's off to them. They really lifted not only the women's game, but the game in general, so it's really fantastic."

      Now, the question is, can the men's national team build off that success and goodwill, and propel themselves into the final stage of World Cup qualifying, somewhere the country hasn't been in a dozen years?

      We'll find out very, very soon.
      .
      Comments 14 Comments
      1. Canuckistan's Avatar
        Canuckistan -
        Sorry not to see David Edgar back there...he has been a beast thus far.

        Morgan(Jazic in form)-Hainault-Edgar-DeJong....that's a pretty good back line and can compete with any team in Concacaf. Let's hope their timing is right to move onto the dreaded Hex.
      1. squizz's Avatar
        squizz -
        Ah yes, Edgar's another recent regular who I'd forgotten to list. I'm not too worried though. Frankly, I'm kind of surprised any of the European teams let their players go for this game. It's gravy.
      1. Simon B's Avatar
        Simon B -
        Agreed Squizz. I always thought this was mostly going to be a NA roster. Nice to see Cavallini get the look though
      1. jonovision's Avatar
        jonovision -
        Quote Originally Posted by Canuckistan View Post
        Sorry not to see David Edgar back there...he has been a beast thus far.

        Morgan(Jazic in form)-Hainault-Edgar-DeJong....that's a pretty good back line and can compete with any team in Concacaf. Let's hope their timing is right to move onto the dreaded Hex.
        Strictly left-footed players do not make for good right backs. Neither de Jong nor Klukowski has done well in that spot for Canada. De Jong is LB or LM.
      1. marc b's Avatar
        marc b -
        do you know if the CSA is streaming this game or just the usual tweet updates?
      1. squizz's Avatar
        squizz -
        I can't imagine that anyone is going to bother televising this game, so I'd suspect that it'll be live tweets for us. Unless Rogers is desperate for some kind of original programming to put on Sportsnet One on a Wednesday night.
      1. Marc B's Avatar
        Marc B -
        Squizz, I'm sure you noticed that TSN didn't go with Dobson in the elimination round, do you think Dobber is on the way out? Personally, I like N.Reed's call; but Gerry's got to be pissed off.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Quote Originally Posted by Marc B View Post
        Squizz, I'm sure you noticed that TSN didn't go with Dobson in the elimination round, do you think Dobber is on the way out? Personally, I like N.Reed's call; but Gerry's got to be pissed off.
        I thought Dobson was a sportsnet guy, not TSN.
      1. squizz's Avatar
        squizz -
        Well, Dobson's a Sportsnet guy, while Wileman's a TSN guy. I imagine there was plenty of wrangling within the "media consortium" as it related to who was calling what. But Dobson's been calling Canada for Sportsnet for 15 years now, and they've re-upped on their broadcast deal with the CSA, so I wouldn't read too much into the Olympics in that respect.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Quote Originally Posted by jonovision View Post
        Strictly left-footed players do not make for good right backs. Neither de Jong nor Klukowski has done well in that spot for Canada. De Jong is LB or LM.
        These two pretty use their right foot for standing.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
        These two pretty much use their right foot for standing.
        fixed my post
      1. David Bailey's Avatar
        David Bailey -
        Quote Originally Posted by squizz View Post
        I can't imagine that anyone is going to bother televising this game, so I'd suspect that it'll be live tweets for us. Unless Rogers is desperate for some kind of original programming to put on Sportsnet One on a Wednesday night.
        I'd gratefully accept a single camera on Livestream. C'mon Max, you can make it happen.

        db
      1. Brenton's Avatar
        Brenton -
        Still amazed this game won't be available to watch. Pretty poor planning on the part of the CSA. Could have at least tried to somehow exploit the CanWNT results.
      1. squizz's Avatar
        squizz -
        Quote Originally Posted by Brenton View Post
        Still amazed this game won't be available to watch.
        You shouldn't be, based on history and circumstances.
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