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It's Time .... Is Canada Going To Do It?


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Jamaica's last 3 Gold Cup finishes were 2nd, 2nd,and 4th. They failed, however, to qualify for the last Hex.

Below is a Jamaica starting lineup with current players. They don't have many head turners (just Bailey, who they haven't gotten a lot out of yet; and maybe Reid, given his EPL play this year). They have a wide berth of high-end Championship-level players, or MLSish, or minor UCL clubs.  

They could add more, which might put them ahead, or maybe just deeper, depending on the players. A bunch of their high-end targets have turned into England players. However, England didn't cap Mason Holgate, starting-ish CB at Everton. That would be a huge pickup. There is a not-small group of realistic recruits. And a bigger group of unrealistic ones.  

GK: 

Andre Blake, Philadelphia Union - something of an enigma, kinda streaky in MLS, but with a high ceiling. 

 

Backline: 

Greg Leigh, Aberdeen - new guy, don't know a lot. 

Michael Hector, Fulham - hasn't played much in EPL, but was #54 WhoScored in the Championship last year.

Adrian Mariappa, Bristol City - played in the EPL last year with Watford. Has played 9 years on the low side of EPL. 34 or 35 years old. 

Kemar Lawrence, Anderlecht - best left back in MLS during his time with NYRB.

 

Midfield

Daniel Johnston - Had something like 12g and 6a for Preston North End in the Championship last year. 

Leon Bailey - obviously their best known player

Ravel Morrison - longtime EPL enigma, now with ADO Den Haag.

 

FW: 

Shamar Nicholson - Doing nicely in Belgium for Charleroi. Played well in Gold Cup. 

Bobby DeCordova Reid - 4 goals for Fulham in EPL this year.

Dever Orgill - Anyalaspor -Turkish League starter. An OK C-CAF player. 

 

Bench:

Junior Flemmings, ex-Phoenix Rising - leading scorer  in USLC in 2019. 

Cory Burke, Philaelphia Union- scores  goals wherever he's loaned. 

Edited by One American
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Costa Rica: Down. In decline since the WC. Hasn't won a game in more than a year.  Panama: Down. Golden Generation is over. Not as down as you might expect. But definitely down.  Honduras: R

Canada has consistently underperformed for the last 20 years. Didn't we have "the best midfield in CONCACAF" in like 2007 or something? Honestly, I feel on-field talent hasn't been Canada's issue

Are we really better than Jamaica? I think it's very close. Plus, there's the chance they could inject a slew of Championship players into their squad at any time.

19 minutes ago, One American said:

Jamaica's last 3 Gold Cup finishes were 2nd, 2nd,and 4th. They failed, however, to qualify for the last Hex.

Below is a Jamaica starting lineup with current players. They don't have many head turners (just Bailey, who they haven't gotten a lot out of yet; and maybe Reid, given his EPL play this year). They have a wide berth of high-end Championship-level players, or MLSish, or minor UCL clubs.  

They could add more, which might put them ahead, or maybe just deeper, depending on the players. A bunch of their high-end targets have turned into England players. However, England didn't cap Mason Holgate, starting-ish CB at Everton. That would be a huge pickup. There is a not-small group of realistic recruits. And a bigger group of unrealistic ones.  

GK: 

Andre Blake, Philadelphia Union - something of an enigma, kinda streaky in MLS, but with a high ceiling. 

 

Backline: 

Greg Leigh, Aberdeen - new guy, don't know a lot. 

Michael Hector, Fulham - hasn't played much in EPL, but was #54 WhoScored in the Championship last year.

Adrian Mariappa, Bristol City - played in the EPL last year with Watford. Has played 9 years on the low side of EPL. 34 or 35 years old. 

Kemar Lawrence, Anderlecht - best left back in MLS during his time with NYRB.

 

Midfield

Daniel Johnston - Had something like 12g and 6a for Preston North End in the Championship last year. 

Leon Bailey - obviously their best known player

Ravel Morrison - longtime EPL enigma, now with ADO Den Haag.

 

FW: 

Shamar Nicholson - Doing nicely in Belgium for Charleroi. Played well in Gold Cup. 

Bobby DeCordova Reid - 4 goals for Fulham in EPL this year.

Dever Orgill - Anyalaspor -Turkish League starter. An OK C-CAF player. 

 

Bench:

Junior Flemmings, ex-Phoenix Rising - leading scorer  in USLC in 2019. 

Cory Burke, Philaelphia Union- scores  goals wherever he's loaned. 

I noticed that Lawrence hasn't played a lot at Anderlecht, who are not exactly lighting the world on fire in Belgium. They struggled last season too. Greg Leigh I don't know a great deal about, like yourself, but he doesn't seem to be playing a whole lot with Aberdeen, who are having a typical season battling for best-of-the-rest behind Celtic and Rangers. 

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2 hours ago, One American said:

Bobby DeCordova Reid - 4 goals for Fulham in EPL this year.

DeCordova- Reid (Hoilett's former teammate) has looked really good when I have seen him recently, a big part of why Scottie Parker's boys just might have a chance to stay in the league.  A decent threat against us and had a very nice goal against Liverpool last game.  Also drew the VAR-assisted penalty against Leicester (I wonder what that would be like.) 

A lot more worried about him than Morrison, put it that way. 

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A lot of the concerns we have about having a good squad on paper but unproven at international level are also true of Jamaica. There is certainly a lot of talent there but can they just bring in a bunch of guys who have never played for them and immediately gel? Nobody really knows. They have had better results than us in recent Gold Cups, but I think overall, we are pretty similar in terms of have a lot of potential, but also having some question marks. 

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4 hours ago, archer21 said:

A lot of the concerns we have about having a good squad on paper but unproven at international level are also true of Jamaica. There is certainly a lot of talent there but can they just bring in a bunch of guys who have never played for them and immediately gel? Nobody really knows. They have had better results than us in recent Gold Cups, but I think overall, we are pretty similar in terms of have a lot of potential, but also having some question marks. 

Well one things for certain is they are a lot further ahead in preparation than we are. Their manager has had domestic camps where he was able to assess the local guys, and international camps where he was able to assess the newcomers. So ultimately they have a larger player pool that has been assessed/vetted, and any new comers at this point will be plugs to fill holes. Although I believe we have more elite talent (Davies, David, Eustaqiuo), than what they have (Bailey, Blake). I just think their player pool is a lot bigger, and more experienced in regards to guys playing at higher levels consistently, like @One American said. Outside of our 18, we see a lot of young guys named like Millar, Buchanan, Fraser, Corbeanu, Kennedy and Bair who will be named to our squad who aren't playing much or are playing youth ball. 

If it's the classic CSA setup of one game fixtures, than I wouldn't be worried as I undoubtedly think Canada has a better XI (atm) to go into a knockout game. But we know that it will be a minimum of 3 matches per window, so squads will have to be rotated. 

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I also think Costa Rica is another team I think a lot of you guys are sleeping on....they've had mixed results and they are being judged on the ability to rotate their squad, because you know...they play more games. But at the end of the day they are still in the CNL Finals, they made it to the Gold Cup SF in 17' QF in 19' and lost to Mexico on penalties where we lost to Haiti. 

I think we need to temper the paper talks and expectations because we've been down this lonely road before.
But I get it we have nothing else to talk about, and also want to be optimistic. 

First trip is Bermuda, let's see how our guys return. And then the Cayman islands...let's see how the rotation does. 

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38 minutes ago, Shway said:

Well one things for certain is they are a lot further ahead in preparation than we are. Their manager has had domestic camps where he was able to assess the local guys, and international camps where he was able to assess the newcomers. So ultimately they have a larger player pool that has been assessed/vetted, and any new comers at this point will be plugs to fill holes. Although I believe we have more elite talent (Davies, David, Eustaqiuo), than what they have (Bailey, Blake). I just think their player pool is a lot bigger, and more experienced in regards to guys playing at higher levels consistently, like @One American said. Outside of our 18, we see a lot of young guys named like Millar, Buchanan, Fraser, Corbeanu, Kennedy and Bair who will be named to our squad who aren't playing much or are playing youth ball. 

If it's the classic CSA setup of one game fixtures, than I wouldn't be worried as I undoubtedly think Canada has a better XI (atm) to go into a knockout game. But we know that it will be a minimum of 3 matches per window, so squads will have to be rotated. 

Fair enough, I do agree that we are not very deep in certain positions. I’m comfortable with our depth in midfield and we have a couple strikers that could rotate. Hopefully we don’t have to see Herdman trying to game the system by playing a weak side against the likes of Mexico like we did in the Gold Cup. I think we could be fine in 3 match windows though. Assuming each player starts a max of 2 matches, we still only need 17-18 players if we just mix and match properly. 
 

For example:

Game 1: Borjan, Adekugbe, James, Henry, Laryea, Eustaquio, Arfield, Osorio, David, Davies, Cavallini

Game 2: Crepeau, Laryea, Cornelius, Vitoria, ZGB, Piette, Osorio, Kaye, David, Larin, Cavallini

Game 3: Borjan, Adekugbe, Henry, Cornelius, ZBG, Eustaquio, Arfield, Kaye, Davies, Hoilett, Larin

That’s without even having Hutch. Not much drop off in any of those teams, though obviously you’d like to have guys like Davies/David on the field at all times.

Edited by archer21
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Looks like we have a nice convo going. I appreciate the insights from everyone. I think one of the interesting things that will come out of this international kinda black out period is that when things get back going there is a kinda unknown in the air. It might also work in our favor. Who in Concacaf knows anything about Stephen Estaquaio for instance

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I dont think Costa Rica has won a game in something like a year and a half. I'm not sure they've won since Gold Cup. (Looking it up, they beat Curacao, and drew Qatar, Curacao and Haiti. They lost to the USMNT, the Basques, and lost twice to Panama in Costa Rica.   

They have Navas. They have a group of top 100 MLSers (Leal, Diaz, Calvo, Matarrita). Joel Campbell is still pretty decent. 

While they didn't have their top players available, I'm not sure why they have fallen so far so fast. 

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8 hours ago, Shway said:

Well one things for certain is they are a lot further ahead in preparation than we are. Their manager has had domestic camps where he was able to assess the local guys, and international camps where he was able to assess the newcomers. So ultimately they have a larger player pool that has been assessed/vetted, and any new comers at this point will be plugs to fill holes. Although I believe we have more elite talent (Davies, David, Eustaqiuo), than what they have (Bailey, Blake). I just think their player pool is a lot bigger, and more experienced in regards to guys playing at higher levels consistently, like @One American said. Outside of our 18, we see a lot of young guys named like Millar, Buchanan, Fraser, Corbeanu, Kennedy and Bair who will be named to our squad who aren't playing much or are playing youth ball. 

If it's the classic CSA setup of one game fixtures, than I wouldn't be worried as I undoubtedly think Canada has a better XI (atm) to go into a knockout game. But we know that it will be a minimum of 3 matches per window, so squads will have to be rotated. 

If Andre Blake is an elite talent, what is Milan Borjan?

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31 minutes ago, Shway said:

Where do you rate Borjan in terms of best keepers in Concacaf?

At this stage, I'm not even sure that I'd put Navas or Ochoa too far ahead of Borjan. Borjan's form hasn't noticeably tailed off as he's entered his 30s, whereas I don't think either of the other two are as good now as they were 5 years ago. At worst, he's the equal of Steffen and/or Blake. More likely, Borjan is currently the 3rd best 'keeper in CONCACAF...a bit below Navas and Ochoa, but still above Blake and Steffen. I can't say much about any of the other nations' GK's, but am pretty confident that there's nobody else that's better than Milan.

Borjan is not in the conversation for the world's best goalkeepers, but he's still very good as a classic shot-stopper, and has proven it in European club competitions over the past 4 seasons. He doesn't have a big enough name to walk into a Premier League #1 shirt, but if he found himself at one of about a dozen current Premier League clubs, I'd back him to win the spot over the incumbent within a season. I wouldn't say the same with confidence about Andre Blake.

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Just now, SthMelbRed said:

At this stage, I'm not even sure that I'd put Navas or Ochoa too far ahead of Borjan. Borjan's form hasn't noticeably tailed off as he's entered his 30s, whereas I don't think either of the other two are as good now as they were 5 years ago. At worst, he's the equal of Steffen and/or Blake. More likely, Borjan is currently the 3rd best 'keeper in CONCACAF...a bit below Navas and Ochoa, but still above Blake and Steffen. I can't say much about any of the other nations' GK's, but am pretty confident that there's nobody else that's better than Milan.

Borjan is not in the conversation for the world's best goalkeepers, but he's still very good as a classic shot-stopper, and has proven it in European club competitions over the past 4 seasons. He doesn't have a big enough name to walk into a Premier League #1 shirt, but if he found himself at one of about a dozen current Premier League clubs, I'd back him to win the spot over the incumbent within a season. I wouldn't say the same with confidence about Andre Blake.

And to the point I made...neither of the two (Borjan or Blake) are so good that they can be classed as an elite talent (ie-a player who can single-handedly lift the quality of their team in the manner of a Davies, Jimenez, or Pulisic).

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For me Borjan is probably anywhere from 2-5 in concacaf. 

I mean really though, Navas is clearly no. 1 and after that Ochoa, Steffan, Borjan are all pretty solid, plus I am certain there are some other Mexican keepers who deserve mention here, or possibly keepers from other teams such as Blake for instance.

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1 hour ago, SthMelbRed said:

And to the point I made...neither of the two (Borjan or Blake) are so good that they can be classed as an elite talent (ie-a player who can single-handedly lift the quality of their team in the manner of a Davies, Jimenez, or Pulisic).

There it is.

As solid as Borjan is, he is known for a gafe or two, whereas Navas, Ochoa or Blake aren’t. 

And to your point, I’ll assume you didn’t watch the 2017 Gold Cup. He was one of the main reasons they made it to the final - hence his Golden Glove.  

I don’t want to seem like I’m “overhyping” the opposition - because I’m not. I just can’t be ignorant to who he is/what he’s accomplished in Concacaf vs Borjan.
 

Edited by Shway
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/11/2020 at 2:03 PM, SpursFlu said:

No excuses.. on paper we're easily the 3rd best team in the region 

There is also no excuse for small crowds in Canada for games anymore 

Yeah well argument can be made between Costa Rica and Canada still for the 3rd best team in CONCACAF. If you're talking like overall talent, then I can agree with you up to a point. Costa Rica's goalkeeper well their sweeper keeper is still Keylor Navas at the end of the day who is still world class compared to Canada who have goalkeepers comin up.

Costa Rica's offense may be on the decline but in terms of overall world rankings, they are still better than us at the moment. At least to my understanding but I don't know because I've been gone a very long time, been out of touch for too long.

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2 hours ago, TGAA_Star said:

Yeah well argument can be made between Costa Rica and Canada still for the 3rd best team in CONCACAF. If you're talking like overall talent, then I can agree with you up to a point. Costa Rica's goalkeeper well their sweeper keeper is still Keylor Navas at the end of the day who is still world class compared to Canada who have goalkeepers comin up.

Costa Rica's offense may be on the decline but in terms of overall world rankings, they are still better than us at the moment. At least to my understanding but I don't know because I've been gone a very long time, been out of touch for too long.

Since you have been gone not much has changed. A lot of that as been because of government shut downs due to coronavirus, which forced the closure of national team play, as well as some club matches.

The biggest development with our squad has been the emergence of some young MLS players who made the case to be included in our national team based on their strong play:

- Alistair Johnson, 22 year old rookie right back started for Nashville all season. He was very steady and good on both sides of the ball. He started all 3 of the playoff games, including the game to knock out 2nd seed Toronto FC

- Tajon Buchanan, 21 year old second year player for New England. He became a starter this year under Bruce Arena and was consistently one of the Revs most dangerous players in attack. In the playoffs he was converted from a winger to a wing back and scored in the game to knock out 1st seed Philadelphia Union. Very direct and skillful winger who can play wingback, basically.

- Dayne St. Clair, 23 year old rookie keeper for Minnesota United. Earned the starting job right away and never looked back. Very commanding presence in net and Minnesota fans are already sold on him for being their starting keeper long term. Led the team deep into the Western Conference playoffs. 

- Michael Baldisimo (who surprisingly missed the cut for January camp) is a 20 year old centre midfielder with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Started to see minutes as the season wore on and had a stretch where he was starting. Best attributes are his long range passing and ability to break lines, but also has impressive shooting and is decent in tight spaces. 

There are other players who stepped up as well, including Thomas Hasal (21 y/o keeper, out injured), Ralph Priso and Diego Guiterrez, but I only gave descriptions for the ones I am personally most excited about. None of those guys were seriously in the conversation pre-corona virus, but each has now made a contribution worthy of being a national team contributor.

What does this have to do with Canada versus Costa Rica? Well nothing directly, but it is to demonstrate who we have coming up and how our depth has improved in a short time. I am sure Costa Rica has improved their depth too, but to my knowledge they never had anyone make a step up in Europe or MLS who was not already a known quantity. Leal I suppose may be new to some people. He is a DP for Nashville and one of their top attackers, but he wasn't new to the Costa Rican national team. Besides him I don't know of anyone else. Joel Campbell is in Liga MX, playing and not playing for Leon. Nobody in Europe has made a splash, and Navas is still Navas, top of his game at PSG.

Edited by Obinna
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2 hours ago, TGAA_Star said:

Yeah well argument can be made between Costa Rica and Canada still for the 3rd best team in CONCACAF. If you're talking like overall talent, then I can agree with you up to a point. Costa Rica's goalkeeper well their sweeper keeper is still Keylor Navas at the end of the day who is still world class compared to Canada who have goalkeepers comin up.

Costa Rica's offense may be on the decline but in terms of overall world rankings, they are still better than us at the moment. At least to my understanding but I don't know because I've been gone a very long time, been out of touch for too long.

No biggie. Soon we'll find out. I think we're 3rd best but games get played and ish happens 

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1 hour ago, Obinna said:

Since you have been gone not much has changed. A lot of that as been because of government shut downs due to coronavirus, which forced the closure of national team play, as well as some club matches.

The biggest development with our squad has been the emergence of some young MLS players who made the case to be included in our national team based on their strong play:

- Alistair Johnson, 22 year old rookie right back started for Nashville all season. He was very steady and good on both sides of the ball. He started all 3 of the playoff games, including the game to knock out 2nd seed Toronto FC

- Tajon Buchanan, 21 year old second year player for New England. He became a starter this year under Bruce Arena and was consistently one of the Revs most dangerous players in attack. In the playoffs he was converted from a winger to a wing back and scored in the game to knock out 1st seed Philadelphia Union. Very direct and skillful winger who can play wingback, basically.

- Dayne St. Clair, 23 year old rookie keeper for Minnesota United. Earned the starting job right away and never looked back. Very commanding presence in net and Minnesota fans are already sold on him for being their starting keeper long term. Led the team deep into the Western Conference playoffs. 

- Michael Baldisimo (who surprisingly missed the cut for January camp) is a 20 year old centre midfielder with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Started to see minutes as the season wore on and had a stretch where he was starting. Best attributes are his long range passing and ability to break lines, but also has impressive shooting and is decent in tight spaces. 

There are other players who stepped up as well, including Thomas Hasal (21 y/o keeper, out injured), Ralph Priso and Diego Guiterrez, but I only gave descriptions for the ones I am personally most excited about. None of those guys were seriously in the conversation pre-corona virus, but each has now made a contribution worthy of being a national team contributor.

What does this have to do with Canada versus Costa Rica? Well nothing directly, but it is to demonstrate who we have coming up and how our depth has improved in a short time. I am sure Costa Rica has improved their depth too, but to my knowledge they never had anyone make a step up in Europe or MLS who was not already a known quantity. Leal I suppose may be new to some people. He is a DP for Nashville and one of their top attackers, but he wasn't new to the Costa Rican national team. Besides him I don't know of anyone else. Joel Campbell is in Liga MX, playing and not playing for Leon. Nobody in Europe has made a splash, and Navas is still Navas, top of his game at PSG.

Out of those players you mentioned, the only ones that I would say have unlimited potential especially in the national team set up in terms of who could be there come 2022 should we qualify or even 2026 when we host the whole thing would be: Johnson, Buchanan and St Clair

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