All of this excitement has distracted me from the upcoming Estonia friendly, now just over a week away. The roster hasn't officially been announced yet, but has been making the rounds on the soccer boards.
Let's have a look-see:
|GK||Lars Hirschfeld||29||CFR Cluj||Romania|
|GK||Kenny Stamatopoulos||28||Tromso IL||Norway|
|D||Mike Klukowski||26||Club Brugge||Belgium|
|D||Andre Hainault||21||Sparta Praha||Czech Rep.|
|D||Richard Hastings||30||Inverness CT||Scotland|
|D||Kevin McKenna||28||FC Köln||Germany|
|D||Paul Stalteri||30||Fulham (on loan)||England|
|D||Marcel de Jong||21||Roda JC||Netherlands|
|M||Daniel Imhof||30||VfL Bochum||Germany|
|M||Atiba Hutchinson||25||FC København||Denmark|
|M||Julian De Guzman||26||Deportivo la Coruña||Spain|
|M||Issey Nakajima-Farran||23||FC Nordsjælland||Denmark|
|M||Dwayne De Rosario||29||Houston Dynamo||MLS|
|F||Tomasz Radzinski||34||Skoda Xanthi||Greece|
|F||Rob Friend||27||Borussia Monchengladbach||Germany|
|F||Ali Gerba||25||FC Ingolstadt||Germany|
|F||Iain Hume||24||Leicester City||England|
Now that is as close to a first-choice lineup we've seen in a long time. I can't think of any players I'd include in a starting 11 that aren't among the 19 listed. Tam Nsaliwa might fit the bill, but he first needs to get his citizenship situation sorted. You might want to quibble about whether Jim Brennan should be there or Olivier Occean deserves a place ahead of Gerba or Hume, but those are depth players in this group.
As usual, here are the caps and goals in this group:
|Marcel de Jong||1||0|
|Julian De Guzman||28||2|
|Dwayne De Rosario||45||13|
I don't have much further to say for now, other than state how pleased I am with this group. It looks like Mitchell and the CSA are starting to focus on the players who will play key roles in World Cup qualifying.
Andre Hainault will surely have some interesting stories to tell. He'll have a game on the weekend for the U23 side, either for 1st or 3rd place. Then he'll jet to Estonia to play on Wednesday. Since his loan deal to Sparta Prague, he will have spent nearly as much time with Canadian sides as with his own, and certainly had more time on the pitch wearing the Maple Leaf.