Saturday, August 30, 2008

Canada roster for Honduras, Mexico qualifiers

(If you read this post in the first 24 hours or so that it was up, with a general attitude of WTF at the title - Canada roster for Honduras, Mexico friendlies - my sincerest apologies. These matches are qualifiers, and I hope there is very little that is friendly about them. The title has been changed)

The results may not all have been what we're looking for, but Dale Mitchell knows how to please with his player selections. For the first time, at least since the beginning of the Osieck era, there aren't any important players constantly being overlooked, and Canada's best are answering the call.

And not only is he calling the right players, Mitchell and the CSA are doing the right thing by bringing together a bigger group of 22 from which to choose for the next 2 qualifiers: 6 September in Montreal, and 10 September in Mexico. With nearly a full week to train together, the squad should gain some familiarity, but the extra bodies could come in handy in the event that one of the five Canadians on a yellow (Serioux, De Rosario, Hutchinson, Radzinski, and de Guzman) is punished on Saturday against Honduras.

The CSA published the squad yesterday; here's the list with a few corrections (Belgrade is in Serbia, not Croatia; Radzinski is now with Lierse of the Belgian 2nd division rather than Skoda Xanthi)

Player Pos. Team League
Lars Hirschfeld GK CFR Cluj Romania
Pat Onstad GK Houston Dynamo MLS
Greg Sutton GK Toronto FC MLS
Patrice Bernier M FC Nordsjælland Denmark
Jim Brennan D Toronto FC MLS
Julian de Guzman M Deportivo La Coruna Spain
Dwayne De Rosario M/F Houston Dynamo MLS
Rob Friend F Borussia Mönchengladbach Germany
Ali Gerba F Milton Keynes Dons England
Richard Hastings D Inverness CT Scotland
Iain Hume F Barnsley England
Atiba Hutchinson M FC København Denmark
Daniel Imhof D/M VfL Bochum Germany
Dejan Jakovic D Red Star Belgrade Serbia
Ante Jazic D LA Galaxy MLS
Mike Klukowski D Club Brugge Belgium
Kevin McKenna D 1. FC Köln Germany
Issey Nakajima-Farran M FC Nordsjælland Denmark
Olivier Occean F Lillestrøm SK Norway
Tomasz Radzinski M/F Lierse Belgium
Adrian Serioux D/M FC Dallas MLS
Paul Stalteri D/M Tottenham England

The same 18 players that were called for the Jamaica match are back. The four additions are Lars Hirschfeld, Olivier Occean, Ante Jazic, and Dejan Jakovic. Bringing in the extra keeper (Hirsch) and forward (Occean) are pretty logical moves considering the risk for injury in the first match. Ante Jazic provides more depth to the back line, although Marcel de Jong might also have been called. Dejan Jakovic, who was solid during the olympic qualifying tournament, is in his second senior camp. He played a handful of minutes with a 'B' team against Martinique earlier this year.

Jakovic is the guy with the big hair (#4)

Some more numbers:
Player Caps Goals
Lars Hirschfeld 22 0
Pat Onstad 56 0
Greg Sutton 11 0
Patrice Bernier 32 0
Jim Brennan 47 6
Julian de Guzman 33 4
Dwayne De Rosario 50 15
Rob Friend 19 2
Ali Gerba 19 9
Richard Hastings 49 1
Iain Hume 23 2
Atiba Hutchinson 37 2
Daniel Imhof 35 0
Dejan Jakovic 1 0
Ante Jazic 23 1
Mike Klukowski 16 0
Kevin McKenna 37 9
Issey Nakajima-Farran 14 1
Olivier Occean 16 2
Tomasz Radzinski 42 9
Adrian Serioux 16 0
Paul Stalteri 68 7
Total 666 70
Average 30.27 3.18

The extra players probably shouldn't have much impact on the starting lineup, at least for the Honduras match when all the players are expected to be available. If cards or injuries come into play, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Lars Hirschfeld may only have been invited as injury cover for Sutton or Onstad, but given Onstad's gaffe against Jamaica, and Sutton's inconsistent play for the national teams, I'd love for there to be a 3-way battle for the starting 'keeper position during the next week in Montreal.

Kluka is there, of course. We have reason to live.

My excitement level has been mounting for the last week or two, in anticipation of the Honduras match. So much so that I had forgotten that the clash with Mexico followed so closely after.

Maybe I'm stealing the thunder a bit from our special correspondent, but let's learn a bit more about those two countries:

Honduras:

Miss Honduras . . .

Mexico:

Hola . . .

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