Saturday, February 05, 2011

Canada roster for Greece friendly

It may be old news by now, but Stephen Hart has released the list of players from which he will select his starting XI against Greece this coming Wednesday. The roster has been discussed and covered on other blogs and forums for days already.

In the intervening days one of the players originally selected, defender and likely captain Kevin McKenna, had to withdraw due to injury. Toronto FC defender Adrian Cann, training in nearby Turkey, was brought in to take his place. Word is that callup Nik Ledgerwood, a possible starter at right back, picked up a hamstring injury today as well and might not make the trip. We'll see. For now, this is the roster:

PLAYER POS CLUB LEAGUE CAPS GLS
Lars Hirschfeld GK Valerenga Oslo Norway 32 0
Jaime Peters D Ipswich Town England 23 1
Marcel de Jong M FC Augsburg Germany 15 1
Dejan Jakovic D DC United MLS 9 0
Adrian Cann D Toronto FC MLS 8 0
Nik Ledgerwood M SV Wehen Wiesbaden Germany 6 0
Pedro Pacheco M SD Santa Clara Portugal 1 0
Will Johnson M Real Salt Lake MLS 13 0
Rob Friend F Hertha Berlin Germany 28 2
Simeon Jackson F Norwich City England 13 2
David Edgar D Burnley FC England 0 0
Adam Straith D Energie Cottbus Germany 5 0
Atiba Hutchinson M PSV Eindhoven Netherlands 50 3
Dwayne De Rosario M Toronto FC MLS 55 15
Josh Simpson M Manisaspor Turkey 30 1
Tosaint Ricketts M Poli. Timisoara Romania 0 0
Olivier Occean F Kickers Offenbach Germany 18 2
Milan Borjan GK FK Rad Serbia 0 0

Given the circumstances (friendly during short international window, MLS players out of season), this is as close to a first choice lineup as one might expect to see. Notable absences might include Julian de Guzman, Mike Klukowski ('personal reasons' given as explanation), Tomasz Radzinski (retired from international duty?) and Ali Gerba (out of season).

McKenna's injury leaves a number of question marks in the back. The 4 candidates to start in central defense (Straith, Edgar, Jakovic, and Cann), have a combined 22 caps. My guess is Adam Straith and Dejan Jakovic will be the starting pairing, but that would mean that the versatile Straith would be unavailable to fill in at right back. With Ledgerwood questionable, that would leave the defensively unreliable Jaime Peters to start at the position .

McKenna's absence also leaves the job of captain wide open. The most experienced of the remaining players are Lars Hirschfeld, Atiba Hutchinson, and Dwayne De Rosario. De Rosario has been saying the right things lately, but is known to behave in a way that is, let's say, "uncaptainly". Hutchinson is more the lead-by-example type, while most managers are loathe to give the armband to a keeper. Hirschfeld might not start anyway, with the intriguing Serbo-Canuck Milan Borjan also making the trip.

With the players available, here's how I'd line them up (no doubt Hart will have a different opinion)

Hirschfeld
Straith - Edgar - Jakovic - de Jong
Johnson - Pacheco - Hutchinson
Jackson - Friend - Simpson

I very much doubt Dwayne would have joined the team if he hadn't been guaranteed to play, so the lineup you're likely to see would probably have him in midfield with Pacheco shuffled out.

* * * * *

By the way, you will in fact be able to see the match. Sportsnet One will be broadcasting live, with the other regional channels showing the match later in the day. But for the 99% of the country that can't access SN1, the match will also be streamed live on sportsnet.ca.

Your match predictions? Throw them in the comments. The bookmakers seem not to like our chances. bwin.com is paying 8.25 for a Canada win so if you're feeling confident, put some money down.

As for me? Not so much. I'm not one for bold predictions, so I'll go with the most prosaic of results: 1-0 Greece.

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