Sunday, August 28, 2011

Changes to Canada roster for St Lucia, Puerto Rico

Predictably enough, Stephen Hart has been forced to make changes to his original roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers due to injuries to 3 of his selections.

The injured players are DC United central defender Dejan Jakovic, Wehen Wiesbaden midfielder/right back Nik Ledgerwood, and on-form striker Olivier Occean, of Greuther Furth in Germany.

The replacements offer an injection of youth in the form of Burnley defender David Edgar, who earned good reviews for his first full match of the season this past weekend, St Johnstone striker (and ex-Whitecap) Marcus Haber, and Preussen Muenster midfielder Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault, and oft-called but seldom-used utility midfielder.

A lot of Canadian fans have been clamouring for David Edgar to play a bigger role within the squad for years, even if Jakovic-McKenna is likely the best central pairing we can offer. Looking at the squad selected, a pairing of Andre Hainault and Kevin McKenna is the most likely, though I'd like to see a back four of (L-R) Klukowski - Edgar - McKenna - Hainault.

The most disappointing development is the injury to Occean, who was been scoring at nearly a goal-a-game clip in the 2.Bundesliga. It will be interesting to see who Hart selects as the target forward if he sticks with a 4-3-3/4-5-1 with Simeon Jackson and Josh Simpson on the wings.

Nik Ledgerwood would likely have been looking to stake his claim for the right back position. Now we are likely to see Jaime Peters start in that spot. He is not the solution there, and really needs a career re-set overall. As I noted above, I prefer Hainault at right back, as he fills the role quite well for Houston in MLS, but I'm afraid Stephen Hart will feel differently.

The changes probably weaken the team somewhat, and leave the group with less experience overall, but Hart should still have more than enough at his disposal to take care of these very winnable matches.

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