Saturday, November 07, 2015

Canada-Honduras: A last stand?

The more one looks ahead to the Canada-Honduras World Cup qualifying tilt this Friday in Vancouver, the more it jumps out: this is the most important match Canada has played since its last World Cup qualifier against Honduras.

Canada's qualifying group, which also includes El Salvador and Mexico, is a fair test. Canada should be able to take at least 4 points, if not 6, from El Salvador. Mexico should be able to breeze through the group in first place. Canada and Honduras, on paper, are relatively equal squads that have turned over much of their roster recently, with question marks all over the park. A win for Canada is vital. A tie would be a blow, a loss nearly fatal.

This match represents a last stand of sorts. A last stand for a generation of players who have been around nearly since I started following the national team. Though the roster is full of young guys and new faces, there are a few who are almost certainly taking part in their last qualifying run:

1- GK- Simon Thomas | NOR / Strømmen IF
2- FB- Fraser Aird | SCO / Glasgow Rangers FC
3- FB- Samuel Adekugbe | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
4- CB- André Hainault | GER / 1. FC Magdeburg
5- CB- David Edgar | ENG / Sheffield United
6- M- Julian de Guzman | CAN / Ottawa Fury FC
7- M- Russell Teibert | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
8- M- Will Johnson | USA / Portland Timbers
9- F- Lucas Cavallini | URU / CA Fénix
10- M- David Hoilett | ENG / Queens Park Rangers
11- M- Tosaint Ricketts | TUR / Boluspor FC
12- CB- Dejan Jaković | JPN / Shimizu S-Pulse
13- M- Atiba Hutchinson | TUR / Beşiktaş JK
14- M- Samuel Piette | ESP / Deportivo La Coruña
15- M / CB- Adam Straith | NOR / Fredrikstad FK
16- M- Kianz Froese | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
17- FB / M- Marcel De Jong | USA / Sporting Kansas City
18- GK- Milan Borjan | BUL / PFK Ludogorets Razgrad
19- CB- Wandrille Lefèvre | CAN / Impact Montréal
20- FB- Karl W. Ouimette | USA / New York Red Bulls
21- F- Cyle Larin | USA / Orlando City SC
22- GK- Kenny Stamatopoulos | SWE / AIK Fotbol
23- M- Tesho Akindele | USA / FC Dallas

Many fixtures of the last decade and a half left the scene during or after the campaign in 2012, or are in the twilight of their careers and no longer being called (Kevin McKenna, Josh Simpson, Olivier Occean, Patrice Bernier, Dwayne De Rosario, Lars Hirschfeld come immediately to mind) but even among the roster called there are a half dozen men that will almost certainly not be around to contest qualification beginning in 2019.

This may well be the last time I write a blog post about a vital Canada-Honduras clash as well. First, who is still going to be reading (or writing) a blog in 2019? Will I still care by then if this campaign goes tits-up? Will I delete the entire site in a fit of pique Canada goes down a goal or two on Friday?

In both instances, all I can say is thanks for the memories. To Atiba and de Guzman, who burst onto the scene a few years after the One Shining Moment of the 2000 Gold Cup, and who were often the brightest lights in some often dismal matches, thanks.

To the readers, who have stuck around or come back or popped in to a site that looks like it was built in 2002 (but was really only 2006, I think) and goes months at a time without any content, and much longer than that without anything interesting, thanks for reading. Hopefully there remains something fun to write about until next spring at the very least.

Prediction: Canada 2 - Honduras 1


Anonymous said...

Jono, I always enjoy reading your stuff and seeing your posts on the Vees board.

As for this match, I will be there in person for an NT match for the first time in 25 years so I am very excited, regardless of the outcome really. However, Hoillet's inclusion, Larin's continued excellent club form following a forgettable GC, and Cavallini's return really help the offensive side. As for Honduras, they seem a transitional side but that can be a very bad thing for us with regards to unfamiliar newbies bursting on to the scene and lighting it up (I fear wing attacks against the defensively challenged De Jong or Ouimette). My starters:

-------Kenny Alphabetopolus----------
Ouimette----Edgar---Jakovic----De Jong

I agree with your score line prediction


jonathan said...

Time permitting, I'm hoping to have a post up later this week with a few more thoughts on the roster and tactical considerations. Much of the team picks itself, in my opinion, with a few fitness questions (Hoilett, Johnson) coming into play, and the seemingly constant question mark at right back.

I know Floro likes Straith so I could see him playing in front of the back four as you have projected, but if I'd rather see de Guzman or even Piette in that spot. We'll see.

And have fun at the game. It's been 15 years since the last one for me (MNT; saw Canada-USA here in Winnipeg in 2014). Which match did you attend in 1990?

Anonymous said...

Mexico at Swangard in May of that year. We won but I can't remember the score. I think it was a match where Lenarduzzi was in charge. What I remember most about the game was that it was pouring rain and after the half time break the Mexicans changed from their top notch kit tops to dry tops that looked like training shirts. IIRC they had those funky mid 70s Adidas numbers on the back. It looked like they were going to cheap out our guys with shirt exchange after the match.