Veterans lead Canadian roster for Jamaica soccer friendly in September

Canada vs Jamaica

TORONTO _ Veterans Atiba Hutchinson, Dwayne De Rosario and Julian de Guzman lead the 23-man Canadian squad for the Sept. 9 soccer friendly against Jamaica in Toronto.

Coach Benito Floro has chosen nine MLS players: De Rosario and four others from Toronto FC and four from the Montreal Impact.

The BMO Field game marks the first at home for Floro since he was hired in July 2013.

Jamaica is ranked No. 85 in the world compared to No. 122 for Canada, which has never been lower down the FIFA ladder.

“We’ve seen several Jamaican games and we consider them to be physically good team,” Floro, a Spanish native, said in a statement Thursday. “This means that technically and tactically it is a very good test for us. It’s good for us because we need to test ourselves in Toronto and show that we are progressing and moving up.”

After Jamaica, Canada plays Panama in Panama City on Nov. 18. Floro sees both games as part of the buildup for next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

While Floro has experience in the likes of De Rosario (77 caps), de Guzman (71), Hutchinson (67) and Patrice Bernier (49), he has also opted for plenty of youth.

Toronto FC goalie Quillan Roberts is 19 and has yet to play in an MLS game although he has seen action against the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham in friendlies and done well on loan to Wilmington of the USL Pro League.

Toronto FC teammate Ashtone Morgan, a 23-year-old fullback, has spent one minute on the field in league play this season. Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare is 19 while fellow Montreal Impact defender Karl W. Ouimette is 22.

The 36-year-old De Rosario leads a Toronto FC contingent that also includes 21-year-old defender Doneil Henry and 23-year-old midfielder Kyle Bekker.

The 34-year-old Bernier is joined by fellow Impact midfielder Issey Nakajima-Farran.

Perhaps worryingly for Floro, de Guzman, goalie Milan Borjan and defender Adam Straith are without a club.

Hutchinson plays for Besiktas in Turkey.

A Canadian Soccer Association spokesman confirmed that midfielders Will Johnson of the Portland Timbers and Russell Teibert of the Vancouver Whitecaps were not summoned.

Johnson has excused himself recently from national team duty, citing his young family. He has not represented Canada since a 2013 Gold Cup game against Martinique. He then withdrew from the squad due to illness.

There is also no spot for FC Dallas rookie Tesho Akindele, a 22-year-old forward who has been turning heads in MLS.

Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio was also not in the Canadian roster. With 19 league appearances this season (three more than Henry), he has been used more than any of the other TFC players picked by Floro so his absence could well be the result of some horse-trading between the Canadian coach and Toronto manager Ryan Nelsen.

Canada Roster

Goalkeepers: Kenny Stamatopoulos, AIK (Sweden); Milan Borjan (unattached), Quillan Roberts, Toronto FC.

Defenders: Nik Ledgerwood, Energie Cottbus (Germany); Andre Hainault, VfR Aalen (Gemany); Doneil Henry, Toronto FC; Dejan Jakovic, Shimizu S-Pulse (Japan); Adam Straith (unattached); Karl W. Ouimette, Montreal Impact; Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare, Montreal Impact; David Edgar, Birmingham City (England); Ashtone Morgan, Toronto FC.

Midfielders: Julian de Guzman (unattached); Pedro Pacheco, Santa Clara (Portugal); Kyle Bekker, Toronto FC; Atiba Hutchinson, Besiktas (Turkey); Marcel de Jong, Augsburg (Germany); Issey Nakajima-Farran, Montreal Impact; Patrice Bernier, Montreal Impact.

Forwards: Tosaint Ricketts, Hapoel Haifa (Israel); Simeon Jackson, Coventry City (England); Marcus Haber, Crewe Alexandra (England); Randy Edwini-Bonsu, Stuttgarter Kickers (Germany); Dwayne De Rosario, Toronto FC.

By Neil Davidson


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