Dunfield expects Canada to be "very competitive"

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Just as Vancouver Whitecaps FC have returned to a near full-strength lineup, they will once again be without one of their key contributors. Central midfielder Terry Dunfield was called up to play for Canada at next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Dunfield is getting a late start on his international career. The 29-year-old made his senior debut against Venezuela last year, and has two caps to his name. After spending much of his life in England, the Vancouver native is ecstatic to be playing in his first major international tournament with his country.

"I can’t wait to join up with the boys and hopefully bring back some silverware from the tournament,” said Dunfield in a club statement. “I think we’ve got the talent and the individuals to be very competitive in the Gold Cup next month."

Canada will begin Gold Cup play on June 7, when they take on the United States in Detroit. They then face Guadeloupe in Tampa on June 11 and finish up Group C action against Panama in Kansas City on June 14.

The international duty means Dunfield will miss at least three games for Vancouver; however, with midfield partner Gershon Koffie having also already missed some time this year, the ‘Caps have discovered several suitable replacements.

The most likely option is rookie Jeb Brovsky, who has started five games this season and look more and more comfortable with every minute of playing time. Two others who could get a look include Kevin Harmse and defender Mouloud Akloul, who started alongside Dunfield in a Nutrilite Canadian Championship match against Montreal earlier this year.

While Dunfield’s call-up robs coach Teitur Thordarson of one of his regular contributors, there was also good news for the Vancouver manager when the Gold Cup rosters were released on Monday. Center back Jay DeMerit, a mainstay for the US national team in recent years, was not called up by coach Bob Bradley.

Thordarson has said that he is fully supportive of his players being called up to play for their national teams, but he was relieved to see his captain left off the US roster. The last time that DeMerit suited up for his country, he started two matches in four days and aggravated a groin injury that caused him to miss eight games, a fact that didn’t sit well with Thordarson.

“I was hoping that maybe he wouldn't start the second game, but that is not my decision,” the Whitecaps FC head coach said at the time.

The ‘Caps struggled in DeMerit’s absence, but they have looked more organized on the defensive end since his return a few weeks ago. Now they will have him available through the summer.