Canada announces August friendly vs. Trinidad and Tobago
The city that hosted the MLS Combine will play host once again, this time for Canada’s only friendly before CONCACAF World Cup qualifying resumes in September.
The Canadian Soccer Association announced on Thursday that the Canadian men's national team will face Trinidad and Tobago at the Central Broward Regional Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Aug. 15.
"It's just a 72-hour window, so you'll just have one training session, then you'll play the game," Canada head coach Stephen Hart told media in a conference call.
The scheduling of the match places it on the same day as several MLS games and on the cusp of many European club seasons. Combined with the briefness of the international break, Hart’s pool for selection will be unusually limited.
"[The friendly] will probably allow some of the players that have not played to give them an international game to let me see how they handle some of that pressure," said Trinidadian native Hart, who will lead the Canadians against his birth nation.
One Canadian MLS player who could merit a call-up is Patrice Bernier. Since scoring his first goal against Sporting Kansas City on May 5, the Montreal Impact midfielder has added another five to his season haul. Montreal play games on August 12 and August 18, giving Bernier a window to join Hart’s camp.
"I think he's done very well,” Hart said of the midfielder. “He's playing a lot. He's playing with confidence and playing consistently. … I've been very pleased with what I've seen from him."
Bernier’s club rival, Toronto FC’s Terry Dunfield, has also seen an upturn in form, but the Reds have a game scheduled the same day as the T&T friendly. Hart said that he'll have to sit down with TFC head coach Paul Mariner to see if any sort of arrangement can be made.
"I think if you look at the last three games, [Dunfield] has come on really well,” Hart said. “He's done well.”
Hart also confirmed that oft-injured defender Marcel de Jong has returned to training with club side Augsburg of the German Bundesliga. Josh Simpson's recovery from a broken leg, meanwhile, is progressing well, and the player remains upbeat despite being ruled out for Canada’s qualifiers in September.
The 80th-ranked Trinidadians are coming off a surprising exit from World Cup qualifying, finishing second in their second-round group to Guyana, while Canada are three points ahead of Honduras for second place in their group.
Canada's World Cup campaign resumes on Sept. 7 with the first of two crucial games against Panama. The Canucks will play host in the first contest at BMO Field, before traveling down to Panama City for the reverse fixture on Sept. 11.