SUNRISE, Fla. – As Canada tried in vain to put a shot past Honduras in an ultimately scoreless World Cup qualifier in June, midfielder Terry Dunfield – left off the roster that day – had to be content with sitting in south end of BMO Field, willing his teammates on.
“I was in the stands for the Honduras game and I was one of the fans yelling, ‘Come on boys, just stick it away,’ but we had three or four good chances and I’m sure the boys were a little bit disappointed in the changing room after,” said Dunfield after training with the Canadian squad that’s preparing for Wednesday’s friendly against Trinidad and Tobago (7 pm ET). “Four points is a great start. It’s important we don’t rest on our laurels and push on in September.”
Dunfield would certainly like to be a part of that squad that will be playing Panama twice in a month that could ultimately decide Canada’s fate in qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. His performance with Toronto FC has been much improved since Paul Mariner took over as head coach, and Dunfield is happy his form merited a call from Canadian boss Stephen Hart for Wednesday’s game here in South Florida.
“It’s brilliant,” said Dunfield of getting back in the national team fold. “It’s well-documented, I love being here and there’s a great group of players here to play with for sure.”
It’s a similar story for Montreal Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier. The Montreal native missed a lot of time with injury and initially didn’t get much playing time after signing with Montreal, but getting healthy has paid dividends as Bernier has made himself a fixture in the Impact lineup, with six goals and six assists to show for it.
“It was a tough start with time on the bench and I just knew personally it was my goal to play well with the club,” said Bernier. “Nationally, if the call comes, the call comes. But I’ll be ready and now it’s come this time and I’m just enjoying it. Once you’re past 30, you enjoy it more because you don’t know when it’s going to be your last game.”
It will be difficult for Dunfield and Bernier to carve out a spot in a talented Canadian midfield that will likely include European-based players like Atiba Hutchinson for when CONCACAF qualifying resumes next month, but there is no denying that the two in-form players will bring some much-needed depth and competition to this Canadian side.