OLIVA, Spain – Wholesale changes are in order for the Canadian national team in Tuesday’s friendly rematch against Mauritania (11:30 am ET).
Eight first-team MLS players have returned to their respective clubs and it will be the turn of the players that weren’t dressed for Sunday’s scoreless draw to try their luck.
“The only change is to the lineup,” said head coach Benito Floro on Sunday, adding that he’s wanting as many players as possible to get 60 minutes of game-time from this camp.
“For us, it’s important to keep the ideas from one day to another and one game to another. It’s the only way to achieve quickly how we want to play in attack and defense.”
Among those who have gone home: D.C. United's trio of Dwayne De Rosario, Kyle Porter and Dejan Jakovic; the Toronto FC quartet of Doneil Henry, Jonathan Osorio, Ashtone Morgan and Kyle Bekker; as well as Russell Teibert of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
In their places, expect to see European-based players like David Edgar, Marcel de Jong and Nik Ledgerwood on the backline, and veteran Julian de Guzman (above) in midfield with Simeon Jackson and Marcus Haber fronting the attack.
Floro is preaching a game where the defenders start the attacking thrusts with a lot of play on the ground instead of launching a high ball.
With some experience in Spanish club soccer, de Guzman can see what the new coach is trying to bring to the team. The former Toronto FC and FC Dallas midfielder played four of the best years of his career with Deportivo La Coruña of La Liga and says with more camps together with the new coach that philosophy will start to show.
“A lot of the guys have never been in the situation in being taught football in this manner,” de Guzman said after the team’s brief training session on Monday. “I think it’s a great philosophy that Benito has. It will take time and our approach going into this game tomorrow is trying to execute the plays that he wants.”
De Guzman has added that playing under Floro has brought back a lot of memories from his time in Spain with Deportivo.
Despite a scattering of veterans on the field on Sunday, there was a lot of inexperience both in the starting lineup and coming off the bench. There still is a lot of youth in camp but it should be a more veteran-heavy lineup that takes to the field on Tuesday.