If you’re wondering why the Canadian men’s national team seems to constantly be going through difficulty and turmoil, it’s worth considering the state of the squad’s player pool.
For fans of many national teams – the US, for example – a member of the player pool is considered to be “doing well abroad” if they’re constantly starting and contributing to a high-profile team in one of Europe’s top leagues. In the Canadian context, a player meets that threshold simply by being on the roster of a European team. Contributing, or even playing, regularly? Well, those are bonuses.
To be fair, making it in Europe is extremely difficult for a Canadian player, even one with great skills. But suffice to say, when Canada head coach Benito Floro looks across the pond for options, he needs to look a heck of a lot harder than Jurgen Klinsmann does. Here's some of what Floro has to consider this week:
After not being included in Canada’s roster for a friendly against Australia last week, goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulos had a fine performance, posting a clean sheet Monday to help lift AIK to second in the Swedish table. Next door in Norway, fellow ’keeper Lars Hirschfeld made only his second start in 27 matches for Valerenga on Sunday – and posted a 2-1 victory.
After winning high acclaim for his performance against Australia, David Edgar (above) made a cameo appearance in the waning minutes on Saturday for Burnley, who posted their sixth straight league win and sit top of the English Championship table. Could a return to the Premier League be in the cards for Edgar?
Fellow defenders Andre Hainault (VfR Aalen, Germany) and Marcel de Jong (Augsburg, Germany) also came on as subs for their clubs over the weekend, while Roger Thompson – who has played for Canada’s U-20 side, but never the senior team – put in another full-90 performance for IFK Mariehamn in Finland.
Youngsters Michael Petrasso and Dylan Carreiro got their first taste of the Canadian senior team when they took part in training camp ahead of the Australia friendly. On Monday, they were right back into it for Queens Park Rangers’ U-21 side, both starting in a 3-1 loss. Daniel Stanese, the other newbie at Canada camp, was an unused sub for FC Augsburg II on Sunday.
Up front, it was a goal-starved week for Canadians (as it has been for the national team as of late) – Daniel Haber (Apollon Limassol, Cyprus), Frank Jonke (FF Jaro, Finland), Marcus Haber (Notts County, England), Olivier Occean (FC Kaiserslautern, Germany) and Tosaint Ricketts (Bucaspor, Turkey) all saw some action, but none could find the back of the net.
Erstwhile Canadian phenom Simeon Jackson found himself off the matchday roster for Eintracht Braunschweig for the second straight week, while nouveau Canadian phenom Lucas Cavallini was an unused sub for Nacional (Uruguay) for the second straight week.