As the Canada men's national team looks to qualify for their first World Cup since 1986, they have all to play for Tuesday evening when facing Suriname in Chicago.
Canada and Suriname are both on nine points in Group B as part of Concacaf's First Round qualifying, with only the group's winner advancing to the Second Round. Should Canada reach the Second Round, they'll face the Group E winner in a head-to-head series from June 12-15 that will start in either Haiti or Nicaragua.
Here's everything you need to know about Tuesday's bout, which determines which nation moves one step closer to the eight-team final stage of Concacaf qualifying. Only goal differential separates Canada (+22) and Suriname (+15) so far.
- Tuesday, June 8 | 9:05 pm ET
- SeatGeek Stadium | Chicago, Illinois
How to watch and stream
- OneSoccer in Canada
- Paramount+ in the US
What to know: Canada
It's been smooth sailing for Canada to this point, as Les Rouges are yet to play a match where they've let their opponent finish within four goals. Their most lopsided victory was an 11-0 romp over the Cayman Islands, but there was also a 5-1 win over Bermuda and a 7-0 match against Aruba last weekend.
Head coach John Herdman's group hasn't really been tested yet, so it will be interesting to see they respond to facing their toughest competition in Group B. Canada's biggest names must step up after Herman fielded a mixed-and-matched lineup against Aruba, allowing stars to rest after long European club seasons. Look for Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Jonathan David (Lille) and Cyle Larin (Besiktas) to lead the way.
What to know: Suriname
Suriname may not have the name recognition of Concacaf's bigger countries, but they're considered an improving program that's recruited talented dual-nationals. These inroads are the byproduct of a "sports passport" that allows players of Surinamese heritage to play for the team without forfeiting their European citizenship, including several with extensive experience in the Dutch top flight. They also roster Inter Miami CF defender Kelvin Leerdam, a 2019 MLS Cup champion with the Seattle Sounders.
All this is to say: This match shouldn't be viewed as a foregone conclusion for Canada and any focus on Suriname appearing at No. 136 in the latest FIFA World Rankings is short-sighted. This fact isn't lost on Herdman, who noted the extreme difficulty this match poses.
“Suriname are a completely different team now,” Herdman said. “They’re a top-six to top-eight team in Concacaf in terms of the quality of players. I don’t think anyone had predicted that in nine months they’d have 15 new players, all of whom have played at the highest levels in the [Dutch] Eredivisie.”