A frenetic June window for the Canadian men's national team concluded with a 2-1 loss to Honduras, following a convincing 4-0 win over Curacao at home.

It wasn’t the most productive window for Canada on or off the pitch. A labor dispute forced the cancellation of an already-rescheduled friendly against Panama, which was arranged on less than a week’s notice due to the canceled Iran game. Coupled with two contrasting Concacaf Nations League games in terms of the pitch conditions and atmosphere, it was a week to forget for the Canadians.

But there’s still a September window to prepare the squad for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. That will be the final round of matches to test out any tactical wrinkles and, most importantly, finalize any holes in either the standard 23-man or the expanded 26-man roster, depending on FIFA’s final decision regarding roster sizes.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the updated depth chart, including who bolstered or hindered their cases to board the flight to Doha. Here is a refresher on the first roster projection from March.

Galindo Canada roster WC predict

GOALKEEPER

  • Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade)
  • Maxime Crepeau (LAFC)
  • Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota United FC)

Nothing changed in this regard. Even though Milan Borjan started both matches, Maxime Crepeau and Dayne St. Clair should keep their spots in the squad if they remain starters with their respective clubs.

However, Borjan’s club future will be an intriguing storyline between now and November. He reportedly received an offer from an unnamed MLS team in December after a supposed feud with Red Star Belgrade coach Dejan Stankovic at the time. Both have seemingly buried the hatchet as Borjan was eventually re-installed as the starter and helped Red Star lift a sixth straight Serbian SuperLiga title and another Serbian Cup this season.

But Borjan has one year remaining on his contract at Red Star, he’s 34 years old and might have his sights set on a new challenge at the club level. It’s unlikely he leaves and damages his chances of starting at the World Cup, but it’s worth monitoring this summer.

Whose stock was affected?

When only one goalkeeper starts in the window, and it’s the team’s No. 1, it’s unfair to determine if anyone’s status was affected. What we know is these three goalkeepers are locked in for the World Cup unless they suffer an injury or are dropped by their respective clubs.

LEFT BACK

  • Sam Adekugbe (Hatayspor)

This is where FIFA allowing countries to name 26-man rosters could behoove Canada. If it remains the standard 23 players, it’ll be easy to name Sam Adekugbe and Alphonso Davies as the only left-back options.

Now an extra possible slot could be opened on that flank.

However, even though Raheem Edwards earned a well-deserved call-up in this window thanks to his stellar form with the LA Galaxy, he did not appear in either Nations League match. Former Toronto FC man Richie Laryea was preferred at left back for the Honduras game with Adekugbe given a rest to start the match.

Even with a possible extra three spots, it’s unlikely John Herdman calls up any “new” faces unless they absolutely blow him away over the next few months.

Adekugbe is all but guaranteed to be on the plane to Qatar, though. He’s regularly one of Canada’s best players, he redeveloped some chemistry with Davies down the left wing against Curacao and regularly plays 90 minutes. Worst-case scenario, Laryea moves over to that flank or Davies is pulled further back.

Whose stock was affected?

Edwards didn’t do anything wrong, per se. He was just too late to the party. Plus, Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Cristian Gutierrez was a regular call-up during World Cup qualifying. Still, he hasn’t played regularly enough in Vancouver to warrant a return to the squad as of now. At this stage, though, if either is making the cut, it will be Edwards due to his club form.

CENTER BACK

  • Kamal Miller (CF Montréal)
  • Scott Kennedy (Jahn Regensburg)
  • Steven Vitoria (Moreirense)
  • Doneil Henry (LAFC)
  • Joel Waterman (CF Montréal)

If there’s any position that would benefit from an increased depth chart, it’s center back. Herdman likes rotating between three- and four-man defenses and the first four players appear to be the top options at this stage.

However, Canada are lacking right-footed options at center back. Alistair Johnston aside, no one else in the recent squad can fill that role adequately. Doneil Henry could do it if he wasn’t Steven Vitoria’s direct replacement.

It also depends on the formation. If a three-man defense is utilized in possession, then having a center back who is comfortable playing out from the back is vital. That is where Joel Waterman comes in.

Waterman was on the extended list for this window but missed out on the final squad. He’s strong in possession and plays in a back three with CF Montréal as well, where he starts alongside Kamal Miller and Johnston. The 26-year-old’s last call-up was in the early-round qualifiers in March 2021, but Herdman has clearly kept tabs on his progress and Waterman could be rewarded if his club form carries into the autumn.

Whose stock was affected?

It wasn’t a result of his on-field performance, although Vitoria is the most precariously positioned center back of the five listed. His contract with Moreirense in the Portuguese Primeira Liga expires on June 30 and the club was recently relegated. Logically, Vitoria should find another team in Portugal, or return closer to home in North America, but he needs to find a suitor as soon as possible or else that might force Herdman to look elsewhere.

RIGHT BACK

  • Alistair Johnston (CF Montréal)
  • Richie Laryea (Nottingham Forest)

Johnston is clearly an option for both center back and right back. He highlighted why in this window. He combined nicely with Tajon Buchanan down the flank as a proper fullback, hitting a few sumptuous crosses into the box and defending valiantly off the ball. Then Johnston returned to center back versus Honduras and didn’t really put a foot wrong despite the two conceded goals.

Laryea, meanwhile, made two appearances – as a substitute and starter, respectively – in the two Nations League matches. Laryea earned five appearances for Nottingham Forest after patiently waiting for his debut, but it didn’t affect his standing with Canada. The 27-year-old kept performing at a high level with the national team and Herdman kept relying on him as he’s often done.

Neither player should have any issue making the squad in the end.

Whose stock was affected?

The fact Johnston is now seeing regular minutes at right wingback for CF Montréal adds an interesting wrinkle to this battle on the right. His offensive qualities, particularly crossing, have grown tremendously this season and if Johnston keeps building chemistry with Buchanan, Herdman may not have a choice but to shift the ex-Nashville SC man to the flank.

That could have a knock-on effect for Laryea. It wouldn’t lead to him being dropped from the squad, but his minutes could be cut in Qatar. With three games in a short span and three very different opponents, though, Herdman will need all hands on deck – Laryea included.

DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER

  • Stephen Eustaquio (FC Porto)
  • Atiba Hutchinson (Besiktas)
  • Samuel Piette (CF Montréal)
  • Liam Fraser (KMSK Deinze)

At this point, there’s no need to explain or justify Stephen Eustaquio’s inclusion. He’s arguably Canada’s most important player.

Ditto for Atiba Hutchinson. At 39 years old, he could break the record for the oldest outfield player to appear at a World Cup, but he doesn’t play like a man who’s pushing 40. His calmness on the ball, anticipation and leadership skills are all vital as Canada attempt to make noise in Qatar.

Samuel Piette’s last appearance prior to June was back in January against Honduras. He suffered an ankle injury and only returned to action with CF Montréal at the end of April. He’s a trusted veteran and a defensive stalwart, too, so if he’s healthy, he’s on the plane.

Liam Fraser’s status is less known, but he’s an excellent orchestrator in the heart of midfield, constantly progressing the ball and breaking lines while doing so. Those are valuable tools to have in a second-half substitute if Canada need to break down a stubborn defense.

Whose stock was affected?

By way of Piette returning to the fold, Fraser’s stock took a hit. Calling in four defensive midfielders might be unnecessary, yet they all own different characteristics. Plus Hutchinson doesn’t have the legs to go 90 minutes in all three games. Relief will be necessary, which is why the Deinze midfielder could make the cut.

CENTRAL MIDFIELDER

  • Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC)
  • Mark-Anthony Kaye (Colorado Rapids)
  • David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone)

A reaggravated injury prevented Jonathan Osorio from joining the national team this month and barring another knock, the Toronto FC midfielder will be on the roster. He’s an ever-present figure at this point.

Mark-Anthony Kaye is a similarly important piece, even if he hasn’t started as many matches for Canada in recent months. The Colorado Rapids star's box-to-box abilities are key, especially his killer through balls in the final third, or first-time outlet passes on the counter.

David Wotherspoon is overcoming an ACL injury sustained last November, but he’s expected to return to game action for St. Johnstone in September. If he shows no wear and tear in his first few weeks back on the pitch, the 32-year-old should be brought to Qatar.

It’s easy to forget, but Wotherspoon does offer some unique traits. He stretches opposing defenses with his off-the-ball runs and combines well with the fullbacks to unlock space for them to exploit. Canada’s strength is out wide, so that will be crucial.

Whose stock was affected?

The recent switch to a double pivot means there’s one less spot in the midfield for everybody. Eustaquio and Hutchinson have largely been the go-to options since then, meaning there’s less room for Osorio, Kaye and Wotherspoon.

But Hutchinson will be rested. He’ll either go 60 minutes or be relied upon off the bench. Plus, Morocco have experimented with a trio in the middle and Croatia have typically used the same midfield set-up in the past. There should be plenty of opportunities.

WINGER

  • Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
  • Tajon Buchanan (Club Brugge)
  • Liam Millar (FC Basel)
  • Junior Hoilett (Reading)

Like Osorio and Wotherspoon, Liam Millar was injured for this window, but he returned to training with Basel after breaking his arm to close out the Swiss season. It was a transformative year for the 22-year-old as he registered nine goals and three assists in 38 games across all competitions and has been rewarded with regular call-ups since the start of the European campaign.

Junior Hoilett might not be as heralded as some of the younger attackers in the squad, but he’s still an immensely important piece of the puzzle. Hoilett was the only player who could’ve walked off the pitch in San Pedro Sula on Monday with any sort of pride. He logged three key passes and two shots on a waterlogged pitch when all of his teammates struggled to conjure up scoring opportunities.

Hoilett’s technique and Osorio-like ability to dribble through tight spaces and progress the ball into the final third are his most significant qualities. He’s also been leaned on in some tough spots, like in hostile atmospheres against Mexico or on the road in Central America. Nothing fazes him anymore.

Davies and Buchanan speak for themselves. They’ve started together in seven of the last 10 matches when they’ve both been available, so they’ll surely be key starters for the World Cup.

Whose stock was affected?

Canada are loaded on the wings, yet all four players are in with a shout. Davies’ return to the team clearly injected more confidence into the side and his free-roaming role will be exciting to watch at the World Cup against some of the world’s elite.

CENTER FORWARD

  • Cyle Larin (Besiktas)
  • Jonathan David (Lille)
  • Ike Ugbo (Troyes)
  • Lucas Cavallini (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

Ironically, the most settled striker as of the June window is Lucas Cavallini. It’s not only because he scored against Curacao or bagged three goals in his final four games for the Vancouver Whitecaps before linking up with Canada.

It’s mostly to do with the uncertain club futures of Cyle Larin, Jonathan David and Ike Ugbo. Larin’s contract with Besiktas expires in a couple of weeks, David has been linked with multiple teams in Europe for months – although the list of potential suitors is shortening by the day – and Ugbo doesn’t know if Troyes will trigger their purchase option from Genk.

There’s no question all four strikers should be heading to the World Cup. But this is as important a summer for Canadian internationals as we’ve seen in years.

Whose stock was affected?

It’s difficult to judge European-based players after a grueling season and a transatlantic flight, but Larin looked sluggish. Ugbo wasn’t aided by the quality of the pitch in Honduras for his first start with Canada, but he showed promise with his hold-up play and off-the-ball runs. David managed to score a late consolation, which highlights how lethal he can be when given one clear-cut opportunity. Mix in Cavallini’s strong cameo against Curacao and Herdman has a group of strikers who can inflict damage at the World Cup if these trends continue.

Canada will play more friendlies in September. Then it’s Group F time against Belgium, Morocco and Croatia.