Tesho Akindele celebrates scoring the game-winner vs. LA Galaxy (May 9, 2015)
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MLS Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele among eight MLSers called up by Canada for World Cup qualifying

Canada is getting some key reinforcements at exactly the right time.

On Tuesday, head coach Benito Floro named his 23-man roster for the team’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Dominica (June 11 and June 16). The two most notable names are a pair of players who’ve never suited up for Floro before – Tesho Akindele and Will Johnson.

Akindele, the FC Dallas striker who won 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year, was called to a Canadian training camp last November, but pulled out at the last minute after receiving interest from the US squad. But the 23-year-old dual national, who was born in Calgary, appears to have finally committed to representing his birth nation in international play.

Johnson, meanwhile, has 34 caps for Canada but hasn’t appeared for the national team since the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The 28-year-old Portland Timbers captain just recently returned to first-team action after missing eight months with a broken leg, and is expected to be a big part of the Canadian side in their quest to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The Canadian roster – which includes eight MLS players – also includes the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Cyle Larin. The 20-year-old Orlando City SC striker has impressed thus far in his rookie season, with four goals in 10 appearances for the Lions.

The Canadian team will travel to Orlando on June 7 for training, before flying to Rouseau, Dominica on June 10 ahead of the first leg on June 11. They’ll then head to Toronto to prepare for the second leg, at BMO Field on June 16.

“The players and the staff are ready for these official games,” Floro said in a press release. “These first eliminatory games will be more important in regards to testing our capacity to remain concentrated on the opposition. It’s very important.”

The winner will advance to the third round of qualifying in CONCACAF, to play a home-and-away against a new opponent this autumn.


Goalkeepers (3): Milan Borjan (Radnički Nis/Serbia); Lars Hirschfeld (Vålerenga/Norway); Kenny Stamatopoulos (AIK/Sweden)

Defenders (7): Nana Attakora (San Antonio Scorpions); Manjrekar James (Pécsi MFC/Hungary); Dejan Jakovic (Shimizu S-Pulse/Japan); Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC); Karl W. Ouimette (New York Red Bulls); David Edgar (Birmingham City FC/England); Nik Ledgerwood (Energie Cottbus/Germany)

Midfielders (8): Adam Straith (Fredrikstad FK/Norway); Maxim Tissot (Montreal Impact); Julian de Guzman (Ottawa Fury FC); Atiba Hutchinson (Besiktas/Turkey); Will Johnson (Portland Timbers); Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC); Samuel Piette (Deportivo la Coruña; Spain); Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

Forwards (5): Tosaint Ricketts (Hapoel Haifa/Israel); Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas); Randy Edwini-Bonsu (Stuttgarter Kickers/Germany); Marcus Haber (Crewe Alexandra/England); Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC)