CANADA vs. DOMINICA
Tuesday, June 16, 7:30 p.m. ET
BMO Field, Toronto
Canada got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to the right start against Dominica – now they’ll be looking to finish the job and advance to the next round.
On Thursday, Canada took the first leg of the home-and-home series, getting goals from Cyle Larin and Russell Teibert to post a 2-0 win in Rouseau, Dominica. Now they head back to home soil for the second leg, with a spot in the third round of CONCACAF regional qualifying on the line.
Teibert’s goal was his first for the senior national team, and that wasn’t the only first on Thursday night. FC Dallas striker Tesho Akindele made his first-ever appearance for his birth nation, meaning that the Canadian-American dual national is now cap-tied to Les Rouges.
The news wasn’t all good for Canada in the first leg, however. Goalkeeper Milan Borjan will miss this game after being sent off. And though the Canadians created numerous chances throughout the game, only scoring two goals in an official match against the No. 168-ranked team in the world could be a cause for concern.
But back in front of their home crowd, the Canadians will want to put on a show – and, of course, get the result needed to move on in their quest toward Russia 2018.
Broadcasting note: The Canadian Soccer Association will be providing a multi-camera stream of the game, which will be available on their website. The Canadian Soccer Association will provide updates via Twitter, @CanadaSoccerEN.
The only previous meeting of these two teams was in the first leg of this series.
Canada is on a three-game winning streak for the first time since September/October 2011. All signs point to that becoming a four-game winning streak, which will lead the team into next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup with a nice surge of momentum.
Head coach Benito Floro has said that while he didn’t want to overlook Dominica, he would be using parts of the ongoing training camp prepare for the Gold Cup. His starting lineup in the first leg, which included less experienced national-teamers such as Akindele and Karl Ouimette, may provide some insight as to his thinking.
So while advancing past Dominica is priority No. 1, don’t be surprised if Floro and company are already finding their thoughts drifting toward next month’s continental championship.
Dominica had a decent run coming into this series against Canada, having prevailed in the first round of World Cup qualifying against the British Virgin Islands and posting a 1-1-1 record in a trio of preparatory friendlies against other Caribbean competition.
But Dominica is one of the smallest nations in the world; its total population of around 73,000 is roughly equal to that of Sarnia, Ontario. The second round of regional qualifying is the farthest the team has ever gone on the road to the World Cup and – barring a soccer miracle at BMO Field – that will continue to hold true for at least another four years.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Canada – Cyle Larin. The No. 1-overall pick in this year’s MLS SuperDraft has already made an impact for both club and country this year. The 20-year-old has five goals in 11 appearances for Orlando City, as well as two goals in three games for Canada in 2015.
He scored his first in March in a friendly against Puerto Rico, and notched Canada’s opening tally against Dominica in the first leg. The native of Brampton, Ontario will be looking to extend his hot form in his first-ever international game right in his own backyard.
Dominica – Mitchell Joseph. While Dominica seem unlikely to score in this game, if they do find the back of the net, there’s a decent chance Joseph will be involved. The 28-year-old – who plays for the delightfully named Centre Bath Estate – is the most prolific scorer on this Dominica squad, with six goals for his national team.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Lars Hirschfeld (Vålerenga/Norway); Kenny Stamatopoulos (AIK/Sweden)
DEFENDERS (7): Nana Attakora (San Antonio Scorpions); Manjrekar James (Pécsi MFC/Hungary); Mallan Roberts (FC Edmonton); Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC); Karl W. Ouimette (New York Red Bulls); David Edgar (Birmingham City FC/England); Nik Ledgerwood (Energie Cottbus/Germany)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Adam Straith (Fredrikstad FK/Norway); Maxim Tissot (Impact de Montréal); Julian de Guzman (Ottawa Fury FC); 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)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Glenson Prince (San Juan Jabloteh/Trinidad); Owen Oscar (Kensbro FC/Dominica); Raleighson Pascal (unattached)
DEFENDERS (8): Aldrin Lawrence (Portsmouth Bombers/Dominica); Darlton Bannis (unattached); Kervin Lawrence (unattached); Kurtney Mckenzie (unattached); Malcolm Joseph (Club Old Fort Road/Dominica); Malyan Philip (Southeast SC/Dominica); Hubert Prince (Centre Bath Estate/Dominica); Egbert Walsh (unattached)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Joslyn Prince (Southeast FC/Dominica); Naielle Lee (Centre Bath Estate/Dominica); Chad Bertrand (Dublanc FC/Dominica); Glensworth Elizee (Portsmouth Bombers/Dominica); Scottie Phillip (Southeast FC/Dominica); Sidney Lockhart (Southeast SC/Dominica); Travis Joseph (Dublanc FC/Dominica); Briel Thomas (Dublanc FC/Dominica); Anfernee Frederick (unattached)
FORWARDS (4): Mitchell Joseph (Centre Bath Estate/Dominica); Julian Wade (Slingerz FC/Guyana); Randolph Peltier (Pointe Michel FC/Dominica); Bert Casimir (unattached)