After missing out on this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, both Will Johnson and Atiba Hutchinson return to Canada’s roster for a pair of upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
On Thursday, Canada released its 22-man roster for the two-legged series against Belize (Sept. 4 and 8), with veteran midfielders Johnson and Hutchinson the key returnees. Fellow midfielder Issey Nakajima-Farran, enjoying a successful season in Malaysia, is also back with the national team.
The squad also features developing talent, with defenders Sam Adekugbe (Vancouver Whitecaps) and Luca Gasparotto (Greenock Morton), as well as midfielder Michael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers) – all 20 years old – seeking their first official caps for the senior national team. Montreal Impact's 21-year-old goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau also earned the call.
Leading the line will be yet another 20-year-old, Orlando City SC sensation Cyle Larin, who already has three 2015 goals for Canada. Karl W. Ouimette, Marcel de Jong, Tesho Akindele, Kyle Bekker and Russell Teibert fill out the nine-man MLS contigent on Benito Floro's roster.
The first leg will be played at Toronto’s BMO Field on Friday, September 4, with the return leg at FFB Stadium in Belmopan, Belize on Tuesday, September 8. The winner advances to the semifinal round of qualifying in the CONCACAF region, in a group with Mexico, Honduras and the winner of a series between El Salvador and Curacao.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Milan Borjan (PFK Ludogorets Razgrad/Bulgaria); Maxime Crépeau (Montreal Impact); Kenny Stamatopoulos (AIK Fotbol/Sweden)
DEFENDERS (7): David Edgar (Sheffield United/England); Luca Gasparotto (Greenock Morton/Scotland); Manjrekar James (Diósgyöri VTK/Hungary); Sam Adekugbe (Vancouver Whitecaps FC); Marcel de Jong (Sporting Kansas City); Nik Ledgerwood (Energie Cottbus/Germany); Karl W. Ouimette (New York Red Bulls)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas); Kyle Bekker (Montreal Impact); Atiba Hutchinson (Beşiktaş JK/Turkey); Will Johnson (Portland Timbers); Issey Nakajima-Farran (Terengganu FA/Malaysia); Michael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers/England); Samuel Piette (Racing Ferrol/Spain); Adam Straith (Fredrikstad FK/Norway); Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps)
FORWARDS (3): Marcus Haber (Crewe Alexandra/England); Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC); Tosaint Ricketts (Boluspor/Turkey)