Theo Bair – Vancouver Whitecaps – goal celebration at Portland
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Five newcomers debut as Canada open 2020 with 4-1 friendly win over Barbados

Vancouver Whitecaps Homegrown Theo Bair scored on his full international debut as Canada routed Barbados 4-1 in a friendly at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California on Tuesday.

Bair, 20, was one of five newcomers to make his CanMNT debut in the match, the first of three during coach John Herdman’s side during their January training camp. The young Toronto FC duo of Jayden Nelson and Noble Okello, Montreal Impact midfielder Shamit Shome and Charles-Andreas Brym (Belenenses) were the other debutants, all as second-half substitutes.

Canada controlled the run of play against the Caribbean nation, with first-half goals from ‘Caps striker Tosaint Ricketts, Orlando City’s Tesho Akindele and TFC Homegrown Jonathan Osorio setting the tone before Bair’s 76th-minute capper.

“The boys responded well tonight as we haven’t had long together, but the organization and intensity was evident,” said Herdman in a match report posted by Canada Soccer. “I was particularly happy with the fluidity in the attacking third and our commitment to the high press given that many players are coming off preseason. It was a night in which we were able to build depth in our squad and take a result to start the year on a positive note.”

MLSers Akindele, Osorio, Ricketts, Maxime Crepeau, Kamal Miller, Jay Chapman and Liam Fraser all featured in the starting XI, which was captained for the first time by Montreal holding mid Samuel Piette. These two sides will meet again in another friendly on Friday before Herdman’s squad wrap up the camp with a match vs. Iceland on Jan. 15.

Les Rouges are attempting to stack up as many positive performances and results as possible as they seek to climb into Concacaf’s top six-ranked teams in the FIFA World Rankings, in order to earn a spot in the Hexagonal round of 2022 World Cup qualifying which kicks off later this year.