Atiba Hutchinson (red jersey), who plays for Turkish champion Besiktas, was called up to Canada for a pair of World Cup qualifiers in September 2016. (Photo: Mexsport)
OTTAWA -- Four years after its World Cup Qualifying campaign came to an end in Honduras, Canada will be making a return there with plenty of newer faces looking to banish those memories.
Head coach Benito Floro announced the 23-man roster that will see the team travel to San Pedro Sula for a game on September 2, before wrapping up its run in the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup by hosting El Salvador in Vancouver four days later.
"Our players have demonstrated an excellent commitment along the way," said Floro. "The players trust in their capacity to achieve a place in the Hex."
Names like goalkeeper Milan Borjan, midfielder Atiba Hutchinson and Cyle Larin up front have been mainstays of the Canada qualifying campaign that started last year. The roster now, though, includes young goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, returning veteran Andre Hainault and versatile midfield Jamar Dixon. Both Dixon and Crepeau made their respective national team debuts in a friendly against the United States in January.
Midfielder Scott Arfield, who has started in both of Burnley’s first two games since its return to the English Premier League, could get his first experience in a CONCACAF road qualifier at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.
"We will only have a short window with the players in late August, just a few days for practicing tactical matters and preparing a positive mentality,” Floro finished. “As we have done in previous camps, we will ensure we are focused, efficient, and detailed in our work ethic so that we can continue to have a positive environment for the players."
Missing from the midfield, however, will be influential -- but injured -- captain Julian de Guzman.
The team will gather to train in Orlando, Florida, prior to heading to Honduras. Canada (1W-1D-2L, 4 points) currently sits in a tie for second place in Group A with Honduras. The Central Americans currently hold the tiebreaker with a superior goal difference (-1 to -4).
GOALKEEPERS: Milan Borjan (Ludogorets Razgrad/Bulgaria), Maxime Crépeau (Impact de Montreal), Kenny Stamatopoulos (AIK/Sweden)
DEFENDERS: Marcel de Jong (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Andre Hainault (1. FC Magdeburg/Germany), Doneil Henry (West Ham United/England), Dejan Jakovic (Shimizu S-Pulse/Japan), Manjrekar James (Vasas Budapest/Hungary), Nik Ledgerwood (FC Edmonton), Karl W. Ouimette (Jacksonville Armada/USA), Adam Straith (Fredrikstad/Norway), Steven Vitoria (Lechia Gdansk/Poland)
MIDFIELDERS: Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas/USA), Scott Arfield (Burnley FC/England), Jamar Dixon (Ottawa Fury FC), David Edgar (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Junior Hoilett (no club), Atiba Hutchinson (Besiktas/Turkey), Simeon Jackson (Walsall/England), Samuel Piette (Izarra/Spain), Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto FC)
FORWARDS: Marcus Haber (no club), Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC/USA)