Canada men's team sets roster for three World Cup qualifiers

Canada, ranked No. 40, faces a challenging schedule with three matches in as many countries across seven days.

Milan Borjan

Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan   -  AFP

The Canada men's football team will have players from clubs in 11 different countries for three crucial World Cup qualifiers.

Canada, ranked No. 40, faces a challenging schedule with three matches in three countries across seven days, starting Thursday in Honduras against the 76th-ranked team. Then Canada hosts the No. 11 U.S. men's national team on Sunday in Hamilton, Ontario, before flying to San Salvador to face No. 70 El Salvador on February 2.

While some players were still in transit after weekend club matches, the Canadian men held their first practice Monday afternoon at Inter Miami's training ground in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The 25-man roster includes captain Atiba Hutchinson, goalkeeper Milan Borjan, midfielders Jonathan Osorio and Samuel Piette and forwards Jonathan David and Cyle Larin.

Canada is missing Alphonso Davies, its marquee man. The 21-year-old from Edmonton, a star fullback for Bayern Munich who plays a more attacking role for the national team, has been sidelined by myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, after testing positive for COVID-19.

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St. Johnstone midfielder David Wotherspoon is recovering from knee surgery. There has been some confusion over the status of midfielder Stephen Eustaquio, who is currently in the midst of a loan move in Portugal from FC Pacos de Ferreira to Porto. While Portuguese reports say Eustaquio tested positive for COVID-19, Canada Soccer included him on the roster and hopes he will still be able to join the national team for some of the international window.

With MLS clubs just starting pre-season, coach John Herdman's squad includes 16 players from outside North America.

With six matches remaining, Canada (4-0-4, 16 points) tops the eight-team table ahead of the U.S. (4-1-3, 15 points) and Mexico and Panama (both 4-2-2, 14 points).

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