De Guzman available for Canadian friendly
By John Molinaro (sportsnet.ca)
Canada will be able to rely on the services of Julian de Guzman for its upcoming friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.
Canadian coach Stephen Hart announced his 18-man squad on Friday, and included on the roster list was de Guzman, a mainstay with the national team who was recently traded to FC Dallas from Toronto FC.
De Guzman's participation was in doubt as Dallas plays the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS action on Aug. 15, the same day Canada meets Trinidad in an exhibition match in Lauderhill, Florida.
Hart often has to negotiate with pro clubs in a situation like this, but the Canadian coach revealed Dallas was very co-operative in releasing de Guzman.
"(The Dallas coach) told Julian before we even came in for him that he respects the international date. We didn't have any problems," Hart told reporters during a Friday conference call.
The Trinidad friendly will be Canada's only tune-up match before it takes on Panama in back-to-back World Cup qualifiers on Sept. 7 in Toronto, and four days later in Panama City. After the Panama games, Canada hosts Cuba on Oct. 12 in Toronto, and visits Honduras on Oct. 16 to close out group play.
Other notable players named to Canada's roster Friday include goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld, defender Marcel de Jong and midfielder Nik Ledgerwood.
Although this is a FIFA international date where pro teams must release players, Hart said last month that he wouldn't field a full-strength side. Many European-based players begin their regular seasons the weekend before the Trinidad contest, while the MLS regular season is in full swing.
With this in mind, Hart selected a team that features some regular starters and players who have yet to feature or have seen limited playing time for Canada in the past.
Absent is D.C. United star Dwayne De Rosario, voted Major League Soccer's MVP last season and Canada's all-time leading scorer. De Rosario is nursing a shoulder injury.
Also missing are several European-based regulars, including Simeon Jackson and Atiba Hutchinson, who are involved in pre-season training with their pro clubs.
Even though Toronto FC plays the Portland Timbers on Aug. 15, Hart was able to call up defender Doneil Henry and midfielder Terry Dunfield.
Hart could have taken as many as four Toronto players, including defender Ashtone Morgan. But he came to a compromise about not selecting the young right back after speaking with TFC coach Paul Mariner.
"It's a bit of give and take in these situations when (the clubs) play on the same day as us," Hart explained.
Henry is one of four players who could earn their first senior team caps against Trinidad, along with midfielder Russell Teibert, and forwards Evan James and Lucas Cavallini. All four were part of the Canadian Olympic team that reached the semifinals of the CONCACAF Men's Olympic qualifying tournament in March.
Hart thought this international match was a good opportunity for him to further evaluate Cavallini, a player he doesn't get to see too much because he plays professionally in Uruguay.
"He plays in a different type of league. He's a player that looks like if he plays consistently and keeps his head on his shoulders he can develop very rapidly," Hart stated.
Also, Dunfield and Patrice Bernier have earned recalls (they didn't play in Canada's most recent matches in June), while de Jong and Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault are back in the national team fold after recovering from lengthy injury problems.
Bernier fell out of the national team setup over the past few years due to injury problems and a lack of playing time with his previous club. But since signing with the Montreal Impact last December, Bernier has played his way back into selection for Canada with his impressive and balanced performances in MLS this season.
Hart said Bernier is firmly in his future plans beyond the Trinidad game.
"If you look at my comments when he wasn't selected, he was coming off a bad injury and he moved to a new club, and I felt he needed to play and get back into the groove of playing. That's exactly what happened," Hart stated.
"Patrice has been playing and he's been playing consistently. He started off slow and now he is one of the most important players (for Montreal)."
Canada currently sits in second place in its CONCACAF semifinal round qualifying group with four points. Panama tops the group with six points. Honduras is third (one point) and winless Cuba is fourth.
The top two teams in the round robin group advance to "the Hex," the final round of CONCACAF qualifying where the best three nations in the six-team group automatically qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Canada is ranked 79th in the most recent FIFA world rankings released this week, one spot ahead of Trinidad. The two sides have not met since 2000 when they faced off five times, including in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup which saw Canada earn a 1-0 victory en route to winning the tournament.CANADIAN ROSTER (pro club in brackets)GOALKEEPERS:
Lars Hirschfeld (Valerenga Fotball/Norway)
Milan Borjan (Sivasspor/Turkey)DEFENDERS:
Dejan Jakovic (D.C. United /MLS)
Andre Hainault (Houston Dynamo/MLS)
Marcel de Jong (FC Augsburg/Germany)
Ante Jazic (Chivas USA/MLS)
Doneil Henry (Toronto FC/MLS)MIDFIELDERS:
Nik Ledgerwood (Hammarby Fotboll/Sweden)
Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps/MLS)
Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault (unattached)
Julian de Guzman (FC Dallas/MLS)
Terry Dunfield (Toronto FC/MLS)
Will Johnson (Real Salt Lake/MLS)
Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact/MLS)
Pedro Pacheco (CD Santa Clara/Portugal)FORWARDS:
Tosaint Ricketts (unattached)
Lucas Cavallini (Club Nacional/Uruguay)
Evan James (Montreal Impact/MLS)