Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team will call on the home crowd for their last match of Concacaf Nations League Qualifying. It is a match that matters, with Canada needing a win to guarantee their spot in both the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup and 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League Group A.
To help get Canada over the line, coach John Herdman has called an exciting group of players for the Sunday 24 March decisive match at BC Place in Vancouver. Canada’s home crowd will have a chance to get behind the Canada team that features experienced, young and emerging stars as well as the homecoming of 2018 Canadian Player of the Year Alphonso Davies.
Every game you play at home is special, but this game has the little something extra as the result could really shape the destiny for Canada,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach. “For the people of British Columbia, they’ve been amazing at being there for Canada when we’ve needed them most and we need them out again on March 24th to help this team make history by qualifying for Concacaf Nations League Group A”.
The Canada-French Guiana match kicks off at 15.00 local at BC Place in downtown Vancouver. Fans are encouraged to be there when it matters to cheer on Canada’s soccer heroes and next generation of up-and-coming young stars. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.ca starting as low as $20. A special ‘Me+3’ ticket offer is available for this match. By purchasing three tickets in Price Category 2, fans will receive the fourth one free. Fans can visit canadasoccer.com/tickets for complete ticket information.
Of the 34 nations in Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, the top-10 qualify for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup while the top-6 also qualify for 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying Group A. With just the one match remaining, Canada are in third place with nine points and +14 goals difference.
Including Canada, six nations have reached nine points with three straight wins while nine other nations could still equal that mark with a win in the last week of the qualifying competition. French Guiana are in 12th place with six points, so they will be desperate to get a win in order to qualify for the Concacaf Gold Cup like they did two years ago.
Incidentally, the only previous Canada-French Guiana encounter was the Concacaf Gold Cup opener in 2017. Davies scored his first two international goals in that match at age 16, making it 3-0 on the hour mark and then 4-2 after a brief French Guiana rally.
CANADA’S HEROES COMING TO BC PLACE
Canada will field their best lineup for the home international on Sunday 24 March in Vancouver. Veterans include midfielder Scott Arfield, goalkeeper Milan Borjan, centre back David Edgar, midfielder Will Johnson, and midfielder Atiba Hutchinson. Like Davies, both Johnson and Hutchinson have won Canadian Player of the Year honours.
Borjan, the Canadian record holder for clean sheets in UEFA competitions, was recently named the Red Star Belgrade Male Athlete of the Year for the 2018 season. Just last year, Borjan helped his club with the Serbian SuperLiga title and qualify for UEFA Champions League.
Also coming home from overseas in Europe, winger Junior Hoilett plays Cardiff City FC in the Premier League, fullback Samuel Adekugbe plays for Vålerenga Fotball in Norway, goalkeeper Simon Thomas plays for Kongsvinger IL in Norway, Arfield plays for Rangers FC in Scotland, and both Hutchinson and Cyle Larin play for Beşiktaş JK in Turkey.
Davies, who now plays for FC Bayern Munich in Germany, returns to BC Place where he spent the last four years in the Vancouver Whitecaps organisation. Current Vancouver players called into the Canadian team for the March match are goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau, centre backs Derek Cornelius and Doneil Henry, and midfielder Russell Teibert.
Other big stars in the Canadian squad are forward Lucas Cavallini of Puebla FC in Mexico, Mark-Anthony Kaye of Los Angeles FC, Samuel Piette of Impact de Montréal, and 2018 George Gross Memorial Award winner Jonathan Osorio of Toronto FC.
“Having got to know this group of men, I know how important it is for them to play at home so that our heroes in red shirts are visible to our young fans, it’s a big part of why they do what they do,” said Herdman. “For the players coming back into Canada, there is always that extra emotion playing on home soil, these men have worked to earn the right to sing the national anthem with their fellow Canadians and to them there’s no better feeling, it’s just special and even more so when the game they’re about to play has real meaning and they hear and feel that Canadian support.”
YOUNGSTERS ON THE RISE
Davies is one of seven call ups aged 21 or younger, all returning from promising 2018 seasons on the international stage. Davies, 18, is joined by teenagers Jonathan Davies of KAA Gent in Belgium, Liam Millar of Kilmarnock FC in Scotland, and Ballou Tabla of Albacete Balompié in Spain. Other youngsters are Zachary Brault-Guillard of Impact de Montréal, Derek Cornelius of Vancouver, and Marcus Godinho of Heart of Midlothian in Scotland.
Davies, Brault-Guillard, Cornelius, Millar, and Tabla have all joined new teams since last year, with Davies notably joining German Bundesliga giants FC Bayern while 2018 Canadian Youth International of the Year Cornelius signed with Vancouver. Brault-Guillard is out on loan from Olympique Marseille, Millar is out on loan from Liverpool FC, and Tabla is out on loan from FC Barcelona.
CANADA SOCCER MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM
Canada posted a perfect international record with four wins and four clean sheets in 2018, a first for the Men’s National Team Program. Three of those wins were in Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, pushing Canada into third place in the 34-nation competition with nine points and +14 goals difference. In September, Canada set a national record with eight goals scored in a single match, an 8:0 away victory over US Virgin Islands. In October, Canada set a national record for the biggest goal difference in a home match, a 5:0 win over Dominica at BMO Field in Toronto.
Canada are two-time CONCACAF champions, having won the CONCACAF Championship in 1985 and the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2000. In winning the 1985 CONCACAF Championship, Canada qualified for the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™; in winning the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Canada qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup Korea/Japan 2001.
GK- Milan Borjan | SRB / FK Crvena zvezda (Red Star Belgrade)
GK- Maxime Crépeau | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
GK- Simon Thomas | NOR / Kongsvinger IL
CB- Derek Cornelius | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
CB- David Edgar | ENG / Hartlepool United FC
CB- Doneil Henry | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
FB- Samuel Adekugbe | NOR / Vålerenga Fotball
FB- Zachary Brault-Guillard | CAN / Impact de Montréal
FB- Marcus Godinho | SCO / Heart of Midlothian FC
M- Scott Arfield | SCO / Glasgow Rangers FC
M- Atiba Hutchinson | TUR / Beşiktaş JK
M- Will Johnson | USA / Orlando City SC
M- Mark-Anthony Kaye | USA / Los Angeles FC
M- Jonathan Osorio | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Samuel Piette | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M- Russell Teibert | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F- Lucas Cavallini | MEX / Puebla FC
F- Jonathan David | BEL / KAA Gent
F- Cyle Larin | TUR / Beşiktaş JK
W- Alphonso Davies | GER / FC Bayern München
W- David Junior Hoilett | WAL / Cardiff City FC
W- Liam Millar | SCO / Kilmarnock FC
W- Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla | ESP / Albacete Balompié