Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team are determined to close out 2018-19 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying with a win at home this Sunday 24 March at BC Place against French Guiana. 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.
It will be an exciting match for the home fans who will get a chance to watch some of Canada’s best soccer players in action, including several young stars who will be playing in British Columbia for the first time.
“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”.
A win or draw will qualify Canada for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup and the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League Group A. Canada are currently in third place (undefeated with nine points) while French Guiana are in 11th place (six points with one match remaining). From 34 nations in Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, the top-10 will qualify for the Concacaf Gold Cup while the top-6 will also qualify for Concacaf Nations League Group A.
“The future looks bright as we have a lot of young players with good clubs and that is very important, especially at that young age,” said Atiba Hutchinson, a six-time Canadian Player of the Year. “We are in a good place, believing in ourselves and trusting in ourselves. Our young players are confident and they believe in themselves, so I hope we continue to build off what we have been doing as a group.”
Canada have been undefeated so far in Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, in fact recording the first perfect season in program history in 2018 with four wins and four clean sheets in four international matches (one friendly match and three qualifying matches).
In Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, Canada have wins against US Virgin Islands (8:0), Dominica (5:0), and St. Kitts and Nevis (1:0). French Guiana have wins against Guyana (2:0) and Anguilla (5:0), but a narrow loss to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (0:1).
Canada’s home crowd will have a chance to get behind the Canada team that features experienced, young and emerging stars. Canada’s lineup featured eight players aged 21 or younger, including teen stars Jonathan David 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 Whitecaps, Liam Fraser of Toronto FC, Marcus Godinho of Heart of Midlothian in Scotland, and Kamal Miller of Orlando City SC.
Brault-Guillard, Cornelius, Millar, and Tabla have all joined new teams since last year. Brault-Guillard is out on loan from Olympique Lyon, Millar is out on loan from Liverpool FC, and Tabla is out on loan from FC Barcelona.
“Our team is very exciting right now with the offensive quality that we have in this new generation of players,” said young veteran Samuel Piette who has already made 40 international “A” appearances at age 24. “We have some young talented players that are new to this team that Vancouver will have a chance to see at BC Place for the first time.”