Big Omissions Highlight CMNT for Gold Cup

For Canada, the talking point is who isn’t there, rather than who is actually there
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, June 27, 2013

Made in Canada - coverage of the Canadian MLS, NASL & USL Clubs, CSL, PCSL, Canadian Championship & Canada National Teams

Recently, 22 men were called up to represent Canada’s Men's National Team in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. These 22 men will be relied on against Martinique, Mexico and Panama

At first glance, it is reassuring to see a name like Keven Aleman on the roster, given the young man’s heavy flirting with the Costa Rican federation at earlier times. And if players like Will Johnson and Russell Teibert, who have played very well for their MLS teams, can take those performances to the Canadian team, they are also a welcome inclusion.

With an average age of 24.5 this is also a fairly young team, something that makes great sense given the Canadian Soccer Association’s commitment to rebuilding.

To some it might seem odd to exclude Dwayne De Rosario and Patrice Bernier on the basis of age while still bringing in Julian de Guzman and Lars Hirchfeld. But if the squad is to be just relatively competitive, some older players must be included, both as mentors and as contributors.

Could DeRo or Bernier have played that role? Probably. But given the commitment to change and youth, it is limited how many veterans could be brought along and then it becomes a difficult puzzle, with variables such as position, playing style, ability to teach, quality of play, etc., that determines who is brought along.

Had DeRo or Bernier been on the team to mentor, I wouldn’t have complained too loud, but in the name of change I am happy to see that de Guzman and Hirschfeld are the only players over 30 on the roster.

There are, however, some very clear absentees. Arguably Canada’s best player, Atiba Hutchinson, will not be playing  in the Gold Cup, as he is out of contract and fears a potential injury in the tournament could ruin his club search. Andre Hainult is of the same opinion.

And while this is an understandable concern, these are good players that could still perform for Canada for years to come and it would be preferable if they were part of the rebuild from the beginning.

Other unattached players such as Simeon Jackson, Randy Edwini-Bonsu, De Guzman and Adam Straith, have also seen the tournament as a showcase rather than a risk and hopefully a strong-ish performance by Canada in the tournament could help them on to new clubs.

But arguably the most noticeable player not on the roster is Lucas Cavallini. The youngster is seen by many as a key player in Canada’s offense for the future, and while he is indeed cap-tied for Canada, it is worrying what those personal reasons keeping him out might be.

So while the Canadian side is by no means its best team, it shows that the country is moving forward with the youth movement. But this in no way says Canada is any better currently, as the side seems to be missing that guiding light that could only be brought on by experienced players.

NEXT UP: July 7 – Gold Cup: Canada vs. Martinique, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. 5:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel, Univision. 

Henrik LONNE

Copenhagen Business School
Club Domestic:
AGF Aarhus
Club Foreign:
Toronto FC
Born and raised in Denmark, the US performance in the 2002 World Cup dragged Henrik into the world of North American soccer. Subsequent trips to Canada made him a Toronto FC fan from abroad. The passion he now has for MLS outshines most European leagues.