Canada names MLS-heavy roster for men’s friendly vs. Bermuda

Toronto FC's Jonathan Osorio. (Andres Kudacki/AP)

The Canadian men’s team on Thursday announced its roster for an upcoming friendly against Bermuda, the majority of the side coming from the ranks of Major League Soccer.

The 18-man squad includes veterans Marcel de Jong (Vancouver Whitecaps) and Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto FC), as well as young prospects Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal Impact), Marco Bustos (Whitecaps) and Jay Chapman (TFC).

Chapman, Marco Carducci (unattached), Ben McKendry (Vancouver Whitecaps), Sean Melvin (Vancouver Whitecaps 2) and Ben Fisk (FC Edmonton) have yet to earn their first caps for Canada. The roster also includes Orlando City’s Will Johnson and Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio, two players who fell out of favour with former Canadian coach Benito Floro. De Jong could earn his 50th cap for Canada if he plays on Sunday.

Canada will take on Bermuda on Jan. 22 at the Bermuda National Sports Centre in the capital city of Hamilton.

Because Sunday’s game does not fall on an approved FIFA date, no European-based players have been called into the Canadian side. Instead, all 18 players come from MLS, the USL and NASL—three North America-based leagues that are in their respective off-seasons. In total, 10 of the 18 players are from MLS.

Defenders David Edgar (Vancouver Whitecaps), Carl Haworth (Otttawa Fury) and Nik Ledgerwood (FC Edmonton), and forward Cyle Larin (Orlando City) are missing due to injury.

The Canadian team has been training in Fort Lauderdale, Florida since Jan. 12. Twenty-seven players were invited to the training camp before coach Michael Findlay whittled down the list to 18.

Findlay has served as interim coach since last September when Floro did not have his contract extended following Canada’s elimination from World Cup qualifying. The Bermuda contest will be Findlay’s fourth in charge. Soccer Canada has yet to hire a full-time replacement for Floro.

Sunday will mark the ninth contest between the two nations dating back to 1968. Canada is undefeated against Bermuda, with four wins and four draws, including a 3-0 victory in the previous meeting in 2007 thanks to goals from Atiba Hutchinson, Tomasz Radzinski and Paul Stalteri.

Canada is 120th in the current FIFA world rankings, 66 spots ahead of Bermuda.

This is the fist game of 2017 for Canada as it prepares to compete in this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

NOTE: Gavin Day will be in Bermuda and will file regular reports for Sportsnet over the next few days.

CANADA’S ROSTER
Goalkeepers: Callum Irving (Ottawa Fury) and Sean Melvin (Vancouver Whitecaps 2).
Defenders: Nana Attakora (San Francisco Deltas), Dejan Jakovic (unattached), Wandrille Lefevre (Montreal Impact), Maxim Tissot (unattached) and Marcel de Jong (Vancouver Whitecaps).
Midfielders: Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas), Kyle Bekker (unattached), Marco Bustos (Vancouver Whitecaps), Jay Chapman (Toronto FC), Ben Fisk (FC Edmonton), Will Johnson (Orlando City), Ben McKendry (Vancouver Whitecaps), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC) and Adam Straith (unattached).
Forwards: Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal Impact) and Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto FC).