Benito Floro has had several young players in Canada’s national men’s soccer camp the past few days.
But when Canada kicks off against No. 3 Colombia in a friendly Tuesday in New Jersey, the focus will be on getting a result rather than getting the young players experience.
"We called up Olympic (under-23) players because we need to form a new base according to our system of play in the first team, and besides if we need during the game three or four of them, we are going to put the players on the pitch because they are capable enough to know the attacking and defensive moves," Floro said on a conference call Monday. "But we are focusing in the first lineup, the first team, because we need to maintain our level of rhythm."
Tuesday programming alert: Watch Canada vs Colombia on Sportsnet World at 9:00 pm ET. The match will also be live streamed on Sportsnet.ca || TV schedule
Veterans Julian de Guzman, David Edgar and Tosaint Ricketts will lead the Canadian side at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Youngsters like goalkeeper Quillan Roberts and defenders Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare and Karl W. Ouimette were also named to the 22-man roster for the camp that just wrapped up in Cancun, Mexico.
Floro guided Canada to a 3-1 victory last month over Jamaica, ending a 16-game winless skid for the Canadian side, which currently holds the No. 120 position in the FIFA rankings.
The Canadians face a much stiffer test against Colombia, which lost to Brazil in the quarter-finals of last summer’s World Cup.
"It’s always great to play the best teams out there, and I think it’s a good test for us, to show our growth and basically where we stand on the international stage," said Ricketts, who will make his 34th appearance for Canada’s senior side.
"I think it’s a great test for the guys, and we just need to really apply what we’re being taught, and apply our tactics and really just focus on our personal games and basically go out there and stick to what we know and what we’re taught, and then the rest comes out in the result."
Ricketts said he’s been impressed with the young players in camp, who could play major roles on Canada’s 23-and-under Olympic qualifying team.
"I see them, they’re very excited to be here, which they should (be), it’s a great opportunity for the young guys to get the experience underneath a coach like Benito, and also grow and learn new things which they can apply to their careers and their club careers," Ricketts said. "I think they’re really relishing it and learning and growing."
Floro said there are a couple of goals for Tuesday’s game — to get a result and show improvement from the most recent performance.
"Both things are very very important," said the former Real Madrid manager. "We know that Colombia is a very good team, not only because they have qualification…but because they play a modern game, action, defensive, they know how to pace… the quality is very good. So that is a very good test because we need to realize if we are improving our level."
The game will be the second half of a doubleheader at Red Bull Arena following a match between Ecuador and El Salvador.
Canada’s last encounter with Colombia was a 2-0 win in the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup final.