Canada Men’s National Team Performs Well in 1-1 Draw with Scotland

The Canada Men’s National Team traveled across the pond on Wednesday to take on Scotland in an international friendly. Coming into the game the Canucks were ranked a whopping 50 spots below the Scots, tempering any sort of optimism for the match. There were, however, some positives and important notes to take from the friendly for Canada.

Canada Men’s National Team Performs Well in 1-1 Draw with Scotland

Fraser Aird Needs to be Playing Right Midfielder

The first point to take from the Scotland match focuses solely on one individual, Fraser Aird. The former Vancouver Whitecaps player made the switch to Scottish soccer relatively recently, and that seems to be exactly what he needed to turn his career in the right direction. He had a great game for Canada on Wednesday, capping it off with an early goal to put Canada up 1-0, and created multiple chances after his goal as well.

Aird was easily the best player on the pitch for Canada, and was arguably the best on the pitch for both sides. It became apparent in his time in Vancouver that he wasn’t able to consistently perform at right back, and switching to play right midfielder in Scotland and for the national team has made that undeniably clear. If he can continue to perform like he did against Scotland on a consistent basis he could easily become a mainstay in the Canadian line-up.

Canada Needs to Involve Their Big Names More Often

There are a few players that are easily the best attacking options for the Canada Men’s Nation Team, and those names are Cyle Larin and Atiba Hutchinson. Larin is currently plying his trade with Orlando in MLS and Hutchinson with Besiktas in Turkey. It’s obvious that the two would provide some much-needed quality in scoring goals, Larin, and keeping possession in the midfield third, Hutchinson, against teams higher in the world rankings than Canada.

At the ripe old age of 21, Larin has already made 19 appearances for the Canada Men’s National Team, starting 13 of those appearances and knocking in five goals in the process. It is unclear on why Larin isn’t consistently called upon by Canada Soccer, but they need him now to lead the attack. And with bringing Larin in more frequently, it would allow the squad to become comfortable with his style, making it easier to adjust when the more important matches come around, and easier to knock more goals in the back of the opposing net.

As for Hutchinson, he’s a midfielder likely in the twilight of his career at 34-years-old. Despite his age, the Canada Men’s National Team should have him among the call-ups every time they possibly can. Hutchinson’s 77 international appearances, with 73 starts, is an invaluable asset to have in the locker room for a national side primarily consisting of younger players. Hutchinson can still serve a role in the midfield that other Canadians cannot, and his experience would be pivotal to finally moving Canada in the right direction in both play style and the world rankings. Hopefully newly-hired Octavio Zambrano will recognize the role these two can play for the nation.

Looking Ahead

The next match on the Canada Men’s National Team schedule isn’t for just under three months away (confirmed matches as of 03/22/17) when they take on Curacao, who currently sit 43 spots ahead of Canada in 74th. This will be another good match to capitalize on, in regards to the world rankings, and will be a good barometer of where Canada stands heading into the Gold Cup in July.

While it’s understood that Larin was likely not called upon due to his commitments with Orlando in MLS, he should be one of the first names on the team sheet for the Gold Cup, as should Hutchinson. It will be an interesting few months, and if a few of the U-23 players can perform well in their matches against Uzbekistan on March 23rd and Qatar on March 28th, there might just be a few new names making the grade for the Gold Cup call-ups.