ANALYSIS – The CanMNT World Cup roster was revealed on Sunday morning. There are several players to note on the roster. There are obviously some familiar faces, but also some new ones that were able to make the team. Also, there will also be the talk of the players who could not play because of an injury and also whether Lukas MacNaughton should have been on the CanMNT World Cup roster.
The CanMNT World Cup Roster was Officially Revealed
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) November 13, 2022
The Roster Headliners
It is no surprise that players like FC Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies, Lille OSC’s Jonathan David, and Red Star Belgrade’s Milan Borjan are on the roster. Goalkeeper, Borjan is the leader of the CanMNT. He will be depended on not just for making saves (like in the win against Mexico and the win against the USMNT), but also for making sure the team believes in themselves as they head to Qatar.
Yes, Cyle Larin is struggling for Club Brugge, but he is a big reason why they are in the FIFA World Cup, as he is the all-time goal scorer for the CanMNT. Similarly, Lille’s David is third on the all-time scoring list for Canada.
Atiba Hutchinson and Milan Borjan
The two that fans outside of Canada should familiarize themselves with are Atiba Hutchinson and Stephen Eustáquio. Hutchinson is a calm leader, the midfielder from Beşiktaş J.K. This is what Borjan said about Hutchinson when asked what Hutchinson means to the team according to Breakfast Television:
The feeling is mutual, as this is what Hutchinson said to Borjan on Breakfast Television:
“What he has done for us, is special, it’s amazing, he’s an amazing person, amazing for the group, always bringing in that positive energy. And he’s someone who everyone looks up to and respects. And for him to have the performances that he’s had for us, it has been special.”
Borjan might be the vocal leader, but Hutchinson also leads by example. Both players have been with the national team for a very long time and at points in both their careers, they probably thought they would never be on the biggest stage, the FIFA World Cup.
Lastly, there is Stephen Eustáquio from FC Porto and Steven Vitória from G.D. Chaves. These two players played a key role for the CanMNT. Eustáquio might have been the best player for Canada in the previous Gold Cup and Vitória has played exceptionally on the defensive end. Additionally, Club Brugge’s Tajon Buchanan will be a threat to any player or team that has to deal with them.
The Two Former CPL Players that are on the Roster and Injuries
— CPL News ⚽️🇨🇦 (@canplnews) November 13, 2022
Joel Waterman and James Pantemis, both made their trials and errors in CPL before making it to MLS. It did pay dividends for both players.
First off, with Waterman, he played with Cavalry FC in 2019, the inaugural season for both the club and league. That team eliminated the Vancouver Whitecaps FC from the Canadian Championship and was the best team of the regular season that year.
MLS Players on the Roster
There were 11-12 players that played on MLS teams. Dayne St. Clair is the only MLS player on the roster that plays for an American team. Goalkeeper of Minnesota United FC, St. Clair earned the 2022 MLS All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award this year and has stepped up big time this year.
After St. Clair, there are players that Canadians are familiar with like CF Montreal’s Samuel Piette and Alistair Johnston, Toronto FC’s Richie Laryea (he was loaned by the Nottingham Forest Football Club) and Jonathan Osorio, and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Lucas Cavallini.
Two players to highlight are Ismaël Koné and Whitecaps’ Derek Cornelius. Koné had a brilliant game against Bahrain, scoring his first-ever CanMNT goal. This is while Cornelius made 14 appearances already for Canada. He will be returning to the Whitecaps team but is playing right now with Panetolikos F.C. He currently has two goals in 42 games for his Greek team.
Former CPL Players Make the Roster
John Herdman tells TSN that Doneil Henry going down to injury yesterday was “the toughest day of my coaching career… he’s had a lot of people who don’t believe in him and we do”. Confirms Henry will be in Qatar in a non-playing capacity.#CanMNT
— Oliver Platt (@plattoli) November 13, 2022
Both Scott Kennedy and Doneil Henry got injured, which helped Waterman get into the team. Similarly, goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau getting injured in the MLS Cup Final against the Philadelphia Union, allowed Pantemis to make a spot on the squad.
Kennedy is out because of a shoulder injury, Crepeau broke his leg and needed surgery, and Henry got injured while warming up for the Canada vs. Morocco game as covered by Elias Laradi.
However, this should not take away from the fact that both Waterman and Pantemis deserved to make the national team. Pantemis along with Buchanan was probably the best player on the Canada U-23 team for the 202o Olympic qualifying. Pantemis excelled in that tournament, including a dominant performance in a scoreless draw against Haiti. He is a player who played in the Island Games back in 2020 for Valour FC (based in Winnipeg).
This is while Waterman just recently played his first-ever CanMNT game against Bahrain on November 11. He will be a newbie on the team. Waterman was part of that special 2019 Cavalry FC team that won the season table in the CPL and knocked out the Vancouver Whitecaps FC from the Canadian Championship.
Of the three, losing Kennedy and Henry is probably a bigger deal. While defence is not a weakness like many pundits might claim, their depth is going to be challenged in this FIFA World Cup. The most notable one though is Crepeau. He is definitely the number two goalkeeper, who found his voice and place with the team in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Before the game against Bahrain. This is what John Herdman said about Henry according to Peter Galindo of MLS:
“What I see is he contributes to the players off the field in ways that I think people don’t understand,” said Herdman. “He has those quiet conversations with players that may be going into a match nervous. He’s able to assess center forwards and give those golden nuggets to center backs that haven’t experienced that type of player.”
Herdman would then continue:
“No one’s got that profile in the group that we operate with and then he has an experience that over time, as he’s matured as a person, he’s definitely been able to transmit an element of leadership to the group.”
Thankfully, Henry will be part of the team with an off-pitch voice. His influence off the pitch will be a much-needed and guided voice as the team heads to Qatar 2022. It also shows the commitment he has to the national team, despite missing the 2022 FIFA World Cup because of an injury.
Was Lukas MacNaughton Snubbed?
— James Grossi (@grawsee) August 14, 2022
Lukas MacNaughton is a good player. It would not have been surprising to see him on the team. Saying that it would also have not been surprising to not see him on the team. MacNaughton has grown tremendously with Toronto FC this year and has had good moments like in the 4-2 win against Atlanta United FC on September 11 and winning the North Star Shield with Pacific FC in 2021. However, he has still made some notable mistakes with his new MLS club. The former Pacific FC centre-back has grown a lot and has upped his game a lot within the last few years.
Mavinga, who at one point, was one of the best defenders in MLS, had high praise for MacNaughton as seen in the above Tweet. MacNaughton is 29 years old, so he will be looking to improve his performance in 2023.
Analysis of the CanMNT World Cup Roster
There were really no surprises with the CanMNT. Yes, one could say that players like Cornelius and Waterman making the World Cup roster were unexpected. However, with injuries to the team, this left the door open for a few players to make the team.
These 26 players will get themselves ready as they face Belgium on November 23 at 2:00 PM ET. They will then face Croatia at 11:00 AM ET on November 27 and then they will face Morocco on December 1 at 10:00 AM ET. All games will be televised nationally on TSN. Furthermore, French-speaking Canadian fans in Quebec can also watch the game televised live on RDS. The 2022 CanMNT World Cup roster will be looking to make history heading into next week.
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