ANALYSIS – The Canadian Men’s National team revealed their Gold Cup roster less than 24 hours after their disappointing 2-0 loss to the US in the Concacaf Nations League Final. The team is filled with a mix of both young and old, experienced faces and some fresh ones. With the message clear that Canada needs to step up to the plate in the Gold Cup after failing to win the Nations League, this team will hope to put that loss behind them and march once more to another final.
CanMNT Reveal A Newly Rotated Gold Cup Roster
Between the sticks, Herdman has not gone for any surprise picks as he chooses the same three goalies that were in his Nations League roster, with Milan Borjan, Tom McGill, and Dayne St. Clair keeping their spots in the roster from the Nations League.
In defence, experienced players like Sam Adekugbe, Richie Laryea, Kamal Miller, and Steven Vitoria make the cut once more and are joined by recent features Scott Kennedy and Dominik Zator. Some surprise faces are Colorado Rapids center-back Moise Bombito, who was recently called up as an injury relief for Derek Corenluis in the Nations League but has yet to make an appearance, as well as CF Montreal wing-back Zachary Brault-Guillard, who will look to build on the seven appearances and one goal he’s had already for the national team. The most surprising name in the defence is the new dual-national defender Zachary McGraw, who also plies his trade in the MLS for Portland Timbers. The Dual US-Canadian has seemingly chosen to side with his Canadian heritage, in a sight that will be welcomed by all those who are calling for more dual nationals on, the team.
Very strong Canada squad.
Some big stars are not there but this side can compete. Also Canada got a new dual nat in Zac McGraw! https://t.co/gcgelmCUJ2
— Josh Deming (@tv_jjd) June 19, 2023
CanMNT head coach John Herdman has decided to go with a light number of midfielders for the Gold Cup, calling up only five players. Stephen Eustaquio and Jonathan Osorio will likely lead the team in the midfield but will have able deputies with the return of the Scottish-playing pair of Victor Loturi and David Wotherspoon. One face that many from the West Coast will be proud to see is that of Ali Ahmed, the young 22-year-old midfielder from the Vancouver Whitecaps. Ali has had a meteoric rise in the Whitecaps team since the start of the 2023 MLS season, grabbing two goals and an assist in 14 games played. All eyes will be on Ali as he will fight to make his first-ever appearance for this Canada team, and hopefully impress ahead of a busy national team schedule in the coming years.
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) June 19, 2023
Herdman has decided to make up for the lack of midfield by calling up six attackers in his 2023 Gold Cup roster. This is the area of the team that has gone under the most rotation, as the only regular faces are the ever-green Junior Hoilett and the rambunctious Lucas Cavallini. Herdman has called up some recent features in Liam Millar, who recently went to the semi-finals of the UEFA Conference League with FC Basel this season, and Charles-Andreas Brym, who has been in top goalscoring form for FC Eindhoven in the Dutch second division.
The two newest, and arguably most exciting faces, are the young pair of forwards Jacen Russell-Rowe and Jacob Shaffelburg. 20-year-old striker Russell-Rowe has burst onto the MLS scene for Columbus Crew in 2023, after a stellar 2022 season in MLS Next Pro, scoring two goals and one assist in only 586 minutes this season. Meanwhile, Shaffelburg has found a new gear with Nashville in 2023, scoring three goals in 17 matches, and playing an important part for the Eastern Conference favourites before.
| MLS TOTW – MD19
Jacob Shaffelburg is the lone Canadian in this week’s @MLS Best XI, taking up a spot on the bench.
— Canucks Abroad (@Canucks_Abroad) June 19, 2023
It was clear before this international window that the Gold Cup was going to be chock-full of rotated players, and Herdman has decided to give the likes of Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan, Alistair Johnson, and Ismael Kone a well-deserved break. Some notable omissions that were thought to be called up for this rotated side include Jonathan Sirois, Joel Waterman, and Mathieu Choiniere from CF Montreal, who have been stepping up massively for an inconsistent Montreal side. As well, Ike Ugbo is left out once more after struggling for form in 2023 with a now-relegated Troyes side.
Other potential names that could have been called up are Jayden Nelson, who is currently playing in Europe for Norwegian side Rosenborg and already has two goals and two assists in just ten matches, and Daniel Jebbison, who just was promoted from the Championship to the Premier League with Sheffield United, and Luca Koleosho, who recently scored his first senior goal for his side Espanyol, in what was their last match of La Liga after getting relegated alongside Larin’s Real Valladolid. Fans will be especially disappointed with missing out on the last two players since they are also dual-national that have yet to choose their allegiances. There is a growing sentiment in the fanbase that that should be the focus for the team going forward.
Gold Cup squad takeaways!
Big stars miss out except for Steph
No Ugbo, Hiebert or Choinière
Surprised to see Borjan
Great to see McGraw
Over this is a squad that can win the entire thing!
— Josh Deming (@tv_jjd) June 19, 2023
It is a side that perhaps is not as rotated as most were initially led to believe, with various veterans still on the side after the Nations League. Nevertheless, it is still giving a great platform to impress first-time call-ups and fringe players that are looking to state their case in a transitioning team. There is plenty of opportunity for “passing of the torch” moments in this squad, and the hope will be that they can exact instant redemption by getting back to the final and this time, finishing on top.
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports, of an Ali Ahmed Headshot, on April 1, 2023.
The post CanMNT Reveal 2023 Gold Cup Roster After Disappointing CNL appeared first on Last Word On Soccer.