USA-Canada: Canadians name roster for their 'cup final'

How big is Canada's upcoming match against the USA?

"For us, it's a cup final," Canada coach John Herdman said recently. "This is the game we have been waiting for, for 10-15 years."

Canada has not beaten the USA in an official men's international match in almost 39 years, and the matches in the Concacaf Nations League Oct. 15 in Toronto and Nov. 15 in Orlando have added significance.

Concacaf will use the FIFA rankings to determine the six teams that will enter the Hexagonal, its six-team World Cup competition that will send a minimum of three teams to Qatar 2022.

Concacaf's other 29 teams will drop into a secondary competition from which the winner will face the fourth-place team in the Hexagonal in a playoff to determine the Concacaf representative in the inter-continental playoffs.

Right now, Canada is in seventh place and needs to jump into the top six by next June to qualify for the Hexagonal.

Canada is coming off a disappointing 2019 Gold Cup, where it dropped a 3-2 decision to Haiti in the quarterfinals after leading 2-0 and appearing to be cruising. It was a disappointing exit for a team that features two of the best young forwards in Concacaf in 19-year-old Jonathan David (Gent) and 18-year-old Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich).

Having started out in MLS with the Vancouver Whitecaps, Davies is well known to U.S. fans. The Brooklyn-born David already has 10 goals this season for Gent in the Belgian Pro League and Europa League after scoring 14 goals in his first season playing on the first team in 2018-19.

"We want their best," added Herdman. "We want the challenge. We want Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David tested at that level. It's our house and we have to make sure they feel that.”

(The U.S. roster will be announced on Wednesday.)

Canada, which swept its Nations League matches against Cuba in September, will be at almost full strength.

"It's been great to be able to choose almost from a fully fit squad," said Herdman.

The squad includes 10 players from MLS teams, including midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, a key contributor on LAFC, the Supporters' Shield winner.

The most notable absentee is 36-year-old Atiba Hutchinson, who plays for Besiktas in Turkey and is recovering from an injury.

Canada Roster:
GOALKEEPERS: Milan Borjan (Crvena Zvezda, Serbia); Maxime Crepeau (Vancouver Whitecaps); Jayson Leutwiler (Blackburn Rovers, England).
DEFENDERS: Samuel Adekugbe (Valerenga, Norway); Juan Cordova (Huachipato, Chile); Derek Cornelius (Vancouver Whitecaps); Amer Didic (FC Edmonton); Stephen Eustaquio (Cruz Azul, Mexico); Doneil Henry (Vancouver Whitecaps); Richie Laryea (Toronto FC); Kamal Miller (Orlando City); Steven Vitoria (Moreirense, Portugal).
MIDFIELDERS: Scott Arfield (Rangers, Scotland); Will Johnson (Orlando City); Mark-Anthony Kaye (LAFC); Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC); Samuel Piette (Montreal Impact); Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps).
FORWARDS: Lucas Cavallini (Puebla, Mexico); Jonathan David (Gent, Belgium); Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich, Germany); Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City, Wales); Liam Millar (Kilmarnock, Scotland).

Photo: Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire
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