As part of their World Cup build up, Canada will take to the field against fellow World Cup participants, Qatar and Uruguay. It will be a good test for John Herdman’s side, who almost have a club like bond such is the team chemistry right now with the CMNT. That doesn’t mean however that there isn’t room for changes, and if Herdman does want to look at other options ahead of that first group game against Belgium, here are five players who could be ready to take advantage if any opportunity is given to them in this window!
1. Dayne St. Clair
Canada are set at goalkeeper heading into Qatar. Milan Borjan has been an imperious presence in goal for Canada, having made numerous important saves for Les Rouges in their 2022 Qualification campaign and is seen by the squad as one of its leaders. However, Borjan turns 35 this year, and while goalkeeper typically have the longest shelf life’s in soccer, it’s uncertain if he’ll be between the sticks after 2022 – which leaves Canada’s future number jersey open.
Dayne St. Clair has been fantastic in MLS this season for Minnesota United. Having fully established himself this season, St. Clair has wasted no time making an impact and was awarded with an MLS All Star call up this season, and even earned MVP honours in the MLS All Star game! St. clair has almost single handily won Minnesota points this season, and many are excited to see him add to his one cap for Canada so far. With the position of number two firmly up in the air between St. Clair and Maxime Crépeau, the less experienced (of the two) St. Clair will be hoping to see some action in order to show John Herdman and Canadians alike what he can do on the big stage.
2. Joel Waterman
From U Sports – to CPL – to MLS, – to the Canadian Mens National Team! It’s been a meteoric rise for the centre back from Langley, British Columbia who alongside Canada stalwarts Kamal Miller and Alistair Johnston have been a key reason as to why CF Montreal are legitimate MLS Cup contenders!
Waterman has made twenty-eight appearances for Montreal this MLS season, and has made seventy-six clearances, thirty-five interceptions and has completed eighty-eight percent of his passes. At the other end, he also has three goals and two assists, all of which has impressed John Herdman. Canada seem settled at centre back with Kamal Miller and Steven Vitória heading into Qatar, but after that, the backup positions are up for grabs! Doneil Henry has struggled with Toronto lately, and if Waterman can impress against either Qatar or Uruguay, there is no reason he can’t make the squad this November!
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3. Ismaël Koné
At just twenty years old, the world is Koné’s oyster at the moment. He has been a breakout star for Montreal this season, and in March he made his Canada debut ages just nineteen! Throughout the summer window, the central midfielder was heavily linked with moved to the English championship, and it seems almost inevitable that he will leave Montreal for Europe sooner rather than later.
At this point, Koné has made just two appearances for Canada and the more game time he can get at international level, the better! This window marks the perfect opportunity for Koné to start at central midfield, regular starter and Canada captain Atiba Hutchinson is injured and it reminds to be seen just how fit he’ll be come the World Cup. If Koné can impress against international opposition, it’ll leave Canada feeling a lot better about their central midfield options should the worst case scenario bare true for Hutchinson.
4. Theo Corbeanu
A contributor in Canada’s early qualification campaign, Corbeanu has been making headlines for all the right reasons in England. After scoring three goals in thirty-five games last season, the Wolverhampton Wanderers forward went on loan to Blackpool for this season, and has already matched his goal-scoring tally from last season in just eight games! The Championship is one of the most demanding leagues in all of Soccer, so being able to score against the likes of Burnley and Huddersfield stands the young striker in great stead!
This international window comes at the perfect time for Corbeanu, who has played six times for Canada, although he hasn’t featured since the 2021 GOLD Cup. Now he’s back, and while it’s perhaps not likely he’ll make the World Cup squad, it’s not impossible. If Corbeanu can impress Herdman in this window and keep up his dorm with Blackpool, then perhaps these two games between Qatar and Uruguay will be looked back in as the moment the young forward from Hamilton, Ontario fully makes his Canada breakthrough!
5. Iké Ugbo
Cyle Larin and Jonathan David are Canada’s two best strikers going into the World Cup, but Ugbo provided Canada with a Plan B upfront. A tall physical striker, Ugbo has often been used as an impact sub for Canada, having made six appearances but only one start. Even then, Ugbo’s one start was in a rain-soaked Honduras – on a pitch where soccer went to die!
We know he’s a good striker, Ugbo applies his trade for Troyes in the French Ligue 1, a top-five European league. In fact Ugbo played a very important role in keeping Troyes in the division last season with his five goals in the second half of last season. Many Canadian fans are keen to see Ugbo get a proper run out for Les Rouges, and this window will hopefully Ugbo the chance to start for Canada, and maybe even get his first goal for Canada as well!
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