1 Lars Hirschfeld | G | Edmonton, AB | ROM / CFR Cluj
2 Chris Pozniak | D/M | Aurora, ON | SCO / Dundee F.C.
3 Mike Klukowski | D | Oshawa, ON | BEL / Club Brugge KV
4 Kevin McKenna | D | Calgary, AB | GER / 1. FC K÷ln
5 AndrÚ Hainault | D | Hudson, QC | CZE / FK SIAD Most
6 Julian de Guzman | M | Scarborough, ON | ESP / Deportivo La Coruna
7 Paul Stalteri | D/M | Brampton, ON | ENG / Tottenham Hotspur
8 Kevin Harmse | D/M | Vancouver, BC | CAN / Toronto FC
9 Tomasz Radzinski | M/F | Toronto, ON | BEL / K. Lierse S.K.
10 Ali Gerba | F | MontrÚal, QC | ENG / Milton Keynes Dons FC
11 Richard Hastings | D | Vancouver, BC | SCO / Inverness CT
12 Dejan Jakovic | D | Etobicoke, ON | SRB / Red Star Belgrade
13 Atiba Hutchinson | M | Brampton, ON | DEN / F.C. K°benhavn
14 Marcel de Jong | D/M | Newmarket, ON | NED / Roda JC
15 Patrice Bernier | M | Brossard, QC | DEN / FC NordsjŠlland
16 Rob Friend | F | Kelowna, BC | GER / Borussia M÷nchengladbach
17 Iain Hume | F | Brampton, ON | ENG / Barnsley FC
18 Joshua Wagenaar | G | Grimsby, ON | ENG / Yeovil Town FC
Dwayne De Rosario | M/F | Scarborough, ON | USA / Houston Dynamo
Adrian Serioux | D/M| Scarborough, ON | USA / FC Dallas
|One more loss and Canada falls off World Cup qualifying road|
By Neil Davidson, THE CANADIAN PRESS
A loss next week in Honduras and Canada's World Cup qualifying campaign is over. And the Canadian men will have to stave off elimination in San Pedro Sula on Oct. 11 without two key players.
Attacking midfielder Dwayne De Rosario and defender Adrian Serioux are suspended for a game after picking up yellow cards in a 2-1 loss in Mexico on Sept. 10. Both will be missed. De Rosario, along with Julian de Guzman, supplies creativity to the Canadian attack. And Serioux has helped anchor the defence.
The 2-1 defeat in Mexico left Canada (0-2-1) with just one point from three matches. Mexico (3-0-0) leads the group with nine points, ahead of Honduras (2-1-0) at six. A Honduras win over Canada will leave the Canadians eight points behind the Central Americans with only two games and six points left on the table.
The top two teams in the group advance to the final round of qualifying in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.
"We look at it as a match you've got to win," Canadian coach Dale Mitchell said of the Honduras game.
Mitchell, whose squad lost 2-1 to the Central Americans in Montreal on Sept. 6, knows his team is in tough but is trying to be positive.
"Do what you can to win the next game and things start to look different," he said in an interview Friday after the Canadian roster was released. "Momentum, possibly, starts to get on your side. There's only two games to play after that. So a lot of things can happen. And things can turn around very quickly. We've just got to be positive about getting results in San Pedro Sula."
A tie Oct. 11 and there is still light at the end of the tunnel, but it will be very, very dim. Canada, with two points, could then finish with eight if it wins its remaining games Oct. 15 against Mexico in Edmonton and Nov. 19 in Jamaica. But it would need Honduras to fall apart in its final two fixtures.
There has already been one casualty on the qualifying road. Veteran goalkeeper Pat Onstad has withdrawn from the squad after knocking the ball into his own net during a frenetic corner in the Aug. 20 game against Jamaica.
"It wasn't really my decision. ... The reaction that he had, to be honest with you, from a lot of people within the country I think has made him think that at the moment he'd like to just step back a little bit from the national team," Mitchell said. "It's not a retirement. But at the moment's he's not going to be involved for the next little while."
"It was a big game," the coach added of the 1-1 tie with Jamaica, the opening game of the round. "Certainly I would never have blamed the result on one person. But he got a fair bit of criticism over the goal."
Lars Hirschfeld, who has played the last two games, should start against Honduras with Joshua Wagenaar (Yeovil Town, England) as his backup. Toronto FC goalkeeper Greg Sutton was selected but chose not to accept because of family reasons since his wife just had a baby.
Mitchell said he opted not to call up Toronto FC defender Jim Brennan and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Ante Jazic because he has plenty of options on the left side.
"Mike Klukowski for me has been one of our better players, if not our best player over the three games," Mitchell said. "For those guys (Brennan and Jazic), they've got matches with their teams and I felt it was better they stayed with their teams and played - rather than come away for 10 days and maybe be not be involved as much as they would like with us."
Midfielders Daniel Imhof and Issey Nakajima-Farran are injured.
Midfielder Patrice Bernier returns from suspension while midfielder-forward Tomasz Radzinski has recovered from a hand injury. Coming into the team are defender Chris Pozniak (Dundee, Scotland) and midfielder Kevin Harmse (Toronto FC).
In reviewing the last three games, Mitchell says the Canadians showed well against Jamaica and "maybe deserved a bit more."
He was disappointed at the ensuring loss to Honduras, because his team led at the half before giving up two goals in nine minutes against a team he believes was vulnerable coming off a loss in Mexico in which it lost the lead in the second half.
Mitchell always knew facing Mexico in Mexico was a tough ask.
"We did a good job of what we set out to do. And maybe if it had gone a little bit longer (without Mexico scoring), I think that there was a game that possibly could have gone either way.
"I guess we've been close but I can't say we've hit the form that it's really going to take to get the results. And that's what we've got to do in the next three games."
Mitchell notes there is no room for mistakes in World Cup qualifying.
"So few games and on the pitch there's very little room for error as well. Because things happen at the international level very quickly ... the pace of the attacks, when the ball turns over, teams gets at you very quick and if you're a little bit out of shape, they have the quality to hurt you.
"There's very little margin for error at this level. You've got to get a lot of things right to be a team that gets result here. That's what we're working on."
Mitchell anticipates a "very good" atmosphere in San Pedro Sula, where a track around the pitch means the fans aren't on top of the players.
"It's not the most intimidating place in Central America but the fans are rabid. They'll get right behind their team and they'll make it as uncomfortable as they possibly can for us. But we've got players who have been through this before and we've got to deal well with it."
Most of the players will be arriving in Sunrise, Fla., on Sunday and Monday so Mitchell will have time with them before heading to Honduras on Thursday. The team will head to Edmonton on Oct. 12.
|QUOTE (bgnewf @ Oct 6 2008, 09:26 AM)|
|If we win this game (not outside the realm of possibility...hey TFC won away this past weekend!!!) do we realistically have to run the table to get into second place?|
|"It wasn't really my decision. ... The reaction that he had, to be honest with you, from a lot of people within the country I think has made him think that at the moment he'd like to just step back a little bit from the national team," Mitchell said. "It's not a retirement. But at the moment's he's not going to be involved for the next little while."|