Canada coach Benito Floro picks new faces, leaves out some veterans for Ghana game

TORONTO — Coach Benito Floro has summoned some new faces and left some familiar ones off the roster for Canada’s Oct. 11 soccer friendly against Ghana.

Midfielders David (Junior) Hoilett of England’s Queens Park Rangers, Fraser Aird of Scotland’s Glasgow Rangers and Marco Bustos of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact defender Wandrille Lefevre make their debut with the senior squad at a camp opening Monday in Orlando, Fla.

“It is always important to provide an opportunity to new players to be integrated into the team from a tactical and social point of view,” Floro said in a statement. “To be part of future camps and our journey to Russia 2018, it was essential we brought them into our program this month for the Ghana match.”

But the roster is missing several players who were part of the last round of World Cup qualifiers against Belize with midfielders Atiba Hutchinson, Julian De Guzman, Will Johnson and Russell Teibert and forwards Tesho Akindele and Cyle Larin not involved.

Johnson is out after surgery to remove two screws from a leg broken in Toronto last season. De Guzman, Canada’s captain, is coming back from injury.

Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio, enjoying a fine MLS season, also continues to be on the outside looking in.

Others like goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, defender Luca Gasparotto and midfielders Michael Petrasso and Sam Piette are representing Canada at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.

A Canadian Soccer Association spokesman said Floro is looked to expand and test his player pool. The Spanish coach has picked a total of 53 players for his 2015 camps with 35 of those 26 years or younger.

Ghana is ranked 25th in the world, compared to No. 104 for Canada.

The game, to be played at RFK Stadium, marks the second meeting between the two. Canada won 2-1 in 1985 at the President’s Cup in Seoul.

Floro’s team is preparing for the November start of the fourth round of World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region. Canada hosts Honduras on Nov. 13 in Vancouver before playing in El Salvador on Nov. 17.

Manny Aparicio, Lucas Cavallini, Jordan Hamilton, Kianz Froese, and Simon Thomas are making their first appearance this year at a senior camp.

Cavallini, who has turned down several call-ups in the past, plays in Uruguay where he has turned heads with his goal-scoring. He has won two caps for Canada at the senior level with his last appearance as a substitute in the infamous 8-1 World Cup qualifying loss in Honduras in 2012.

Hoilett committed to play for Canada this week. The 25-year-old midfielder from Brampton, Ont., could also have played for Jamaica, via his parents’ bloodlines, or for England due to his years spent there.

The Toronto-born Aird was part of a Canadian under-15 camp in 2010 and played in a U15 friendly against the U.S. He represented Scotland at the under-17 level.

Aird, 20, was slated to be part of the Canada team at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship earlier this year, but had to sit out due to club commitments.

Canada is 5-2-4 in 2015 while Ghana is 6-4-2.

Canada

Goalkeepers: Simon Thomas, Strommen (Norway); Milan Borjan, Ludogorets Razgrad; (Bulgaria); Kenny Stamatopoulos, AIK Fotbol (Sweden). 

Defenders:  Samuel Adekugbe, Vancouver Whitecaps; Andre Hainault, FC Magdeburg (Germany); David Edgar, Sheffield United (England); Nana Attakora, San Antonio Scorpions (NASL); Adam Straith, Fredrikstad FK (Norway); Manjrekar James, Diosgyori VTK (Hungary); Karl Ouimette, New York Red Bulls; Wandrille Lefevre, Montreal Impact; Marcel De Jong, Sporting Kansas City.

Midfielders: Fraser Aird, Glasgow Rangers (Scotland); Kianze Froese, Vancouver Whitecaps; David (Junior) Hoilett, Queens Park Rangers (England); Kyle Bekker, Montreal Impact; Marco Bustos, Vancouver Whitecaps; Manny Aparicio, Toronto FC II; Maxim Tissot, Montreal Impact; Tosaint Ricketts, Boluspor FC  (Turkey).

Forwards: Marcus Haber, Crewe Alexandra (England); Simeon Jackson, Barnsley FC (England); Jordan Hamilton, Toronto FC; Lucas Cavallini, CA Fenix (Uruguay).

 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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