Julian De Guzman looks set to miss Canada’s opening match of the Gold Cup here in Detroit with a calf injury.
“He trained today and he trained a little bit yesterday but it’s still a little sore,” confirmed coach Stephen Hart.
He added: “I have to talk to my medical staff this evening and look over the reports before we make any decisions.”
However, The Score has learned De Guzman is telling people he likely won’t start tomorrow’s game. A further clue came while watching Canada go through their training session at Ford Field.
Although the media were only able to witness the first 15 minutes of Canada’s session today there was enough time to see the 30-year-old line up in the midfield alongside some other reserves against a central triangle of Atiba Hutchinson, Terry Dunfield and Dwayne De Rosario. Josh Simpson and Will Johnson operated in the wide areas.
Those five players started the match against Ecuador last Wednesday in Toronto and performed well for the first 45 minutes until De Guzman replaced Dunfield. At the time it appeared Hart was rewarding the Vancouver player with the start after a good season but it now appears that he could be about to take De Guzman’s place in the midfield when the game kicks off at 8pm on Tuesday.
Dunfield told me after training that he doesn’t expect to find out if he is starting until 90 minutes before the game tomorrow, but will be ready: “I love playing for Canada and have had a brilliant time (in the camp) so far.”
Another player who was full of smiles was Ali Gerba who operated as the lone central striker in what looked to be the first team at training and impressed many including the coaching staff.
“He looked really sharp,” said Hart, who could raise some eyebrows and play Gerba as the main target man and leave Simeon Jackson on the bench as he looks for a genuine outlet at the top of a 4-2-3-1.
The Montreal Impact striker, who had been held back from the camp last week for fitness reasons, is now injury-free and available to start and told me that playing in a lone role up front can be difficult but is one he enjoys.
Should Gerba start and Jackson miss out it will certainly be a surprise to many of the Canadian fans making their way across the border for the game. One thing that shouldn’t surprise them is the system they will play as Stephen Hart explained to me last week.