By now the story is the stuff of urban legend in Canadian soccer circles. Facing the biggest game in years and playing the first meaningful game in Toronto in a generation, the senior men’s national team was struggling to find its grove against Jamaica in the opening game of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Everyone understood that a win was vital. Yet, allegedly, when the Canadian team entered the dressing room for its halftime talk, then manager Dale Mitchell disappeared into the coach’s room without a word. There he sat for the full 15 minutes.
No adjustments. No speech. No coaching. The Canadian team was left to their own devices in the biggest international game that most had ever played.
The result was a tepid 1-1 draw that, when combined with a loss to Honduras in Montreal days later, all-but-eliminated Canada from South Africa barely after the qualifying round had started.
This story circulated around the team for the rest of the qualifying campaign. It was used as a weapon by Mitchell’s detractors in an effort to remove him as coach. It was widely suggested that those efforts were coming from inside the dressing room, which was led by a small group of senior players that did not care for how Mitchell ran the team.
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The roster for the August 15th friendly against Trinidad & Tobago was just released. Here it is:
1- GK- Lars Hirschfeld | NOR / Vålerenga Fotball
2- M- Nik Ledgerwood | SWE / Hammarby Fotboll
3- M – Russell Teibert | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
4- CB- Dejan Jaković | USA / D.C. United
5- CB- André Hainault | USA / Houston Dynamo
6- M – Julian de Guzman | USA / FC Dallas
7- M – Terry Dunfield | CAN / Toronto FC
8- M- Will Johnson | USA / Real Salt Lake
9- F- Tosaint Ricketts |
10- F- Lucas Cavallini | URU / Club Nacional
11- FB- Marcel de Jong | GER / FC Augsburg
12- M- Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault |
13- FB- Ante Jazić | USA / Chivas USA
14- M/F- Evan James | CAN / Impact Montréal
15- CB- Doneil Henry | CAN / Toronto FC
16- M- Pedro Pacheco | POR / CD Santa Clara
18- GK- Milan Borjan | TUR / Sivasspor
20- M – Patrice Bernier | CAN / Impact Montréal
The press has caught on to three debuts in Lucas Cavallini, Russell Teibert and favourite Doneil Henry. It’s good to give the kids a chance to drive the car once in a while, but maybe the Henry pick in particular will let Stephen Hart go about his business without being bothered over picking Doneil Henry.
Anyway, it’s a friendly. Hart had typically banal but very nice things to say about each call up. Some controversy over Dwayne De Rosario’s absence apparently as local DC media claimed he’d be going to Florida for Canada. Don’t know what happened there.
And apparently FC Dallas were totally cool with Julian De Guzman playing despite the fact they have a game on the same day, August 15th. “No, it’s totally fine Stephen, we don’t need him this week. At all. We’ll do perfectly fine without him.”
And, the rest.