Gold Cup Team Preview: Canada / by Jared Young

Group B
CountryAvg AgeAvg CapsELOrankFIFArank
Costa Rica 26.7 32 16 14
Canada 26.3 23.5 78 109
Jamaica 26.6 21.6 80 65
El Salvador 24.9 17.7 88 89

By Jared Young (@jaredeyoung)

Despite having the worst FIFA Ranking in the tournament, Canada is a good bet to get out of Group B and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009. They have quietly been playing very solid soccer for the last year and collected a 5-4-2 (W-D-L) record in their last eleven matches, including impressive draws against Bulgaria, Iceland and Panama. They are 5-1-0 in their last six CONCACAF matches as well. 

How did they get here?
Canada is a co-host for the tournament and therefore an automatic qualifier. This marks their 12th Gold Cup appearance out of thirteen, so they were a good bet to qualify regardless.

What Group are they in?
They are in Group B, along with favorite Costa Rica, Jamaica, and El Salvador. The winner of the group will play the Group A runner-up (probably Panama), the runner-up will play the Group C runner-up (probably Trinidad & Tobago or Guatemala) and third place will play either the Group C (Mexico) or Group A (USA) winner.

Group Stage Schedule
DateTime (ET)CityVenueHomeAway
08-Jul 10:30PM Carson Stub Hub Center SLV CAN
11-Jul 6:30PM Houston BBVA Compass Stadium JAM CAN
14-Jul 8:30PM Toronto BMO Field CAN CRC

How are they are ranked? 
ELO: 78, rating 1700 FIFA: 109
There is quite a big difference between Canada’s ELO, which puts them 2nd in the Group and their FIFA rank which puts them last in the tournament.  While Costa Rica is clearly the Group favorite, Canada should be able to do well against El Salvador and Jamaica and they will be playing a home game in Toronto against Costa Rica. 

Who is their Head Coach?
Benito Floro
had a distinguished club coaching career, primarily in Spain where he led Real Madrid to the Copa del Rey 1992-93. Canada was his first National Team appointment, which he’s held since 2013. 

Lars Irschfeld GK Vålerenga Norway 36 48
Quilian Roberts GK Toronto FC Canada 20 1
Kenny Stamatopoulos GK AIK Sweeden 35 14
Marcel de Jong D Sporting Kansas City USA 28 33
David Edgar D Birmingham City England 28 29
Andre Hainault D Unattached Unattached 29 41
Dejan Jakovic D Shimizu S-Pulse Japan 29 22
Nikolas Ledgerwood D Energie Cottbus Germany 30 41
Astone Morgan D Toronto FC Canada 24 13
Karl Ouimette D New York Red Bulls USA 23 9
Adam Straith D Fredrikstad Norway 24 24
Tesho Akindele M FC Dallas USA 23 2
Kyle Bekker M FC Dallas USA 24 15
Julian de Guzman M Ottawa Fury FC Canada 34 80
Simeon Jackson M Unattached Unattached 28 44
Jonathan Osorio M Toronto FC Canada 23 11
Pedro Pacheco M Santa Clara Portugal 30 19
Samuel Piette M Deportivo La Coruña B Spain 20 15
Tosaint Ricketts M Hapoel Haifa Isreal 27 39
Russell Teibert M Vancouver Whitecaps FC Canada 22 13
Maxim Tissot M Montreal Impact Canada 23 6
Marcus Haber F Crewe Alexandra England 26 15
Cyle Larin F Orlando City USA 20 7

Who are the important players that I should know?
Julian de Guzman (MID) – The thirty-four year old is the team captain and has been capped 80 times. He currently plays for U.S. 2nd division club Ottawa Fury FC.

Tesho Akindele (MID) – Last season’s MLS rookie of the year has only been capped twice by Canada but adds a strong attacking threat. My favorite thing about Tesho, besides his name, is that he graduated from Colorado School of Mines.

Ashtone Morgan (LB) – The young left back has been a consistent performer for Toronto FC’s solid defensive unit. His pace allows him to take risks up field and still recover well. He is one of eight defenders on the roster but I hope the youngster is given the field time to show his capability.

Cyle Larin (FWD) – One of just two forwards on the Canada roster, the twenty year old Larin has been something of a revelation for Orlando City SC this year. He’s notched six goals in under 900 minutes, second only to Kaka on the club.

What have they done in the past?
2013: Did not escape the group stage with an 11th place finish
2011: Did not escape the group stage with a 9th place finish
2009: Lost to Honduras in quarter-finals 0-1
2007: Lost to United States in semi-finals 1-2

What do we expect from them this go around?
As I said before I believe that Benito Floro has begun to turn team Canada around and will get them to the quarterfinals. There are a number of young exciting players that will gain tremendous experience in this tournament and could even make a run to the Semifinal. Canada will finish second in the Group and will have a winnable match against Guatemala or Trinidad and Tobago, who will come out of Group C. With only three players over the age of 30 on the roster, fans will be thinking about a good run through World Cup qualifying and start dreaming of joining the elite in Russia in 2018. How’s that for optimistic?!