Canadian men's national team head coach John Herdman has announced the 25-player roster for his side's final World Cup qualifiers, with 19-year-old CF Montreal midfielder Ismael Kone among the surprises to make the cut.
The Major League Soccer player has made only seven appearances for CF Montreal, but made an impact on the CanMNT head coach after a recent showing in the 2022 campaign.
“One thing that I have seen consistently is just a fearless mindset,” said Canada coach John Herdman.
“I think the game this weekend versus Atlanta United, he was able to show that sort of resilience that I think is really important to be part of this team where you can make a mistake and come back and produce a performance like he did.”
Herman also included Minnesota United goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair in the roster, standing as the second player next to Kone who was not part of the January World Cup qualifying squad.
Alphonso Davies did not make the cut, as he remains on the sidelines recovering from mild myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.
"We were desperate to have him in to be part of clinching a World Cup berth,” Herdman said of Davies.
“To help him experience all of the effort he put in over these four years. But there are bigger things ahead and his health, anything around the heart, is so precarious. I think all of us just want to make sure he comes back to full health and the best place for him to be is with Bayern Munich."
Midfielder Stephen Eustaquio and defender Richie Laryea were both included despite a lack of match fitness.
"What we know is they might not be able to turn it on for 95, 100 minutes but there will be a period in the game where these players will suffer a bit. But at the end of the day, they have showed a resilient mindset and if I believe the science and everything that science told us, we would not be where we are at now.”
Canada currently leads the Concacaf table, and could look to clinch a World Cup ticket with one victory during the March round of qualifiers.
Full Canada roster:
- Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade)
- Maxime Crepeau (Los Angeles FC)
- Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota United)
- Sam Adekugbe (Hatayspor)
- Derek Cornelius (Panetolikos)
- Cristian Gutierrez (Vancouver Whitecaps)
- Doneil Henry (Los Angeles FC)
- Alistair Johnston (CF Montreal)
- Scott Kennedy (Jahn Regensburg)
- Richie Laryea (Nottingham Forest)
- Kamal Miller (CF Montreal)
- Steven Vitoria (Moreirense)
- Stephen Eustaquio (FC Porto)
- Liam Fraser (KMSK Deinze)
- Atiba Hutchinson (Besiktas)
- Mark-Anthony Kaye (Colorado Rapids)
- Ismael Kone (CF Montreal)
- Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC)
- Tajon Buchanan (Club Brugge)
- Lucas Cavallini (Vancouver Whitecaps)
- Jonathan David (Lille)
- Junior Hoilett (Reading)
- Cyle Larin (Besiktas)
- Liam Millar (FC Basel)
- Ike Ugbo (Troyes, on loan from Genk)