Borjan prepared to handle goalkeeping duties in Hirschfeld's absence

Canada's starting goalkeeper, Lars Hirschfeld, was red carded last week, which means 24-year-old Milan Borjan will get the call in Tuesday's crucial qualifier against Honduras.
TORONTO -- It may not have been the way Milan Borjan envisioned himself making his World Cup qualifying debut, but the 24-year-old handled his inauguration into the planet's biggest football tournament with poise.

Thrusted into a hotly-contested match in Havana between Cuba and Canada after starting goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld was ejected, Borjan was a steady influence at the back for the Canadians and helped preserve the 1-0 scoreline over the final 27 minutes of that game.

When Canada hosts Honduras at BMO Field on Tuesday in the next qualifier, Borjan will be called upon to man the nets from the beginning. The match against the Central Americans is perhaps the most crucial of the round, as Canada has the opportunity to put substantial distance between itself and the visitors.

That kind of pressure could present problems for a young goalkeeper, but Borjan says he's ready for it.

"I got confidence from the teammates, from the coaches, so I'm pretty excited about the match," he told reporters after training on Monday.

The Croatian-born 'keeper revealed that he got the nod to start Tuesday's match from coach Stephen Hart and his staff over the weekend, which has further motivated him to perform at his best.

"Relaxing, thinking about the game, [thinking] about doing my best in training," Borjan said of his preparation, adding that he's hoping to "just do good in the game."


Doing "good" in the match against a side that took part in the most recent World Cup is to be expected if Canada wants to reach its goals, says Hart. The coach explained that he has no concerns about putting his young goalkeeper into the firing line against a potentially desperate Honduran side looking for points.

"New goalkeeper, different name," Hart said when asked how Hirschfeld's absence would affect his team. "Other than that, the players wouldn't be picked if I didn't think they could do the job."