Canada announces youthful squad for Costa Rica friendly

Interim coach Colin Miller named a highly inexperienced 18-man roster for Canada's upcoming friendly versus the Central Americans, headlined by veteran Julian de Guzman.
Canada announced Thursday its 18-man roster for a May 28 friendly against Costa Rica in Edmonton, and the prevailing theme is "inexperience."

Julian de Guzman headlines a youthful group that will represent the Red and White, with no other player on the squad even close to matching the 32-year-old's 63 international appearances.

The man with the second-most number of caps -- André Hainault -- is one of the team's senior members at just 26 years of age. The defender has made 34 international appearances for Canada, and he will be a good bet to start for a highly experiemental side helmed by interim coach Colin Miller.

"The match against Costa Rica will be a great challenge for this young group," Miller said in a statement. "Hopefully some of these young lads will rise to the occasion and stake a claim for a place at the CONCACAF Gold Cup."

Among the youngsters in the mix are 18-year-old Samuel Piette, along with Toronto FC rookie Jonathan Osorio. Despite being the youngest on the roster, Piette has become somewhat of a regular at national team camps recently (although he has only one match appearance so far), while Osorio will be looking for his first cap at the senior level.

It's not all teenagers and early twenty-somethings, however, as Canada can look to Portuguese league veteran Pedro Pacheco, goalkeeper Milan Borjan and forward Tosaint Ricketts for experience and leadership. All three have participated in the previous World Cup qualifying and CONCACAF Gold Cup campaigns.

Miller and the Canadian team will also benefit from an opponent that looks to be as experimental, with the Costa Ricans electing to rest most of their overseas stars ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier the following week.

The Central Americans, like Canada, were also limited by the fact that the May 28 friendly falls outside of the FIFA calender for international matches.

Regardless, Miller says he'll have the players at his disposal ready for the challenge of playing on home soil for the first time since Canada crashed out of World Cup qualification late last year.

"We are playing at home and we know that means we need to be positive - and I will certainly encourage the boys to be positive," he said. "We will not sit back and wait for Costa Rica to come after us."


GOALKEEPERS (3): Haidar Al-Shaïbani (Nîmes Olympique), Milan Borjan (Sivasspor), Simon Thomas ( Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

DEFENDERS (5): Nana Attakora (San Jose Earthquakes), André Hainault (Ross County FC), Doneil Henry (Toronto FC), Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC), Adam Straith (FC Saarbrücken)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Bekker (Toronto FC), Stefan Cebara (Nogometni Klub Celje), Julian de Guzman (SSV Jahn Regensburg), Issey Nakajima-Farran (Alki Larnaca) Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC), Pedro Pacheco (CD Santa Clara), Samuel Piette (Fortuna Düsseldorf)

FORWARDS (3): Randy Edwini-Bonsu (Eintracht Braunsweig), Marcus Haber (Stevenage FC), Tosaint Ricketts (Sandnes Ulf)