The 2017 Gold Cup is only a few weeks away and today, Canada released a preliminary 40-man roster that they will move forward with to the Gold Cup in July. The roster has 20 midfielders in it, making a very midfield-heavy squad. It will be interesting to see who head coach Octavio Zambrano leaves off the final roster and what he plans to do with those he takes with him to the United States of America in a month's time.
Davies, Edwards and make an exciting future for Canada
Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Alphonso Davies has had a blistering start to his Major League Soccer career and it has earned him a call up into this preliminary roster. He may not have the goals or the assists in the eleven appearances that he has made for the Whitecaps so far this season that could impress people at first glance but watching him play will explain why there is so much hype surrounding him in Vancouver and in Canada as a whole. The 16-year old has electric pace and has shown an eye for a pass that would be expected in a player older than Davies currently is. If he continues on the way he has started this MLS season and adds goals and or assists to his game, Zambrano will be hard pressed to leave him behind.
Another exciting talent is that of Raheem Edwards who has also been named in this roster. The Toronto FC man has made eight appearances so far this year and picked up five assists while playing in midfield or as a wing-back. Edwards play has also helped Toronto stay on top of the Eastern conference even with a heavy schedule and players missing games due to international duty.
Lastly, the Montreal Impact's Anthony Jackson-Hamel has come into his own this season and helped the Impact with some last minute winners to keep their season alive. The three players above have a great chance to make the final roster if they keep playing at the standard they have so far this season.
Larin and Ricketts set to battle for a starting spot
Cyle Larin and Tosaint Ricketts have both featured well so far this season although Ricketts has mainly been used as a backup to either Jozy Altidore or Sebastian Giovinco when required by Toronto FC. Larin is a regular for Orlando City SC and barring any unforeseen circumstances, is set to lead the line for Canada in July according to most experts. Larin is having a standout season so far, picking up eight goals and one assist in 15 appearances for City while Ricketts has three goals in 12 appearances.
Both players are able to find the back of the net given the opportunity and if they can continue to prove their prowess in front of goal, Zambrano will have to make a difficult choice over who to go with if he decides to play with a one-striker system.
Full preliminary roster
Goalkeepers: Milan Borjan (MKS Korona Kielce), Maxime Crepeau (Montreal Impact), Jayson Leutwiler (Shrewsbury Town FC), Simon Thomas (FK Bodø/Glimt).
Defenders: Sam Adekugbe (Brighton Hove & Albion), Kwame Awuah (New York City FC), Juan Cordova (CD Huachipato), Marcel de Jong (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Andres Fresenga (Cerro Largo FC), Dejan Jakovic (New York Cosmos), Manjrekar James (Vasas SC), Milovan Kapor, Nik Ledgerwood (FC Edmonton), Wandrille Lefevre (Montreal Impact), Tyler Pasher (Sporting Kansas City), Adam Straith (FC Edmonton), Steven Vitoria (Lechia Gdansk).
Midfielders: Fraser Aird, Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas), Scott Arfield (Burnley FC), Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact), Marco Bustos (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), David Choiniere (Montreal Impact), Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC), Kianz Froese (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Nicolas Galvis, David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City), Simeon Jackson (Walsall FC), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal Impact), Will Johnson (Orlando City SC), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Louisville City FC), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC), Michael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers), Samuel Piette (CD Izarra), Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto FC), Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps FC).
Forwards: Lucas Cavallini (Peñarol), Marcus Haber (Dundee FC), Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC).