Canada Soccer handed down some major news on Friday afternoon, as they revealed the roster for the men’s national team’s three upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches, as well as confirmed that Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium will be the venue for their home games in November.
Coach John Herdman revealed a 27-man squad for October’s window, in which Canada will play away from home in Mexico (Oct. 7) and Jamaica (Oct. 10), before they return to Canadian soil to take on Panama at BMO Field (Oct. 13). Included in the group are key names like Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies and Lille striker Jonathan David, alongside most of the cast who took part in the first three games of the Octagonal stage in early September like Stephen Eustaquio and Tajon Buchanan.
Canada enters this crucial second window tied for second place in the “Octagon” with the United States, having beaten El Salvador and drawn 1-1 with both Honduras and the U.S. in the previous round of games. Mexico, Canada’s first opponent in October, sits in first with seven points, and Panama — who Canada will play at home on Oct. 13 — are level with Les Rouges on five points. Canada’s third October foe, Jamaica, struggled out of the gate in September and claimed just one point from three games, but with a very strong squad they, too, are expected to pose a major threat.
Expanded squad adds depth with injury concerns
Notably, fullback Zachary Brault-Guillard of CF Montreal is back in the squad after missing out in the last window, as are Derek Cornelius (Panetolikos), Charles-Andreas Brym (FC Eindhoven), Liam Millar (FC Basel), and Jacob Shaffelburg (Toronto FC). Key players Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade), Atiba Hutchinson and Cyle Larin (both Besiktas) are all included in the squad as well, despite recent injury concerns.
Herdman said that Hutchinson and Larin are still working their way back from injury, but might be able to participate to some extent in this window — and the same goes for Borjan, who recently tested positive for COVID-19 with his club in Serbia.
“I think there’s a chance that the three of them may see some time during this 10-day window, and I think that’s the beauty, we’ve still got a little bit more time right up until our last game against Panama,” Herdman said of the trio. “They’re on our roster; they’re certainly not healthy at the moment, and they’re still in their own return to play plans, but we’ve been working with them individually, with their clubs, to look at options and ways that we can make sure we put our strongest foot forward in this window.”
Centre-back Scott Kennedy is absent from the squad after playing in the previous window, with Herdman confirming that the defender is dealing with an injury that will extend beyond this window. The coach also explained that Junior Hoilett will be unavailable for the trip to Mexico due to travel and quarantine rules from the United Kingdom.
CanMNT hope to make life difficult for opponents with November games in Edmonton
Alongside the squad announcement, Canada Soccer revealed that the two home games scheduled for early November against Costa Rica (Nov. 12) and Mexico (Nov. 16) will be played at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium — a 56,000-seat venue that’s home to the CFL’s Edmonton Elks and has hosted major soccer games before (including 11 matches at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup).
“Three things. One, it’s a World Cup 2026 city,” Herdman pointed out. “We know, having been in the Commonwealth when (Christine) Sinclair scored a penalty, it can sell out, and it was a sea of red in that game. So that’s the first one, it’s got a history of supporting Canadian teams.
“The second is controlling our destiny. We could’ve made things a lot easier and played in different environments, but we wanted to make it difficult for the opponents, we wanted to make them travel across time zones, play in a Canadian winter on a surface that they won’t be happy with. We get a chance to play two matches at home in an environment we can control and get our players acclimatized to and ready to create a fortress out west.”
Finally, Herdman added that it’ll be the first time Edmonton native Alphonso Davies will get to play in his hometown for the national team.
“And then the third thing is bringing Phonzie home,” he said. “He’s done so much for this country, whether it’s the speech that lit up the world in helping land 2026, to what he’s achieved on a global stage, and to allowing him to come home and be appreciated by the people who have watched him from afar. I think it’s a great little storyline, and we’re excited for this one, this is gonna be two big home matches.”
GK- Milan Borjan | SRB / FK Crvena zvezda (Red Star Belgrade)
GK- Maxime Crépeau | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
GK- James Pantemis | CAN / CF Montréal
CB- Derek Cornelius | GRE / Panetolikos FC
CB- Doneil Henry | KOR / Suwon Samsung Bluewings
CB- Kamal Miller | CAN / CF Montréal
CB- Steven Vitória | POR / Moreirense FC
FB- Samuel Adekugbe | TUR / Hatayspor FC
FB- Zachary Brault-Guillard | CAN / CF Montréal
FB- Alistair Johnston | USA / Nashville SC
FB- Richie Laryea | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Stephen Eustáquio | POR / FC Paços de Ferreira
M- Liam Fraser | USA / Columbus Crew SC
M- Atiba Hutchinson | TUR / Beşiktaş JK
M- Mark-Anthony Kaye | USA / Colorado Rapids
M- Jonathan Osorio | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Samuel Piette | CAN / CF Montréal
M- David Wotherspoon | SCO / St. Johnstone FC
F- Charles-Andreas Brym | NED / FC Eindhoven
F- Lucas Cavallini | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F- Jonathan David | FRA / Lille OSC
F- Cyle Larin | TUR / Beşiktaş JK
W- Tajon Buchanan | USA / New England Revolution
W- Alphonso Davies | GER / FC Bayern München
W- David Junior Hoilett | ENG / Reading FC
W- Liam Millar | SUI / FC Basel
W- Jacob Shaffelburg | CAN / Toronto FC