Canadian national-team coach Benito Floro re-affirmed his belief in Kyle Bekker, but said that the return of veteran midfielders Atiba Hutchinson and Will Johnson meant that there was no room at the inn for Jonathan Osorio.
Osorio, who was played more minutes in MLS this season than any other Canadian player, was left off the roster for Canada’s two-game World Cup qualification series against Belize. (Friday’s game at BMO Field will be streamed on canadasoccer.com at 7:30 ET.)
In a short conference call with three journalists — which is a sign of just how important the Canada-Belize series is when it comes to the national sports media — Floro said that there was simply no room for Osorio because Johnson, who was left off the Gold Cup squad so he could rack up minutes for the Portland Timbers as he came back from a broken leg, and Hutchinson, who also had been injured, came back into the squad.
But, then, of course, came the follow-up question. Then, why was Bekker, who was traded from FC Dallas to Montreal — and has yet to see a minute of MLS action for the Impact — named to the team?
Floro reaffirmed a message we’ve heard from the national-team brass before. They see something in Bekker that the MLS coaches aren’t seeing.
Floro said he recalled Bekker “because I consider that player to be a very good player.”
Out of Canadians playing in MLS and NASL, Bekker ranks 29th in minutes played.
The coach also said that Canada must treat the elimination series with Belize like it did its second-round qualifying series with Dominica. It must treat the opponent with respect.
Face it, when you’ve got the résumé of the Canadian national team — goalless in the two most recent Gold Cups — you don’t have the right to call any country a gimme.
Floro said Belize’s players are in good physical condition “and they have three or four players with skill.”
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