Canada-Panama sort-of preview: Talking about the players who aren’t there By Steven Sandor Posted on November 17, 2014 2 0 807 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Benito Floro A Canadian men’s national team press conference just wouldn’t be a men’s national team press conference if there weren’t questions about players who aren’t with the program. So, in keeping with what’s become a Canadian soccer tradition, we start off our coverage of Benito Floro’s conference call with updates on forwards Ethan Finlay, Lucas Cavallini and Tesho Akindele, none of whom are with the national team ahead of its friendly on Tuesday in Panama. Floro said he is tracking the progress of Finlay, the Columbus Crew forward who scored 11 times this season. Finlay was born in the United States, but his dad is Canadian. Floro said he would need to see what Finlay can do in a camp, but he has been paying attention to the player. As for Akindele, the Calgary-born FC Dallas rookie who turned down an invitation to join Canada for the Panama game, Floro was diplomatic: “He has a tough decision to make (between the American and Canadian programs). And, playing in MLS puts him closer to the U.S. national team.” But Floro was clear that Akindele still has time to make that decision. Floro, though, was not as diplomatic about Cavallini. He was the offensive cog in Canada’s U-23 team during the most recent Olympic qualifying cycle. The striker, who plays in Uruguay, has continually turned down invites to play with the national side, and it’s clear that Floro has had enough of it. “It’s been three, four or five times he has been invited to come, and he always has different reasons why he cannot come,” said Floro. And he said that Cavallini shouldn’t be expecting more invites. He said that Cavallini must now wait while he assesses “the other strikers who show up.” Floro was more bullish about the prospects of youngsters like Russell Teibert, Maxim Tissot and Karl Ouimette, who are all part of the squad for the Panama game. He said that, because they are continuing to get looks, they are all players who could be a part of the 23-man roster for Canada’s first qualifier for the 2018 World Cup cycle. And, he said he’s been keeping an eye on the U-20 team, which has earned a 2-2 draw with England and a 2-1 triumph over Russia in its current European tour. But, while he looked at U-20 prospects in previous senior camps, now is the time to let the best U-20 players focus on that team. He said, with a U-20 World Cup (and qualifying before that) on the horizon, this is “an important time” for the U-20s and this isn’t the time to be raiding that team’s roster. But, he said that a large number of those U-20s could be national teamers within three or four years.