Home CONCACAF Dasovic: Canada’s U-20s will be ready for tough Mexican conditions

Dasovic: Canada’s U-20s will be ready for tough Mexican conditions

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Even on a conference call, it was easy to pick up on the confidence that’s oozing out of Canadian men’s U-20 coach Nick Dasovic.

On Tuesday, Dasovic named his preliminary 23-man roster for the CONCACAF U-209 Championship. The team will gather Feb. 11 in Mexico City for a pre-tournament camp. And, right before the team plays its Feb. 18 opener in Puebla against Cuba, Dasovic will need to pare the roster down to 20 players.

The top four teams — all of the countries that get to the semifinals — qualify for the U-20 World Cup in Turkey. So, Canada needs to get out of the group stage with results against Cuba and Nicaragua, then win its quarter-final match. Everything else is gravy.

“It’s about winning,” Dasovic said in a Tuesday call with Canadian media. “If you win, you get to the World Cup. If you get to the World Cup, doors open for everybody.”

And Dasovic was pleased to report that he didn’t have to deal with any club-vs.-country politics or serious injury issues. The 23 players he has are the 23 players he wants. He got full cooperation from all the clubs concerned, including the four Canadian major pro sides, who all have representation on the squad.

“It’s run fairly smoothly,” said Dasovic.

Of course, Mexico’s mix of heat, altitude and pollution have undone many visitors. While the Canadians’ path to success doesn’t include having to beat the hosts — they can get to the World Cup without having to do that — the climate will pose problems. Puebla is at 2,160 metres above sea level, Mexico City is at 2,420 metres. (To give you a comparison, Puebla is almost 600 metres higher up than Banff, Alta. or Denver)

“It’s roughly the same altitude but different air quality,” said Dasovic. “It will be better air quality than Mexico City.”

And the team is bringing along a team that included nutritionists and physiologists to help the squad acclimate to the height and heat.

“We don’t have any excuses at the end of the day,” said the coach.

And one of the four camps Dasovic has previously held over the last 13 months was stationed in Mexico, and included two games against the Mexican U-20s.

“We’ve tasted it,” said Dasovic. “We’ve played the toughest competition we could find.”

Toronto FC has just one member of its current roster or academy team going to the team, even though former TFC Academy players Keven Aleman, Michael Petrasso and Dylan Carreiro are all on the preliminary roster.

The Montreal Impact Academy have three players on the list of 23, while the Whitecaps organization have four. And FC Edmonton fullback Allan Zebie is also on the roster.

“I feel we’re getting stronger as a country,” said the coach. “We’re getting more kids involved. We have a bigger pool of players.”

CANADA U-20 ROSTER (Three more to be cut)
1- GK- Ricky Gomes | POR / Sport Clube de Mirandela
2- FB- Jon Dollery | ENG / Crawley Town FC
3- FB- Marco Lapenna | GER / FC Erzgebirge Aue
4- CB- Doneil Henry | CAN / Toronto FC
5- CB- Daniel Stanese | GER / FC Nurnberg Reserve
6- M- Samuel Piette | GER / Fortuna Dusseldorf
7- M- Ben Fisk | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
8- M – Bryce Alderson | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
9- F- Caleb Clarke | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
10- M- Keven Aleman | ESP / Real Valladolid
11- M- Michael Petrasso | ENG / Queens Park Rangers
12- M- Dylan Carreiro | ENG / Queens Park Rangers
13- M- Alessandro Riggi | ESP / Celta de Vigo
14- F- Yassin Essa | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
15- CB- Manjrekar James | HUN / PMFC-MATIAS
16- M- Mauro Eustaquio | POR / Sporting Clube de Pombal
17- F- Anthony Jackson-Hamel | CAN / Academie Impact Montreal
18- GK- Maxime Crépeau | CAN / Academie Impact Montréal
19- FB- Jordan Murrell | USA / Syracuse University
20- M- Zakaria Messoudi | CAN / Academie Impact Montreal
21- M- Ben McKendry | USA / University of New Mexico
22- F- Stefan Vukovic | Unattached / sans club
23- FB- Allan Zebie | CAN / Edmonton FC Reserve

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One Comment

  1. John anderson

    February 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Would love to see Stefan Vukovic go on trial with fced

    Reply

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