Canada Gold Cup: Let’s Get Real?

Canada’s head coach John Herdman got down to brass tacks about the upcoming 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

After the 2 – 0 loss in the CONCACAF Nations League Final against the United States, he insisted his players deserved a win and they were ‘close’ to getting one.

But, with the absence of key players from the roster, how’s that going to affect their chances?

‘We’re close’

2M9R2FK Canada’s Richie Laryea in action during the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and Canada, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Following Canada’s defeat in Sunday’s CONCACAF Nations League Final, Herdman insisted that Canada is still serious about winning a major tournament.

Les Rouges lost 2 – 0 against the United States, after the Stars and Stripes sewed up the game in the first half.

‘We’ve got to get real and quick because these players, they deserve it,’ Herdman would say following the result, adding, ‘They deserve a shot. The country deserves it. All the people that worked to bring it deserve the shot. Let’s get after it. We’re close.’

The question is, can they do it without some of their key talents?

Who’s Out?

2KH3Y8X Canada’s Cyle Larin reacts to a missed chance during the FIFA World Cup Group F match at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan. Picture date: Wednesday November 23, 2022.

Players like Alphonso Davies, Cyle Larin and Jonathan David aren’t in the announced 23-man squad for the Gold Cup.

While all three took part in the CONCACAF Nations League and Sunday’s Final, they’ve all been rotate out to their respective clubs (Davies – Bayern Munich / Cyle Larin – Real Valladolid CF / Jonathan David – LOSC Lille).

Canada’s star forwards Davies and David had played key roles in the team’s efforts to get the final, helping demolish Honduras 4 – 1 in the Groups and Panama 2 – 0 in the Semi-Finals.

The decision was taken to allow them to sit it out so they could prepare for the upcoming European club leagues.

MLS Heavy?

2PAKR4M March 11, 2023, Portland, Oregon, North America: Portland, Oregon, March 11th 2023: Zac McGraw (18 Portland Timbers) celebrating during the Major League Soccer game between Portland Timbers v St. Louis City SC at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. (Credit Image: © Dantey Buitureida/Sport Press Photo via ZUMA Press) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!

While there will be notable absences in the squad, Herdman has retained 16 of the 23-man squad from the Nations League.

Ten of the names in the squad have been drafted from the MLS, prompting some pundits to question if the tactic will help.

There’s also six first timers including; CF Montréal’s Zachary Brault-Guillard, the Nashville SC winger Jacob Shaffelburg, Columbus Crew’s striker Jacen Russell-Rowe and the Portland Timbers defender Zac McGraw.

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Ali Ahmed and Charles-Andreas Brym (FC Eindhoven), also join the debut call up.

Toronto FC’s Richie Laryea and Jonathan Osorio and Kamal Miller of Inter Miami CF are among the veterans.


Will it matter that there’s no David, Davies or Larin in the squad? While Canada enters the Group stages (Group D) as favourites versus opponents Cuba and Guatemala, they still face a potential repeat showdown with the United States.

Les Rouges have already won the Gold Cup twice, the last time was 23 years ago (1985 & 2000).

When does Canada Play?

2KH2TJ6 Doha, Qatar. 23rd Nov, 2022. DOHA, QATAR – NOVEMBER 23: Milan Borjan of Canada during the Group F – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match between Belgium and Canada at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar (Photo by Pablo Morano/BSR Agency) Credit: BSR Agency/Alamy Live News

Team Canada will face Guatemala on July 1st and Cuba on July 4th in Group D. The top two nations from the group will advance to Quarter Finals on July 9th.

If Canada succeeds to the Semi-Finals, Les Rouges will head to San Diego on July 12th and if they’re lucky play in the CONCACAF Final on the following Sunday in Las Vegas Nevada.

Who’s in the roster?


Milan Borjan – Red Star Belgrade

Tom McGill – Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Dayne St. Clair – Minnesota United FC


Moïse Bombito – Colorado Rapids

Scott Kennedy – SSV Jahn Regensburg

Zac McGraw – Portland Timbers

Steven Vitória – GD Chaves

Dominick Zator – Korona Kielce

Samuel Adekugbe – Galatasaray SK

Zachary Brault-Guillard – CF Montréal

Richie Laryea – Toronto FC

Kamal Miller – Inter Miami CF

2M9R2GA Canada’s Junior Hoilett in action during the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and Canada, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)


Ali Ahmed – Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Stephen Eustáquio –  FC Porto

Victor Loturi – Ross County FC

Jonathan Osorio – Toronto FC

David Wotherspoon – No club


Junior Hoilett – Reading FC

Charles-Andreas Brym – FC Eindhoven

Lucas Cavallini – Club Tijuana

Liam Millar – FC Basel

Jacen Russell-Rowe – Columbus Crew

Jacob Shaffelburg – Nashville SC

Posted on: 20 Jun 2023