Canada names roster for South American friendlies

Toronto FC captain Dwayne De Rosario and teammate Julian de Guzman will line up for Canada when it faces Argentina in an international friendly on May 24 in Buenos Aires.

Toronto FC captain Dwayne De Rosario and teammate Julian de Guzman will line up for their country when Canada faces Argentina in an international friendly later this month.

Canadian national team coach Stephen Hart on Friday announced his roster for his side's exhibition matches against Argentina (May 24 in Buenos Aires) and Venezuela (May 29 in Merida).

De Rosario and de Guzman will play against Argentina but will not face Venezuela in order to be available for Toronto FC's match against the San Jose Earthquakes on May 29.

In total, Hart has selected 26 players for duty: 19 of whom will play in Argentina; 16 will be available for the Venezuela match.

Toronto FC defender Nana Attakora, a rising star of the Canadian national team, will not be making the trip to South America for the pair of friendlies.

Because of Toronto FC's busy schedule, Hart said he couldn't get the team to release three of its players for the games, so he decided to pick De Rosario and de Guzman, instead of Attakora.

"It's very difficult to just come in and ask a club to release four or five players before a game. It was hard enough to get one, in some instances, so it's a bit of give and take," Hart told reporters during a conference call.

Hart did praise TFC for releasing De Rosario and de Guzman for the Argentina match.

First meeting

"They have their own situation and I have mine, but full credit to their coaches [because] a lot of them felt that it would be very difficult to tell a player that they couldn't play in such a game," Hart stated.

The May 24 match will be the first-ever meeting between Canada and two-time World Cup champion Argentina, currently ranked No. 7 in the world.

It's also one of the last games Argentina will play before heading to South Africa for the World Cup, so it's a good opportunity for Argentine coach Diego Maradona to evaluate his players.

It's also a big occasion for Canada, according to Hart.

"The Argentina game is an historic game for us. I'm looking at it as very important to the development of our future program and the development of our players," Hart said.

The last time the Canadians played a national team ranked in the Top 10 was on May 31, 2008, when they lost 3-2 to Brazil in Seattle. Canada did well against the Brazilians in that match, but Hart expects a tougher contest against the Argentines.

"Playing Argentina in [Buenos Aires] is a lot different than playing Brazil in Seattle, so we have to be aware of the environment we are going into," Hart said.

After the South American friendlies, Canada will host an as-of-yet undetermined opponent on Sept. 4 in Toronto and square off against Honduras on Sept. 7 in Montreal. Canada finishes off the year with a match in Ukraine on Oct. 8, the first-ever meeting between the countries.

(Canada roster vs. Argentina)

  • Goalkeepers: Josh Wagenaar, Haidar Al Shaibani, Pat Onstad
  • Defenders: Adam Straith, Mike Klukowski, Andre Hainault, Paul Stalteri, Richard Hastings, Nik Ledgerwood, Pedro Pacheco
  • Midfielders: Julian de Guzman, Will Johnson, Daniel Imhof, Jaime Peters, Dwayne de Rosario, Josh Simpson
  • Forwards: Simeon Jackson, Stephen Ademolu, Rob Friend

(Canada roster vs. Venezuela)

  • Goalkeepers: Josh Wagenaar, Haidar Al Shaibani
  • Defenders: Eddy Sidra, Adam Straith, Mike Klukowski, Paul Stalteri, Richard Hastings
  • Midfielders: Gianluca Zavarise, Nik Ledgerwood, Gavin McCallum, Issey Nakajima-Farran, Terry Dunfield, Pedro Pacheco
  • Forwards: Simeon Jackson, Stephen Ademolu, Rob Friend