Canadian-born striker Teal Bunbury has been named to the U.S. roster for an upcoming soccer friendly against South Africa.
The move could be bad news for the Canadian team, which has also been eyeing the Kansas City Wizards youngster. While playing against South Africa on Wednesday won't make him ineligible to compete for Canada under FIFA rules — because it is only an exhibition game — he would be committed to the U.S. if he plays in an official international in the future.
The son of former Canadian national Alex Bunbury, 20-year-old Teal was born in Hamilton but is also an American citizen after spending a portion of his life in Minnesota.
In an interview with CBCSports.ca earlier this year, Bunbury said he has a connection to Canada and that it would "feel wrong" to play for the United States.
Bunbury is among six players who could make their U.S. national team debuts in Wednesday's exhibition. New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream, forward Juan Agudelo, Estoril Praia defender Gale Agbossoumonde and Stabaek midfielder Mikkel Diskerud were also on the inexperienced 18-man roster announced Thursday along with Glasgow Celtic goalkeeper Dominic Cervi.
Defender Eric Lichaj, who made his English Premier League debut Wednesday, also was selected along with goalkeeper Brad Guzan, his Aston Villa teammate.
Most regulars will be missing from the match in Cape Town, among them Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra and Tim Howard.
U.S. coach Bob Bradley didn't select players whose teams are still in the Major League Soccer playoffs or who play regularly with European clubs. Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Ricardo Clark was bypassed, even though he has been used sparingly during the Bundesliga season.
Left back Jonathan Bornstein, who is leaving Chivas USA for Mexico's Tigres, is the most experienced player with 35 international appearances. He's joined by just four other players from the World Cup roster: Guzan, forward Robbie Findley and defenders Jonathan Spector and Clarence Goodson, whose club season in Norway is over.
Just six players have more than 10 international appearances.
"This game is a good opportunity to look at some different players and assess their place in the pool as we continue to build for the next cycle," Bradley said.
Since the World Cup, Bradley gave Los Angeles defender Omar Gonzalez his debut in August against Brazil and used Lichaj and Dallas midfielder Brek Shea for the first time last month against Colombia.
Ream lost out to D.C. United's Andy Najar for Major League Soccer's rookie of the year. Najar has a green card and has not decided whether to play for his native Honduras or the U.S., if he obtains citizenship.
Agudelo and Agbossoumonde are the first players attending a national team camp after playing at the U.S. Soccer Federation's Development Academy.