|Canada's Simeon Jackson handles the ball during action against St. Kitts and Nevis in Toronto last November. The men's national team will play a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in August. (Ernest Doroszuk/QMI Agency/Files)
TORONTO - The Canadian men's national team announced Thursday it will play an Aug. 15 friendly with Trinidad and Tobago at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Fla.
“This has always been a difficult FIFA date due to the time constraints," Canada head coach Stephen Hart said. "We felt it was important to play as it gives us the opportunity to get a game together on the only available date before (qualifying)."
Hart won't have a first-choice roster at his disposal with MLS fixtures and European leagues well underway. Instead, he'll choose a balanced squad to best replicate the conditions Canada will face when it resumes qualifying two months from now against Panama.
"My concern is to call upon some players that if I do have to call upon them in (qualifying) I will know what to expect from them," Hart said. "It will be a balanced squad with quite a few of the players that have been in the last (qualifiers)."
As Toronto FC hosts the Portland Timbers on the same day, there are questions as to whether TFC’s front office will release its players. Ashtone Morgan was in Hart's side in June and Terry Dunfield's improved form could earn him a recall.
"Terry has come on really well," Hart said. "I know that Toronto is one of those clubs that I'm going to have to deal with … I still have to sit down with Paul (Mariner) and discuss what's possible."
With a home-and-away series against group leaders Panama in September, Canada sits two points behind the Central Americans after grabbing four points from its first two games.
Canada hosts Cuba in Toronto on Oct. 12 before wrapping up qualifying in Honduras four days later. The top two group finishers advance to CONCACAF's final round.