Canada's Dwayne De Rosario and Honduras' Maurico Sabillon in action during June's FIFA World Cup Qualifier at BMO Field in Toronto. (Ernest Doroszuk/QMI Agency/Files)
TORONTO - Head coach Stephen Hart announced Thursday a roster of 21 players who will take part in Canada’s World Cup qualifiers against Panama next week.
“You always want to have a balanced squad,” Hart said. “I tried as much as possible to go with the players that are playing and look to where we need reinforcement.”
After being left off the roster during a pair of June qualifiers, Toronto FC’s Terry Dunfield and Montreal Impact’s Patrice Bernier earned recalls into the side.
Following a serious ankle injury that has kept him out for four months, Augsburg’s Marcel de Jong replaced Mike Klukowski on Hart’s roster, providing Canada a different look on the left side.
“He can play a number of positions,” Hart said of de Jong. “We’ll see how things go in training. It’s a little more variety than we had (in June).”
To go along with 12 foreign-based players, Canada’s roster features nine MLSers, three of which — Dunfield, Bernier and Ashtone Morgan — play for Canadian clubs.
Veteran striker Dwayne De Rosario is joined in the attack by Norwich City’s Simeon Jackson and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Olivier Occean, who scored the game-winner against Cuba in Havana earlier this summer.
Following two shutout performances in June, Canada’s back line will likely remain unchanged as team captain Kevin McKenna, Andre Hainault, David Edgar and Ante Jazic are all on the roster.
Canada hosts Panama, which currently leads the group with six points, on Sept. 7 before playing in Panama four days later.
With four points after two of six third-round games, Canada will host last-place Cuba Oct. 12 before wrapping up group play in Honduras Oct. 16.
The top two group finishers will advance to CONCACAF’s final round for a chance to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
1- GK- Lars Hirschfeld | NOR / Vålerenga Fotball
2- M- Nik Ledgerwood | SWE / Hammarby Fotboll
3- FB- Ante JaziÄ | USA / Chivas USA
4- CB- Kevin McKenna | GER / FC Köln
5- CB- André Hainault | USA / Houston Dynamo
6- M – Julian de Guzman | USA / FC Dallas
7- M – Terry Dunfield | CAN / Toronto FC
8- M- Will Johnson | USA / Real Salt Lake
9- F- Tosaint Ricketts | ROM / Politehnica TimiÅoara