The coach who led New Zealand to the brink of qualifying for this summers World Cup, only for the All Whites to fall to Peru in an intercontinental playoff, is now leading the Colorado Rapids. Replacing Anthony Hudson at the helm for New Zealand is Fritz Schmid, who spent the last three years as Malaysias technical director. He was hired late last month.
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How will Canada look? Who will start? Whats the preferred formation? All that is unknown at the moment. As for the squad, Herdman has brought in 10 MLS players as part of a squad of regular national team contributors like Toronto FC forward Tosaint Ricketts, LAFC defender Dejan Jakovic and midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, who plays for Beikta in Turkey with former Orlando City SC forward Cyle Larin, who's also part of Herdmans first 23-man roster.
Players to Watch
Like Canada, the focus is on the next World Cup cycle for New Zealand and Schmid has called in a relatively young and inexperienced team with nine players looking to make their debuts. Among the veterans in the 23-man roster is Minnesota United FC central defender Michael Boxall, who has made 31 appearances.
New Zealand Michael Boxall. A regular in Adrian Heaths starting XI at Minnesota United FC since he arrived midway through the 2017 season from SuperSport United in South Africa, Boxall has partnered with Costa Rican international Francisco Calvo on a backline that has conceded just once in its first three games after leaking a league-high 70 goals in its expansion year.
We need an absolute purpose for playing, a clear purpose for playing, said Herdman, who coached the New Zealand womens national team from 2006-11. That to me is the foundation behind it all. What these men are prepared to do with that jersey, theyre custodians of that shirt for a period of time, and what are they prepared to leave behind when they put that shirt down.
The attack was sluggish and the midfield was sloppy. And while the U.S. should be concerned it didn't beat Jamaica, there's still no need to panic.
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There are also four players who are seeking their first cap, including 18-year-old Liam Millar from Liverpools U-18 side.
The other MLS player on the All Whites roster is young Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Myer Bevan, who scored his first international goal in just his second appearance, a second-leg World Cup qualifying series against the Solomon Islands.
Brazil's 2-0 friendly win over Asian champions Qatar in Brasilia came at a heavy cost after they lost striker Neymar to an ankle injury.
The Rapids trio of Tommy Smith, Kip Colvey and Deklan Wynne are part of an established group absent from this call-up. The Rapids are home for Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
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Noticeably absent is Vancouver Whitecaps FC phenom Alphonso Davies, who was named to the Gold Cups Best XI last summer, and Cardiff City winger Junior Hoilett. Herdman told the Canadian Press those decisions were made after discussions with their clubs and both will be part of his program going forward.
This importance of this match is clear: It is a chance for Herdmans vision and plan to be put into action for the first time, an opportunity for this team to make a good first impression.
The most capped player is Michael McGlinchey with 52. The 32-year-old is one of five players from Wellington Phoenix in Australias A-League.
Canada Jonathan Osorio. The 25-year-old already has two goals in 19 appearances for Canada and is off to a flying start with Toronto FC, scoring a sensational backheel goal that lifted the defending MLS Cup champions to a 2-1 win over Tigres UANL in the opening leg of the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals.
Herdman made the unique move from the head of a hugely successful womens program to coach a mens team that showed positive signs Canada reached the Concacaf Gold Cupquarterfinals for the first time since 2009 under former coach Octavio Zambrano, who was let go in January after less than a year on the job.
An inexperienced Australia were beaten 1-0 by South Korea despite dominating large periods of their friendly international in Busan.
The next phase for the Canadian national teamkicks off Saturday at Pinatar Arena, where the John Herdman era begins when Les Rouges face New Zealand in an international friendly.
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Canada havea 2-0-0 record against New Zealand, with both victories coming on the All Whites Canadian tour in 1980. Canada won 4-0 on Sept. 15, 1980 in Vancouver and 3-0 in Edmonton two days later.
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We know what all of those players can offer the national team, Schmid told the New Zealand Herald. They are not selected for this window, but they all know that they are on my watch list and that they will be offered an opportunity to prove their value in due time.
It was a first training session for the full #CANMNT squad here in Murcia, Spain today.Check out the boys putting in work ahead of Saturday's friendly v @NZ_Football, live on https://t.co/QAm3FvVQHB. pic.twitter.com/cA0ETbxOUJ
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Mexico didn't miss its absent stars in Wednesday's impressive 3-1 win over Venezuela. Rodolfo Pizarro, in particular, shone for Tata Martino's side.