The Canada men’s national team continue on the road to qualifying for their first World Cup since 1986 when facing Suriname on Tuesday in Chicago.
After a competitive start to qualifiers, both sides are entering the match with nine points in Group B. Only the group winner will be advancing from round one, intensifying the importance of the clash. At the moment, only a goal difference of seven separates Canada from Suriname in the table.
The winner would advance to face the Group E leader in a head-to-head series from June 12-15 in either Nicaragua or Haiti. In the end, an eight-team final stage of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers will determine the nations going to Qatar in 2022.
Both Suriname and Canada named MLS players in their initial World Cup qualifier rosters and featured in previous round one matches.
Canada holds the advantage entering the match. Les Rouges can finish in first and advance to the second round of qualifiers with a win or a draw against Suriname. They’ve had an easy ride up to this point, finishing all previous games with a goal difference of at least four. Canada’s most recent match saw Les Rouges defeat Aruba 7-0.
Vancouver Whitecaps striker Lucas Cavallini played an integral part of the match, scoring the first goal and an additional one minutes later. MLS players Dayne St. Clair and Tajon Buchanan made their international debuts against Aruba, stepping up and proving themselves ahead of a possible World Cup run. Head coach John Herdman’s side has yet to be tested by opponents, making this their biggest game yet.
Key players: Lucas Cavallini (Vancouver Whitecaps), Jonathan David (Lille), and Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
Suriname is the underdog going into the face off against Canada, but their skill should not be underestimated. The country has improved tremendously over the years, becoming an improving program through dual-national recruitment. Their extensive roster includes Inter Miami CF defender Kelvin Leerdam, who won the MLS Cup with the Seattle Sounders in 2019.
The team is tied for the top spot and only behind by goal difference. They have the means to advance, and should not be considered a write-off for Canada.
“Suriname are a completely different team now,” Canada head coach John Herdman said. “They’re a top-six to top-eight team in CONCACAF in terms of the quality of players. I don’t think anyone had predicted that in nine months they’d have 15 new players, all of whom have played at the highest levels in the [Dutch] Eredivisie.”
Key players: Kelvin Leerdam (Inter Miami), Sahquille Pinas (ADO Den Haag) and Sheraldo Becker (Union Berlin)
Kick-off time: 9.05pm Eastern, 6.05pm Pacific
Venue: SeatGeek Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Live stream: Paramount+ (App/Website), OneSoccer (Canada)