After Canada drew 1-1 against lowly Belize in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, it was clear there was a lot of improvement needed before round 4 of qualifying. Canada will meet a difficult group of Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador for a chance to reach their first qualifying final round since France 1998 qualifiers.
The Ghana Senior National soccer team; The Black Stars, in a photo by Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
The start of that round may only be two months away, but today the opportunity for improvement may have presented itself. On Tuesday, October 13 it appears Canada will be facing a formidable test, the Ghana National team who are ranked 27th in the World, in an international friendly.
According to a report out of reputable french publication L’equipe, the Ghana Football Association announced that its national team will face Canada in Washington D.C.
Ghana are fresh off of a runner up performance at the 2015 African Cup of nations, in which they lost the final in penalties to Ivory Coast. They underwhelmed at the 2014 World Cup, finishing last in their group, but have been involved in the last three tournaments.
The “Black Stars” are currently preparing for their own World Cup qualifying campaign. In November they will meet the winner of Comoros and Lesotho in the second round of CAF qualifiers.
A few Major League Soccer players have played with Ghana as of late, with both defender Harrison Afful of Columbus Crew and striker David Accam of the Chicago Fire suiting up for recent friendlies.
The match will be a good simulation for the Canadian team, as Ghana are an opponent with enough quality to mimic that of Mexico and Honduras.
However, it may not include a number of the players who will be crucial for the Canadian team in the next round. While the match is played during an international window, several Major League Soccer teams will be in action that week.
In many ways the MLS schedule could not be less favourable for the Canadian team. Portland (Will Johnson) play Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas (Tesho Akindele) plays Vancouver (Sam Adekugbe, Russel Teibert) and Toronto FC (Jonathan Osorio, Ashtone Morgan) play New York Red Bulls (Karl Ouimette) the day after the match.
On top of this, Canada’s U-23 squad could be involved in Olympic qualifying at this time. If Canada make it to either the final or the third place game in CONCACAF qualification, which is the ultimate goal, those games will be played on the same day as the match against Ghana.
Of the recent team that played in World Cup qualifiers a number of players are likely to be with that Olympic team: Cyle Larin, Michael Petrasso, Samuel Piette, Luca Gasparotto, Sam Adekugbe, Manjrekar James and Maxime Crepeau.
Even head coach Benito Floro is likely to be missing, as he will be the head coach for the Olympic team. In his place it is presumed that assistant coach Antonio Floro, who coached the U-23 team at the Pan Am games, would be in charge of the national team for this game.
Canada Soccer will be hosting a press conference in Vancouver on Monday, and there is a possibility that this friendly could be officially announced at that time. The main purpose for the conference is to announce details for the first home match of round 4.
Source: Mitchell Tierney