Friday, September 3, 2010

Canada is Part of America, Right?

Along with all of the MLS fixtures, this weekend will feature a number of international friendlies. Now, we can argue the logic of having league games on the same day as a FIFA international date (you will notice that none of the big European leagues are playing this weekend) but instead let's focus on the good: there are a lot of MLS players getting called up to play with their national teams.

The usual countries will all be accounted for: a few players for Costa Rica, Rafa Marquez to Mexico, Dane Richards to Jamaica, etc. But the big issue is what's going on with Canada's national team. Now, I realize this is stretching the bounds of "This American Pitch" a little bit, but just go with me here, I am an eighth Canadian, after all.

Teal Bunbury, the 20 year old forward with Kansas City, grew up playing on Canadian youth teams. However, he is also eligible to play for the United States as his mother is American and he's apparently not ready to commit to a senior side. So far he's been very diplomatic about the refusal, insisting that it's due to maintaining playing time with his club side as a rookie during his interview with You aren’t going, but you have to be flattered that Canada are calling and indicating you are someone who could be in their plans.

Bunbury: It feels really good. As a 20-year-old, playing internationally is a great thing. I feel blessed and honored to be able to represent my family and represent my country. Some of the rumors out there are that you said no to Canada because you are thinking about the United States.

Bunbury: I would say right now that stuff really isn’t my mind. We have to ask: If it were between the two and both called you up, where would that leave you?

Bunbury: Honestly, right now it’s just time to focus on the Wizards.

There's a lot more in the link, so give it a look. It's worth pointing out, though, that at this point there is no reason to believe that he couldn't earn a spot on the USMNT. The only forward who has to be penciled in for every game right now is Jozy Altidore, at least until Charlie Davies gets healthy. If Bunbury can continue to grow as a player it's easy to see him making an impact with the Yanks.

That's not the only issue for Canada though. You see, Canada has two games in the next week, facing Peru on September 4th and Honduras September 7th. Three of the most important players for Canada's national team are Dwayne De Rosario, Julian De Guzman and Nana Attakora, who also happen to make up the backbone of Canada's lone top division squad, Toronto FC.

At the moment Toronto is in 9th place in MLS, 2 points out of their first playoff spot in club history, and with games on 9/4 at FC Dallas and 9/8 at Chicago. It appears that, while the three will play tomorrow against Peru, Canadian head coach Stephen Hart will release the trio for their game next Wednesday. Personally, I think that's a great decision.

There is always a contentious relationship between national teams and club teams when it comes to friendly dates. That relationship is even more strained when the club team is the most important club team in the country the players represent. If you want to stay in the good graces of everyone, I think you have to let the players return to their club and try to fight their way into a playoff spot.

No comments:

Post a Comment