OneSoccer Today: What’s CanMNT’s biggest concern in upcoming World Cup qualifiers?

Kristian Jack joined the OneSoccer Today panel Thursday to preview the Canadian men’s national team’s two upcoming matches in 2022 World Cup qualifying: versus Aruba Saturday night (8 pm ET/5 pm PT) and the first stage Group B closer against Suriname on Tuesday, June 8 (8 pm ET/5 pm PT).

Canada must top Group B to advance to the second round, where they’ll face the winner of Group E – either Haiti, Belize, or Nicaragua – in a two-legged tie next week with the winner advancing to Concacaf’s eight-team final stage.

Speaking to co-hosts Andi Petrillo, Gareth Wheeler, and Oliver Platt, Jack was quick to highlight Canada’s depth at centre-back going into these crucial qualifiers.

Coach John Herdman has called up four central defenders to his June camp: Frank Sturing (FC Den Bosch), Steven Vitória (Moreirense FC), Scott Kennedy (SSV Jahn Regensburg), and Doneil Henry (Suwon Samsung Bluewings). Only Vitória and Henry have previously lined up together in a Canada kit.

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“Centre-back is the weakness – they know that, the players know that, the program knows that, and the coaching staff knows that,” Jack said, comparing the cohort to Canada’s depth in midfield and up the flanks.

“This could be a key ingredient – how do you maximize those players and get more out of them? The concern is they haven’t played a lot, either.

“Doneil Henry hasn’t played much in 2021 because he’s been injured, I like the young players Sturing and Kennedy but they’re playing in second divisions and haven’t played together – can you trust them together?”

“That’s the concern and the place [Canada] can challenge themselves to get better at.”

The panel also covered Scott Arfield’s future with the senior national team, whether the retooled Suriname side is overhyped, and much more ahead of Saturday’s June camp kickoff match against the Arubians, live on OneSoccer

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