Nations League Qualifier
Saint Kitts and Nevis vs. Canada
2018 Concacaf Nations League Qualifier
Warner Park — Basseterre
November 18 — 7 pm ET
Canada traverse the tricky world of playing away in Concacaf for the first time under John Herdman when they meet Saint Kitts and Nevis in a critical Concacaf Nations League Qualifier Sunday night at Warner Park.
Both teams earned maximum points through the first two matches with Canada having a two-goal advantage in goal differential with two matches remaining. The top six teams advance to League A and clinch a 2019 Gold Cup berth.
“It’s a big game for sure and we will have a few things to manage in St. Kitts and Nevis from heat to pitches to jet lag, but nothing that this group can’t handle,” Herdman said. “It’s actually that to which we are looking forward: a good test of our team spirit. This game will create some valuable learnings for the team as a whole as many of our players haven’t ventured this deep into the Caribbean for games. We need these uncomfortable experiences now to ensure we have a level of readiness for even tougher matches that we will encounter in the coming years.”
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After enjoying blowout wins over the US Virgin Islands (8-0) in Bradenton and Dominica (5-0) at BMO Field, Canada will have their first, and only, taste of playing on the road during qualification on Sunday with their final match against French Guiana in Toronto on March 26. Canada sit behind Curacao (+15) and Haiti (+14) on goal differential.
“They’ve done well in this Nations League,” Herdman said of Saint Kitts and Nevis. “A very good team spirit, well-organized, direct team that will be looking to capitalize in the transition. They have a couple of key players: one that plays in the [English] Championship – [Romaine] Sawyers; others in the lower divisions in England. A hardened, tough team.”
“It’s an exciting challenge,” Herdman added. “Our group are going to be tested in some tough conditions.”
Herdman has called another mix of youth and experience with soon-to-be Bayern Munich attacker Alphonso Davies leading the way, along with Vancouver Whitecaps FC teammates Russell Teibert and Doneil Henry. Toronto FC are sending Liam Fraser and Jay Chapman, along with Samuel Piette of the Montreal Impact and Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla of Barcelona B.
Jonathan Osorio of TFC is unavailable after undergoing sports hernia surgery at the end of the MLS season, while Scott Arfield remains in Scotland awaiting the birth of his family’s latest child.
Last time out, Canada defeated Dominica, 5-0, at home, with Jonathan David, Junior Hoilett and Lucas Cavallini scoring inside the opening 20 minutes, following by an own goal by Malcolm Joseph and a goal eight minutes from full time by former Orlando City SC standout Cyle Larin.
Saint Kitts and Nevis Outlook
After opening qualifying with a 1-0 home win over Puerto Rico on a stoppage-time goal by Harry Panayiotou, the Sugar Boyz crushed Saint Martin, 10-0, in Anguilla last month. Former MLS veteran Atiba Harris struck for a hat trick, Panayiotou had a brace, as did his Nuneaton Borough teammate Theo Wharton, while Omari Sterling-James and Kimaree Rogers added a goal apiece for Saint Kitts and Nevis, who were also aided by a first-half own goal.
Saint Kitts and Nevis close out the qualification in Paramaribo to meet Suriname in March, but first is the “most important match in the history of St. Kitts Nevis football,” according to St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association president Anthony Johnson.
“The most important match, in that if we were to defeat Canada here in St. Kitts on Sunday the 18th of November, we will, for the very first time in our history, qualify for the Concacaf Gold Cup,” Johnson said in a statement
This will be the third all-time meeting between the sides, with Canada cruising to a 4-0 win at BMO Field on Nov. 15, 2011 in the second round of World Cup qualification with Oliver Occean, Dwayne De Rosario, Josh Simpson and Tosaint Ricketts scoring for Canada. That was one week after the sides played to a 0-0 draw at Warner Park.
Players to Watch
Canada — Alphonso Davies: Considering how deadly he is on the ball, any time Davies is on the pitch he’s a player to watch. The 18-year-old has three international goals — all in the 2017 Gold Cup. Could his next goal send Canada back to the Gold Cup?
Saint Kitts and Nevis — Atiba Harris: He’s scored for Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA, FC Dallas, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Colorado Rapids and the San Jose Earthquakes and most recently for the OKC Energy in the USL. And now the 33-year-old, who became the first Saint Kitts and Nevis player to play in Major League Soccer, will look for his first goal against Canada.
Pos. Player Club Caps/Goals
GK Milan Borjan Red Star Belgrade 39/0
GK Maxime Crépeau Ottawa Fury 2/0
GK Simon Thomas Strømmen IF 8/0
D Sam Adekugbe Vålerenga 7/0
D Derek Cornelius Javor Ivanjica 2/0
D David Edgar Ottawa Fury 42/4
D Marcus Godinho Heart of Midlothian 1/0
D Zachary Brault- Guillard Lyon II 1/0
D Doneil Henry Vancouver Whitecaps FC 23/0
D Manjrekar James FC Fredericia 16/2
M Jay Chapman Toronto FC 2/1
M Alphonso Davies Vancouver Whitecaps FC 8/3
M Liam Fraser Toronto FC 0/0
M Junior Hoilett Cardiff City 19/3
M Atiba Hutchinson Beşiktaş 79/6
M Liam Millar Liverpool U23 3/0
M Samuel Piette Montreal Impact 39/0
M Ballou Tabla Barcelona B 1/0
M Russell Teibert Vancouver Whitecaps FC 21/1
M David Wotherspoon St Johnstone 1/0
F Lucas Cavallini Puebla 9/3
F Jonathan David Gent 2/3
F Cyle Larin Beşiktaş 26/8
Saint Kitts and Nevis Roster
Pos. Player Club Caps/Goals
GK Julani Archibald W Connection 31/0
GK Jamal Jeffers St Paul’s United 12/0
GK Zeleon Morton Village Superstars 0/0
D Atiba Harris Oklahoma City Energy 39/10
D Thrizen Leader St Paul’s United 66/1
D Lois Maynard Salford City 11/0
D Alain Sargeant George Mason 6/0
D Justin Springer K- W United 10/0
D Nile Walwyn UMF Tindastoll 3/0
D Gerard Williams W Connection 57/3
M Kennedy Isles Garden Hotspurs 9/2
M Joash Leader St . Paul’s United 11/3
M Yohannes Mitchum Puebla U-20 7/1
M Romaine Sawyers Brentford 23/4
M Raheem Somersall Florida Gulf Coast 6/0
M Omari Sterling-James Solihull Moors 4/1
M Theo Wharton Nuneaton Borough 8/2
F Carlos Bertie Once Municipal 6/2
F Devaughn Elliott Village Superstars 27/12
F Tahir Hanley Garden Hotspurs FC 9/6
F Tiran Hanley Village Superstars 22/1
F Kadeen Lewis Conaree FC 2/0
F Harrison Panayiotou Nuneaton Borough 18/8