Vancouver Whitecaps’ Alphonso Davies walks across the field to the dressing room as he arrives at B.C. Place stadium to play his final match as a member of the MLS soccer team, in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. In his return to Vancouver, Bayern Munich teenager Alphonso Davies will look to help complete Canada’s perfect CONCACAF Nations League qualifying run against French Guiana on March 24 at BC Place Stadium. (Darryl Dyck/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Alphonso Davies returns to Vancouver for CONCACAF Nations League qualifying game

Canada is ranked 79th in the world

In his return to Vancouver, Bayern Munich teenager Alphonso Davies will look to help complete Canada’s perfect CONCACAF Nations League qualifying run against French Guiana on March 24 at BC Place Stadium.

At stake is a place in the top tier of the CONCACAF Nations League and a berth in the 2019 Gold Cup. A win will ensure Canada gets where it wants to go but coach John Herdman says he wants to continue building momentum by keeping the attack firing on all cylinders ahead of a defence that has not yielded a goal since October 2017.

Canada is ranked 79th in the world while French Guiana is unranked since it is not a member of FIFA.

The 23-man Canadian roster includes nine players from Major League Soccer, with a recall for Orlando midfielder Will Johnson. Other veterans in the squad include captain Scott Arfield, former skipper Atiba Hutchinson, goalkeeper Milan Borjan and defender David Edgar.

READ MORE: Vancouver Whitecaps sign Canadian goalkeeper Thomas Hasal

Current Vancouver Whitecaps players called up are goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, centre backs Derek Cornelius and Doneil Henry and midfielder Russell Teibert.

Davies, 18, is one of seven call-ups aged 21 or younger, including fellow teenagers Jonathan Davies (KAA Gent), Liam Millar (Kilmarnock) and Ballou Tabla (Albacete Balompie).

Arfield, Borjan, Johnson and Mark-Anthony Kaye come in for Manjrekar James, David Wotherspoon, Liam Fraser and Jay Chapman, who were part of the Canadian roster for its last game against St. Kitts & Nevis in November.

Kaye, who scored in Los Angeles FC’s 4-1 win over Portland on Sunday, was recovering from ankle surgery at the time.

Vancouver will mark the first Canadian outing for the 32-year-old Johnson since a June 2017 friendly win over Curacao. He has four goals and seven assists in 43 outings for Canada.

“You look at his form with Orlando in pre-season and recently, he’s a player that has pushed himself back into the national team fold,” Canada coach John Herdman said on a media conference call.

Davies, an attacking midfielder with nine caps for Canada, joined Bayern from the Vancouver Whitecaps in a then-MLS-record $22-million US transfer deal that will see him play for the German side through 2023. The deal was consummated in July but Davies closed out the MLS season before joining Bayern in January.

“(Vancouver) is the place that really launched his career,” Herdman said. “I know he’s really looking forward to getting back there, to being in what he probably sees as his football hometown and showing people what he’s developed, how he’s learned, how he’s evolved and adapted.

“I think for him it will be nothing but excitement. It’s like a thoroughbred chomping at the bit to get on the racetrack and run.

Davies has seen 25 minutes of Bundesliga action in four appearances off the bench for the German league leaders.

Bayern hosts Liverpool in the return leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie Wednesday. Davies was on the bench for the opening 0-0 draw at Anfield.

There are six teams with 3-0-0 records in CONCACAF Nations League qualifying play.

Canada stands third in the 34-team standings with a goals difference of plus-14. Curacao (plus-21) tops the table ahead of Haiti (plus-16). Cuba (plus-14, but has played two home games to Canada’s one) is fourth, followed by Jamaica (plus-11) and Martinique (plus-6),

French Guiana (2-1-0) stands 12th. The four-game qualifying round sets the stage for a three-tier competition, complete with promotion and relegation, that kicks off in the fall of 2019 in the confederation covering North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The Canadian men are 4-0-0 under Herdman, outscoring their opposition 15-0 since he took over in January 2018.

The top six teams out of qualifying will join Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, the U.S., and Trinidad and Tobago in the top-tier CONCACAF Nations League A. Those six countries skipped qualifying by virtue of reaching the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Those six will join the top 10 teams from Nations League qualifying at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which increases to 16 teams from 12. That will motivate French Guiana, which has made the regional championship just once.

Canada defeated French Guiana 4-2 in their only previous meeting, at the 2017 Gold Cup. A 16-year-old Davies scored his first two international goals in the win.

The CONCACAF Nations League B will feature 16 teams while League C has 13.

The Canadians opened the Nations League qualifying round with an 8-0 win over the U.S. Virgin Islands, in a game played in Bradenton, Fla., before blanking visiting Dominica 5-0 and winning 1-0 at St Kitts & Nevis.

French Guiana won 5-0 at Anguilla, lost 1-0 at home to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and beat visiting Guyana 1-0.

Canada currently leads all teams in qualifying play with 1,254 passes. French Guiana has the most yellow cards with eight.

CANADA

Goalkeeper: Milan Borjan, Red Star Belgrade (Serbia); Maxime Crepeau, Vancouver Whitecaps; Simon Thomas, Kongsvinger IL (Norway).

Defenders: Derek Cornelius, Vancouver Whitecaps; David Edgar, Hartlepool United (England); Doneil Henry, Vancouver Whitecaps; Samuel Adekugbe, Valerenga Fotball (Norway); Zachary Brault-Guillard, Montreal Impact; Marcus Godinho, Heart of Midlothian (Scotland).

Midfielders: Scott Arfield, Glasgow Rangers (Scotland); Atiba Hutchinson, Besiktas (Turkey); Will Johnson, Orlando City; Mark-Anthony Kaye, Los Angeles FC; Jonathan Osorio, Toronto FC; Samuel Piette, Montreal Impact; Russell Teibert, Vancouver Whitecaps.

Wingers: Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich (Germany); Junior Hoilett, Cardiff City (Wales); Liam Millar, Kilmarnock (Scotland); Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, Albacete Balompie (Spain).

Forwards: Lucas Cavallini, Puebla FC (Mexico); Jonathan David, KAA Gent (Belgium); Cyle Larin, Besiktas (Turkey);

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED- More wolf sightings – numerous encounters

Avoid attracting wolves with food sources and keep pets inside

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue explains BBQ blaze fire safety

Outdoor cooking safety needs fires extinguishers ready

Cloak-and-dagger ninja deliveries

Whining kids at home may be creating the need for wining moms at home

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Smithers woman awarded $55K in RCMP excessive force suit

Irene Joseph alleged false arrest and assault and battery related to a 2014 incident in Smithers

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Most Read