The Canada Men's National Team head coach, Benito Floro, has named a 24-man squad for the upcoming friendly against Ghana on October 13. The roster was most notable for the players it lacked: first team regulars. Eleven of the 22 players called up for Canada's World Cup qualifying series against Belize in September are missing from the latest squad.
There are, of course, various reasons for the absences, including injury (Will Johnson just had surgery) and the ongoing CONCACAF U-23 Olympic qualifying tournament which has claimed a number of younger players who Floro had called on previously. And, as the coach explained, this is the last chance to look at some new faces before World Cup qualifying begins.
One of those players who represents continuity from the September roster is Karl Ouimette. The New York Red Bulls defender made his national team debut in November 2013, and has accumulated all of his 11 caps for his countryon Floro's watch.
The call-up is surely gratifying for a young player who will be hoping to participate in Canada's World Cup qualifiers over the next couple of seasons. And Floro needs some relatively established selections to be able to effectively gauge the performance of those with whom he is perhaps less familiar.
We wish Ouimette well against Ghana.
Unfortunately, however, the call-up will put further pressure on RBNY's beleaguered playing resources at exactly the moment when the team is in contention for a trophy: the 2015 Supporters' Shield. The race is tight. Every game counts.
The FIFA international window runs from October 5 to 13. If Canada wished, it could keep Ouimette away from RBNY for the October 7 visit of Montreal Impact. And if he plays significant minutes against Ghana on October 13, he's unlikely to be in position to contribute to the Red Bulls' work in Toronto on October 14. Indeed, if he can't train or travel with the RBNY first team prior to the TFC game, he might be left out of the squad anyway.
This could be significant because the Red Bulls are already missing three defenders for most of October: Chris Duvall, Roy Miller and Matt Miazga. The first two are nursing serious injuries; the latter is on Olympic qualifying duty with the USA U-23s, and will serve a two-game suspension as soon as he gets back. Currently, Ouimette is one of three specialist center backs available - and one of those is Ronald Zubar, whose season-long injury troubles suggest he is made of glass.
RBNY might be forced to contest two of its last five league games hoping that it can keep the only two center backs it has fit and available on the field (add Damien Perrinelle's yellow card accumulation - 10 this season and counting -to concerns about Zubar's ability to stay injury-free).
And if Kemar Lawrence is called up by Jamaica, that could mean RBNY has to get through up to two games with no tried-and-tested back-ups (with the exception perhaps of Sal Zizzo, who has looked capable at either full back spot) for any one of its back four.
A troubling prospect, but we have yet to hear from the JFF regarding a roster for its October international (10/13 in South Korea). And we have yet to hear from RBNY.
It's possible Lawrence doesn't get asked to join Jamaica in Korea, and it's possible RBNY has persuaded Benito Floro to look kindly on the club's current shortage of available defenders. Canada plays Ghana in DC: no great journey for Ouimette, no jet lag concerns - he could be in the Red Bulls' squad that plays Montreal on 10/7 and training with his national teammates on 10/8.
It's a bit of a stretch to suggest he can than hop a flight to Toronto after finishing up a game in DC around 9:00 pm (kick-off against Ghana is scheduled for 7:00 pm), but if absolutely necessary, he could make it to BMO Field in time for a 7:00 pm kick off on 10/14.
The Red Bulls will have made their case to Canada (and Jamaica). In a few days, we'll find out exactly how greatly the October internationals might inconvenience RBNY.