In a bit of a surprising move, Canada national team coach, Benito Floro, has called in Karl Ouimette to Canada's two friendlies this week. Ouimette has been recovering from a savage kick to the back in the New York Red Bulls II match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, back on May 7th. He was suspended three games for his actions before he was attacked, but has not appeared in the three senior RBNY matches since being handed his USL suspension.
Canada is not one of the six CONCACAF teams in this month's Copa America, so have decided to travel to Austria for their two friendlies. Both matches will be against teams that are also still alive for their respective World Cup qualifications. Up first is 108th ranked Azerbaijan on Friday June 3rd at 2pm ET. They have been drawn into UEFA qualification Group C with Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway and San Marino. Azerbaijan will play Macedonia on Tuesday May 31st, also in Austria.
Canada's second match is against 71st ranked Uzbekistan on Tuesday June 7th at 10am ET. They are in AFC's qualification Group A with Iran, South Korea, China, Qatar and Syria. Before they play Canada, Uzbekistan will host a friendly against Equitorial Guinea on June 2nd. Their last loss was on June 11, 2015 against North Korea, but have rattled off eight straight wins since.
Both opponents broke off from USSR back in 1991 and these are their first matches against Canada as independent nations.
Ouimette has 14 caps for Canada since making his first appearance in 2013. He has also played in seven of RBNY's matches this season. RBNY will take on Toronto FC Saturday May 28th. They will be without Anatole Abang, Derrick Etienne and Kemar Lawrence, who have also been called to their respective national teams.