The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup is right around the corner and the preliminary 35 man rosters were announced today. Among those who found themselves in the line of international duty was the Montreal Impact's Maxim Tissot.
Joining sixty-two other MLS players who will be leaving to join their respective CONCACAF national teams, the Gatineau, QC native and Impact Academy product will be the lone Bleu-Blanc-Noir representative in the tournament.
The 23 year-old has been capped four times for the Canucks and will look towards scoring his first international goal all the more after boosting his confidence with one in MLS play last Saturday. Tissot will get an earlier chance to do that in the next week during home and away match ups versus Dominica in 2018 World Cup Qualifying play.
Head coach Benito Floro will skim the roster down to 23 before the Canadian squad kicks off their Gold Cup campaign in southern California on July 8 versus El Salvador. They will round out their group play in Toronto in front of a home crowd.
Canada gears up for the Gold Cup
Canada will look to use the Gold Cup as a platform to step out of the global soccer shadows. A below average team at best, and a down right embarrassment at worst, the Canadians have the tools to make a run come July. Having already lifted the trophy in 2000, the Canucks know that getting hot at the right time can make all the difference when playing for the continent's top international prize. If they can make another magical run, they will earn the right to a play-off versus the United States for a trip to Russia and the Confederations Cup in 2017.
But wait, there's more. Sure, Canada winning the whole thing may seem a bit far fetched, but qualifying for the 2016 Copa America Centenario is very realistic. Normally occurring every four years (the 2015 edition actually begins tomorrow in Chile), the Copa America and CONMEBOL will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a "super tournament" across the United States next year. There will be a total of sixteen teams comprising of the normal ten participants from CONMEBOL and an additional six from CONCACAF. USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Jamaica have already secured qualification leaving the door open for two more teams. Here's a small breakdown of the scenario:
1) If USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, or Jamaica win the Gold Cup:
- The highest ranked team from the 2015 Gold Cup (outside of the four already qualified) will play the fourth highest ranked team
- The second highest ranked team from the 2015 Gold Cup (outside of the four already qualified) will play the third highest ranked team
2) If a team OTHER than USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, or Jamaica win the Gold Cup:
- The winner of the 2015 Gold Cup will automatically qualify for the 2016 Copa America Centenario
- The two highest ranked teams (outside of the Gold Cup winner and the four already qualified) will face in a play-off for the final spot in Copa America.
In short, a good showing by the Canadians can not only give them a foothold in the continental game but will give them a chance to showcase our country against some of the world's most historic and best soccer nations in 2016.
Participating in a tournament such as the Copa America Centenario would be invaluable to the growth of the game in our nation.