Canada is going to play in the World Cup for the first time since 1986, giving cause for plenty of excitement around the country. Team Canada announced their 26-man roster on Sunday, which included 11 MLS players and three from Toronto FC specifically.
The three players in question are Jonathan Osorio, Richie Laryea and Mark-Anthony Kaye. However, what was notable was the absence of another player who was a part of TFC's team this past season.
Doneil Henry missed out on a roster spot after suffering a calf injury last Friday, prior to Canada's 2-2 draw with Bahrain. Set to be captain for the game, he felt some tightness during warm-up.
Canada revealed their 26-man World Cup roster on Sunday and while it was good news for three Toronto FC players, Doneil Henry missed out as a result of a terribly-timed injury.
As reported by TSN, Canada head coach John Herdman discussed what happened. He said:
"(Henry) tried to push it a little bit further and it sort of led to maybe a tear in there. We're just working through the MRIs and getting all the final details, but he just wasn't able to create any explosivity out of the calf."
It's an understatement to write this, but the timing of the injury could not have been any worse for Henry. He has 44 international caps to his name and has become an important part of the Canadian team.
The preliminary recovery period was up to 14 days. However, the Brampton, Ontario native did not want to take up a valuable roster spot during the vital early stages of the World Cup.
This speaks volumes about Henry. As Herdman said:
"Doneil put the team first … we could have tried to return him to play and had him later on in the tournament. But he knew it was the right decision to make, to allow another player that had earned that right and that was fully fit to come and take that opportunity. It was a big moment. It really shows the courage and what this brotherhood's about when a man can sort of surrender his shirt and take that step forward to support the team in a different role."
Further proving this selfless attitude, consider that Henry is 29 years old. Combined with the challenges that come with attempting to qualify for the World Cup, he may never get another opportunity to play on football's ultimate stage.
It will be interesting to see where the centre-back plays next. He re-joined Toronto in July on a six-month deal, but will not return to the Reds next season.
Stage set for Osorio to shine
On a related subject, another TFC player unlikely to return to Southern Ontario next season in Osorio. As we wrote on Monday, he is aiming to move to England following the World Cup, after receiving interest from several EFL teams.
Obviously, a good showing in Quatar will only increase interest in the 30-year-old. He will get every opportunity to shine, as one of Canada's best players.
Osorio has earned 57 caps with the international side, since making his senior team debut in 2013. Along the way he has scored seven goals and provided seven assists from the midfield position.
The Toronto native's biggest moment to date at the international level, was scoring in a 1-1 draw against Mexico during World Cup qualifiers. It was Canada's first goal versus Mexico at Estadio Azteca since 1980.
There had been some concern about Osorio's availability, due to suffering post-concussion syndrome since mid-August. However, he played the full 90-minutes in Bahrain and sealed his roster spot.
Representing Toronto FC well
Laryea only made his senior international debut in 2019, but he has already amassed 33 caps at right back. Currently back on loan with Toronto FC after signing for Nottingham Forest, there is speculation he will return to Southern Ontario on a permanent basis.
Finally we turn to Kaye, who only played eight regular season games for TFC in 2022. Don't let this fool you about his ability however, which saw him named an MLS All-Star in 2019 and has earned him 37 caps to date with Canada.
How do you see Toronto FC's trio of players performing at the World Cup? Further, how do you think Canada will do in Qatar as a whole? Let us know in the comments section below.