This importance of this match is clear: It is a chance for Herdmans vision and plan to be put into action for the first time, an opportunity for this team to make a good first impression.
Mexico didn't miss its absent stars in Wednesday's impressive 3-1 win over Venezuela. Rodolfo Pizarro, in particular, shone for Tata Martino's side.
Trinidad and Tobago held a tired-looking Japan to a 0-0 draw during an uninspiring friendly at Toyota Stadium in Aichi on Wednesday.
NEWS | #AllWhites Head Coach Fritz Schmid brings in a new era. @CanadaSoccerEN https://t.co/dm7Nw0FTfE pic.twitter.com/33THilGSzT
The next phase for the Canadian national teamkicks off Saturday at Pinatar Arena, where the John Herdman era begins when Les Rouges face New Zealand in an international friendly.
The coach who led New Zealand to the brink of qualifying for this summers World Cup, only for the All Whites to fall to Peru in an intercontinental playoff, is now leading the Colorado Rapids. Replacing Anthony Hudson at the helm for New Zealand is Fritz Schmid, who spent the last three years as Malaysias technical director. He was hired late last month.
Players to Watch
Canada havea 2-0-0 record against New Zealand, with both victories coming on the All Whites Canadian tour in 1980. Canada won 4-0 on Sept. 15, 1980 in Vancouver and 3-0 in Edmonton two days later.
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The attack was sluggish and the midfield was sloppy. And while the U.S. should be concerned it didn't beat Jamaica, there's still no need to panic.
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It was a first training session for the full #CANMNT squad here in Murcia, Spain today.Check out the boys putting in work ahead of Saturday's friendly v @NZ_Football, live on https://t.co/QAm3FvVQHB. pic.twitter.com/cA0ETbxOUJ
Canada Jonathan Osorio. The 25-year-old already has two goals in 19 appearances for Canada and is off to a flying start with Toronto FC, scoring a sensational backheel goal that lifted the defending MLS Cup champions to a 2-1 win over Tigres UANL in the opening leg of the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals.
The other MLS player on the All Whites roster is young Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Myer Bevan, who scored his first international goal in just his second appearance, a second-leg World Cup qualifying series against the Solomon Islands.
We know what all of those players can offer the national team, Schmid told the New Zealand Herald. They are not selected for this window, but they all know that they are on my watch list and that they will be offered an opportunity to prove their value in due time.
New Zealand Michael Boxall. A regular in Adrian Heaths starting XI at Minnesota United FC since he arrived midway through the 2017 season from SuperSport United in South Africa, Boxall has partnered with Costa Rican international Francisco Calvo on a backline that has conceded just once in its first three games after leaking a league-high 70 goals in its expansion year.
The most capped player is Michael McGlinchey with 52. The 32-year-old is one of five players from Wellington Phoenix in Australias A-League.
How will Canada look? Who will start? Whats the preferred formation? All that is unknown at the moment. As for the squad, Herdman has brought in 10 MLS players as part of a squad of regular national team contributors like Toronto FC forward Tosaint Ricketts, LAFC defender Dejan Jakovic and midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, who plays for Beikta in Turkey with former Orlando City SC forward Cyle Larin, who's also part of Herdmans first 23-man roster.
Kensuke Nagai scored his first goals for Japan with a brace in a 2-0 win over El Salvador in Miyagi on Sunday.
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We need an absolute purpose for playing, a clear purpose for playing, said Herdman, who coached the New Zealand womens national team from 2006-11. That to me is the foundation behind it all. What these men are prepared to do with that jersey, theyre custodians of that shirt for a period of time, and what are they prepared to leave behind when they put that shirt down.
While TFC, who have four players on the roster, and the Montreal Impact, with three players, have byes this week, Vancouver is home vs. the LA Galaxy. Davies, 17, has started all three games for Whitecaps FC, and has one goal and one assist on the season.
Like Canada, the focus is on the next World Cup cycle for New Zealand and Schmid has called in a relatively young and inexperienced team with nine players looking to make their debuts. Among the veterans in the 23-man roster is Minnesota United FC central defender Michael Boxall, who has made 31 appearances.
An inexperienced Australia were beaten 1-0 by South Korea despite dominating large periods of their friendly international in Busan.