Earlier this week Ricki Herbert named his 22 man squad for both the friendlies versus El Salvador and Honduras, as well as the OFC Nations Cup, which included a couple of surprise call ups for teenagers plying their trade in England. Tim Payne, an 18 year old for the Blackburn Rovers and Cameron Howieson, 17, of Burnley earned their first call ups to the squad in time for these matches. Aside from that the roster includes many players from the Jamaica match, as well as some who weren’t available in February.
For each player I have listed their club and country, as well as the number of national team matches/goals.
Jake Gleeson- Portland Timbers, USA (1/0)
Glen Moss- Wellington Phoenix, NZ (19/0)
Mark Paston- Wellington Phoenix, NZ (29/0)
Michael Boxall- Vancouver Whitecaps, Canada (3/0)
Tony Lochhead- Wellington Phoenix, NZ (35/0)
Ryan Nelsen- Tottenham Hotspur, England (46/6)
Winston Reid-West Ham United, England (10/1)
Ben Sigmund- Wellington Phoenix, NZ (19/1)
Tommy Smith- Ipswich Town, England (9/0)
Ivan Vicelich- Auckland City, NZ (74/6)
Leo Bertos- Wellington Phoenix, NZ (40/0)
Jeremy Brockie- Wellington Phoenix, NZ (25/0)
Aaron Clapham- Canterbury United, NZ (5/0)
Cameron Howieson- Burnley, England (0/0)
Dan Keat- Los Angeles Galaxy, USA (1/0)
Michael McGlichney- Central Coast Mariners, Australia (11/1)
Tim Payne- Blackburn Rovers, England (0/0)
Marco Rojas- Melbourne Victory, Australia (3/0)
Kosta Barbarouses- Alaina, Russia (5/0)
Rory Fallon- Aberdeen, Scotland (11/3)
Chris Killen- Chongqing, China (40/12)
Shane Smeltz- Brisbane Roar, Australia (37/17)
Chris Wood- West Bromwich Albion, England (18/2)
At this point it has been announced that Jake Gleeson will only be with the team for its two friendlies in the US. Ricki Herbert has also confirmed that Tony Lochhead, Rory Fallon, and Ryan Nelsen will not be available until the Nations Cup. Herbert recently stated that Nelsen is in doubt for that as well due to a persistent knee problem. (Link Here)
A Look at the Opponents:
I will do a full preview of the OFC Nations Cup later, so right now let’s look at the matches to be played in El Salvador and Honduras.
Fifa Ranking: 49th in the World, 3rd in CONCACAF region.
Elo Ranking: 70th in World, 8th in CONCACAF.
Last international match: February 29th a 2-0 defeat to Estonia played in the United States.
Information on the members of this squad is tough to find, and it appears that few of the players play outside of the country
La Selecta have qualified for two World Cups with the last being in 1982, but have yet to register a point, being outscored 1-22 in those 6 games.
Fifa Ranking: 62nd in World, 7th in CONCACAF region
Elo Ranking: 51st in World, 6th in CONCACAF region
Last International Match: 2-0 defeat at Ecuador
Well known Honduran players: Maynor Figueroa (Wigan, England), Wilson Palacios (Stoke City, England), David Suazo (Catania, Italy).
Honduras has qualified for the same 2 World Cups as New Zealand (1982, 2010) and also have gotten no victories, but have 3 draws in their 6 matches, including a 0-0 draw against Switzerland in their last group match in South Africa.
I believe that the All Whites can compete in both matches and could be victorious, but I see them winning the match versus El Salvador 2-1 with Chris Killen and Shane Smeltz getting the goals. With more individual talent, Honduras will pose the tougher test, but I envision a 2-2 draw. Shane Smeltz and Chris Wood scoring in the second match.
In Other News…
In the LA Galaxy’s last match Dan Keat was given his first runout, playing all 90 minutes in their 1-1 draw with expansion team Montreal Impact, earning a yellow card in the 44th minute. While I was not able to watch the game, a couple of reports I read stated that he played a defensive role and looked very good in the air.
Congratulations goes out to Winston Reid and West Ham United, as their exile from the Premier League was ended after only one year on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Blackpool. West Ham took the lead in the first half, but saw the Tangerines level the match shortly after the break. The first 10 minutes of the second half were dominated by Blackpool, and were it not for a nice defensive stops by Reid they could have fallen behind. In the 53rd minute Steven Dobbie got behind the defense but was unable to get past the Kiwi and stake Blackpool to a lead.