Choiniere Is An MLS All-Star, So Why Didn’t Canada Call Him Up?
The 2023 MLS All-Star Team Roster is here, and Mathieu Choiniere stands alone as the only Canadian to make the cut – and the only athlete selected from any Canadian MLS team, for that matter.
The 24-year-old finds himself in the midst of a breakout season with CF Montreal, where he leads the team with a five league goal contributions split between two goals and three assists.
He’s firmly broken through as not only a starter for the club, but a key one too. Despite that, Mathieu’s name had no place in Herdman’s Gold Cup roster selection.
The Canadians are entering the Gold Cup with a much-rotated squad from what we saw in last week’s Concacaf Nations League Final, with Herdman resting stars like Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Tajon Buchanan, and Ismael Kone, while veteran leader Atiba Hutchinson has hung up his boots.
“We’ve got some young lads that we’ll start looking at for this Gold Cup,” the head coach had said. Choiniere, 24, did not make that cut. A homegrown product, he turned professional with Montreal in 2018 and has over ninety Major League Soccer appearances to his name, and two Canadian Championship medals.
It’s not like CF Montreal is being overlooked: Zachary Brault-Guillard got the nod, and even Montreal-born Moise Bombito – a 23-year-old who earned just 201 MLS minutes from Colorado after arriving from the amateur ranks last season – is getting a look.
There were initial thoughts that CF Montreal had requested Choiniere with the club to help continue their sharp turnaround of form, but that belief dissipated when Hernan Losada said that he was personally disappointed for Mathieu to be missing out on the Gold Cup, amongst other snubbed teammates like Jonathan Sirois and Joel Waterman.
“I thought they deserved to be called up to Canada,” Losada revealed. “I really don’t understand it, but at the same time, I’m happy they get to stay and that I can keep relying on them for the weeks to come.”
Last week Choiniere made mention that the national team told him to keep going at the club level and, maybe one day, he’ll got the call from them once again.
Herdman had called Choiniere up to the squad ahead of a pre-World Cup friendly against Bahrain, though the bench is as close to a debut as he got. He was also listed in March’s Nations League preliminary roster, but didn’t make the final squad.
If the homegrown talent and 2023 MLS All-Star can keep his club form up, perhaps we’ll see Mathieu Choiniere don the red of Canada in the fall – so long as Canada Soccer doesn’t declare bankruptcy around that time, of course.
Canada’s 2023 Gold Cup campaign kicks off in Toronto tonight against Guadeloupe.