Aidan Morris headlines CanMNT's 53-player preliminary squad for Concacaf Nations League finals
With the Concacaf Nations League finals now less than a month away, teams revealed their extended preliminary rosters for that tournament today.
A list from which teams must pick their final squad from, it's usually a routine exercise, as teams will name most of the players one would expect them to, as well as some depth pieces.
Eligible to name up to 60 players, however, it does leave room for surprises, as managers can name some fascinating dual-nationals that they're in discussions with, making them eligible to earn a call should those talks be successful.
For the Canadian Men's National Team, that was no exception, as their 53-player list was revealed on Friday.
Leading the way on that list was the inclusion of 21-year-old Columbus Crew midfielder, Aidan Morris, who is born in Florida and has represented the US at the U18, U20 and senior level, although he is not yet cap-tied to them.
Previously rumoured to have Canadian citizenship, this inclusion confirms that, showing that Canada is in discussions with the midfielder. Also included on the US's preliminary squad for this tournament, a huge decision awaits him, as both teams push for his services.
A box-to-box midfielder, he's been off to a hot start this year for the Crew, scoring three goals and one assist in 14 games in all competitions, after entering this season with no goals and one assist in 41 previous games. Yet, he's thrived under new coach Wilfried Nancy, who has asked him to be more involved in the final third, a move that has worked wonders for Morris's game.
Here’s Aidan Morris’s 2023 MLS percentile chart… a very active midfielder across the board. The exact box-to-box profile Canada can use more of#CanMNT pic.twitter.com/1YaLZlMEh5— Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic (@AlexGangueRuzic) May 19, 2023
Therefore, it's no surprise that Canada would push for a player of his profile, given that their midfield depth is quite thin. Morris would be a perfect box-to-box profile to push the likes of Mark-Anthony Kaye and Jonathan Osorio, with the long-term upside to push into a battle with Ismaël Koné and Stephen Eustáquio.
Of course, it's no guarantee that Morris will now accept a call-up to Canada, as he's shown strong interest towards the US, but it keeps the door open, and with a Canadian coach in Nancy, and some Canadian teammates at the Crew, including fellow preliminary squad inclusion, Jacen Russell-Rowe, the pressure will be on.
Speaking of the Crew, however, it's another Canadian who headlines one of the biggest exclusions from this list, and that's Mo Farsi, who despite strong form was excluded.
Also eligible to represent Algeria, it's a big surprise exclusion, as many would've expected him to be a shoo-in to be on an extended list as his form has put him on the cusp of the National Team.
Otherwise, some intriguing new faces include Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder, Ali Ahmed, Montréal's Mathieu Choinière, Sean Rea and Jonathan Sirois, Colorado Rapids centre back Moïse Bombito and US, Italian and Nigerian quad-national, Luca Koleosho.
Canada will now name a final 23-player squad in early June, with the semi-finals of the Nations League set to kick off on June 15th, when they take on Panama in Las Vegas.
(All of the preliminary squads for the tournament can be found here)