Oak Bay soccer products picked to take on Scotland

 

Adam Straith is one of Canadian soccer’s most reliable defenders and Simon Thomas among its emerging goalkeepers.

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It's been an uncannily similar trajectory as the players, both 26, grew up in adjacent neighbourhoods in Oak Bay and came through Bays United and Lower Island Metro.

Both will be on the pitch when Canada meets Scotland in a friendly at Easter Road in Edinburgh on Wednesday amid the emotive strains of Flower of Scotland that will surely be cascading full force out of the throats of the Tartan Army.

The timing dovetails nicely with the FC Edmonton training camp taking place in Manchester. Straith, who will earn his 42nd cap, is among three FC Edmonton players selected for the Canadian roster, along with midfielder Ben Fisk and veteran defender Nik Ledgerwood.

Straith recently signed for the North American Soccer League side, which plays in the Alberta capital and is nicknamed the Eddies, after previous professional stints in Germany and Norway.

Six-foot-three Thomas, who plays in the Norwegian Premiership with FK Bodo/Glimt and has six caps, will dress Wednesday wearing the No. 1 Canadian jersey while Jayson Leutwiler, from England’s Shrewsbury Town, will back up in the crease.

The lone debutante will be North Vancouver's La'Vere Corbin-Ong, a defender from FSV Frankfurt.

World No. 117 Canada is preparing for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup from July 7 to 26 in 13 major stadiums across the United States under newly minted head coach Octavio Zambrano.

The Canadians have already been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Scotland, with a world ranking of No. 67, is in the midst of European qualifying for the World Cup and Gordon Strachan’s squad faces a must-win game against Slovenia at Hampden Park in Glasgow next Sunday.

The Canada-Scotland game will be a friendly in name only. Straith and Thomas know that bearing down on them will be a spirited Scottish attack as hopefuls make their case to Strachan to be included in the roster for the Slovenia game.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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