The Canadian men’s team will kick 2020 off early with three matches this month in Irvine, California. First up? A pair of matches against Concacaf foes Barbados on Tuesday and Friday. After that awaits Iceland, which will prove a much tougher test as they make early preparations for the UEFA Euro 2020 playoffs this Spring. RELATED READING: How might the CanMNT line up for its January friendlies? However, Barbados has something to prepare for as well. Here’s what you need to know about this Barbadian team.
Barbados is in good form after Nations League success

This Barbadian squad is on a high after winning their Concacaf Nations League C group this Fall, dispatching the Cayman Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and Saint Martin en route to promotion and a spot in the brand new Gold Cup qualifying process beginning in March. The Bajan Tridents are set to play Guyana, who qualified for their first Gold Cup in 2019, in the first of the two-round qualifiers. Coach Russell Latapy will have his eye on that key two-legged tilt and preparing his side with matches against tough Concacaf opponents such as Canada.
Canada to face fellow new-look squad

Barbados' squad, just as Canada’s, is weakened, to say the least due to these friendlies being outside the FIFA window – pro clubs are not obligated to release their players for games on non-FIFA dates. As such, there are some notable absentees for Barbados, including Nick Blackman, formerly of Reading and Derby County who has English Premier League minutes under his belt. They will also be without Mario Harte, the team’s current leading scorer with 15 goals, who will not be leaving his domestic side UWI Blackbirds. The side does, however, have Rashad Jules in the lineup. The 27-year-old has six goals over 11 caps for the island nation, including two in Nations League qualifying this Fall. RELATED READING: 'A sigh of relief': Borges relishes chance to prove himself in CanMNT camp The side does, however, have Rashad Jules in the lineup. The 27-year-old has six goals over 11 caps for the island nation, including two in Nations League qualifying this Fall.
Was Ranaldo snubbed?

Are two Ranaldos better than one Ronaldo? Unfortunately, we won’t get to find out. After calling up both Ranaldo Bailey and Ranaldo Trim for a match against Nicaragua in 2019, neither player earned the nod for this January camp. While neither stacks up to Cristiano Ronaldo, surely there’s a little magic in that name. Bailey, certainly, would’ve been a key piece for Barbados, as he currently plies his trade at the University of South Carolina Aiken, where he’s done well as a centre-back. Alas, the defender and midfielder, respectively, will miss out on this squad with Barbados taking a fairly small, slightly weakened roster due to this camp’s place outside the regular FIFA window.
Canada hasn’t played Barbados since 2004

It’s been a very long time since Les Rouges took on this particular foe. The last meeting between these sides was an international friendly on Jan. 18, 2004, when Canada triumphed 1-0 in Bridgetown. Carlo Corazzin’s ninth-minute goal was all Canada needed to hold off their opponents, as a squad that featured current Pacific FC execs Josh Simpson and Rob Friend won their first match of the year. That Canadian side, managed by Frank Yallop, also had contributions from national team legends such as Dwayne De Rosario, Greg Sutton, and Patrice Bernier. Canada will try to extend its perfect record against the Tridents with two more wins in California.

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