The Canadian national team played to a 2-2 draw with Guadeloupe, a French overseas department that competes in CONCACAF competitions, in Gold Cup action. Guadeloupe may not officially be a country but they do have a large diaspora in mainland France to draw upon and as such have a squad full of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 players. Still, the result was a disappointing one for Canada who looked disjointed and slow. But there were two debutants who turned in very positive performances.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Canadian
- Age: 22
- Date of Birth: 10/10/2000
- Current club: Vancouver Whitecaps
- Career: Centennial College Colts, Vancouver Whitecaps Reserves/WFC2
- Position: Midfielder
- Secondary Position: Wing-Back
- Preferred foot: Right
Ali Ahmed lined up in an attacking midfielder role in this game. But in practice, he was often rotating with Richie Laryea who lined up as a right-wing-back. Ahmed was extremely effective throughout the match, despite an overall disappointing performance from the Canadian team.
Ahmed is extremely good at combining with teammates at speed. He frequently advanced the ball quickly with 1-2s by picking smart passes and then making quick and incisive movements. Ahmed is a good ball carrier and quick with the ball. His 1v1 dribbling is just ok. He attempts a lot of dribbles but does get tackled quite a lot. In the final 3rd, Ahmed is a penalty box entry god. Whether it was through dribbling, passing, or crossing, Ahmed consistently got the ball into dangerous areas. It was his through ball that lead to Canada’s second goal and he was at least involved in the build-up of several other chances. He was capable of creating from wide areas and from the right half-space. Ahmed does not look like he would be a physically strong player. He is absolutely rail thin. But he is surprisingly resilient. Of course, a bigger man can still get the better of him in a physical duel but Ahmed puts up stiff resistance.
When he does lose the ball he often wins it back right away, simply by refusing to give up on the ball. Now, that being said, he is not well suited to being a defensive midfielder. He certainly hustles a lot but his 1v1 defending is not that refined. He was slightly at fault for Guadeloupe’s first goal as he was beaten 1v1 in the build-up. But as long as he is deployed such that he is supported it should not be a big problem
Rating – A1
This is perhaps a bit of a hot take but I think Ahmed is good enough to play in a top-5 league. His performances in MLS have been immense and he was one of the few Canadian players to shine in this match. Heis a bit of a late bloomer, turning 23 later this year, but he’s operating on a very high level this season. If not a top-5 league he could at least follow in the footsteps of Tajon Buchanan or Alistair Johnston and sign for a big club outside the top-5.
- Nationality: Canadian
- Age: 23
- Date of Birth: 30/03/2000
- Current club: Colorado Rapids
- Career: CS Saint-Hubert, Iowa Western Community College Reivers, Seacoast United, University of New Hampshire Wildcats
- Position: Centre-back
- Secondary position: Defensive midfielder
- Preferred foot: Right
Moise Bomibito usually plays as a centre-back but was deployed as a defensive midfielder in this match. But for the most part, he looked surprisingly composed (though according to the commentary team, he was a midfielder in youth football so maybe it should not have been so surprising). Bombito was very good at defending aggressively and winning the ball back. Bombito made a number of tackles high up the field, not something you would expect from an out-of-position player. But Bombito used his size, athleticism, and positioning to close opponents down.
Bombito is 6’3 and very mobile, making him a real wrecking ball in the centre of the park. He also has some real passing acumen. He was able to play some very nice long-range diagonal passes behind the Guadeloupe fullbacks. He was also quite good at switching the play and playing outlet passes. However, there were also some drawbacks. Although he demonstrated the ability to play progressive passes, he was sometimes a little reluctant to play the ball forwards. In fact, he put his teammates in trouble a couple of times by playing backward passes to them when they were under pressure. In one instant Bombito showed some strong dribbling ability. He almost managed to dribble through the whole Guadeloupe defence with some surprisingly good feet for a big man. This was the only time he attempted any dribbling, so I wouldn’t say he is a ball-carrying savant but in his usual centre back position, he could most likely play his way out of danger.
Rating – A2
Bombito opted to play in the NCAA and then suffered an injury in pre-season training. The upshot of this is that he is 23 with very few professional games under his belt. But all the pieces are there. He is big, athletic, and skilled. If he can stay healthy and perform at this level for the rest of the season I think teams in Europe should have their eye on him. I don’t think he has top-5 potential but he could play in the next tier down.