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CP: Canadian lineup depleted by injury

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Canadian lineup depleted by injury

Canadian Press

The injury concerns are mounting for Canadian coach Holger Osieck in advance of a high-profile soccer friendly against Germany on June 1 in Wolfsburg.

The spine of Osieck's team could be missing: goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld (hamstring) and defender Jason deVos (foot) are both out and star striker Tomasz Radzinski may also be unavailable.

Radzinski missed the last eight games of the English season with Everton after injuring his groin March 15 against West Ham.

Versatile defender Kevin McKenna is suffering from a painful foot injury and veteran striker Carlo Corazzin is scheduled for arthroscopic knee surgery.

First-choice striker Dwayne De Rosario (knee) is out for the season.

"The list seems to be endless already," said Osieck, who only has a small pool of talent to pick from.

"I am not feeling too too comfortable right now. I wish we had everybody on board. Then I would have been very confident. Because when we are at full strength — and we have proved it in recent games — then we play some decent football."

Germany, runner-up at the 2002 World Cup, is currently ranked fourth in the world while Canada is 74th.

The German game means a lot to Osieck, a German native who spent 11 years with the German Football Federation and was an assistant coach to Franz Beckenbauer when Germany won the 1990 World Cup. No doubt he is hoping to show friends and colleagues back home that Canada, despite rubbing shoulders with the likes of Belarus and Jordan in the world rankings, is not a soccer backwater.

But it now appears Germany will be facing a substantially weakened Canadian side.

"It's going to be a pretty young team," Osieck said.

The Canadian coach is also having to use his powers of persuasion with Scandinavian clubs, who are still in season, to release several of his players.

The good news is that midfielder Daniel Imhof will be available now that his Swiss club St. Gallen has rescheduled a game that was originally slated at the same time as the Germany fixture. Plus Rapid Vienna winger Ante Jazic will rejoin the national team after fours years in the cold. He last played in 1999 against Guatemala — 41 matches have elapsed since then — before seemingly falling out with Osieck.

Plus Pat Onstad, the starting goalie with Hirschfeld out, is off to a torrid start with the San Jose Earthquakes. He was the MLS player of the week and leads the league with a 0.38 goals-against average. He has three shutouts in five games and has given up just two goals.

Gregg Sutton of the Montreal Impact will probably be Onstad's backup in Germany.

German-based Paul Stalteri, Julian de Guzman and Tam Nsaliwa are all expected to be on the squad.

Osieck is hopeful that deVos and McKenna will be ready for the Gold Cup, which starts July 12. He is not sure whether he will be able to pry Radzinski free from Everton.

There is confusion over the national team future of veteran striker Paul Peschisolido, the talk of English soccer after scoring a spectacular goal Thursday that capped a stirring Sheffield United comeback in the semifinals of the First Division promotion playoffs.

Osieck said the last communication he had with Peschisolido, prior to any callup for the Germany game, the player said he wanted to concentrate on his club commitments.

"I cannot keep running after players permanently," Osieck said.

But Peschisolido, who has not played for Canada since November 2001, told The Canadian Press in April he wants to be part of the national team, did not know why he had been dropped and had not been contacted by Osieck since the Malta game.

"I love playing for my country," he said.

Peschisolido, 31, has become a fan favourite in Sheffield in his role as a super-sub with a scoring touch. In fact the five-foot-eight striker told manager Neil Warnock before Thursday's game that he would come on and score.

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Ouch...

Well, the only positive is that we might get a chance to see a few new faces in the line-up.

-------------------------

Sigma do toho!

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