The Columbus Crew will have at least three players away with their national teams during Major League Soccer’s three-week break. Liam Fraser, who is on loan from Toronto FC, has been called up to the Canadian National Team for the country’s upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.
Fraser joins goalkeeper Eloy Room and winger Luis Diaz as the current Black & Gold players heading out of Columbus to play for their countries. Room will be with Curaçao for the same qualifiers while Diaz is joining the Costa Rica squad for the CONCACAF Nations League Finals.
The midfielder was acquired by the Crew on May 3 on loan from Toronto FC. TFC received $50,000 in General Allocation Money from Columbus in exchange for the 23-year-old Canadian midfielder. Fraser was brought to the Black & Gold to add more depth in the central midfield after the likes of Perry Kitchen and Aidan Morris suffered injuries to start the year.
Since his loan signing, Fraser has made substitute appearances in both matches he was eligible to play against the New England Revolution and New York City FC. He logged 56 total minutes for the Crew and could have more if not for the two recent matches against his parent club Toronto, which he was ineligible to play. Now, Fraser will join his fellow Canadians for a chance at history in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Canucks squad is full of talent with Bayern Munich left back Alphonso Davies leading the way alongside other notable Canadians in Europe such as Lille striker Jonathan David, who just won the Ligue 1 title in France, and Cyle Larin of Besiktas in Turkey. Fraser is one of 10 MLS players called up by Canada, including Tajon Buchanon, Lucas Cavallini and Jonathan Osorio. The team is more than good enough to accomplish its goal, make the CONCACAF Octagonal.
Canada begins the international break on June 5 in Bradenton, Florida against Aruba in its penultimate group match. The country’s final group match will be at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois against the 136th ranked team in the world Suriname. The Reds and Suriname are the lone two teams in Group B with six points but Canada’s 11-0 win against the Cayman Islands in March means they control their destiny for first place.
If Canada wins the group, they will advance to the second round and play a two-legged series on June 12 and 15 against the winners of the Group E. The potential opponent for the Canadians will be Nicaragua, Belize or Haiti, three teams that this talented Canada squad should defeat. If the Canucks win the second-round tie, Fraser and company will advance to the Octagonal third-round group that features the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and the other two second-round winners.
Canada hasn’t made the final stage of World Cup qualifying since 1998 but this team is the best men’s national squad in decades that has a shot of qualifying for its first World Cup since 1986. For Fraser, bigger games could be on the horizon in both a Crew and Canada shirt.
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