A curious thing occurred to me when news of United’s acquisition of Alain Rochat dropped, accompanied as it was by mentions of his being Swiss by upbringing, but Canadian by birth. Even if you discount Rochat’s Canadian-ness, doesn’t it seem strange that D.C. United has so many Canadians on the roster? De Rosario is the captain, Jakovic is a key member of the defense, and Porter has been seeing significant time on the flank by dint of an injury rash in midfield.
Again, ignoring Rochat for the time being, that’s three Canadians getting major minutes for the club. And that made me think (1) why so many Canadians, and (2) what about the actual Canadian clubs in MLS?
Outside of Nana Attakora getting minutes as center back cover in San Jose, I can’t think of any Canadian picking up major minutes for an American MLS side (outside United, of course). But maybe that’s because the Canadian MLS sides are hoarding the limited supply of native talent?
Vancouver, outside of the recently dealt Rochat (who, for the purposes of this post we’ll class as Swiss), has exactly one Canadian player (Teibert) who has featured even semi-regularly. Indeed, they only have three Canadians on their entire MLS roster.
Montreal? Bernier is a key cog in their midfield, but he’s one of just four Canadians on their MLS roster, and the other three are bench-fodder at best.
Of course, there’s always Toronto, the first bulwark in Canada’s MLS invasion. They do have a handful of Canucks (think Morgan, Osorio, Henry, Dunfield) in and around the game-day roster, but even then, only Morgan is among the top 15 on the roster in minutes played.
All of which begs the question: why does D.C. United, of all teams, feature what is likely the most significant Canadian playing presence in MLS?
And, sadly, the follow-up: is it any coincidence that the two teams which most feature Canadian players are the two teams that haven’t yet reached double digits in points and sit at the foot of the table?