Another new face has joined the Canadian men’s national team camp for the CONCACAF Nations League finals this week.
John Herdman has replaced injured Malmö defender Derek Cornelius with uncapped Colorado Rapids defender Moïse Bombito. It is the 23-year-old Montreal native’s first ever senior CanMNT call-up. He will now be the 23rd man in John Herdman’s experienced squad heading to Las Vegas.
Bombito was selected third overall in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft from the University of New Hampshire after the Rapids had acquired the third pick from Toronto FC as part of the trade that brought CanMNT midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye to Toronto.
His first Canada selection is the high point of a mixes first season with the Rapids; he was sidelined for more than two months with an MCL injury at the start of the campaign and didn’t make his MLS debut until May 13. Since then, he has made five appearances for the Rapids, including two starts.
“We’re tremendously proud of Moïse to not only earn his first senior call-up, but to do so ahead of two important matches for Canada’s men’s national team,” Colorado president Pádraig Smith said in a statement. “Moïse is only beginning to realize the depth of his potential and we couldn’t be more excited to see him continue his development with an opportunity like this.”
The towering six-foot-three centre-back was previously named the 2022 America East Defender of the Year and was a second-team all-American selection at New Hampshire.
Cornelius, meanwhile, misses out after picking up a hamstring injury playing for Malmö.
John Herdman had said in his Zoom call with media on Wednesday that he was “not overly optmistic” about the former Vancouver Whitecaps man’s fitness. On Saturday, he said in a statement it is “unfortunate” that Cornelius, who has been in great form since his move to Sweden, will miss out on the CNL finals as “he was a big part of helping us qualify.” However, the head coach added that Bombito is “someone we’re looking forward to getting to know.”
Canada face Panama on Thursday in their Nations League semi-final in Las Vegas. The winner will face either the United States or Mexico for the title of CONCACAF’s best team.