By now I’m sure you know a few of us around here are pretty die hard Syracuse Orange men’s soccer fans around here. Also, unless you’ve been living under a sports vacant rock, you should probably realize that the 2022 Men’s World Cup is happening as of Sunday, November 20th. What’s amazing to see is that the Orange program is at a state where the Venn diagrams of these two things are now overlapping.
For the first time ever (that staff could find), there are Syracuse Orange representing national teams on the world’s biggest stage. Currently on the roster for the Canadian Men’s National Team are both winger Tajon Buchanan and defender Kamal Miller, both former Orange. They would also have been joined by defender Miles Robinson as a member of the US Men’s National Team, were it not for a very unfortunate Achilles tendon rupture that has kept him out of the festivities.
Tajon Buchanan is currently a winger for Club Brugge in Belgium, playing primarily on the right side. He hails from Brampton, Ontario, a hotbed of talent that the Orange have tapped in recent years. After a successful two year career in Orange, Tajon was drafted by the New England Revolution as the 9th overall draft pick in 2019. He left as a Generation Adidas player during the record stretch that the Orange were producing first round draft picks. He has four goals for Canada in 27 caps and also plays as a right winger.
Moving further back on the pitch, Kamal Miller plays as a centerback for CF Montreal in MLS. The Scarborough, Ontario native spent four years with the Orange from 2015-2018 and was drafted by Orlando City with the 27th overall pick in the same 2019 SuperDraft as Tajon. When Austin FC joined the league, Miller was taken from OCSC as an expansion draft pick, then immediately trade to Montreal where he’s cemented himself in the starting lineup and even earned a spot on the 2022 MLS All-Star team.
Both players have gotten a good bit of run with Canada’s head coach John Herdman. Kamal is pretty well locked into his starting position. He will be the left centerback in a back four or a back three, both formations that have been deployed in the past for Canada. Buchanan is either a starter or an impact sub depending on how Herdman wants to get the combinations of attackers on the pitch. Alphonso Davies is in pen on the left wing, but there’s a combination of Cyle Larin, Johnathan David, Junior Hoilett and Tajon that need to fit into the puzzle somehow for a limited number of spots. If David is deployed wide, Tajon may be the 60th minute sub. If he’s deployed centrally, the spot is all Buchanans.
Canada was drawn into Group F, which also consists of Belgium, Morocco and Croatia. It’s not a group of death, but it’s a wiley one to navigate. Belgium and Croatia and traditionally good squads and Morocco can’t be slept on either, with Hakim Ziyech, Achraf Hakimi, Sofyan Amrabat and company all in the mix. Their matches are as follows:
- Belgium - 2pm - November 23rd
- Croatia - 11am - November 27th
- Morocco - 10am - December 1st
All matches can be streamed via Fox Sports app/FoxSports.com (English) and Peacock (Spanish), or viewed on the FOX network channels (FOX, FS1).