Loons goalie St. Clair staying ready to help Canadian national team
With St. Clair’s standout performances with the Loons in MLS this season, the 25-year-old has become a routine call-up into national team camps during FIFA international windows
Dayne St. Clair is the guy behind the guy behind the guy.
It’s not the spot Minnesota United’s goalkeeper wants to be in with the Canadian men’s national team but at least he’s sitting backstage.
With St. Clair’s standout performances with the Loons in MLS this season, the 25-year-old has become a routine call-up into national team camps during FIFA international windows.
St. Clair is currently with Canada going into a friendly match against Panama at 6 p.m. Sunday, followed by two CONCACAF Nations League matches, against Curacao on Thursday and versus Honduras, which includes MNUFC midfielder Kervin Arriaga, on June 13.
St. Clair is expected to back up veteran mainstays Milan Borjan and Maxime Crepeau in these tune-up games for Canada over the next week. This leads to the main event: the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November.
After Minnesota’s 1-0 loss to New York City on May 28, St. Clair said he was focused on his and the Loons’ form before switching gears to the national team.
“I’ve talked to the goalie coach a little bit,” St. Clair said about possible playing time with Canada. “We decided that it would be best to talk when I first got to camp with how busy our schedule is because we’ve basically had no break here.
“Personally, I too want to focus on the (MLS) games that are at hand because I know I need to perform well,” he continued. “Especially with the team not doing well, I want to play my part and get some points for this team.”
St. Clair has been the biggest bright spot for Minnesota (5-6-3) this season. He leads MLS with a plus-4.9 in expected goals minus goals allowed and is tied for seventh in 1.08 goals against per 90 minutes.
St. Clair made his men’s senior team debut for Canada in a 7-0 win over Aruba in a World Cup qualifier last June but did not played in a national team game when qualifying headed up through March.
When the FIFA World Cup comes to the U.S., Canada and Mexico in 2026, the top spot in net for the Canadians could be St. Clair’s to seize. Creapea, of Los Angeles FC, will be 32 years old, while Borjan, who’s club is Red Star Belgrade in Serbia, will be 38.
But that depth chart also can change between now and Qatar.
“Every day is an opportunity for me to prove myself not only within this league but (outside it),” St. Clair said in late May. “Pushing for things and the World Cup, a lot could happen six months from now. I think just getting that consistency now is important for me.”
BOXALL’S BIG OPPORTUNITY
Loons center back Michael Boxall and the New Zealand national team has a spot in the World Cup on the line in an inter-confederation playoff against Costa Rica in Doha, Qatar, on June 14.
New Zealand, which has a friendly against Peru on Sunday, won the Oceania confederation (OFC) and Costa Rica finished fourth in North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF)
The winner of the one-leg playoff returns to Qatar for the World Cup in November and the loser watches from home. This might be the 33-year-old Boxall’s last big shot with the national team. New Zealand last qualified for the World Cup in 2010.
Loons top scorer Robin Lod has four games scheduled from Saturday to June 14 in the UEFA Nations League through June 14. … Arriaga and Honduras will play three CONCACAF Nations League matches through June 13. Arriaga has been seen wearing a facemask with his national team after injuring his nose in the Loons’ 2-1 loss to Union Omaha in the U.S. Open Cup round of 16 match on May 25. … Molik Khan, an 18-year-old signed this spring to MNUFC2, has four games scheduled with the Trinidad and Tobago national team in the CONCACAF Nations League. … MNUFC’s next MLS game is June 19 at New England.
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