Canadian men's soccer team returns to action on weekend with scrimmage against U.S.

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The Canadian men see their first action in more than a year Saturday when they take on the U.S. in a soccer scrimmage in Bradenton, Fla.

Both teams are holding camps at the IMG Center there.

Saturday's meeting is not considered an official match, given it will be in the form of two 70-minute scrimmages, allowing both coaches to dig deep into their squad.

Because the camp does not fall in a FIFA international window, both teams do not have their full lineups with a lot of young talent called in.

Still, the camp marks the start of what Whitecaps striker Lucas Cavallini calls a "crucial year" for Canada with World Cup and Olympic qualifying starting in March and the Gold Cup in July.

The 28-year-old from Toronto had six goals in 18 games in his first season with the Whitecaps.

Cavallini has won 17 caps for Canada with 11 goals and one assist.

The Canadian men, currently ranked 72nd in the world, last played Jan. 15, 2019, when they lost 1-0 to No. 46 Iceland in a friendly in Irvine, Calif.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press