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Orlando City midfielders Will Johnson, Sebas Méndez earn national team call-ups

SANFORD, Fla. — Veteran Orlando City midfielder Will Johnson has been called up to the Canadian men’s national team ahead of its match against French Guiana on March 24. 

Johnson, 32, has been capped 43 times for his national team. His last appearance for Canada was on June 14, 2017, against Curaçao. He has four goals to go with seven assists for Canada. 

Former Orlando City forward Cyle Larin was also called up as part of Canada’s 23-man roster. 

Canada is in third place in Concacaf Nations League Qualifying and is looking to secure a spot in both the Gold Cup and the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League in League A. 

The match will be played at BC Place in Vancouver. 

“Every game you play at home is special, but this game has the little something extra as the result could really shape the destiny for Canada,” Canadian men’s national team coach John Herdman said in a news release. “For the people of British Columbia, they’ve been amazing at being there for Canada when we’ve needed them most and we need them out again on March 24th to help this team make history by qualifying for Concacaf Nations League Group A”.

Midfielder Jhegson Sebastián “Sebas” Méndez also earned a call-up and will be with Ecuador’s national team for it’s friendly against the U.S. men’s national team at Orlando City Stadium. He’s been capped five times for Ecuador.

“It would be a beautiful thing to play in front our crowd and to bring our national team to Orlando because this is my city now, Orlando,” Méndez said during preseason training. “If I’m called up to that FIFA break, I’ll be very happy to perform in front of our crowd, defending the colors of our country.”

Both players were starters in Orlando City’s first two matches. 

The Lions (0-0-2, 2 points) play the Montreal Impact (1-1-0, 3 points) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Orlando City Stadium. 

Training notes

Homegrown forward Benji Michel received a call-up to Haiti’s national team, however a club source told Pro Soccer USA Michel is expected to decline the call-up and remain with Orlando City. Michel hasn’t made his regular-season debut for Orlando City yet. 

Orlando City forward Tesho Akindele (hamstring) was not present for the media portion of Tuesday’s training session. He started Orlando City’s first two matches, but he subbed off in both games. 

Centerback Lamine Sané (calf) was training to the side on Tuesday. 

Homegrown goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar wasn’t present for training Tuesday afternoon and is expected to be loaned out, a club source told Pro Soccer USA. 

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