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Lucas Cavallini (13), of Canada, dribbles the ball as he is defended by Ike Opara (2) and Mix Diskerud, center, of the United States, in the first half of a CONCACAF Olympic qualifying soccer match on Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press)
Lucas Cavallini (13), of Canada, dribbles the ball as he is defended by Ike Opara (2) and Mix Diskerud, center, of the United States, in the first half of a CONCACAF Olympic qualifying soccer match on Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press)

World Cup qualifying

Canada calls up striker Cavallini for qualifier against Honduras Add to ...

The last man summoned was the first Canadian player to arrive in Honduras on Sunday.

Striker Lucas Cavallini, a late call-up after Oliver Occean was red-carded in Friday’s 3-0 win over Cuba in Toronto, made it after a hasty departure from Uruguay where he plays his club football.

The ejection meant Occean is suspended for Tuesday’s key World Cup qualifier in Honduras.

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The Toronto-born Cavallini got the Canadian call around noon Saturday. The 19-year-old was preparing to play for Juventud, the club he has been loaned to by Nacional.

Cavallini elected not to tell his team until after the game, to ensure he played.

“I didn’t want them to think my head was in Canada’s game,” he explained from the Canadian team hotel. “I wanted them to think I was concentrating on that (club) game and only that game. After that game, then obviously I’d be focusing on Canada.”

After the club match, he rushed home to change and pack.

Leaving Montevideo, he had a nine-hour trip to Miami where he had a four-hour layover. Then it was back south to Honduras.

He left at 10 p.m. local time Saturday and arrived at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Had he slept, he was asked?

“Barely,” he replied.

Cavallini said he hoped to get some playing time so he could “do some damage.”

“It’s a big opportunity for me ... I’m going to give it all I’ve got,” he said.

Cavallini saw the stadium on his way to the hotel.

“It’s kind of old but it has history to it and Tuesday the stands will be full of people,” he said of the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.

Cavallini won his first senior cap in August, coming on as a substitute in a friendly with Trinidad and Tobago.

Coach Stephen Hart was still wondering Sunday why Occean was sent off in the goal-mouth melee that followed Will Johnson’s goal at BMO Field. Occean was trying to retrieve the ball when he got into it with a Honduran.

Occean missed the game in Panama through injury so Hart has had to deal with his absence before.

“We have a training session Monday. We’ll work on a few little things but we made a one-for-one swap with the player coming in and we know what we need to do,” he said.

As the Canadian team bus pulled into its hotel, one Canadian fan was on hand to greet them.

Toronto’s Tom Davidson, who saw Canada in an June qualifying game in Cuba, expects a handful of Canadian fans to join him.

Davidson, who was wearing one of blue Canada’s centennial shirts, said he will wear Canada’s colours on game day. Blue is Honduras’ colour.

“I’ll be wearing red,” he said with a smile.

As for safety, He said the key is to travel in a group and to be respectful to local fans.

Davidson, 36, has been in Honduras before, coming down to see Toronto FC play a CONCACAF Champions League game in the capital of Tegucigalpa.

When not supporting Canada, he works for Toronto city councillor Pam McConnell.

 

 

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