TORONTO -- Within the next two weeks, Canada will face the U.S. in a high-profile friendly and square off against Cuba and Honduras to start the next phase of World Cup qualifying. It's a daunting trio of matches, but it's not something that Canada can't handle, says Ashtone Morgan.
"It's always going to be a challenge, but we've got to keep working hard," the 21-year-old Toronto FC and Canadian international left back told Goal.com on Saturday. "There are no excuses, this is our job. The bigger picture is that we want to make the World Cup, so we have to do whatever we've got to do to make it.
"Bring it on."
Morgan has burst onto the scene over the past year thanks to his emergence as a starter for hometown club TFC. His pace and fearlessness were noticed by both Toronto head coach Aron Winter and national team boss Stephen Hart, and he's since become a fixture for his club side with a view to doing the same for his country.
His next opportunity will be at BMO Field - where he regularly stars for the Reds - when the Canadians host the United States on June 3, the first and only official tune up for Hart's squad before the games start to count.
"It's going to be great," Morgan said of the friendly against the U.S., which will serve as the culmination of the Canadian Soccer Association's 100th anniversary celebration. "Hopefully we get a great turnout from our fans. It's an exhibition, but ... especially with the rivalry, it's going to be quite a big game."
Five days after hosting the Americans, Canada will face Cuba in Havana to kick off the third round of qualification for the 2014 World Cup. The match is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. local time, no doubt giving the Cubans an advantage under the sweltering Caribbean sun.
Morgan said it doesn't matter what the conditions are, as the job ahead is still the same.
"Against Cuba we've got to work hard and hopefully try to get something out of that game. Hopefully three points," he stated, adding that it will be important to maximize points against Cuba ahead of the Honduras game in Toronto on June 12.
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And how will the Canadians approach the match versus the Hondurans?
"[We're going to] come home and take Honduras right at it, get right in their face," Morgan said, stressing the importance of winning in Canada. "We're hopefully going to get them really uncomfortable."
The other team in Canada's group is Panama, which the Canadians will meet in September and October.
- Ashtone Morgan