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Report and Reaction: Controversial call ends Whitecaps season with 2-1 playoff loss in Dallas

Oct 30 2014 03:28 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and full postgame reaction as Vancouver Whitecaps' season was ended in heartbreaking and controversial fashion down in Dallas on Wednesday evening]


REPORT:

Vancouver Whitecaps' season came to a controversial end in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday night in a 2-1 playoff loss to FC Dallas.

An out of sorts Whitecaps went in at half time 1-0 down to a 40th minute Tesho Akindele strike, but Vancouver valiantly fought back in the second half and tied things up in the 64th minute through Erik Hurtado.

With the Caps in the ascendancy and looking like the only team that was going to go on and win the tie, the game turned with a disputed penalty call by referee Mark Geiger that led to Michel stroking home what was to prove to be the winning goal with just six minutes remaining.


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Eight years in a row...2014 TFC season review: Part II -- What went wrong

Oct 29 2014 07:42 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

The instinct with TFC is to just say "everything" and move on. However, as suggested yesterday that's not the most helpful approach. Rather, if we truly do care about TFC -- and if you no longer do no one could blame you -- you should aspire to find mo...

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Seattle playoff semi-final is mouthwatering motivation for Caps in Dallas

Oct 29 2014 07:12 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Apart from the obvious motivation of winning and advancing in the playoffs, there are a number of underlying added incentives for Vancouver Whitecaps as they prepare to face Dallas in their first round playoff knockout match this evening.

There's the fact that the Caps players don't want to undo all the hard work of the past five games in clinching a playoff place only to see it all end up done in one. There's also been much made by the players of keeping this group together for as long as possible because the team camaraderie is excellent and they know that the squad will soon be split up and many faces will move on.

This will be the Whitecaps second appearance in the playoffs in their four years in MLS. Last time they fell in LA at the first hurdle, so they've yet to host a home playoff match. That is an already stated big goal of the club and would show advancement.

And it's in that fact that perhaps gives Vancouver the biggest added incentive of all. If the Caps can beat Dallas, not only would they be hosting their first ever home MLS playoff match on Sunday evening, it would be a part of a mouthwatering two-legged Western Conference semi final against Cascadian rivals, and downright annoyances, Seattle Sounders.


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So, where do we really sit ahead of the Women's World Cup?

Oct 29 2014 04:45 PM | Squizz in Some Canadian Guys

John Herdman's goal was clear when it came to scheduling friendlies in 2014: Get the world's top teams, get them to play in Canada, and get an idea of where his team stacks up against them ahead of next year's Women's World Cup.

It was an admirable and proper approach by Canada's head coach, who has said repeatedly that his team's goal is to be in the tournament final. But here is the unavoidable reality: Of a possible 12 points from those four games, Canada collected just one.

Yes, there were positives to be taken from Canada's performances against the USA, Germany and, over the past five days, Japan twice. Yes, these were mere friendlies and the capricious nature of short tournaments means anything is possible (see: Canada's run at the 2012 Olympics).

But another unavoidable reality has been confirmed by these results: Canada is a good team, but to consider them a tournament favourite next year is at best naive and at worst, downright delusional.

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Kendall Waston: Vancouver Whitecaps' emotional leader

Oct 29 2014 12:00 AM | Jay Duke in AFTN

When Kendall Waston was brought in midseason, even Carl Robinson would probably admit he didn’t quite expect the colossal Costa Rican would be this big of an impact.

While the deal was hastened due to the injury and subsequent retirement of Jay DeMerit, further injuries in the backline made the acquisition of Waston critical.

While Kendall had some mediocre defensive moments early on, he seemed to acclimatize quickly, and learned the league in a matter of minutes, rather than weeks or months.

In a very short string of games, Waston’s positioning has gone from shaky to strong, and his physical dominance and aerial ability has grown from great to godly.

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Canadian Content MLS Round 33 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Oct 28 2014 06:20 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

An extension to Canadian Soccer News’ MLS Week in Review, this article provides a closer look at the performances of the Canadian players who saw the pitch this week.

Eleven players took to the pitch this round for the final throes of the 2014 MLS regular season – eight as starters and the further three as substitutes. The top three spots go to Issey Nakajima-Farran, Doneil Henry, and Patrice Bernier.

Find out what they did to deserve recognition and who else earned their keep this week.

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Eight years in a row...The 2014 TFC season review: Part I -- What went right?

Oct 28 2014 04:28 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Five years ago when I first came up with the format for the TFC season review the idea was that it would subtly change each year depending on how things went. Although always five parts, the first three would be tweaked ever so slightly. Part 1: What...

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Episode 83 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (Playoff Bound)

Oct 28 2014 01:13 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Episode 83 of "There's Still Time", the AFTN Soccer podcast, is a post playoff clinching special!

It's been some three weeks for the Whitecaps with a unique treble of the Cascadia Cup, a Champions League spot and now a playoff place, kicking off against Dallas on Wednesday.

We look back at the win against Colorado that got them there and the challenge ahead posed by Dallas.

There's postgame audio from a jubilant Whitecaps locker room as we hear from coach Carl Robinson, goalscorer Kendall Waston, goalkeeper David Ousted and young homegrown star Sam Adekugbe.

The Whitecaps headed down to Texas by a charter flight on Monday morning and we were at the airport to get the latest thoughts from Robinson, Ousted, Jordan Harvey, Andy O'Brien and Russell Teibert.


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MLS Week in Review – Round 33

Oct 27 2014 07:09 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

And so it ends.

After 323 matches, the 2014 MLS regular season came to a conclusion with the final round of matches spread over the past week. Leaving aside the midweek match, nine games were played, resulting in two away wins and a single draw.

With only one spot truly up for grabs – the fifth and final in the West – but plenty of room to jostle for positioning, goals were once more at a premium with just seventeen scored throughout, one of which came from the penalty spot - Jeff Larentowicz converting for Chicago against Houston.

21 yellow cards were shown, the referees doing well to keep a lid on the emotions without resorting to excessive booking –for the most part at least, as two matches (Chicago-Houston and Seattle-Los Angeles) accounted for more than half of the cautions.

Aside from establishing the playoff order, it was a round of farewells, with several players bidding their final adieus and one club perhaps playing its final match in MLS (late breaking news – definitely playing their last match).

Saturday saw the majority of the drama, with Portland stating their intent with a win in Dallas only for a late goal in Vancouver to quash those aspirations. Earlier in the day the Supporters’ Shield was awarded, its fate similarly determined late, after a close, hard-fought match between Seattle and LA.

With the regular season ended, the ten clubs still standing brace for the playoffs, vying to be this year’s MLS Cup Champions. The playoffs begin on Wednesday with the knockout round before the conference semifinals kick off on the weekend.

Before the results, the goals of the round:

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In The Cold Light Of Day: Whitecaps clearly moving forward under Carl Robinson

Oct 27 2014 08:04 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

When Martin Rennie was fired as Vancouver Whitecaps head coach a year ago, the fanbase and pundits had mixed thoughts on the whole situation, with online polls of various respectability showing a fairly even split of opinion.

Some wanted him to get more time, to finish the rebuilding process he'd started in 2012. Others wanted him to go, as he was out of his depth and not up to the job at hand, which would mean rebuilding again but with the club moving in a different direction.

We firmly fell in the latter category here at AFTN.

When Carl Robinson was eventually appointed the Caps' new manager in December, some felt it was a backward step. Why replace a coach with two years of MLS experience under his belt with one that had no head coaching experience at all? It made sense to us and Robinson's vision of youth was one we certainly bought into from even before his appointment.

Those Rennie loyalists were the most vocal, with some of them continuing to be so right through this season. No matter what Robinson achieved, it almost felt like they were just waiting for the bad times to come so they could point out that the club weren't moving forward after sacking the Scot and Robinson's appointment was wrong, sack the committee (there are issues there but that's for another day).

Rennie himself stayed quiet at first before taking to online means and various media outlets to discuss a number of issues and to have some little digs it seemed at Robinson and the Whitecaps along the way. In a 12 minute Team Radio interview on April 23rd, the Scot certainly threw down the gauntlet to the new Whitecaps coach, his replacement.

It's a gauntlet which Robinson has picked up and can now throw it back in the direction of where it came.

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Vancouver Whitecaps v Colorado Rapids: The Story In Pictures

Oct 27 2014 02:58 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Carl Robinson said after Saturday's 1-0 win over Colorado that no-one believed that the Vancouver Whitecaps could reach the playoffs this season apart from himself, his players and the club. Well, now they're all believing!

We have to say, we were one of the doubters. After a tumultuous offseason, the Caps turned it around, put themselves in a great position, then looked to have blown it again in a summer slump before recovering to end the season with a five match unbeaten run.

The pressure was on them at BC Place on Saturday evening. They knew it was a 'win and you're in' scenario, but they still had to find the back of the net. It took a while and it was getting nervy, but then up rose Kendall Waston to powerfully head home the playoff clinching goal and set off jubilant post game scenes.

AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there capturing the game for us and here's a selection of his photos from before, during and after the Whitecaps 2-0 victory.

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The Good, The Average and The Bad: Rapid Timber Edition

Oct 26 2014 11:30 PM | Aaron Campbell in AFTN

It was nervy. Nails were bitten, hair was lost, hearts were palpitating. But in the 70th minute Kendall Waston rose to head home a Pedro Morales corner and the very expensive roof nearly came off BC Place as Vancouver Whitecaps claimed their second postseason appearance in three seasons.

AFTN writer Aaron Campbell gives us his regular “The Good, The Average and The Bad” from the Whitecaps’ 1-0 win over Colorado Rapids Salt Lake on Saturday. The 'Caps are playoff bound.


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Report and Reaction: Whitecaps claim playoff place after five game unbeaten run to end season

Oct 26 2014 08:50 PM | Steve Pandher in AFTN

[Match report and postgame reaction from both locker rooms following Vancouver Whitecaps playoff clinching 1-0 win over Colorado Rapids at BC Place on Saturday night]


REPORT:

It took a little time, but in the end Vancouver Whitecaps were able to clinch the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 1-0 victory over Colorado Rapids. The decisive goal came midway through the second half, with Kendall Waston once again delivering from a set piece, while David Ousted picked up his league leading 13th cleansheet of the season.

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Timewasting: AFTN's Must See Football TV 2014

Oct 24 2014 04:20 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Not coming soon to a television screen near you, AFTN brings you another new season of must see football TV. Vancouver's cable station of the imagination.

The 2011, 2012 and 2013 shows went down well, got the ratings and fell on the right side of the bubble watch, but the TV industry is so demanding that we had to come up with a whole new fall schedule for 2014. Have any of your favourites made it back?

Here's an exclusive sneak peak of our new weekday evening schedule:

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Caps In College 2014: McKendry and Irving make Top 100, UBC starting postseason in search of the threepeat and SFU climb the rankings

Oct 24 2014 03:40 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN 2

It's been a busy two weeks since our last Caps In College feature.

The new season has proved a mixed bag for Vancouver Whitecaps Residency alumni in NCAA so far, but still a lot to play for as we get into the Conference championship matches and the playoffs.

There's been a few goals scored by former Caps and some accolades handed out to.

Closer to home, UBC kick off their CIS postseason threepeat quest on Friday, whilst SFU are making a late play for the postseason in NCAA II and the PacWest Championships take place in Squamish this weekend.


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Oh Henry

Oct 23 2014 10:32 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

As first reported on the @24thMinute Twitter feed last week, Doneil Henry has been sold. To where, you might ask? Well, that's the thing. We don't know. Toronto FC isn't saying, other than to say it's in Europe. When CSN reached out to MLS...crickets...

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Canadian Content MLS Round 32 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Oct 21 2014 04:54 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

An extension to Canadian Soccer News’ MLS Week in Review, this article provides a closer look at the performances of the Canadian players who saw the pitch this week.

Nine Canadians took part in the second-to-last round of MLS play this past round, combining for four starts and five substitute appearances, seven of which came in the Upper-Lower Canada derby between Toronto and Montreal on Saturday – that game needs a proper title, the 401 derby is a little lame.

Top spot this round goes to Patrice Bernier, who returned to Montreal’s starting eleven with a sublime display in midfield, while Doneil Henry was immense at the back for Toronto; Jonathan Osorio and Russell Teibert were equally influential in the midfield for their sides as well.

Find out what they did to deserve recognition and who else earned their keep this week.

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Best Case Scenario: What an ideal final week would look like for Vancouver Whitecaps

Oct 21 2014 08:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

This time next week, Vancouver Whitecaps' playoff fate will be known and we'll all either be packing our bags for an exciting road trip or wallowing in our own pit of despair.

Thankfully all of the pits have been shipped to the east coast of Canada, so I think we're going to be okay.

But as the 2014 MLS regular season enters into its final week, there are still a lot of different permutations that could play out, both favourably and horribly for the 'Caps. There's a lot of games to watch and lot to hope happens. As a result, our "Best Case Scenario" feature makes it's return, as we tell you just what we want to see play out in the next five days of footballing action in five specific matches.

And it all kicks off today in a non Major League Soccer match thousands of miles away.

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Plenty of familiar faces for CanWNT for Japan showdowns

Oct 21 2014 02:48 AM | Squizz in Some Canadian Guys

Amidst all the public hullabaloo surrounding the surfaces on which next year's Women's World Cup will be played, it's forgivable if anyone has temporarily forgotten that, oh yeah, we've got a team of flesh-and-blood players who are going to go out and represent us next summer.

And while their CONCACAF rivals ("rivals" used quite generously) are duking it out to see who'll make it to the big show, Canada has the luxury of preparing by playing two games on home turf ("turf" used quite deliberately) against Japan.

Well, that's if you can call playing one of the world's top teams, the reigning Women's World Cup champs, a "luxury".

But as John Herdman has repeatedly -- and correctly -- said, Canada's best hope of being ready for next year will come through testing themselves against the world's best as often as possible. We've already seen it twice this year, against the USA in Winnipeg and against Germany in Vancouver. Now, the Japanese in Edmonton and Vancouver over the next week.

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Ottawa Fury FC vs FC Edmonton Match Review - Ottawa lose 0-2 at home to red-hot Edmonton

Oct 20 2014 09:00 PM | Canadian Soccer News in OttCityFootie

In the latest matchup between the two Canadian rivals in the NASL, Ottawa Fury FC came out on the losing end, being defeated 0-2 at home by a red-hot FC Edmonton. With the win, FC Edmonton is very much alive in the race for the 4th and final playoff spot, having made a remarkable turnaround from an atrocious Spring Season, while Ottawa lost out on the opportunity to knock Edmonton out of the playoff race.

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MLS Week in Review – Round 32

Oct 20 2014 05:54 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

The penultimate round of MLS play (had to get that word in at least once) took place over the past week, all but determining who would take place in the 2014 rendition of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Nine of the ten spots have been claimed with just Vancouver and Portland wrestling over the final place in the West; there is still plenty of possible movement as to which team finishes in which position or more pressingly, who can avoid the play-in round.

Nine matches were played this round, spanning from Thursday night to Sunday, resulting in two away wins and four draws; with points of the highest import, goals were once more at a premium. Just twenty were scored this round – thanks, in part, to a pair of scoreless draws in Portland and San Jose (the games were the outcome mattered most); both attempts from the penalty spot were converted.

35 yellow cards were shown; it was a tense round after all, as well as some five red cards – two straight and three accumulative, three of which were shown in a fierce Toronto-Montreal derby, though the harshness of the referee (Baldomero Toledo, of course) had a role in that turn of events.

Aside from the season winding down, it was a weekend of farewells: Dominic Kinnear in Houston, Landon Donovan in Los Angeles, the Earthquakes seeing off their time at Buck Shaw Stadium in the same manner in which they arrived, and perhaps, Doneil Henry, the best of the Toronto homegrown crop, playing his last match at home.

Before the results, the goals of the round:

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Report and Reaction: Whitecaps draw a blank in San Jose but get the vital point they needed

Oct 19 2014 04:31 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[UPDATED SUNDAY: Match report and full post game reaction from Vancouver Whitecaps 0-0 draw at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening]


REPORT:

You can never rely on Vancouver Whitecaps to do things the easy way, but with one game left of the MLS regular season, their destiny lies once again entirely in their own hands, after a pretty uneventful 0-0 draw at San Jose Earthquakes.

The Caps went into Saturday night’s game outside of the playoff places in the West after Portland’s draw with Real Salt Lake on Friday evening. Despite turning in a pretty uninspiring performance, Vancouver came away with the solitary point they needed to put themselves back above the red playoff line and set the scenario of a ‘win and you’re in’ final game showdown at home to Colorado next weekend.

Or they could already be in the postseason if Portland can’t take anything from their final game at Dallas.

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Whitecaps welcome back Johnny Leveron as they look to continue defensive dominance

Oct 18 2014 03:00 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It's becoming something of a regular occurrence. Another Saturday, another game the Whitecaps go into under pressure to get a result, after being knocked back down below the red playoff line once again.

Somehow Portland only drew with Real Salt Lake on Friday night. That RSL goal led a charmed life and Vancouver fans all over the land should be chipping in towards some gift baskets for keeper Nick Rimando.

The draw, and point, moved the Timbers back into the playoff places in the West, albeit hopefully temporarily. The Whitecaps now head in to the game against the Earthquakes tonight in the knowledge that if they also come away with a draw, they're back in pole position, but if they can get a win, then there's some huge pressure lifted off their shoulders for the final game of the season, where a single point, if even that, will suffice.

On paper, the San Jose game should be one of their easier matches of late. The Earthquakes are woefully out of form and trying to avoid a club record setting 14 match winless streak. The Caps are unbeaten in their last seven against the Quakes and are the form team in MSL right now with three straight wins and back to back clean sheets.

Kendall Waston has been a beast back there for Vancouver in recent games, but if the Whitecaps are going to continue their fine defensive play, they'll be doing it without the suspended Costa Rican. But fear not because they have a fine replacement waiting to come back in to try and claim his spot back in the starting eleven, Johnny Leveron.

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Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact Match Preview - Ball Don't Lie

Oct 18 2014 01:07 AM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute

“They’ve only gotta win their last two games, and have Columbus lose out. It’s not over yet.”

Fair statement? Unreasonable? No, I think the gut instinct of most fans is that it’s probably pretty accurate. I mean, teams win two straight games while other teams lose two straight games all the time, right? To be honest, I’d suggest that most TFC fans who wrote off the team’s chances after the Crew’s ridiculous comeback versus Philly are basing their opinion more on a subjective disbelief in TFC’s ability to ever win, rather than a sound understanding of the underlying probabilities.

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Andy O'Brien enjoying the Whitecaps' team chemistry and "special dressing room"

Oct 18 2014 01:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Andy O’Brien has been around the professional game for approaching 20 years. He’s seen the good times and the bad, success and failure, and been at clubs with dressing room harmony and dressing room issues. So when he tells you that the current Vancouver Whitecaps locker room is "special", you know it is, and that is a factor being attributed to the Caps excellent run of form down the stretch.

All season long Carl Robinson has talked about bringing players to the club with the right character, as well as talent. He wants team players that will be good for the dressing room. It looks like he's got it, and in abundance.

The players all seem to feel that too, but they are also aware that the current group will be broken up in just a few weeks time, as trades go down, players are brought in and others move on to pastures new.

A team meeting was held after the Portland loss a few weeks back to see what the Caps needed to do to get their season back on track. Things were said, cards were laid on the table and it's worked. The end result has been three straight wins, with the players all keen not to waste the chemistry and the team spirit that they've built up.

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