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Jorge Luis Pinto leaves hot mess in Costa Rica

Jul 28 2014 02:38 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

Picture it. A foreign manager leads his adopted charges to previously unthinkable World Cup glory. Afterwards, he’s all but canonized by the adoring masses of said grateful country. The example of Guus Hiddink pops to mind. After leading South Korea to an astonishing semifinal appearance at the 2002 World Cup, the Asian country made him an honourary citizen, a book on managerial aptitude extolling the ‘Hiddink’ way became a national bestseller and Korean tourists began making pilgrimages to his hometown in the Netherlands.

This happy scenario could not contrast more with the bizarre situation that unfolded in Costa Rica this week, where ex-national team manager Jorge Luis Pinto confirmed on Thursday rumours that had been swirling in local media all week: he’s done. That in of itself was not shocking, but the manner of what happened next certainly was. Barely two weeks after Costa Rica’s magical World Cup run, two weeks after thousands across the country came out to squeal at their new heroes, two weeks after thousand of words were spilled about how la afición grew to love Pinto despite an initially tumultuous relationship... two weeks after all that, the Colombian manager was trading public barbs with his former bosses. It’s just not supposed to end this way.

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The Merits of DeMerit

Jul 27 2014 03:57 AM | Jay Duke in AFTN

Earlier this week, Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit announced his retirement from professional soccer following a difficult rehabilitation from a second serious achilles injury. It is only mildly surprising, as it had been reported that DeMerit was contemplating hanging up the boots following this season anyway.

During his announcement, DeMerit himself indicated he’s concerned with his reputation and that he was unsure if he could ever return to a level of play required to compete in a strenuous and ever improving Major League Soccer season.

A few days removed from the emotional decision has been made public, it is now time to reflect on DeMerit’s career.

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Whitecaps not table watching in ever tightening Western Conference playoff race

Jul 26 2014 06:41 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

The MLS Western Conference has always been tight these past few seasons. But with every passing season, it seems to actually get that little bit tighter.

Most years as we get into the final few weeks, the top teams pull away and it’s usually a battle for the final playoff spot or maybe a couple of placing issues. This season though, you already get the feeling that the playoff race is going to go right down to the wire.

"It's always like that, especially in the West," was Whitecaps’ defender Jordan Harvey’s take on the situation. "There's so many good teams. Midseason it's usually very tight and then everything seems to gradually settle itself towards the end of the season.

"Right now it's always going to be tight and there's always going to be crucial games. I feel like every game throughout the season, every year I've been in the West, has been a tough game."

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Episode 72 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (Blowing Out Matches)

Jul 25 2014 08:21 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It's episode 72 of the AFTN soccer podcast and your usual co-hosts Michael McColl and Steve Pandher look at the latest happenings in Vancouver Whitecapsland (minus Jay DeMerit talk as we recorded this before his announcement!).

It's been a tough week for the Caps. Three games, two good roads draws but ultimately only two points from a possible nine and slipping out of the playoff places was a wasted opportunity.

We look back at the road games at Toronto and Real Salt Lake and the inability to manage games, kill them off and come away with wins from a leading position. What's behind the blown leads and the amount of late goals being conceded? How can that be turned around? And what personnel needs to come in during the transfer window to help?

Apart from our thoughts on the matter, we hear those of coach Carl Robinson, goalkeeper David Ousted, left back Jordan Harvey and striker Erik Hurtado from training this week.

And there's still time to look ahead to the crucial game against Dallas at the weekend, where three points really are a must.

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Jay DeMerit's impending retirement beneficial for Whitecaps

Jul 24 2014 02:31 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It shouldn't really come as too much of a surprise, but Global TV are reporting tonight that Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit is set to announce his retirement tomorrow.

It has long been rumoured that DeMerit was going to hang up his boots at the end of the season, but it would seem that his latest injury is going to speed that retirement announcement up a little bit.

Whilst Twitter is full of disappointment at the impending announcement, for us, this can only be excellent news from a long term viewpoint for the Whitecaps.

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Warren Creavalle trade by the numbers

Jul 23 2014 06:17 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Toronto FC flipped its No 1 pick in the allocation order to Houston for defensive midfielder Warren Creavalle. It's difficult to get excited about, or to take issue with the trade. It was clear that TFC didn't have the cap room to bring another US in...

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For Honduras post-World Cup, nowhere to go but the same place

Jul 22 2014 08:14 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

Concacaf turned in a fairly decent World Cup. Costa Rica shone magnificently, the U.S. team made the U.S. people love soccer and Mexico managed to exorcise the demons that haunted its qualifying campaign. (Failing yet again to reach that damned quinto partido involves demons of another post entirely.)

And then there was Honduras.

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Canadian Content MLS Round 19 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Jul 22 2014 06:14 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.

The Canadian contingent returned in force this week, racking up a total of ten starts and three substitute appearances. The top three spots go to Tesho Akindele – for his continued strong rookie season, Russell Teibert – for a dynamic display in an All-Canadian affair, and Will Johnson – for showing signs of taking on the more influential attacking role seen last season.

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

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MLS Week in Review – Round 19

Jul 21 2014 06:03 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

Another week, another round in the books, as the 2014 MLS season continued with a packed schedule of midweek and weekend matches.

Leaving aside the four midweek results, the nine weekend games resulted in four draws and zero away wins – home dominance clearly taking hold, especially in the cross-conference encounters.

25 goals were scored throughout, including five from the penalty spot – a sixth attempt hit the post in Houston. 30 yellow cards were shown and not a single red, after three straights were flashed midweek and a fourth came about for a second bookable offense in Columbus.

With all nineteen clubs firmly into the second half of their campaigns points are beginning to become more valuable – figuratively, if not literally – and both tables are set for a dramatic run to the finish line, as each conference has three clubs level on points straddling the dividing line.

The race at the top of the conferences, while not decided, has seen some space open up with Seattle a full nine points ahead of their nearest competitor (with games in hand no less) and Kansas City and DC nine and eight points, respectively, in front of pursuit.

It was a round of impactful substitutions, last-minute strikes, controversy aplenty, some downright feistiness, and more than a few outright bizarre moments.

Before the results, the goals of the round:

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Report and Reaction: Whitecaps depth charge to point in Utah but once again missed chances prove costly

Jul 20 2014 04:14 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and post-game reaction from both locker rooms following Vancouver Whitecaps' 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening]


You are now entering Sandy, Utah. All change.

I'm guessing that's how the announcement on the Whitecaps' trip to Real Salt Lake went on Saturday, with Carl Robinson making a staggering six changes to team that started the draw with Toronto on Wednesday evening and they fought hard to earn another road point and another 1-1 draw.

In the past, the Whitecaps depth has been questionable but this season all the players are stepping up and this was evident against RSL this evening, with Darren Mattocks giving the Caps a second half lead before Joao Plata tied things up with nine minutes remaining.

On paper, it was a good away point to get but there has to be concerns about blowing three leads in three games and the continued inability to finish off quality chances.

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The Good, The Average & The Bad: All Canadian Edition

Jul 18 2014 05:00 AM | Aaron Campbell in AFTN

Wednesday's away draw at Toronto may have been a little unexpected going in to the game but felt a little disappointing coming out of it. 1-1 on the night. Vancouver had another chance to go second going in to the game but by the end of the evening, they'd fallen out of the playoff places.
That's how tight the race in the West is right now. Every points counts, so at least they gone one from this game.
So what was good, average and just downright bad from this one?

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The Caps Countdown: Player Rankings v Toronto FC

Jul 18 2014 02:04 AM | Aaron Campbell in AFTN

"Caps Countdown" is our Vancouver Whitecaps player rankings with a twist. The starting eleven is ranked from eleven to one, from worst to first. Who was the 'man of the match' and who had a game to forget in the 1-1 draw at Toronto? Aaron Campbell is away so I make the selections this week. Do you agree?

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Costa Rica: A source of hope (and despair) for us all

Jul 17 2014 05:16 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

Well, hey Costa Rica, we weren’t expecting that. Prior to the World Cup, only the most diehard of diehard optimists believed Los Ticos would progress past the group stage. And only then if manager Jorge Luis Pinto somehow gerrymandered all the karmic energy in the soccer universe and unleashed it on his players simultaneously. But if you sat a Martian in front of the matches - or someone else with zero soccer knowledge - this sentient being would probably conclude Costa Rica was a slightly boring, yet highly disciplined and ruthless soccer-playing machine. They weren't just lucky.

Canada and Concacaf’s other lesser lights have reasons both to rejoice and to grieve following Costa Rica’s performance: a motley collection of players who believed in each other and their system went to the jungle and dispatched teams that grossly outmatched them on paper. Here’s seven takeaways as the World Cup fades into memory.

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Report and Reaction: Whitecaps shoot themselves in the foot once again

Jul 17 2014 02:13 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and post game reaction from both locker rooms following Vancouver Whitecaps’ 1-1 draw against Toronto FC at BMO Field on Wednesday night]


Vancouver Whitecaps' are still looking for their first MLS win in Toronto. They had their chances to get it on Wednesday evening and took the lead from a Darren Mattocks goal five minutes into the second half, but once again it was a case of the Caps shooting themselves in the foot.

Nigel Reo-Coker's clumsy challenge on Jackson in the box just past the hour mark threw Toronto a lifeline and Jermain Defoe stepped up to take it, bury the spot kick and give the home side a share of the spoils.

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A return of the Home-Away adjusted MLS standings

Jul 16 2014 08:04 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

It isn't really an advanced concept to recognize that MLS teams usually perform better at home than on the road. It's a universal truth, actually, that all sports teams do (the reasons for which are actually fascinating and not fully understood, but th...

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Despite makeshift back four, Robinson has confidence in his young Whitecaps steeds to bounce back

Jul 16 2014 07:35 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

A couple of years ago the UK television show Soccer AM introduced the term ‘bouncebackability’ into the everyday language of football fans. The word developed a life of its own and what started as a joke, turned into an acceptable and commonly used football terminology.

In football, bad runs and unlucky breaks turn into slumps. Exactly when one crosses into the other, I’m not sure, but the only way to shake yourselves out of it is to bounce back.

The past two seasons have seen summer slumps for the Whitecaps and you can never say never, but this year’s squad seem a whole different beast. But bad results happen and that’s what the Whitecaps have found themselves going through since their return from the World Cup break, culminating in a second half collapse and a 3-1 defeat to Chivas USA at the weekend.

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Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps Match Preview - Doubly Important

Jul 16 2014 06:29 PM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute

On a busy mid-week night in MLS Toronto FC will finish-up a three game home stand with a doubly important game versus the Vancouver Whitecaps. Not only will the outcome have consequences for both teams in their attempts to secure playoff qualification in 2014, it also has the potential to play a significant role in determining Canada’s representative in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League.

Due to the CSA’s plan to move the date of next year’s Canadian Championship from its traditional spring campaign into mid-summer, the winner of the 2015 Voyageur’s Cup will qualify for the 2016-17 CCL instead of the edition starting next summer. Qualification for the 2015-16 tournament will be awarded to the Canadian MLS team with the highest point total in the 2014 MLS season.

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Statement from CSA on all-Canadian league

Jul 16 2014 06:13 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

The following statement is posted without edit or comment:

Official statement from Canada Soccer

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Statement from CSA on all-Canadian league

Jul 16 2014 06:13 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

The following statement is posted without edit or comment: Official statement from Canada Soccer As highlighted in our Strategic Plan 2014-2018 Leading a Soccer Nation released in January 2014, the Canadian Soccer Association (Canada Soccer) is comm...

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Canadian Content MLS Round 18 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Jul 15 2014 06:43 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.

Once more, very few Canadians saw the pitch this weekend – only four starters and an additional cameo appearance from the bench.

The top three spots this round go to Jonathan Osorio – for a two, nearly three, point night; Doneil Henry – for a stalwart defensive outing; and Patrice Bernier – for nearly earning his side a draw by assisting on their only goal against difficult opponents.

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

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Episode 71 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (The Goats Slaughter)

Jul 15 2014 09:20 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It's episode 71 of the AFTN soccer podcast and your usual co-hosts Michael McColl and Steve Pandher are joined by Harjeet Johal to look at the latest happenings in Vancouver Whitecapsland.

We look back at the Goats' slaughter. Chivas came into BC Place and left with a 3-1 victory but what was the main cause? The heat, Jordan Harvey's sending off, switching off at the start of the second half or the inability to take their numerous chances created?

We hear post game audio from Caps' coach Carl Robinson, goalkeeper David Ousted and Vancouver scorer Carlyle Mitchell.

Looking ahead to the tough two game road trip coming up, we ponder what changes Robbo should make and discuss the big question of whether the current Whitecaps squad is good enough to make the playoffs as we look at what desperately needs strengthened in this summer transfer window and which current players should move on.

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