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Episode 76 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (The Great Unwashed)

Aug 30 2014 02:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Disinfectant at the ready, the Great Unwashed are coming to town.

Portland come a calling to BC Place on Saturday in a crucial Cascadia Cup clash with vital playoff points on the line. A Whitecaps win and they're sitting pretty, A Timbers win and Caps start to lose the momentum in the playoff race.

Episode 76 of "There's Still Time" looks at what lessons, if any, we can take from the Whitecaps' 2-0 loss in LA and ponders whether a change of formation would help with the goalscoring woes. Or will that take a new addition and could he be on the way in the shape of Kai Kamara?

We also look ahead to this weekend's big game hunt against the Timbers. Can the Caps give Will Johnson and co a right good face slapping?

And there's still time for lots of training ground audio from Caps' coach Carl Robinson, goalkeeper David Ousted, defenders Jordan Harvey and Andy O'Brien, and strikers Kekuta Manneh and Darren Mattocks.

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Why Canada fans should pull for Costa Rica in the Copa Centroamericana

Aug 30 2014 01:49 AM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

The biennial Copa Centroamericana starts next week. Normally that sentence wouldn't excite many people outside the borders of various Central American nations. However, this particular incarnation of the tournament offers some genuine reasons for Canadian soccer watchers to pay partial attention.

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Canadian Content MLS Round 24 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Aug 26 2014 08:15 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 top three spots this round go to Tesho Akindele, who continued his fine run of form with another point; Wandrille Lefevre, who was intimately involved in the action against New York; and Jonathan Osorio, who was very lively again for Toronto.

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

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Emotional Ramblings: Be Reasonable

Aug 25 2014 10:00 PM | Jay Duke in AFTN

Saturday morning, my wife said, "let’s go see a movie tonight." I agreed, and I reminded her that I’d watch the game after we get home. She said, "Oh, right, the game. You sure you don’t want to watch it live?"

"No, it’s okay, they’re going to lose," I said. I continued to explain that the Galaxy are probably the best team in the league. Even though they aren’t winning the race for the Supporter’s Shield, I asserted, they’re close, and they’re known for their apathy early in the season before turning it on when it matters to affirm their dominance. Not only that, I added, we’re missing our best player in Matias Laba, and our recently dominant Gershon Koffie. It’s going to be very difficult to keep the Galaxy at bay, I concluded; we will have to be very lucky to keep the game close.

So, it should be no surprise, that after 90 minutes, the Galaxy were deserved winners by two goals.

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Caps Countdown: Player rankings v Los Angeles Galaxy

Aug 25 2014 08:31 PM | 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, if anyone, had a game to forget in the 2-0 defeat at the LA Galaxy on Saturday?

Aaron Campbell makes his selections this week. Do you agree?

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MLS Week in Review – Round 24

Aug 25 2014 07:40 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

Of rollicking comebacks, the tightening East, table-top clashes, and statements in the West

After 24 rounds of MLS play, just nine weeks remain in the 2014 season. No team has fewer than nine or more than eleven matches still to play and as such, every point is of vital importance. While no club is mathematically eliminated yet, Montreal’s hopes, sitting a full fourteen points adrift, seem slim, while Chivas and San Jose have left themselves with a lot to achieve, nine and eight points off, respectively. Every other of the six remaining clubs currently not inside the playoff spots, are within reach should a result or two come their way over these next two months.

Leaving aside the pair of midweek fixtures, Round 24 saw nine matches played, resulting in two away wins and a solitary draw between Toronto and Chicago. A whopping 34 goals were scored, including a single own-goal – there would have been more were it not for some wonderful saves from a variety of keeper; for the first week in a long time, not a single penalty kick was awarded. Thirty yellow cards were shown, as well as a pair of reds – one straight: to Vancouver’s Johnny Leveron and one accumulative: to Dallas’ Blas Perez.

Harkening back to the earliest editions of this review – which began back in 2011 – there will be a slight change of format, rather than recounting every result in order, they will be woven into a comprehensive narrative. Feedback on the changes will be most welcome in the comments section below.

But before the results; the goals of the round:

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The Good, The Average & The Bad: Guardians of the Galaxy Edition

Aug 25 2014 03:10 AM | Aaron Campbell in AFTN

Vancouver Whitecaps headed to Californian dreaming of their first win against the LA Galaxy in their own backyard. That dream soon turned to a nightmare and it was a case of California Uber Alles once again.

Aaron Campbell takes his regular look at "The Good, The Average & The Bad" from the Caps' 2-0 loss to LA, that wasn't unexpected but still disappointed.

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A Familiar Result at the Hands of Familiar Faces|

Aug 24 2014 03:51 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

By Rose Rago A announced crowd of 22,591 fans filed into BMO field to witness TFC and Chicago Fire play to a 2-2 draw. Supporters can’t help but feel like their team didn’t earn one point, but rather dropped two. Toronto controlled the majority of th...

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Report and Reaction: LA ripe for the picking but Whitecaps come up fruitless

Aug 24 2014 04:45 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and post game reaction from both locker rooms after the LA Galaxy's comfortable 2-0 home win over Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday evening. We hear from Carl Robinson, Kendall Waston and Mauro Rosales from the Whitecaps and the Galaxy's Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Marcelo Sarvas and Omar Gonzalez.]

REPORT:

Vancouver Whitecaps headed into the StubHub Center on Saturday night full of confidence and looking for their first ever road win against the LA Galaxy. Ninety minutes later, they're still looking.

And they'll be looking hard as the Whitecaps were never in this one.

All the plans of taking the game to LA fell apart early when Landon Donovan opened the scoring just five minutes in and the Caps were left chasing the game thereafter.

When Marcelo Sarvas added a second just past the half hour mark, you already knew it was game over.

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The TFC Castaways, Episode 1: The Windy City Conspiracy

Aug 24 2014 01:30 AM | Squizz in Some Canadian Guys

A group of around 100 men is gathered around a gigantic circular table in a dimly-lit, windowless room. A nearby table is filled with unopened bags of potato chips in various flavours -- ketchup, chicken, all dressed. Every so often, a thin tendril of vapour from an e-cigarette floats up to the ceiling from a darkened corner of the room.

Unnamed Man takes a large swig of water from a bottle, carefully reseals it and puts it back on the table.

Unnamed Man: Robbie, Quincy, I've got to say, that's some good work this week.

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Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire Match Preview - Stretch Run Starting

Aug 23 2014 02:42 PM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute

The World Cup break, the heavy July schedule, and the four game August road trip. The three landmarks of Toronto FC’ summer have passed and the club is on the threshold of the final phase of the 2014 regular season.

A key phrase in the sentence above is “regular season”. For the first time in years, it’s actually worth discussing the possibility of post-season play and what it will take the Reds to get there. Realistically, the minimum criteria for success in 2014, simply qualifying for the playoffs, has become, while not a certainty, more likely than less likely.

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Whitecaps needing to get their Manneh’s worth

Aug 23 2014 04:15 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

What in the world has happened to Kekuta Manneh?

We’re not exactly sure, but the signs at training this week are that we could be about to get some of the Manneh of old back again.

After stunning fans across the world with his hat-trick against Seattle last October, the speedy Gambian has never looked like hitting those dizzy heights this season and all the press talk about an imminent move to the Premiership seem quite foolish now.

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Turf wars and other First World Problems

Aug 22 2014 07:46 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

I hate artificial turf. If you've read this space long enough, or listened to any of the various podcasts I've been on over the years, you'll know just how much I hate turf. I once was a part of an infamous hour-long podcast named "Grass to BMO" whe...

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Mauro Rosales signing will certainly assist Whitecaps

Aug 22 2014 08:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It was a case of out with the old, in with the older in Vancouver yesterday, in an excellent piece of business by the Whitecaps.

As we reported on Thursday afternoon, Nigel Reo-Coker is no longer a Whitecap. That in itself is not really big news. We've been waiting weeks, months for the Caps to finally offload their overpaid Englishman. If anything, it was getting frustrating that it was taking so long.

What was surprising was what they got for him in return. The assist machine that is Mauro Rosales.

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Nigel Reo-Coker on his way out of Vancouver Whitecaps

Aug 21 2014 08:45 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Last Friday we wrote asking "How do you solve a problem like my Reo?". Well, it would appear that Carl Robinson may just have found a solution as to what to do with Nigel Reo-Coker.

The English veteran wasn't at Whitecaps training on Thursday morning and the Caps' coach spent a lot of the session on his phone, with all the signs pointing to Reo-Coker heading to pastures new very shortly, possibly in an internal MLS trade.

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Carl Robinson still looking at strengthening Whitecaps squad but only with players that will "be able to affect the team" right away

Aug 21 2014 05:04 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Vancouver Whitecaps fans hoping to see a couple of new additions to the squad during the last transfer window were left with only the signing of centreback Kendall Waston to excite them.

That window closed last week, meaning that if the Whitecaps want to add some fresh faces to their squad for the critical season run-in, options are pretty much now down to those players available on a free contract or trades within MLS.

Carl Robinson has said all year that he is "always looking" at strengthening the squad and has been consistent in his belief that the only way to benefit the club is to look for players that will be hear for years, not mere months.

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Canadian Content MLS Round 23 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Aug 20 2014 04:58 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 top three this round go to hat-trick hero, Tesho Akindele, Maxim Tissot – for his lovely assist that finally won Montreal a match, and Doneil Henry – who was immense defensively for Toronto in a losing effort, exhibiting both the good and bad aspects of his game.

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

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Episode 75 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (More Tales From The Training Ground)

Aug 20 2014 09:30 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Intense was the word of the day at Whitecaps training on Tuesday and it was also the mood in the air as the players battled hard for over two and a half hours.

There were hard challenges, verbal exchanges and an overall desire to get the team over the final stretch and into the playoffs.

Episode 75 of "There's Still Time" is a special Tales From The Training Ground as we hear from Caps' head coach Carl Robinson, goalkeeper David Ousted, right back Steven Beitashour, midfielder Russell Teibert and striker Omar Salgado about a number of key topics.

We look at the Caps' three clean sheets in a row; the team's current fifth place in the standings and playoff push; the intensity of training and why it's important it doesn't go too far; the upcoming LA game; the Julian Jenner rumours and whether there will be more additions before the roster freeze; and what are the chances of some more homegrown talent being added soon?

All that, and there's still time to look at the Salgado handshake incident that had everyone in a tizzy over the weekend, and we hear from the player and coach themselves in full about it, expanding on my article on MLSsoccer.com.

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MLS Week in Review – Round 23

Aug 19 2014 05:14 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

The 23rd round of MLS play provided plenty of entertainment, though more than a few blowouts meant the enjoyment of many results was to be entirely one-sided. Last week this review touted how the passing of the All-Star Game symbolically began the playoff races; this week saw a dramatic tightening up of the conferences, ensuring that this race will be exceptional.

Of the nineteen teams in the league, only three sides are further than three points adrift of the playoff spots – a remarkable statistic that owes much to impressive turnarounds from DC and Toronto. Even lowly Montreal, who currently sit eleven points shy, picked up a win this weekend. With anywhere from ten to thirteen matches remaining for each club, every point still available is precious. The race is on.

Nine matches were played over the weekend - a Friday night appetizer, followed by seven on Saturday, and a solitary Sunday fixture – resulting in a mere two draws and a single away victory, but what a victory it was.

With five multi-goal wins, there were plenty of goals – 29 scored throughout – including more than a few gems; two of three looks were converted from the penalty spot, and a lonely own goal rounded out the tally.

Just seventeen yellow cards were shown – less than two per match, including two card-free matches – and not a single red was shown. Perhaps the officials will be butting out of the fray, allowing the teams to decide who wins and who loses; though of course, they found other ways to insert themselves and are often needed to dispel justice when necessary.

Before the results, the goals of the round:

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Caps Countdown: Players ranking v Chivas USA

Aug 19 2014 12:00 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, if anyone, had a game to forget in the dull 0-0 draw with lowly Chivas USA on Saturday?

Aaron Campbell makes his selections this week. Do you agree?

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The Good, The Average & The Bad: The Men Who Stare At Goats Edition

Aug 18 2014 06:00 AM | Aaron Campbell in AFTN

Another disappointing game against Chivas USA for Vancouver Whitecaps. Seven points dropped to the Goats this season and the Whitecaps fail to make the playoffs, the finger pointing starts here.

Aaron Campbell takes his regular look at "The Good, The Average & The Bad" from the Caps' 0-0 draw with Chivas that hardly set pulses racing.

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