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"It's a dream come true but the work starts now" - Whitecaps Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese not resting on their laurels after signing MLS deals

Sep 17 2014 08:05 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Vancouver Whitecaps' two newest homegrown signings took part in their first training session as MLS players on Tuesday, but for Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese, that wasn't anything unusual.

The smiles may have been a bit bigger and then there was the media scrums after training finished, but the pair have been training with the first team regularly since preseason. They've been a part of Carl Robinson's MLS squad in all but official roster listing, and they've had no trouble fitting right in.

"All the older guys are very welcoming. They just treat us normal so it's easier to be a part of it," Froese told reporters.

Bustos and Froese, along with other Whitecaps Residency prospects Jackson Farmer, Jordan Haynes and Mitch Piraux were all out working hard at UBC, and it's part of the inclusive environment Robinson wants to have at the club for the young players coming through.

Having that eye on the future is something that Robinson has preached all season when he talks about possible new additions, and the signing of Bustos and Froese to MLS contracts now is down to that philosophy and already looking ahead to next year.

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Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Ottawa Fury FC Match Review - Ottawa Fury keeps playoff hopes alive as they grab a 0-2 win away at Tampa Bay

Sep 16 2014 07:49 PM | Canadian Soccer News in OttCityFootie

Ottawa pulled off a significant away victory in Tampa Bay on Saturday, winning 0-2 with a first-half header from winger Oliver and an insurance dagger in the dying minutes of the game from CM Sinisa Ubiparipovic. LB Ramon Soria provided a deep, inch-perfect cross from the left flank for the 1st goal, while ST Vini Dantas provided a sumptuous lifted ball from the centre circle for Ubiparipovic to seal the match with aplomb for the 2nd goal.
This win represented Ottawa’s 2nd away victory in a row, following their 1-2 win away at Indy three weeks ago, as well as the defense’s first shutout since the Fall Season opener away at Edmonton. The entire team played well defensively as a unit, but the team has to thank GK Romuald Peiser for an astounding performance to repel the high number of shots on target that he faced.

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Canadian Content MLS Round 27 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Sep 16 2014 05:34 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.

It was a bumper round for Canadian participation in MLS this week, with thirteen players seeing the pitch – a few even had double-game weeks. The top three spots this round go to Dwayne De Rosario – for scoring a crucial goal, Russell Teibert – for his boundless energy, and Tesho Akindele – for picking up a game-winning assist.

Special mentions for a trio of Montreal homegrown players who took to the pitch in New England and some new signings as well.

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

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Whitecaps sign Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese to homegrown MLS contracts

Sep 15 2014 09:00 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Vancouver Whitecaps' MLS squad just got a whole lot younger, and more Canadian, today with the signing of Residency talents Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese to homegrown contracts. Bustos has signed a pre-contract and will officially join the MLS squad in January. Froese is added immediately and will be available for the remaining games this season.

The two 18-year-old Canadian youth internationals were born just six days apart and their footballing paths have often felt linked. Both now begin their pro careers at the same time.

The additions will take Vancouver's Canadian content to seven players, and homegrown contingent to eight, and is a fitting reward for the hard work put in from both players this past year.

Bustos and Froese were in action this past weekend as the Whitecaps Residency U18s kicked off their new United States Soccer Development Association (USSDA) season with a pair of home wins.

Froese played the full game in Saturday's 3-2 win over Seattle, contributing one assist, but it was Bustos who was the star of the show, playing the full 90 in both games and grabbing five goals, including a hat-trick against the Sounders.

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MLS Week in Review – Round 27

Sep 15 2014 07:58 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

There was something in the air this weekend around MLS. Whether a foul, cool breeze or a hot blast of controversy – depends on where the match took place – the action culminated in a contentious, hard-fought round, ending in more than a fair share of draws. When the dust finally settled, very little had changed in the standings, but few were left without the understanding that the remaining six weeks would be a scrap to the end.

Leaving aside the three midweek matches, nine games were played, resulting in a whopping five draws and a single away win. 31 goals were scored, including just three from five attempts at the spot and a lonely own-goal - off the face of Columbus’ Aaron Schoenfeld. The match officials were back in the spotlight, mired in more than enough controversy, as well as handing out 38 bookings – including nine in Sunday’s California Clasico – and a pair of red cards, one straight – to Salt Lake’s Nat Borchers – and one accumulative – to Montreal’s Krzysztof Krol.

Despite the lack of change on the table, one thing was settled this round, as the Seattle Sounders become the first – and only, thus far – club to clinch a playoff berth in pursuit of the 2014 MLS Cup.

From cracking strikes to incredible saves, missed calls and egregious ones, first goals and heavily-rotated lineups, this round had it all… but before the results, the goals of the round:

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Report and Reaction: Pesky Perez blasts Dallas past valiant Vancouver

Sep 14 2014 08:11 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and post game reaction from both locker rooms following FC Dallas' 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps in Frisco, Texas.]


You don't expect the Whitecaps to go to Dallas and get anything. Four previous visits. No wins, no points and one solitary goal. Yet, with a weakened squad put out in Frisco on Saturday night, you are actually left disappointed that Vancouver left Texas empty handed.

A goal in each half from the Panamanian predator Blas Perez saw Dallas home, after Erik Hurtado found a pair of shooting boots from somewhere to bring Vancouver level midway through the second half.

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TFC Come Close to Three Points vs Fire but Settle for a Draw

Sep 14 2014 05:04 AM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute

Gilberto 90' go ahead goal disallowed in 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire

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Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC Match Preview - Crisis, Again

Sep 13 2014 04:54 PM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute

So, Toronto FC is back to being Toronto FC.

Those few months from the Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley signings until kickoff versus the New England Revolution in late August were, in retrospect, pretty fun.

Ahead of the Reds’ match in Chicago it’s worth noting that the last time Toronto visited their Great Lakes neighbour -- only a couple of months ago in reality; seemingly years apart mentally -- the perception was that TFC should be disappointed with anything less than a win. At that time the Fire were well back of Toronto in the standings and the Reds’ concern was catching DC and KC at the summit of the Eastern Conference. Now, with a win, the Fire would end the evening a mere point back of TFC.

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Whitecaps Residency back in action and looking at a promising future

Sep 13 2014 04:00 AM | Steve Pandher in AFTN

The new United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) season gets underway on Saturday with Vancouver Whitecaps' U18 and U16 sides looking to build upon two strong performances last year.

The Whitecaps Residency teams kick off their new campaign with two matches against Cascadian rivals Seattle Sounders at Terry Fox Field up at Simon Fraser University on Saturday (kicking off at 1pm), with San Juan Soccer Club coming to town on Sunday (10am kick off).

A number of players from last season have either graduated from the Residency program and/or moved on to pastures new, but with a key and talented core remaining and some exciting new additions, a lot is expected of both the U18s and U16s again this season, with a number of the players expected to move up to the Whitecaps MLS and USL Pro teams in the next few years.

Here's our preview of the season ahead....

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Whitecaps' Sam Adekugbe playing with confidence and out to impress

Sep 12 2014 08:00 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It’s just over a year since Sam Adekugbe moved up from the Whitecaps Residency squad and signed a Homegrown contract in Major League Soccer.

Adekugbe made his debut, and first professional start, for the Caps’ in their last game of the 2013 season at home to Colorado, impressing many. Since then, he has taken his Whitecaps MLS appearances to four, including playing the full 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw at Toronto in July.

His two most recent appearances came in the last few weeks, subbing in against both Portland Timbers and last Saturday against DC United, increasing his MLS minutes to 226.

With Jordan Harvey adding that veteran presence in the backline and keen to play every minute that he can, the development opportunities have been few and far between for the now 19-year-old Adekugbe. It’s been a patience game and a learning game, but how has he seen his progression since making the move to the Whitecaps’ first team squad?

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Caps Countdown: Player rankings v San Jose Earthquakes

Sep 12 2014 07:00 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 had a game to forget in the Caps' 2-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes?

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

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"If they’re good enough, they’re old enough", but are the Whitecaps strikers actually good enough for MLS?

Sep 12 2014 02:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

The Whitecaps may have got back to winning ways, and scoring ways, against San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night, but the disappointing aspect was that neither of the goals came from open play and nor Vancouver’s strikers

The Caps attackers are still struggling to put the ball into the back of the net. It doesn’t seem to matter which striker plays up top, they all seem to suffer from the same flaw – they can’t consistently score, or at least not in Major League Soccer.

The phrase thrown around at the start of the season was "if they’re good enough, they’re old enough", which raises the question – are Erik Hurtado, Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks and Omar Salgado MLS quality strikers?

Their teammates were certainly rallying around them at training this week.

"Well they can score," was Andy O’Brien’s view of the quartet. "I think they've demonstrated it this season as to what they can do. I said in an interview we've seen an array of goals, left foot, right foot. I think Erik has got what I would describe as one of the best goals this season, his goal against Seattle, so it's there. They can do it, it's just a matter of it coming and hopefully it'll come sooner rather than later."

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The Good, The Average & The Bad: The 'Do they know the way home to San Jose?' edition

Sep 12 2014 01:00 AM | Aaron Campbell in AFTN

Blimey. They've only been and gone and done it guvnor. The Whitecaps won. And scored. And got back into the playoff places in the West. A triple whammy.

Aaron Campbell takes his regular look at "The Good, The Average & The Bad" from the Caps' 2-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes.

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Fury coverage update and game preview

Sep 11 2014 11:06 PM | Duane Rollins in OttCityFootie

Namu Yoon will be guiding Canadian Soccer News readers through the rest of Ottawa Fury FC’s inaugural season in the North American Soccer League. This is his first column. By Namu Yoon, The Ottawa Fury FC NASL franchise was born in 2011 out of a part...

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Vancouver Whitecaps v San Jose Earthquakes: The Story In Pictures

Sep 11 2014 06:45 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Whitecaps scored! Whitecaps scored! Twice!!

Like Chivas USA getting a full house or Toronto making the playoffs, it felt like a day that would never come. But it did, and sure, both goals had to come from set pieces, but there is no doubt that Wednesday's 2-0 win for the Whitecaps over the San Jose Earthquakes was very much needed and could have big implications on Vancouver playoff hopes once the season shakes out.

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 win.

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Canada 3 Jamaica 1: An enjoyable soccer-watching experience

Sep 11 2014 02:30 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

At one point during the first half of Tuesday night’s match my friend remarked to me that his most memorable men’s national team moment was probably when Terry Dunfield scored a rollicking long-range strike against Ecuador in a meaningless friendly in 2011. A lot of beer was spilled in the same south end we stood in now as I celebrated wildly, not quite believing that a player sporting the Canada kit could produce something so stunning against a quality opponent.

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Report and Reaction: Whitecaps finally buy a ticket for the goallercoaster

Sep 11 2014 07:18 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and post game reaction from both locker rooms as Vancouver Whitecaps return to winning ways, and scoring ways, with a 2-0 home victory over San Jose Earthquakes]


Vancouver Whitecaps goal drought is finally over, although it took two set piece goals to do it and some help from another poor defensive display by the San Jose Earthquakes.

A first half penalty from captain Pedro Morales and a powerful second half header from Kendall Waston, off a Morales corner, was enough to do the damage and give the Whitecaps a 2-0 home win over the Earthquakes at BC Place on Wednesday.

In terms of the Western Conference playoff race, it was a massive win for Vancouver, leapfrogging them back over Portland into that fifth and final spot.

Striker Erik Hurtado had said before the game that once the Whitecaps started scoring again they were "going to hit the rollercoaster and keep going". Vancouver's forwards don't seem to have yet bought a ticket for the ride (maybe it's a height restriction), and it remains to be seen if the Caps can now capitalize on some momentum, with two tricky away games coming up in Dallas and Portland.

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Canadian Content MLS Round 26 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Sep 10 2014 01:00 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.

It was a rather quiet week from the Canadians in MLS, no goals or assists, a handful of yellow cards, and a red card. The top three spots this round, in part to have some new faces to discuss, are Ashtone Morgan, Russell Teibert, and Kyle Bekker.

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

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Episode 79 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (Legends of Vancouver with Willie Johnston, Bobby Lenarduzzi and a San Jose pregame show)

Sep 10 2014 10:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Episode 79 of "There's Still Time", the AFTN Soccer podcast, is a 'Legends of Vancouver' special. Past and hopefully future.

The number 79 has special connotations for Whitecaps supporters. 1979 is the year we won the NASL Soccer Bowl and we honour the 35th anniversary of that triumph by speaking with two of the Caps' legends from that era.

First up is Willie Johnston. Wee Willie is enjoying being back in Vancouver for the celebrations and has been doing a lot of media, but we feel we bring you the best, most informative and most fun chat with the Scot that you'll hear this week. We look back at the Soccer Bowl triumph, his time in Vancouver, the infamous stories and other aspects of his long career.

Next up is his old teammate and current Whitecaps President Bobby Lenarduzzi. The Duze talks about the current state of the Caps, will there be any new additions before the roster freeze, what can cure the scoring woes and a lot more.

From days of old to current times, via a former 86ers and Whitecaps player, local lad Mark Watson. Watson is the current San Jose Earthquakes coach, and back in his hometown for a crunch match up between the two sides as they battle for that last playoff place in the West. Watson talks about the race, the challenge the Caps pose his team and the weirdness of this season's MLS schedule.

And there's still time to bring you some audio from the Caps side to preview the San Jose game. We hear from head coach Carl Robinson, goalkeeper David Ousted, defender Andy O'Brien, and striker Erik Hurtado ahead of Wednesday's important match.

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San Jose coach Mark Watson knows Vancouver game "will have a big impact as to who finishes where"

Sep 10 2014 09:53 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

San Jose Earthquakes currently sit second bottom of the Western Conference, three points ahead of the perennially dreadful Chivas USA and with the third worst points total in Major League Soccer.

At first glance, many will think they are out of the playoff mix, but you just need to take a little closer examination of their current situation to know that this is far from being the case.

Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said on Monday that "they're definitely in the mix. Anyone writing them off are pretty naive to be honest," and he's right.

The Earthquakes sit eight points out of the fifth and final playoff place in the West, and seven points back of the Caps. The Quakes have a game in hand over the Whitecaps, win that and get the three points in Vancouver tonight and they are all of a sudden one point behind in the chase.

Portland Timbers currently occupy that sought after playoff spot but San Jose have two games on hand on them, including Wednesday's encounter in Vancouver. Win both and they are two points behind Portland, with seven games remaining and two of them coming against the Timbers.

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Pedro Morales struggling for form and struggling with travel as life in MLS takes its toll

Sep 10 2014 02:15 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Vancouver Whitecaps are in a rut. They've got to get out of it (cue song for those of you that knows your punk). Everyone is aware of it and there's no getting away from it.

Even if you have only taken half an interest in the team, it's clear that they have looked a much different animal since they returned to action from the World Cup break. You can call it a momentum killer, but it was also a Morales killer.

We've already discussed how much Vancouver rely on Pedro Morales, but the Whitecaps captain is in a funk of his own since returning to action after the break.

Morales has just one goal in those 13 games back and that was a penalty to salvage a draw at home to Dallas in July. That was the game where the Chilean set a club MLS record of 12 shots in a game.

The Whitecaps are winless in four. Morales has no goals and no assists in those four matches. The correlation is striking.

So what's gone wrong, not just for the team but for Morales himself? Where did the Pedro from the start of the season go?

"I don't think it's just myself, it's the team as a unit," Morales told reporters through a translator at training on Tuesday. "We're not responding to certain situations the way we should and we can't adapt sometimes to certain situations."

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Jamaican internationals earn more MLS minutes than Canadian ones

Sep 09 2014 03:15 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

It's no secret that many within the Canadian soccer community would like to see Canadian players receive more playing time in Major League Soccer. Steven Sandor makes a fairly compelling argument that as long as MLS functions as a developmental league -- with roster requirements for U.S. players and an amateur draft -- there should be similar rules to help develop soccer Canadian talent. After all, Canadian teams make up 15.7% percent of the league!

Canadian clubs are required to have just three Canadian players on their rosters, while in the rest of the league Canadians count against the eight international roster spots U.S. teams are allowed. A line in this Canadian Press article from early August sums up the current rules tidily: "Canadians have to compete with Americans north of the border and the rest of the world south of it." On a lark ahead of the Canada friendly in Toronto this evening, I tallied how many minutes Canada-eligible players are getting this season compared to those eligible for Jamaica.

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Mauro Rosales rues lack of time to make impact at Whitecaps this season but Carl Robinson hopes to keep him for a while yet

Sep 09 2014 02:58 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

When the Vancouver Whitecaps traded for Mauro Rosales last month it was to add both a veteran leadership quality to a young squad and some much needed creativity in the middle of the park.

Rosales has played just five halfs of football for the Whitecaps, but has been pretty much Vancouver's best player for all of them, a fact Carl Robinson also acknowledged after Saturday's draw with DC.

After two heavy defeats, and five goals conceded, the 'Caps stopped some of the rot with a clean sheet against DC United in a 0-0 draw on Saturday. Rosales saw a marked improvement from the past couple of games, but the continued inability to score hangs heavy around the team.

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Vancouver Whitecaps v DC United: The Story In Pictures

Sep 08 2014 10:30 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

So how do we tell yet another story of a 0-0 draw? Well, we could just have a lot of blank photos. Or pictures of doughnuts.

Luckily though, AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there capturing the game for us and making things look interesting.

Here's a selection of his photos from before, during and after all the, um, excitement. (?)

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MLS Week in Review – Round 26

Sep 08 2014 09:42 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

The clock is ticking.

Round 26 of the 2014 MLS season took place over the past seven days, leaving just seven weeks of action left to determine which teams will make the playoffs and which will be hitting the links early – or at least not playing any more competitive games.

The West may be all but determined, with just one spot truly up for grabs – Portland and Vancouver will duke it out over that position; the East, on the other hand, will bear witness to an epic tussle that will likely go down to the final weekend at the end of October, with six clubs separated by seven points, dueling over two places. That is not to say that those ahead of that fray are safe either, there is plenty of room for dramatic movement.

While the action on the field of play usually takes primacy in the thoughts and minds of MLS fans, this weekend players and fans alike were reminded that, while important in its way, this is just a game, as two incidents of real life tragedy struck the American and Canadian soccer family.

Last week’s review made mention of AJ DeLaGarza’s newborn son, Luca, who was challenged with a heart defect; it was announced this week that little Luca did not make it, leaving the Galaxy and the wider league to take the pitch with heavy hearts.

Added to that devastation, Montreal defender Karl Ouimette lost his sister to her battle with leukemia – readers of the Canadian Content post may recall that Ouimette was often involved in charity head-shaving fundraisers, a nod to the situation.

Black armbands and moments of silence, though plenty in number, are merely nice gestures; results seem trivial in such light, but on it must go.

Leaving aside the trio of midweek results, the weekend was comprised of nine matches spread over three days, resulting in a solitary away victory and two draws – home field advantage proving a crucial factor in many results.

31 goals were scored including three from four via the penalty spot, Federico Higuain smashing his attempt off the bar in Columbus. While 28 yellow cards were shown and a single red flashed, a history making one at that, with Colorado keeper, Joe Nasco sent off after 34 seconds – the fastest ever red card in MLS.

Before the results, the goals of the round:

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