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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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Report and Reaction: Chivas continue to be Vancouver's bogey men

Aug 18 2014 05:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and post game reaction from Vancouver Whitecaps' 0-0 draw with lowly Chivas USA at a sparsely attended StubHub Center on Saturday night]

REPORT:

Sometimes a team just has your number. They're your bogey team. It's horrible, but it happens. What makes it worse though is when that team just also happens to be one of the worst ones in the league.

I don't know what it is about Chivas, but they consistently give the Whitecaps problems, and it was no different last night in Carson, California. No goals, no spark and no building on last week's great win over Sporting KC for the Whitecaps.

In the build up to the match, the Caps players had said if they didn't follow up the KC win with victory over Chivas, then it would all have been for nothing. Nothing it is then.

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Ewww Not the Geeeermans

Aug 16 2014 09:28 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

In the summer of 2002 Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium overflowed with 47,784 Soccer supporters. This, the first year of the tournament (then known as the Fifa Women’s U19 World Championship) saw host nation Canada battle their neighbours to the south U...

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Sporting Kansas City vs. Toronto FC Match Preview - Contenders?

Aug 16 2014 02:07 PM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute

With 13 games left in their 2014 MLS campaign Toronto FC currently sit on a healthy 32 points. To put that number in context, the Reds could lose every single remaining game, thus setting a new MLS record for consecutive league losses, and still finish with a higher points total than either of their last two seasons. A win in Kansas City on Saturday evening would move Toronto to a higher points total than any season since Aron Winter took charge and the league moved from a 30 to a 34 game schedule.

Currently five points above 6th place in the East, and still enjoying two games in hand against most of the teams in the conference, it seemed like a strange time for head coach Ryan Nelsen to declare the match-up with KC a “must win” game. The phrase, all too regularly thrown around in inappropriate contexts by fans, was roundly mocked, with some questioning if Nelsen even knew what it meant.

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Turf to stay for 2015

Aug 15 2014 04:41 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

The 2015 Women's World Cup will not be played on grass. Despite a high profile campaign by some of the world's top female footballers, there will be no change to plans to play the World Cup entirely on artificial surfaces, according to a well placed s...

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How do you solve a problem like my Reo?

Aug 15 2014 08:45 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

"His name is Reo (Coker) and he's sitting in the stand
His career is stalling like a river twisting through a dusty land"


So the mighty Duran Duran nearly sang before deciding to go in another direction with their 1982 worldwide hit. Ok, that was actually two years before Nigel Reo-Coker was actually born but let's just gloss over that part for the sake of this piece.

Ah, Nigel, Nigel, Nigel. What are we to do with you?

Seriously, what? Because that $446,500 salary you're picking up is crippling the Caps in trying to bring in a quality striker to help not just make the playoffs, but to be serious contenders in it.

Reo-Coker's performances last season impressed on the whole but his MLS career has come undone pretty rapidly.

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El Microciclo: What our Concacaf rivals do that Canada can’t

Aug 14 2014 08:13 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

El Salvador has been a bit of a wash lately in international soccer. They haven’t achieved much since reaching the Hex in 2010 qualifying, and things reached a low point in 2013 when a gargantuan match-fixing scandal rocked the men’s national team and several pro clubs. Yet, it’s a country trying to revive its footballing fortunes. The governing body banned several players for life and hired a fancy Spaniard to coach the men’s senior team. A key tool in this rehabilitation involves a big advantage El Salvador enjoys over the Canadian program, an idea common across Latin America soccer: the microciclo.

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Math and the MLS stretch run

Aug 14 2014 05:01 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Who needs to watch the games when you have math!? Ok, maybe not, but good math can make watching the games more interesting. So-called advanced stats (that aren't all that advanced) allow us to dig deeper and think harder about what's happening on the...

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Edmonton bound: Canadian women upset North Korea to set-up quarterfinal with Germany

Aug 13 2014 04:27 PM | Duane Rollins in World Cup 2014

Oh, Canada… Janine Beckie scored her second goal in as many matches in the 65th minute to send Canada through to the quarter finals of the Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup. It wasn’t an ugly match, but it wasn’t a particularly pretty game from the Canadians...

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Canadian Content MLS Round 22 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Aug 12 2014 05:44 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 Jonathan Osorio – for coming to life against Columbus, Maxim Tissot – for giving Montreal hope with his wonderful finish, and Will Johnson – for a commanding performance against Chivas.

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

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To be the best you have to beat the best: Canada v North Korea

Aug 12 2014 04:38 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

By Rose Rago, Canada’s hopes of advancing to the final eight of the FIFA women's U-20s was renewed after a marvelous three goal second half performance against Finland on Friday. In their first two matches the Canadians struggled to capitalize on th...

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When one door closes, another one opens (or, "Squizz finally moves")

Aug 12 2014 04:21 PM | Squizz in Some Canadian Guys

So, even though Canada's playing or do-or-die game in the U20 Women's World Cup tonight, you're not going to see a match recap from me here -- and there's a very good reason for that. I'm going to be on a train hurtling westward (in a safe, controlled...

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