Jul 29 2015 08:13 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN
After seemingly establishing himself as Carl Robinson's first choice for the left-back role, 2015 was shaping up to be Sam Adekugbe's breakthrough season. It still could very well be.
The battle between the young Canadian and Jordan Harvey for that job had begun last year and continued throughout preseason. Adekugbe was pushing Harvey all the way, but the veteran held on to his spot for the first game of the season against Toronto.
After shipping three goals in that home opener, Robinson decided to make some changes and Adekugbe started the second game of the year, away to Chicago. The 'Caps won and Adekugbe kept his place in the team for the next match at Orlando.
A rib injury forced him out of that one late on. It looked bad, but the resilience, and quick healing powers, of youth saw Adekugbe return to the line-up the next weekend, bruised ribs and all.
Adekugbe was impressing and the team was winning. After starting five of the next six MLS matches, the left-back role now looked his to lose.
Jul 29 2015 05:46 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute
Do you have MLS All-Star Game fever!
If so, you might be the only person who does. The annual mid-season game (it’s not a mid-season break as the players don’t get any time off) takes place tonight in Colorado as the league all-stars take on Tottenham Hotspur.
The Europa League group stage meets the disinterested stars of MLS!
Jul 28 2015 06:27 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute
As we enter the unofficial second half of the MLS season (it’s closer to the final third, but we like to define seasons as pre and post All Star Games in North America), let’s have a look at how things are shaping up.
Not a subjective look – you can get that yourself by looking at the standings and putting your pre-conceived notions of what teams are into the mix.
TFC will fade (because they always do), RSL must be underachieving, the Sounders will come out of their slump and, at the end of the day, the Galaxy will be standing in confetti.
All of that is possible, but we want to look at the first half results a little more objectively. Using so called advanced stats we want to break down the first half statistically to allow us to make a few predictions about how the second half might play out.
We still could end up being dead wrong, but at least we have some data to back up our ignorance.
So, let’s get going!
Jul 27 2015 05:36 PM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute
Today on the Two Solitudes Soccer Podcast,
Duane talked to Rudi Schuller , Editor of GOAL in Canada, about Drogba-Montreal, World Cup Qualifiers and other topic in the news in the Canadian Soccer World!
Plus, the famous Canadian Review!
Jul 27 2015 03:15 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute
MLS roster rules can be difficult to follow for even the most experienced observers of the league. So, fans can be excused for being left baffled by the news that former TFC Designated Player Gilberto was put on waivers last night by the club, where he was picked up by the Chicago Fire.
Jul 27 2015 05:37 AM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute
by Kevin Laramee
According to Jeffrey Carlisle of ESPN, the Montreal Impact and the Chicago Fire have come to an agreement on a fee for Montreal to acquire the rights to Didier Drogba, as he was on Chicago's 10 players Discovery List. Again according to Jeffrey Carlisle and many different sources, the Montreal Impact and Didier Drogba have agreed on a 18 months long contract with a value of an estimated 3 million dollars.
Today on a special BREAKING NEWS EDITION of Off the Woodworkx,
Kevin talked about the potential arrival of Didier Drogba with the Montreal Impact, gave a in-depth look at Didier Drogba's career and a part of an interview conducted by Rio Ferdinand for Beenyman Sports wit Didier Drogba, where he talks about his career, his acclimatization to the style of play of England back in the day ( which will be very useful when he debuts in MLS in my opinion) and many other aspect of his life and plans for the future!
Jul 25 2015 06:15 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute
Canada’s road to Russia is pretty much known.
Yes, you can make a joke here about how the only way CanMNT is going to Russia is on a tourist visa, but the undeniable truth is the slots aren’t determined on paper – not when you’re good and not when you’re, well, Canada.
So, regardless of whether you think that Canada has any chance or not, you now know where the road goes through.
It goes through some familiar and PTSD inducing places.
The first stop should be fine. A home and home with Belize starts things off. This was the kind part of the draw for the Canucks. The last time they played a competitive tie Canada won 8-0 on aggregate. It will be fine. Canada will book a spot in the semi-final.
There is gets tougher.
Jul 25 2015 05:55 AM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute
by Kevin Laramee
BREAKING NEWS.The Montreal Impact acquires Johan Venegas of Costa Rican side Liga Deportiva Alajuelense
According to Fabian Borbon of Deportes Repretel, the details have been finalized and the deal is done. The figures involved in the transfer is unknown for now, but per MLS rules, the details of the deal will probably not be made available.
Jul 24 2015 08:48 PM | Michael Crampton in World Cup 2014
With the distraction of a truly needless midseason friendly out of the way, Toronto FC begins a vital set of Eastern Conference match-ups on Saturday versus their original rival, the Columbus Crew.
A stabilizing win versus Philadelphia last weekend saw TFC start to create some separation between themselves and the teams not currently occupying playoff positions. Back-to-back wins over Chicago for the Crew, however, allowed Columbus to overtake the Reds in the standings. And then, over the next week-and-a-half, Toronto will face both New England and Orlando, the two teams just behind the fourth place Reds. Should TFC make it through this stretch without losing, they’ll not only pick up points that will help them at the end of the season, they’ll be preventing direct rivals from earning maximum points themselves.
Jul 21 2015 04:34 PM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute
Today on the Two Solitudes Soccer Podcast,
Duane and Kevin talked about the Drogba to Montreal-Chicago situation, about the CanMNT at the Gold Cup and Pan Am Games and the famous Canadian Review!
Jul 18 2015 12:59 PM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute
When Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union last met back in early May, the story of the Union’s season seemed to have been written. Philly were morbid, and looked unlikely to play much of a role in the playoff race, even in a weak Eastern Conference. The result went as expected, and TFC departed with three points, without looking particularly good themselves.
Now, two and a half months later, the Union have somehow managed to wring enough points out of their last ten games to drag themselves into the discussion. Having played three more matches than Toronto means that their points-per-game is still far behind but, with a win, they would overtake TFC in the standings. That would move the Reds out of a playoff spot, at least until they start making up those games in hand.
Russell Teibert taking positives from Canada's Gold Cup disappointment but excited to be back for Cascadian Cup "battle"
Jul 17 2015 07:15 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN
Vancouver Whitecaps may have lost Kendall Waston to Gold Cup duty this week, after his late call-up to the Costa Rican squad, but they at least welcome back another player, with Russell Teibert returning to the 'Caps after Canada crashed out of the tournament with a whimper, not a bang.
Teibert headed off to join up with Canada after the Whitecaps 2-1 win at New York Red Bulls on June 20th. After missing the games against New England, Colorado and Kansas City, which he followed avidly from a far, Teibert is excited to be back with the 'Caps and is raring to go.
"Absolutely," Teibert enthused to reporters at training on Thursday. "I miss the boys. I miss the team. I miss the city of Vancouver. It's become my home and it's just nice to be back."
Jul 17 2015 03:25 PM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute
by Kevin Laramee
After ratifying the new Collective Bargaining Agreement a couple of days ago, the MLS Players Union released the players salaries, surveyed through July 15 2015.
Here is a few salaries that caught my attention with the three MLS Canadian teams.
By the way, that list does NOT include sponsorship endorsements, bonuses or any other revenue source that could supplement a player's salary. ,
Ignacio Piatti, the sole Montreal impact Designated Player, is on a mere 400 000$. Is it me or that figure is pretty low?
Jul 16 2015 04:12 PM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute
Breaking News, Kyle Bekker traded from FC Dallas to the Montreal Impact for Bakary Soumare, as per MLS Rules, the rest of the deal has not been disclosed!
Vancouver Whitecaps planning further expansion for successful Academy Centres - "We intend to have our footprint all over Canada" (and beyond)
Jul 15 2015 11:10 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN
Vancouver Whitecaps' Residency program can rightly be held up as a shining light in North American football.
The Whitecaps see themselves as "trailblazers" in Major League Soccer in terms of running an academy, youth development and producing homegrown talent. It's justified, for as we've mentioned several times now, the 'Caps lead the league with eight homegrown products on their MLS roster.
The success of the Residency these past eight years should be clear for all to see, although arguments will persist around the number of regularly starting first team players that it has produced.
In Canada that is, for the program has produced talent that is starting at clubs throughout Europe and a slew of other talent current getting an education in the NCAA and CIS college systems.
On the pitch, the U18s have made the postseason in USSDA play for the last four years, which is incidentally as long as they've be in that league. They reached the 2012 Championship game going down to a late winner. The U16s have made the postseason in three of those years, reaching the quarter-finals stage for the last two seasons.
Things are certainly moving in the right direction.
Bobby Lenarduzzi hails trailblazing Whitecaps and slams "short term" view when it comes to Canadian player development - "It's not going to happen overnight"
Jul 15 2015 06:03 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN
Canadian player development.
Such a strange subject, for depending on who you discuss with it (and we're talking football people here not the lady serving at your local fishmongers!) it's a topic that will either draw heated discussion and be a real hot potato issue, or one that exudes complete indifference.
We should all care. It's our country, it's our domestic game, it's our future talent pool.
But just how much we should care does somewhat rely on where you stand on the whole club v country debate.
Jul 15 2015 12:46 AM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute
Concacaf Gold Cup 2015 Canada vs Costa Rica post game show,
Press Conference of Benito Floro following Canada's exit of the 2015 Gold Cup,
Plus, David Edgar Scrum!
Jul 14 2015 06:25 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute
Thirteen Canadians were involved in the sixteenth round of MLS play, five as starters, four from the bench, while another four were unused substitutes over the week-long period.
The top three spots go to Vancouver's Kianz Froese, and Toronto duo of Jonathan Osorio and Ashtone Morgan.
Find out what they did to deserve recognition and who else earned their keep this round.
Christian Dean maturing, growing and pushing for MLS minutes - "His chance will be around the corner"
Jul 12 2015 09:20 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN
Carl Robinson has long made it clear that he wants to carry five centre backs on his MLS squad. This weekend is a good demonstration as to why.
With Pa Modou Kah injured and Diego Rodriguez playing with WFC2 in USL action on Friday night, as he's not up to full match fitness after his own recent injury, the 'Caps are down to three options to marshal the centre of their defence for tonight's game with Sporting Kansas City.
It would have been even worse had Kendall Waston received the call up to the Costa Rican Gold Cup squad that many, including Robinson, had expected.
Thankfully, for the Whitecaps, he didn't and will lead the defence at BC Place. His partner looks most likely to be rookie Tim Parker, who has impressed many this season, but second year centre back Christian Dean is also in the frame for getting his first MLS minutes of the season.
Dean may miss out tonight, but the 22-year-old is knocking at the door of the first team after a string of strong performances in USL and his chance to impress in MLS action is set to come very soon.
Jul 12 2015 09:17 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN
WFC2 made it three straight wins against their Cascadian USL rivals with a come from behind 2-1 victory over Portland Timbers 2 on Friday night.
The win moved the 'Caps level on points for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference heading into Saturday's games. That proved to be short lived but with three wins out of their last four matches, the Whitecaps are certainly moving in the right direction and will be in the postseason mix down the stretch.
It was a sparser crowd than usual, just 1128 fans headed along on what was a beautiful night for football, but those that did make the trip took in a proverbial game of two halves.
Whitecaps Residency looking in good shape despite heartbreaking quarter-final loss: "We've got some great young Canadian talent coming through"
Jul 12 2015 08:57 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN
Football can be a cruel mistress. So can Simone, but that's for another time!
A couple of days have passed since the heartbreak of Vancouver Whitecaps U16s penalty shootout loss to Georgia United in USSDA quarter-final action on Wednesday night.
It had been a pulsating game. End to end stuff in 100 minutes of action. Four well-taken goals, chances galore at both ends, shots cleared off the line, crossbars rattled and two excellent goalkeeping displays. An enjoyable evening up at SFU but one that only served to send us to penalty kicks.
It's always the cruellest way to lose a match, but no-one can really find a better solution and let's be honest, they're always exciting. Tense, nervy and agonising, but exciting none the less.
Jul 11 2015 08:56 PM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute
Toronto FC is playing in the city of New York for the first time ever this weekend! See Michael, Jozy, and Seba take-on David Villa and Frank Lampard in a nationally televised and highly anticipated match! It’s the clash of the titans MLS fans have been waiting for as Toronto FC takes on New York City in the Bronx!
Except, of course, it’s not.
Jul 10 2015 05:26 AM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute
As you have probably noticed, all the feeds of the Off the Woodworkx Sports Podcasting Network are down for the moment. It is an issue that we are working really hard to fix and go back to normal.
In the meantime, we have created a master feed, a sports podcasting network master feed including all the shows including the Two Solitudes, 5 Rings Podcast, USL Radio and more!
Episode 119 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (The End Is Just The Beginning with guests Harjeet Johal, Grant Wahl and Daniel Squizzato)
Jul 10 2015 02:26 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN
The 2015 Women’s World Cup is over. It’s written in the history books now, but we want to wave it one final goodbye with a special wrap up show that also takes a look at the future for both the Canadian men and women’s national teams.
We’re joined by the well-travelled Harjeet Johal to look back at the tournament. Was it a success all round? Did the right team win? What now for the women’s game in terms of coverage and play? We look at all this and more.
Next up we hear from the American side with SI.com senior writer Grant Wahl who was all over this land covering the tournament for Fox Sports. Grant looks back on the win for the US, what it will mean for both the national team and domestic game moving forward and his love of Canada and how they hosted.
And there’s still time to not just look back, but to look to the future, the rather immediate future, as we’re joined by CanadianSoccerNews.com and MLSSoccer.com writer Daniel Squizzato, while he still had some sanity left after watching Abby Wambach and Sydney Leroux win a World Cup on Canadian turf!
We chat with Squizz about this month’s Gold Cup. What kind of health are Canada in? Do they realistically have a shot at this thing? Is a US v Mexico final already written in the stars?
USL Player of the Week Victor Blasco catching the eye with WFC2 – “We see special things from him in training”
Jul 10 2015 02:24 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN
It was quite the impressive 13 minute spell for WFC2 substitute Victor Blasco on Sunday against Seattle Sounders. His two goals at the death, 78 seconds apart, secured Blasco USL Player of the Week honours and the Whitecaps three crucial points.
The goals were Blasco’s first as a Whitecap and for those of us who have been following the Spaniard closely this season, it was the breakout performance we’ve been waiting for. And so has he.