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Episode 88 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (That Was The Year That Was - Part One)

Dec 17 2014 05:10 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It's that time again. Snow is on the ground, you can justify being covered in glitter to your wife without her suspecting you've been at the strippers, and fat people feel that they're festively plump. And that can only mean one thing - it's the start of AFTN's end of season roundtables.

Episode 88 reunites your usual co-hosts Michael McColl and Steve Pandher, AFTN writer Jay Duke (briefly), and Curva Collective's Zachary Meisenheimer and Steven Lamothe, to discuss the first two months of 2014 from a Vancouver Whitecaps perspective.

Surprising no-one, we kick off in January and look back on the Camilo saga, Robbo's management team, the SuperDraft, the additions of players like Steven Beitashour and the USL PRO partnership with Charleston Battery. Away from the 'Caps we also look at the CSA's strategic plan and the possible bid for the 2026 World Cup.

Training camp opened and the Caps made a couple of preseason trips in February, first to Arizona and then on to Cascadian rivals Portland Timbers. Playerwise, Nigel Reo-Coker, Omar Salgado, Andre Lewis and Matias Laba got tongues wagging for various reasons.

And there's still time to look at the excellent re-signing of Mauro Rosales and hear from the man himself.


Read story →    1 comments    -----    vancouver whitecaps, mls and 6 more...

Fury FC announces U17/U19 sides in PLSQ for 2015

Dec 16 2014 04:16 PM | Canadian Soccer News in OttCityFootie

The Première ligue de soccer du Québec (PLSQ) announced yesterday that they have accepted an application from Ottawa Fury FC to place two of their men’s youth teams, a U19 side and a U17 side, in the league for the 2015 season.

Read story →    0 comments    -----    Ottawa Fury FC, NASL

Episode 87 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (The Vagenas Monologues)

Dec 12 2014 05:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It may be the offseason but it's been one hell of a busy week in Whitecapsland and we bring you all the news and reaction in the latest episode of "There's Still Time", the AFTN Soccer podcast.

Episode 87 reunites your usual co-hosts Michael McColl and Steve Pandher, AFTN writer Jay Duke, and Curva Collective's Zachary Meisenheimer and Steven Lamothe, to discuss the latest Vancouver Whitecaps happenings.

We kick things off with a look at the MLS Expansion Draft. The 'Caps only lost one player, Mehdi Ballouchy, any real loss there apart from an experienced head? We also look at the picks of new boys New York City and Orlando City. Who won the battle? Did Orlando have any clue as to what they were doing? And we ask the question on many people's lips - who the hell is Tony Taylor?

But it's been a week of moving and shaking. Players were re-signed, options were declined, Omar Salgado finally moved on and it looks like Sebastian Fernandez won't be back in the while and blue. We look at the impact of all these decisions and more.

Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson shares some thoughts on the week's movements and what may lie in store as he gets set to jet back home to Wales and take in some matches in Europe over the Christmas period.


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Jorge Luis Pinto surfaces in Honduras, what does it mean for Concacaf and Canada?

Dec 11 2014 06:20 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

Last weekend Honduran soccer officials confirmed a rampant rumour: Jorge Luis Pinto is the national team’s new manager. The Colombian rose to global prominence last summer after leading Costa Rica to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, navigating a group in which most pundits gave them zero chance of navigating. Amid the afterglow there was much speculation around Pinto seeking high-profile opportunities in Europe or South America, which is why Honduras might appear an underwhelming destination, not so much a forward move as a lateral or even backwards one.

So the Concacaf Coaching Carousel spins anew. What does this particular appointment mean for Canada and the rest of the confederation?

Read story →    2 comments    -----    Canada, Honduras, Gold Cup 2015

That's So TFC bracket - What's the most TFC moment ever?

Dec 09 2014 04:05 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

That's So TFC!

Popularized by the Tim and Sid radio program on the Fan 590, the phrase That's So TFC! has gained traction over the past couple years. The general meaning is that some things are so absurd that they could only happen to TFC.

It's been an odd little journey, for sure. And, there is a lot of validity to the That's So TFC! meme.

Not all of it's been bad. Some. Ok, a lot. But, if you're still here you probably understand that there is a certain amount of charm involved in supporting this club through the ups and downs and down and down and downs and downs and downs.

So, with that in mind we at CSN are setting out to determine the Most TFC Moment Of All Time!

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Thorny Omar Salgado finally removed from Vancouver Whitecaps' side

Dec 09 2014 04:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

The saga is finally over and Vancouver Whitecaps very own 'Grumpy Cat', Omar Salgado, is no longer at the club.

There can't be too many people shedding a tear at the news that the club's first ever MLS draft pick has departed for pastures new.

Salgado was traded to New York City on Monday afternoon ahead of a transfer to an unnamed international club. The transfer fee will be split between the two sides, but more on that later.

What it means is that one of the biggest off the pitch disruptions that I have ever experienced first hand in all of my years of watching football is now someone else's problem.

Some people found fault with Salgado's attitude but I always found him a very balanced young player - he seemed to have a chip on each shoulder.


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Toronto exposes itself

Dec 08 2014 11:45 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Toronto has protected the following players for Wednesday's expansion draft: Jermain Defoe, Gilberto, Luke Moore, Jonathan Osorio, Michael Bradley, Collen Warner, Justin Morrow, Nick Hagglund, Joe Bendik, Kyle Bekker and Warren Creavalle. In addition...

Read story →    0 comments    -----    tfc

MLS Week in Review – 2014 MLS Cup Final

Dec 08 2014 07:02 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

The 2014 MLS Cup Final was played on Sunday between Los Angeles and New England to determine who would be crowned champions after a long MLS regular season and playoffs.

As fate would have it, the LA Galaxy completed their mission, becoming the first MLS club to hoist the trophy five times, winning their third title in the last four seasons, and giving Landon Donovan the send-off he so richly deserved.

Making the most of home-field advantage, the Galaxy outlasted the Revolution, opening the scoring in the 52nd minute after a tense first half, only to be pegged back to force extra time. A moment of pure class would prove decisive with the league’s MVP once more showing his worth.

Three goals were scored in the final and seven yellow cards shown; referee Mark Geiger letting the sides play, though not without a spot of controversy or two.

Before the results, the goal of the night:

Read story →    2 comments    -----    MLS, Week in Review, MLS Cup

What the Whitecaps can learn from the LA Galaxy's MLS dominance

Dec 08 2014 08:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It wasn't exactly a classic, but it's in the record books now and the LA Galaxy have won their record-breaking fifth MLS Cup in their ninth final.

Three of LA's wins have come over the past four seasons. They've been dominant in a league that's keen to promote some kind of parity and help the clubs at the bottom climb back up the ladder.

If you look at the sides that have won the 19 MLS Cups to date, nine different teams have hoisted the trophy. That's 47% of the current 19 teams, and three others have made the final.

That is certainly a better return than you'll find for League Champions elsewhere in the world, but LA account for 26% of the total Cup wins. Now you can put that down to a multitude of things - their ability to attract top talent that other clubs seemingly can't, many of them at surprising cut-price deals, and the perception that exists that MLS will do what it takes to help out their top team, amongst them.

But there's another factor that has helped the Galaxy become dominant in the past few seasons and it's one that the Whitecaps should be paying close attention to - experience has a very big part to play in success in MLS.


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Women's World Cup draw: How does it look for Canada?

Dec 06 2014 06:03 PM | Squizz in Some Canadian Guys

It could have been better, and it could have been worse.

Is Canada guaranteed to win its group at next summer's Women's World Cup? No, we aren't.

Is it acceptable for Canada to fail to advance out of this group? No, it isn't.

While all three group-stage games -- against China, New Zealand and the Netherlands -- are winnable for Canada, they are by no means a fait accompli. And the biggest deciding factors as to how Canada fares in its group (and, hopefully, beyond) have nothing whatsoever to do with the draw that took place in the capital region on Saturday.

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Episode 86 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (with guest Carl Robinson)

Dec 05 2014 08:05 AM | Michael McColl in "There's Still Time" - The AFTN Soccer Podcast

Na, na na, na na na na, na na na na, eight six. Old school.

We're back with another episode of "There's Still Time", the AFTN Soccer podcast.

We're joined for Episode 86 by Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson for an exclusive and extensive 25 minute chat about the season just past, his first year as a head coach, and the ups of acquiring Pedro Morales and the downs of losing Camilo.

But we don't want to dwell solely on what's in the history books, as Robbo tells us about his recent scouting trip to South America, what he feels the team needs to bring in to progress, the upcoming expansion draft, his younger players, what fans can expect from the 2015 Whitecaps and more.

Steve and myself also take a look at what is going to be a very busy week ahead for Vancouver Whitecaps. The MLS trade window is open briefly on Monday, ahead of Wednesday's expansion draft. We look at what deals might go down and give our own thoughts on what 11 players we'd like to see Robbo protecting.

The 2014 MLS Cup takes place in Los Angeles on Sunday, as the Galaxy look to make it a record-breaking five Championships with a win over New England. We hear from LA head coach Bruce Arena, MLS MVP Robbie Keane, defender Omar Gonzalez, Western Conference final goalscoring hero Juninho and the retiring Landon Donovan about the game, the benefit of having a wealth of experience in their ranks and just what makes the Galaxy so successful.

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Predicting the expansion draft

Dec 04 2014 04:21 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Next Wednesday NYCFC and Orlando City Soccer Club will pick the bones of the existing MLS rosters to try and find useful pieces to build a club with.

Each team will select 10 players, alternating picks. Orlando picks first.

No team can lose more than two players. With twenty getting selected there is a good chance most teams will lose something.

Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of 2014, as well as Homegrown players on a team's Supplemental Roster at the end of the current season, are automatically protected and will not take a spot on the 11-player protected list.

Teams are also limited in the number of international players they protect. They may make available a number of international players equal to their total number of international players minus three. The rules state that any non-domestic US players will count as international players for the Expansion Draft.

​So, with that in mind let's look at what Toronto is likely to do. Below are the current players under contract for 2015. Although players that didn't have their option picked up will also be available to be selected (TFC still holds their rights and can negotiate a lower salaried contract prior to the re-entry draft) you can fairly assume that the 11 protected players will come from the list below. Automatically protected players are noted by italics.

Read story →    11 comments    -----    TFC

Club over Country: Why MLS and the Whitecaps have no overriding responsibility to improve the Canadian national team

Dec 03 2014 07:30 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It's a battle that's raged on in various guises, and in various contexts, around the footballing world for many a year. Club v Country.

For many, especially those outwith Canada, in footballing terms it will always be their club first and then their country second. For others, country comes first without any question.

Those that fall into that latter category are wrong.

And for those of you who feel that Major League Soccer, and the three current Canadian clubs within it, have an overriding responsibility for helping to improve the Canadian national team, you are also wrong.

Read story →    17 comments    *----    vancouver whitecaps, mls and 4 more...

The CSA, MLS and the Canada question

Dec 02 2014 11:45 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Don Garber spoke today. Words came out. Some were true. Others were "truth challenged." That's was especially the case when it came to the ongoing issue of Canadians as domestics in MLS. Once again Garber talked around the issue and relied on legal ha...

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He's alive! Aleman finally makes league debut with Herediano

Dec 02 2014 04:40 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

When Canadian international Keven Aleman signed with Costa Rican club Herediano in August it was greeted with a reasonable degree of enthusiasm from sections of the Canadian soccer community. (Hint: the sections checking this site regularly.)

Sure, it was a move away from Spain and its tiki and taka, but it came with the promise of a player in the Canadian pool taking on club football in a region where Canada's woes are well-documented. Aleman joins wayward striker Lucas Cavallini as the only guys with senior team potential based in Latin America. Fast forward four months and Aleman had sort of disappeared. No appearances for Herediano (not even on the bench) and no news about whether he was injured, ignored, disinterested or what. Until this weekend.

Read story →    2 comments    -----    Aleman, Costa Rica, Canada

Keepin' score, dammit: YOLO with YSLO

Dec 01 2014 10:26 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Recently there has been a leaflet making the rounds in Ontario. It is about the Youth Soccer League of Ontario, a league for all those that want us to man up and keep standings in u-4 leagues. Because character. Or Something. Anyway, they asked for th...

Read story →    3 comments    *****    LTPD

MLS Week in Review – Playoffs: Conference Finals Second Legs

Dec 01 2014 08:49 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

The cup final is set.

This past weekend saw both conference finals come to their conclusion, as the last two sides left in the 2014 chase for the MLS Cup have been determined – New England and Los Angeles. They will meet next Sunday to decide who will be named the champions.

It will be a familiar encounter – the two have met twice before, in the 2002 and 2005 finals – but nonetheless should prove to be a scintillating match; two attacking teams, both eager to conclude their campaigns with the silverware.

The second legs of the conference finals resulted in a home win and a draw, the Eastern Champions moving on by an aggregate score of 4-3, while the West ended level on aggregate (2-2), the conference champions progressing by dint of away goals.

Seven goals were scored through the two matches – a good return given the propensity for crucial matches to tighten into low-scoring affairs – while just five yellow cards were required, the rambunctiousness of the first legs giving way to cooler heads prevailing.

Before the results, the goal of the round:

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Waiting for a miracle at TFC

Nov 27 2014 11:03 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Sportsnet is reporting that TFC has found its latest Saviour. This time the cape is being fitted on Garth Lagerwey, the man behind the scenes in Salt Lake City during that small club's rise to glory (well, MLS glory anyway). Although head coach Jason...

Read story →    4 comments    -----    TFC

Jock Math: Joe Bendik and MLS keepers by the numbers

Nov 27 2014 07:22 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Joe Bendik. Great shot stopper. Crappy on the distribution.

If there is one piece of universal, conventional TFC fan wisdom it's that.

But, is it true? Does a look at the performance data back up the perspective. With a giant caveat attached – keeper stats are likely the least reliable or comparable numbers in the game (and there is still a lot of mistrust in the numbers, period) – we had a look.

First a word on intangibles. There are a lot involved in keeping. Leadership, positioning and presence, to name three, play a huge role in the position. It's nearly impossible to measure these things. It's disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

However, it's also wrong to just ignore numbers until such a time that they are universally accepted as having value. We'll all be dead by then.

So, we started by looking at distribution stats. These probably are the better of the two stats we can look at as they are a little easier to quantify – either the pass was completed or it wasn't. In a keeper's case you don't even have to get into debates about the difficulty of the pass. They are usually off a set piece (goal kick or free kick), rarely under pressure and generally fairly long.

There are two main passing stats: completion percentage and complete long passes per 90.

Read story →    1 comments    -----    Jock Math

OFFC announces departure of four players, re-signing of D Omar Jarun

Nov 27 2014 04:48 PM | Canadian Soccer News in OttCityFootie

Ottawa Fury FC announced yesterday that they will not be exercising the contract options for LB/CB Ramon Soria, CB Kenny Caceros and LW P.R. Mayard, while also announcing that they will not re-sign ST Vini Dantas. The Fury FC also disclosed that CB Omar Jarun has re-signed with the club for the 2015 season.

Read story →    2 comments    -----    Ottawa Fury FC, NASL

Canada 1 Sweden 0: A mostly fabricated synopsis

Nov 25 2014 12:47 AM | Squizz in Some Canadian Guys

Canada really did play a women's international friendly against Sweden on Monday.

The game really did take place behind closed doors in California, with no stream or feed of the game available to anyone.

And Canada really did win the game 1-0.

Believe the rest at your own peril.

Read story →    6 comments    -----    Canada, CanWNT, #CanWNT

Around The League: (FC Dallas) Tesho Akindele interview

Nov 24 2014 11:00 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

We haven't done one of our "Around The League" interviews for a while, our series where we chat with some of the more interesting, and sometimes lesser known, players from around MLS. So let's remedy that now, and in light of today's news, we continue the series with a Canadian - FC Dallas' MLS "Rookie of the Year" award winning striker Tesho Akindele.

Read story →    1 comments    -----    fc dallas, tesho akindele, mls and 3 more...

MLS Week in Review – Playoffs: Conference Finals First Legs

Nov 24 2014 05:42 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

The hunt for the MLS Cup resumed on Sunday after a two-week hiatus with both Conference Finals getting underway. In the East, second-seed New England nabbed an impressive away win, putting themselves into pole-position for a long-awaited return to the cup, while the West saw LA take the initiative with a one-goal win over visiting Seattle.

Four goals were scored through the two matches, resulting in both a home and away win, while fourteen yellow cards were shown, including a whopping ten in the East. There should perhaps have been at least one red, Seattle’s Zach Scott raising the ire of LA with his five fouls – he picked up a yellow card in the 37th minute and then managed to navigate that thin ice for the remainder of the match, with a little assistance from a reluctant official.

As always, before the results, the goal of the round:

Read story →    0 comments    -----    MLS, Week in Review, Playoffs

The real Bloody Big Deal

Nov 21 2014 03:30 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

It's been a good week for Canadian soccer. A rare win over our southern neighbours in u20 play was followed up by an even rarer result in Central America for the senior team. However, the best news of all was saved for last. Another pro team was born...

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Canada ends 2014 on a note

Nov 20 2014 03:31 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

Even the non-sentient drone tasked with filming Tuesday’s friendly between Canada and Panama at the Rommel Fernández stadium appeared to have had enough of the fouling, flopping and general awfulness at one point during the second half, fluttering dejectedly through the main camera shot down to the sideline below.

In the eternal footballing debate of “if you want entertainment go to the theatre” versus “only results matter” it is now beyond crystal clear -- as in words can't describe how transparent it is -- where supporters of this Canada team must position themselves.

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