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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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Eager-to-please Panama awaits Canada challenge

Nov 17 2014 06:00 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

Last week, Panama manager “Bolillo” Gomez opined on his team’s upcoming matches against El Salvador and Canada, describing them not as mere friendlies but as opportunities to climb higher on the world football ladder. That's some ambitious spin, especially to the ears of Canada supporters accustomed to following their team play in empty, decrepit stadiums on Fifa friendly dates.

But Panama have stuff to prove. After muddling along in mediocrity and obscurity for several decades, the past few years have seen a resurgence, a runner-up spot in the Gold Cup here, a narrowly missed spot in a World Cup playoff there. Like Canada, they're coming off an October that featured a narrow loss in a game they were expected to lose by a wider margin. In this case a hard fought 1-nil encounter against Mexico in Querétaro. Like Canada, Panama appointed a new manager following an unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign. And like Canada, Panama want to finish 2014 on a high note against a direct rival.

Read story →    6 comments    -----    Panama, Canada, friendlies

Episode 85 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (Five Have A Mystery To Solve)

Nov 14 2014 10:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

So, apparently it's still the offseason for Vancouver Whitecaps. That whole time travelling experiment didn't seem to work. Ah well, don't worry because "There's Still Time", the AFTN Soccer podcast, is back with another roundtable for your aural pleasure.

Episode 85 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 happenings in Whitecapsland.

Last episode was a look back at the season just past, but this week it's time to take a look to the future, as the Famous Five set out to solve some mysteries that would make Enid Blyton proud.

The Caps will be announcing what's happening with some of the squad pretty soon, so we take a look at which players we feel should stay and which ones need to be set free. Who earned their corn? Who costs too much money? And which players should Vancouver look to protect in the expansion draft?

Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson shares some thoughts on his plans for the upcoming drafts and the chances of Erick Torres landing in Vancouver. With trade talk getting underway throughout MLS, we ponder which players we'd love to see the Caps bring in, and ship out and who has a big part to play in a busy season next year that includes Champions League football for the first time. How will Vancouver fans react to that?

Everyone's / no-one's favourite quiz show "30 Seconds To Mars" returns to ask who should partner Laba, Koffie or Teibert? Which young player will break out for the Caps next season? And who should be inducted into the next Ring of Honour?

And there's still time to ask, "Do you remember your first time?".


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Musings Ahead of Another TFC Offseason

Nov 12 2014 09:19 PM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute

Let’s start here: I think trying to predict Greg Vanney's likelihood of achieving success as TFC’s manager is basically impossible. There is a lot of tea leaf reading going on as different parts of the TFC discussion space do their best to convince themselves (and others) that Greg Vanney is "the man". On the other hand, he's not really unlikely to be successful either. It's pretty close to tabula rasa at this point.

Read story →    4 comments    -----    tfc, 2015, greg vanney

MLS Week in Review – Playoffs: Conference Semifinals Second Legs

Nov 12 2014 02:43 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

And with that, the final four is set, as the chase for the 2014 MLS Cup moves on to the conference final stage where New England will face New York in the East and Seattle and Los Angeles tangle in the West.

The four matches that comprised the second legs of the conference semifinals took place over the weekend with a single match on Saturday, two on Sunday, and the fourth game played on Monday night in Seattle, resulting in three home wins and a single draw. Despite that home strength, no side was able to overcome first leg deficits and the first enactment of the so-called ‘away-goals rule’ came into play as Dallas and Seattle drew both matches.

Twelve goals were scored in a rather high-scoring round, an average of three-per-match – a five-goal outpouring in LA balanced the scoreless draw in Seattle. Ten yellow cards were shown – a modest amount, while four red cards reared their heads – three straight and one accumulative; two each in DC and New England, as the hard-fought East worked its way down to the final two contenders.

Before the results, the goals of the round:

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Canadian national team "definitely" still in Tesho Akindele's plans

Nov 11 2014 08:35 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Tesho Akindele caused quite the commotion last week when speculation was rife that the Calgary born FC Dallas striker was set to shun the Canadian national team in favour of a call-up from the US.

The speculation was given further credence when the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) announced their squad on Thursday for a week long camp in Florida and a friendly against Panama next Sunday.

Not only was Akindele's name missing from the 23 man roster, but the CSA went as far as to include the sentence "Of note, MLS FC Dallas Tesho Akindele declined an invitation to attend the camp," in their press release.

The online knives were soon out, two and two were put together to make five, and Akindele was being added to the growing list of Canadian footballers to call another national team their home.

But as is often the case with internet speculation, all is not quite as it first seemed, as AFTN discovered when we spoke with Akindele in Seattle on Monday evening.

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Keep, Trade or Release 2014: A Vancouver Whitecaps player analysis (Part Two - Midfielders and Forwards)

Nov 10 2014 05:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It still feels that Vancouver Whitecaps' 2014 MLS season finished too soon. But over it is.

A busy offseason for Carl Robinson will mean changes to the squad to make it stronger for next season. After the somewhat wholesale changes of the past season, the Whitecaps at least have a stronger and larger solid core to move forward with, but of course, with this being an expansion draft year, there are other things to be taken into consideration too.

With all that in mind, we continue AFTN's annual "Keep, Trade or Release" feature.

We got all of AFTN's writers for this season to take a look at the current Whitecaps squad and say whether they would keep them around for next season, trade them for more valuable assets or to fill positions of need, or just release them into the wild altogether. This year, we've also added in some report card grades.

The first part looked at the Caps' Goalkeepers and Defenders, and Part Two takes a look at the Midfielders and Forwards, and don't forget to leave your thoughts below....

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Keep, Trade or Release 2014: A Vancouver Whitecaps player analysis (Part One - Goalkeepers and Defenders)

Nov 09 2014 08:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

As the Major League Soccer Conference semi-finals get played to a conclusion this weekend, it still feels that Vancouver Whitecaps' 2014 MLS season finished too soon.

But over it is.

The Whitecaps held their final player testing of the season on Monday, with exit interviews for each player taking place over the last few days. What we can expect next is the announced release of certain players and the trade speculation will be in full force.

To make the squad stronger there needs to be changes and there will be. After the somewhat wholesale changes of the past season, the Whitecaps at least have a stronger and larger solid core to move forward with, but of course, with this being an expansion draft year, there are other things to be taken into consideration too.

With all that in mind, it's time for AFTN's annual "Keep, Trade or Release" feature.

We got all of AFTN's writers for this season to take a look at the current Whitecaps squad and say whether they would keep them around for next season, trade them for more valuable assets or to fill positions of need, or just release them into the wild altogether. This year, we've also added in some report card grades.

Part One will kick things off with a look at the goalkeepers and defenders, and don't forget to leave your thoughts below....

Read story →    7 comments    -----    vancouver whitecaps, mls and 3 more...

CSA responds to expedition denial

Nov 07 2014 11:47 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

CSA response unedited: Ontario Human Rights Tribunal decides turf claim doesn’t merit early hearing The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has refused to expedite the hearing of the claim about the use of turf in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™. The Trib...

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Turfgate case dealt near fatal blow with expedition denial

Nov 07 2014 11:20 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has denied a request to hear the Turfgate case early. The decision is a major set-back for those that are hoping to force the 2015 Women's World Cup to change from artificial turf to grass. Although the ruling ex...

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Episode 84 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (Five Go Adventuring Again)

Nov 07 2014 09:44 PM | Michael McColl in "There's Still Time" - The AFTN Soccer Podcast

Sadly it's now the offseason for Vancouver Whitecaps, but fear not, because "There's Still Time", the AFTN Soccer podcast, will still be with you through these cold, wet and dreary winter months.

Episode 84 is here your aural enjoyment and it's the first of a series of special end of season roundtables that we'll bring you over the next few weeks.

Your usual co-hosts Michael McColl and Steve Pandher are joined by AFTN writer Jay Duke, and Curva Collective's Zachary Meisenheimer and Steven Lamothe, to discuss the latest happenings in Whitecapsland.

We have to start with the playoff loss in Dallas, but we also take a look back at the season past. Is there any way you can't class it as a success for the Caps?

The Whitecaps players faced the media for the last time this week and had their exit interviews, and we bring you audio from Sebastian Fernandez and Darren Mattocks, as they discuss the season and what lies ahead for both of them.

The Caps season may be over but there's still a lot to play for in MLS. We discuss who we think will win the MLS Cup, who we want to win it and who we don't, and Caps' coach Carl Robinson chips in his thoughts too.

And there's still time to share what song we, and some of our listeners, feel sums up the Whitecaps season best, and our "popular" gameshow 30 Seconds To Mars makes it's return.

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2014 Ottawa Fury FC Players’ Notes

Nov 07 2014 03:57 PM | Canadian Soccer News in OttCityFootie

In the 2nd part of our season review on the 2014 Ottawa Fury FC season, Namu Yoon (@BBSC_SeoulBro), from Canadian Soccer News and the OFFC Review blog, and Blog Smith (@BlogFuryFC), from Metro News Ottawa, the Ours is the Fury podcast on RedNation Online and the Blog Fury FC website, weigh in on the season and comment on two aspects they liked about each player and one aspect about each player that they thought could be worked on for next season. We will focus our comments on those who played at least 5 competitive games for Ottawa and remained with the club as of the last NASL matchday.

You can weigh in on the comments section below, or harp at us on Twitter! We’d like to once again extend our thanks and congratulations to all the Ottawa Fury FC players, coaches and the on/off-field staff, and we hope they enjoy their well-deserved rest and vacations.

Read story →    1 comments    -----    Ottawa Fury FC, NASL

Timewasting: Top Ten Names For TFC's "It's A Bloody Big Deal 2" - The Sequel

Nov 07 2014 01:10 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

You know, we haven't done one of our "Top Ten Lists" for ages. It's been a staple of AFTN going back to our fanzine days in the early 90's. But after reading the news of Toronto FC's transfer targets of Steven Gerrard and Wesley Sneijder on 24th Minute, we just felt inspired.

Now, you would think after making a big splash with Defoe, Bradley and their "Blood Big Deal" marketing campaign, and then seeing all their hopes and expectations crash and burn in such spectacular fashion over the course of the season, that TFC and their fans would maybe want things to be a little bit more low key this offseason.

They might. But just in case they don't, AFTN is here with our usual helping hand for Toronto's marketing team, as we bring you the Top Ten Names For TFC's "It's A Bloody Big Deal 2" - The Sequel....

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TFC looking to make a Bloody Bigger Deal in 2015

Nov 06 2014 11:23 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Toronto FC has two big name DP targets in mind to replace Jermain Defoe and, possibly, Gilberto. And, if the reports are true the Bloody Big Deal will be turned up a notch. Multiple sources have confirmed that TFC brass intends to target Wesley Sneij...

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The 2014 Ottawa Fury FC Bloggers’ Awards

Nov 06 2014 07:27 PM | Canadian Soccer News in OttCityFootie

The inaugural NASL regular season has now wrapped up for Ottawa Fury FC, and there have been great and well-cherished moments throughout 2014. Namu Yoon (@BBSC_SeoulBro), from Canadian Soccer News and the OFFC Review blog, and Blog Smith (@BlogFuryFC), from Metro News Ottawa, the Ours is the Fury podcast on RedNation Online and the Blog Fury FC website, weigh in on the 2014 season and comment on who they feel deserve some of the end-of-the year awards that they have shamelessly taken from the excellent Waking the Red TFC SB Nation website (@WakingTheRed).

You can weigh in on the comments section below, or harp at us on Twitter! We’d like to extend our thanks and congratulations to all the Ottawa Fury FC players, coaches and the on/off-field staff, and commend the great fans and SGs that supported the club at Lansdowne, Carleton, and on the interwebz.

Read story →    1 comments    -----    Ottawa Fury FC, NASL

Eight years in a row...TFC season review, part IV: Player report card

Nov 06 2014 03:02 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

The 2014 Toronto FC player report card below the jump.

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MLS Week in Review – Playoffs: Knockout Rounds & Conference Semifinals First Legs

Nov 04 2014 06:45 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

Well, it’s finally here. After a long season, all the twists and turns, the hunt for the 2014 MLS Cup has begun, with the first two rounds having gotten underway over the past week.

The knockout round passed without a major twist – both fourth-placed sides moving past their fifth-placed guests by 2-1 score-lines, though controversy and the exit of the defending Champions ensured Wednesday and Thursday were not without drama.

Those one-off meetings gave way to the post-season proper, with all four conference semifinals getting underway on Saturday and Sunday.

Once more there were no major surprises – aside from a rather forceful road performance all but confirming New England through to the next round; the remaining three pairings have plenty to play for come the second legs.

Through six matches, this season’s playoffs have resulted in three home wins, two draws, and a single, lonely away victory, thus exhibiting how crucial home-field advantage, especially in a single-game, may be.

Sixteen goals have been scored, an average just shy of three-per-match – the six-goal goal-fest in Columbus balanced out by a score-less draw later that evening in Salt Lake – three of which have come from three attempts via the penalty spot.

All told eighteen yellow cards have been shown, as the referees managed – for the most part – to keep a lid on the emotions that come from such critical encounters. And just a single red, given to a very vociferous Sebastian Fernandez after the final whistle, as he attempted to convey his disappointment at losing in the direction the match official.

Before the results, the goals of the round:

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Ottawa Fury FC at Fort Lauderdale Strikers Match Review - Ottawa draw 1-1 away to close out a solid inaugural season

Nov 03 2014 10:17 PM | Canadian Soccer News in OttCityFootie

In the last matchday for the club in their inaugural 2014 NASL season, Ottawa Fury FC conceded a late goal to draw 1-1 away at Fort Lauderdale, finishing the season in 8th place in the combined standings and allowing the Strikers to snatch the last spot in the 4-team playoffs.

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AFTN’s Vancouver Whitecaps End Of Season Awards - 2014

Nov 02 2014 05:00 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

A heartbreaking end to Vancouver Whitecaps' season in Dallas on Wednesday night. No matter how much time passed before we ran our annual 'End of Season Awards' this year, it would still hurt.

But the 'Caps did themselves proud. Their second playoffs in three years, their first ever CONCACAF Champions League place clinched and back to back Cascadia Cups. Add in their highest ever points total in MLS and lowest ever number of losses, and it's been a pretty damn good year.

Still, it could have been better and you are left with a lot of "what ifs", especially around just what could have been achieved if they'd actually got a proper striker.

It's all over now though for another season, so it's time to look back at the best and the worst, the highs and the lows, and the joys and annoyances from the Caps' 2014 season.

Don't agree with some (or all) of our choices? Great! Let us know who would have got your votes in the comments below.

And catch up with our choices from previous years:

2011 awards / 2012 awards / 2013 awards

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After Costa Rica’s historic 2014, should we start talking about Concacaf's Big Three?

Oct 31 2014 04:45 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

Picture it, Costa Rica, the spring of 2014. A man drags his reluctant wife to an empty pub to watch the home nation face Italy in the U17 Women’s World Cup. Man tests his Spanish by engaging the the bartender in conversation. After several tortured minutes, a question arises: how big a deal is hosting a youth women's World Cup in this soccer-mad country? Realizing words were problematic, the barkeep raises his right above his head and says in measured Spanish: “In Costa Rica, the man is here.” He then placed his left hand a foot or so lower and adds, “the woman is here.”

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Eight years in a row...2014 TFC season review: Part III -- What went really wrong?

Oct 31 2014 10:45 AM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Pinpointing a single thing that most went wrong with a TFC season is usually a challenge. In 2014, so long as you're willing to be flexible in your interpretation of what a single incident is, it's a little easier.

In fact you can summarize it in two names.

Two names that in many ways defined all that was good and bad with TFC's season.

Many of you are probably guessing those names to be Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley. That's close, and I could probably write an essay defending that. However, that's not who it is.

The single biggest thing that went wrong with 2014 was...

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Report and Reaction: Controversial call ends Whitecaps season with 2-1 playoff loss in Dallas

Oct 30 2014 03:28 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and full postgame reaction as Vancouver Whitecaps' season was ended in heartbreaking and controversial fashion down in Dallas on Wednesday evening]


REPORT:

Vancouver Whitecaps' season came to a controversial end in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday night in a 2-1 playoff loss to FC Dallas.

An out of sorts Whitecaps went in at half time 1-0 down to a 40th minute Tesho Akindele strike, but Vancouver valiantly fought back in the second half and tied things up in the 64th minute through Erik Hurtado.

With the Caps in the ascendancy and looking like the only team that was going to go on and win the tie, the game turned with a disputed penalty call by referee Mark Geiger that led to Michel stroking home what was to prove to be the winning goal with just six minutes remaining.


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Eight years in a row...2014 TFC season review: Part II -- What went wrong

Oct 29 2014 07:42 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

The instinct with TFC is to just say "everything" and move on. However, as suggested yesterday that's not the most helpful approach. Rather, if we truly do care about TFC -- and if you no longer do no one could blame you -- you should aspire to find mo...

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Seattle playoff semi-final is mouthwatering motivation for Caps in Dallas

Oct 29 2014 07:12 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Apart from the obvious motivation of winning and advancing in the playoffs, there are a number of underlying added incentives for Vancouver Whitecaps as they prepare to face Dallas in their first round playoff knockout match this evening.

There's the fact that the Caps players don't want to undo all the hard work of the past five games in clinching a playoff place only to see it all end up done in one. There's also been much made by the players of keeping this group together for as long as possible because the team camaraderie is excellent and they know that the squad will soon be split up and many faces will move on.

This will be the Whitecaps second appearance in the playoffs in their four years in MLS. Last time they fell in LA at the first hurdle, so they've yet to host a home playoff match. That is an already stated big goal of the club and would show advancement.

And it's in that fact that perhaps gives Vancouver the biggest added incentive of all. If the Caps can beat Dallas, not only would they be hosting their first ever home MLS playoff match on Sunday evening, it would be a part of a mouthwatering two-legged Western Conference semi final against Cascadian rivals, and downright annoyances, Seattle Sounders.


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