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Canadian Content MLS Round 32 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Oct 21 2014 04:54 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.

Nine Canadians took part in the second-to-last round of MLS play this past round, combining for four starts and five substitute appearances, seven of which came in the Upper-Lower Canada derby between Toronto and Montreal on Saturday – that game needs a proper title, the 401 derby is a little lame.

Top spot this round goes to Patrice Bernier, who returned to Montreal’s starting eleven with a sublime display in midfield, while Doneil Henry was immense at the back for Toronto; Jonathan Osorio and Russell Teibert were equally influential in the midfield for their sides as well.

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

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Best Case Scenario: What an ideal final week would look like for Vancouver Whitecaps

Oct 21 2014 08:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

This time next week, Vancouver Whitecaps' playoff fate will be known and we'll all either be packing our bags for an exciting road trip or wallowing in our own pit of despair.

Thankfully all of the pits have been shipped to the east coast of Canada, so I think we're going to be okay.

But as the 2014 MLS regular season enters into its final week, there are still a lot of different permutations that could play out, both favourably and horribly for the 'Caps. There's a lot of games to watch and lot to hope happens. As a result, our "Best Case Scenario" feature makes it's return, as we tell you just what we want to see play out in the next five days of footballing action in five specific matches.

And it all kicks off today in a non Major League Soccer match thousands of miles away.

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Plenty of familiar faces for CanWNT for Japan showdowns

Oct 21 2014 02:48 AM | Squizz in Some Canadian Guys

Amidst all the public hullabaloo surrounding the surfaces on which next year's Women's World Cup will be played, it's forgivable if anyone has temporarily forgotten that, oh yeah, we've got a team of flesh-and-blood players who are going to go out and represent us next summer.

And while their CONCACAF rivals ("rivals" used quite generously) are duking it out to see who'll make it to the big show, Canada has the luxury of preparing by playing two games on home turf ("turf" used quite deliberately) against Japan.

Well, that's if you can call playing one of the world's top teams, the reigning Women's World Cup champs, a "luxury".

But as John Herdman has repeatedly -- and correctly -- said, Canada's best hope of being ready for next year will come through testing themselves against the world's best as often as possible. We've already seen it twice this year, against the USA in Winnipeg and against Germany in Vancouver. Now, the Japanese in Edmonton and Vancouver over the next week.

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Ottawa Fury FC vs FC Edmonton Match Review - Ottawa lose 0-2 at home to red-hot Edmonton

Oct 20 2014 09:00 PM | Canadian Soccer News in OttCityFootie

In the latest matchup between the two Canadian rivals in the NASL, Ottawa Fury FC came out on the losing end, being defeated 0-2 at home by a red-hot FC Edmonton. With the win, FC Edmonton is very much alive in the race for the 4th and final playoff spot, having made a remarkable turnaround from an atrocious Spring Season, while Ottawa lost out on the opportunity to knock Edmonton out of the playoff race.

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

MLS Week in Review – Round 32

Oct 20 2014 05:54 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

The penultimate round of MLS play (had to get that word in at least once) took place over the past week, all but determining who would take place in the 2014 rendition of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Nine of the ten spots have been claimed with just Vancouver and Portland wrestling over the final place in the West; there is still plenty of possible movement as to which team finishes in which position or more pressingly, who can avoid the play-in round.

Nine matches were played this round, spanning from Thursday night to Sunday, resulting in two away wins and four draws; with points of the highest import, goals were once more at a premium. Just twenty were scored this round – thanks, in part, to a pair of scoreless draws in Portland and San Jose (the games were the outcome mattered most); both attempts from the penalty spot were converted.

35 yellow cards were shown; it was a tense round after all, as well as some five red cards – two straight and three accumulative, three of which were shown in a fierce Toronto-Montreal derby, though the harshness of the referee (Baldomero Toledo, of course) had a role in that turn of events.

Aside from the season winding down, it was a weekend of farewells: Dominic Kinnear in Houston, Landon Donovan in Los Angeles, the Earthquakes seeing off their time at Buck Shaw Stadium in the same manner in which they arrived, and perhaps, Doneil Henry, the best of the Toronto homegrown crop, playing his last match at home.

Before the results, the goals of the round:

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Report and Reaction: Whitecaps draw a blank in San Jose but get the vital point they needed

Oct 19 2014 04:31 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[UPDATED SUNDAY: Match report and full post game reaction from Vancouver Whitecaps 0-0 draw at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening]


You can never rely on Vancouver Whitecaps to do things the easy way, but with one game left of the MLS regular season, their destiny lies once again entirely in their own hands, after a pretty uneventful 0-0 draw at San Jose Earthquakes.

The Caps went into Saturday night’s game outside of the playoff places in the West after Portland’s draw with Real Salt Lake on Friday evening. Despite turning in a pretty uninspiring performance, Vancouver came away with the solitary point they needed to put themselves back above the red playoff line and set the scenario of a ‘win and you’re in’ final game showdown at home to Colorado next weekend.

Or they could already be in the postseason if Portland can’t take anything from their final game at Dallas.

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Whitecaps welcome back Johnny Leveron as they look to continue defensive dominance

Oct 18 2014 03:00 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It's becoming something of a regular occurrence. Another Saturday, another game the Whitecaps go into under pressure to get a result, after being knocked back down below the red playoff line once again.

Somehow Portland only drew with Real Salt Lake on Friday night. That RSL goal led a charmed life and Vancouver fans all over the land should be chipping in towards some gift baskets for keeper Nick Rimando.

The draw, and point, moved the Timbers back into the playoff places in the West, albeit hopefully temporarily. The Whitecaps now head in to the game against the Earthquakes tonight in the knowledge that if they also come away with a draw, they're back in pole position, but if they can get a win, then there's some huge pressure lifted off their shoulders for the final game of the season, where a single point, if even that, will suffice.

On paper, the San Jose game should be one of their easier matches of late. The Earthquakes are woefully out of form and trying to avoid a club record setting 14 match winless streak. The Caps are unbeaten in their last seven against the Quakes and are the form team in MSL right now with three straight wins and back to back clean sheets.

Kendall Waston has been a beast back there for Vancouver in recent games, but if the Whitecaps are going to continue their fine defensive play, they'll be doing it without the suspended Costa Rican. But fear not because they have a fine replacement waiting to come back in to try and claim his spot back in the starting eleven, Johnny Leveron.

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Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact Match Preview - Ball Don't Lie

Oct 18 2014 01:07 AM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute

“They’ve only gotta win their last two games, and have Columbus lose out. It’s not over yet.”

Fair statement? Unreasonable? No, I think the gut instinct of most fans is that it’s probably pretty accurate. I mean, teams win two straight games while other teams lose two straight games all the time, right? To be honest, I’d suggest that most TFC fans who wrote off the team’s chances after the Crew’s ridiculous comeback versus Philly are basing their opinion more on a subjective disbelief in TFC’s ability to ever win, rather than a sound understanding of the underlying probabilities.

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Andy O'Brien enjoying the Whitecaps' team chemistry and "special dressing room"

Oct 18 2014 01:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Andy O’Brien has been around the professional game for approaching 20 years. He’s seen the good times and the bad, success and failure, and been at clubs with dressing room harmony and dressing room issues. So when he tells you that the current Vancouver Whitecaps locker room is "special", you know it is, and that is a factor being attributed to the Caps excellent run of form down the stretch.

All season long Carl Robinson has talked about bringing players to the club with the right character, as well as talent. He wants team players that will be good for the dressing room. It looks like he's got it, and in abundance.

The players all seem to feel that too, but they are also aware that the current group will be broken up in just a few weeks time, as trades go down, players are brought in and others move on to pastures new.

A team meeting was held after the Portland loss a few weeks back to see what the Caps needed to do to get their season back on track. Things were said, cards were laid on the table and it's worked. The end result has been three straight wins, with the players all keen not to waste the chemistry and the team spirit that they've built up.

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Canadian Content MLS Round 31 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Oct 17 2014 10:01 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.

A slow week for Canadian nationals in MLS, as several potential starters were away with the national team to face Colombia on Tuesday. Only six starts were earned, despite Toronto FC having two matches – accounting for four of those starts, but a further five saw time from the bench.

The top three spots go to a trio of young midfielders with Jonathan Osorio, Russell Teibert, and Kyle Bekker all doing well; only Teibert was successful – in club terms - this round.

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

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Is Portland playing before Vancouver the next two weeks a benefit or added pressure for the Whitecaps?

Oct 17 2014 01:56 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Depending on how Portland get on in their Friday night showdown at home to Real Salt Lake, come 7.30pm on Saturday night, the Whitecaps will be facing one of three options.

The nice part of it is that in all three options, the ‘Caps postseason fate lies entirely in their own hands, and that’s all you can really ask for after a long, hard season.

In fact, Vancouver have the luxury both this week and next week of heading into their matches after Portland have played and knowing exactly what they need to avoid happening and make happen. A benefit or added pressure?

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MLS Week in Review – Round 31

Oct 16 2014 06:56 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

The 31st round of MLS play took place over the past weekend, answering many of the lingering questions with the playoffs just two weeks away. When the dust had settled, all but two post-season spots were determined; of them only one is truly a contest, as a single point from Columbus will see them lock up their spot in the East.

Leaving aside the two midweek matches, nine games were played over the weekend with a pair on Friday, five on Saturday, and two more on Sunday, resulting in three away wins and a single draw.

28 goals were scored – just one of two attempts from the spot – and 27 yellow cards were shown; there were also two red cards, to Toronto’s Nick Hagglund and Dallas’ Moises Hernandez, though whether either was warranted is a matter for debate.

From the Cascadia Cup decider, Marco Di Vaio displaying glimpses of the past with retirement beckoning, a late collapse in Philadelphia, desperation and pessimism in New York, short-handed stepping up, Chivas going out on a high note, Dominic Kinnear signing out in Houston, and a statement of intent in Dallas, this weekend had plenty of action to tickle the fancy.

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The constant need for reflection.

Oct 16 2014 04:23 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

It was two years ago today.

Read story →    7 comments    -----

Colombian media showers mild praise on a 'sturdy' Canadian side that didn't play a lot of actual soccer

Oct 16 2014 03:00 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

Canada played Colombia to a competitive 1-0 loss on Tuesday night in New York. Those are not words many people expected to be reading in the aftermath of a game national team followers expected to be a whitewash.

Instead we enjoyed an objectively decent result!

The Canadian soccer blogosphere and various media have already weighed in. The consensus is progress. But outside perspective is often healthy. Like really outside perspective. Perspective from those who love soccer and know soccer but have likely never expended even a nanosecond of thought on the Canadian men's team.

Read story →    6 comments    -----    #CanMNT, Canada, Colombia, media

With Champions League goal in sight, importance to future Whitecaps squad strength is huge

Oct 16 2014 05:10 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Two games to go and so much for Vancouver Whitecaps to play for.

With two of this season's goals so close you can almost taste it, it's all in the Whitecaps hands now. They could clinch both this weekend, or the could still ultimately implode and let both slip through their fingers. But surely that's unthinkable?!

The tense playoff situation has been well covered. We all know what the Caps need to do and the players most certainly do. There's still some twists and turns ahead, of that I'm sure, so let's leave that aside for now.

The other goal is likely already achieved.

After Toronto's nightmare week, the Caps need one solitary point to officially clinch their first ever spot in the CONCACAF Champions League with an unassailable lead in the standings. Who needs to actually win a Voyageurs Cup?!

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Turfgate: All in the numbers

Oct 15 2014 07:25 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

What's in a number? In the Turfgate case, quite a bit. In fact, lawyers representing the CSA suggest that the number of women attached to the complaint filed to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is central to determining the legitimacy of the compl...

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Episode 82 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (One Down, Two To Go)

Oct 15 2014 03:06 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Episode 82 of "There's Still Time", the AFTN Soccer podcast, is a post Thanksgiving show and there's a lot to give thanks for in Whitecapsland.

Now that they've lifted another Cascadia Cup, it's one goal down, two to go for Vancouver Whitecaps.

After a dramatic and critically important win over Seattle Sounders on Friday, the Whitecaps could find themselves just 90 minutes away from both a MLS playoff place and a spot in next year's CONCACAF Champions League when they face San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night. Or they may have to wait another week and even face playing catch up.

We look back at the big talking points from the Sounders game, the players that stood out and those that didn't, and what shape the Whitecaps are looking in, in the battle for the postseason.

Moving on to this week's training, we hear the thoughts of head coach Carl Robinson, goalkeeper David Ousted and centreback Andy O'Brien about Seattle, San Jose and the playoff race.

Kekuta Manneh talks about his love for scoring against Seattle, the works he needs to do on his game and his international future, whilst new homegrown signing Kianz Froese chats about his MLS debut.

And there's still time to look ahead to the San Jose game at the weekend. What Earthquakes team will turn up and will the pressure get to the Whitecaps?

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Kekuta Manneh wants to win trophies and become a better player in Vancouver but international future remains unclear

Oct 15 2014 12:39 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It seems to be an annual occurrence. Kekuta Manneh goes down to Seattle, puts in a headline grabbing performance for Vancouver Whitecaps as they beat their Cascadian rivals, then some American fans and sections of the American media get all excited about the talent of the young striker and drool over him playing for the US one day.

Forget the fact that the Gambian doesn't actually hold an American passport yet, has been positively hot and cold this season and still has a lot to learn about the game to become anything like a consistent player.

Still, it's a discussion that keeps being had, so what exactly are Manneh's future international plans and could Canada maybe even be a part of the equation?

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Inter-Provincial Cup sets stage for open Voyageurs Cup in 2017

Oct 14 2014 06:40 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

The first step to eventually opening the Voyageurs Cup up to teams below the fully professional was made today. The country's two semi-pro leagues, the Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec (PLSQ) and League1 Ontario, have agreed to play a inter-provinci...

Read story →    5 comments    -----    Voyageurs Cup, League1, PLSQ, IPC

Kianz Froese reflects on "dreamy" first month in MLS and what lies ahead

Oct 14 2014 02:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

The last few weeks must seem like a blur for Kianz Froese. Friday night's game against Seattle certainly is.

The Whitecaps Residency star inked his first pro contract on September 15th. Since then, he has helped the 'Caps Residency U18s to three wins and a number one ranking in the USSDA, scoring three goals along the way, and regularly impressed at training, knocking on the door of the MLS gameday squad.

That's the kind of month you expect from a new homegrown signing. What you probably don't expect in your first few weeks as a pro is making your MLS debut in front of a hostile 55,765 crowd at the home of one of your club's most fiercest rivals.

But that's just the situation Froese found himself in on Friday night, when he came on as a half-time sub for an injured Kekuta Manneh in Seattle and played an impressive and a fearless 45 minutes as the club lifted their second straight Cascadia Cup and put themselves back above the red playoff line.

Does Froese have to pinch himself to make sure that the last few weeks haven't just been all a dream?

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In The Cold Light Of Day: A lot to give thanks for in Vancouver and some of it is thanks to Toronto

Oct 13 2014 10:00 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Once again it's that time of year where Canadians the land over are giving thanks. For Vancouver Whitecaps supporters that usually means simply giving thanks for not being fans of Toronto FC (never change TFC, never change, you truly are the comedy gift that keeps giving).

After an offseason of turmoil in Vancouver, it's been an incredible season really if you look at where we were, heading into preseason camp.

There's been a lot to give thanks for and it's not over yet. This time next week, the Whitecaps may have clinched both a MLS playoff spot and a place in the 2015/16 CONCACAF Champions League, coming on the back of winning their second straight Cascadia Cup on Friday night.

A treble of sorts and all of this without an actual striker that can consistently put the ball in the back of the net! Not bad going. Just wait till next year with Robbo's planned additions.

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You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em

Oct 12 2014 03:00 PM | Squizz in Some Canadian Guys

There comes a time in nearly every adult sports fan's life when they decide -- or realize -- that enough's enough.

There isn't always one conclusive moment that clinches it, though sometimes there is. More often that not, things just change over time. People grow up. Maybe they get married, maybe they have kids and a mortgage, maybe they move or get a new job with new responsibilities, maybe money becomes tighter.

Or perhaps, there comes a time when the constant heartbreak of supporting a particularly woebegone team becomes too much, and a person simply can't afford the emotional and financial investment, no matter how much passion they may have once been able to summon for it.

This post, as you may have already guessed, is about Toronto FC.

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The Good, The Average & The Bad: Flounder Like A Sounder Edition

Oct 12 2014 08:26 AM | Aaron Campbell in AFTN

When the going gets tough, the Whitecaps get going. Three wins on the bounce and back to back clean sheets. The Caps could be one game away from both a playoff spot and a Champions League place. Still a lot of work to do, but happy days in Whitecapsland.

Aaron Campbell gives us his regular "The Good, The Average and The Bad" from the Whitecaps' important 1-0 win over the Sounders on Friday night.

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New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC Match Preview - Defining TFC

Oct 11 2014 05:41 PM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute

If you’re brave enough to watch tonight’s TFC game you must know you’re one of the hopeless souls stuck with this team. Really, truly stuck.

The rest of the world has an international break to occupy their attention and fill their footy needs for the weekend. The rest of our country can enjoy the first Saturday night of a new NHL season. Apparently that’s a big thing.

But a bunch of us diehards will insist on sticking it out and most likely spend Saturday night laughing, crying, or trying to come up with the cleverest way to feign ironic indifference on Twitter. I’ll say this for Toronto FC: they’re really good at providing fodder. If you take a functionalist approach, it’s probably fair to say the misery they inflict must be what we’re actually looking for: it’s misery, but at least it’s communal.

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Report and Reaction: Double the delight in Seattle as Manneh Magic does it again

Oct 11 2014 05:07 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and postgame reaction from both locker rooms after Vancouver Whitecaps' important and Cascadia Cup clinching 1-0 over Seattle Sounders on Friday night}


There's clearly something about Seattle that brings out the best in Kekuta Manneh.

Almost a year to the day after his hat-trick heroics in the Whitecaps' 4-1 demolition of the Sounders, Manneh stole the headlines again with the only goal of the game in the 45th minute to give Vancouver three vital points and retain the Cascadia Cup.

It was a stunning result and a MASSIVE win.

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