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MLS Week in Review – Round 28

Sep 22 2014 05:25 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

Five weeks remain in the MLS season. Five weeks that will determine whether the previous 28 will be celebrated or were quested in vain.

This past round saw nine matches played with a single Friday night fixture followed by seven on Saturday and a solitary Sunday encounter in Toronto. With points this late in the season at a premium, no road team was able to take the win; there were two draws – in Philadelphia and Chicago, ensuring that the Eastern Conference remained the tighter of the two, with five points separating five teams fighting for three spots.

Thirty goals were scored throughout, including three from four penalty attempts and a single own-goal - off Colorado keeper, Joe Nasco. 24 bookings were flashed throughout, as well as a pair of red cards; though the officials did well to have a quiet week – compared to last – still a few decisions raised the ire of coaches, with Chicago again the epicentre of that disappointment.

Last weekend saw Seattle become the first team to clinch a playoff berth – Los Angeles would join them after their result; this round saw the first official elimination, as Montreal were mathematically ended by wins elsewhere, despite doing their part to stay alive.

From high-scoring rivalry matches to scrappy Eastern implications; a six-goal thriller to a much-needed win for a struggling side over another side struggling even worse than the first, this weekend had plenty of action of one’s viewing pleasure.

Before the results, the goals of the round:

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The Good, The Average & The Bad: Magoo Performance In Timberland Edition

Sep 22 2014 05:39 AM | Aaron Campbell in AFTN

If you made the trip down to Portland to watch this game, we both sympathise and empathise with you. No amount of Voodoo doughnuts, craft beer, food carts and shopping trips to Trader Joes can make it better. Did help a bit though!

Aaron Campbell takes his regular look at "The Good, The Average & The Bad" from the Whitecaps' 3-0 hammering by Portland Timbers. Amazingly, he found a good!


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TFC's Playoff Hopes Renewed After 3-0 Win Over Chivas

Sep 22 2014 02:13 AM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute

By Rose Rago Toronto FC ended a six game winless drought in dominate fashion against western conference basement dwellers Chivas USA on Sunday with a 3-0 victory at BMO Field. Despite the slide TFC were on headed into Sunday’s contest, the Reds were...

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Toronto FC vs. Chivas USA Match Preview - The Team Worse than TFC

Sep 21 2014 04:42 AM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute

People around the club, fans and otherwise, often muse about TFC folding or needing to completely rebrand to expunge the legacy of seven, maybe eight in the near future, years of failure. For the Chivas USA it’s actually happening. The latest rumor circulating is that the entire franchise will go on-hold next season as MLS celebrates its 20th season with 20 clubs (thanks to the additions of New York City FC and Orlando). The league is not willing to give up on the idea of a second club for the greater Los Angeles metro area but has not managed to finalize a deal that would allow new ownership the time necessary to re-launch successfully in 2015.

So, one way or another, the match at BMO Field between Toronto FC and the Baby Goats should be the final meeting of the two clubs ever. At least in their current guises.

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Report and Reaction: Portland pounce on Vancouver's slackness to turn Whitecaps playoff hopes to woodchip

Sep 21 2014 01:18 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and full post game reaction from both locker rooms after Portland Timbers' 3-0 thumping of Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday afternoon.]


REPORT:

Portland Timbers made it eight unanswered goals against the Vancouver Whitecaps with a clinical display in finishing at Providence Park on Saturday afternoon, putting them in pole position for the final playoff place in the Western Conference.

Vancouver started strongly, as they did back at BC Place last month, but a first half wonderstrike from Diego Valeri on Portland's first shot of the game gave the Timbers the lead at half time and although the Whitecaps tried to fight back, a second half brace from Fanendo Adi saw Portland triumph by the same 3-0 scoreline.

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Episode 80 - The AFTN Podcast - "There's Still Time" (That Was The Week That Was)

Sep 19 2014 08:31 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Episode 80 of "There's Still Time", the AFTN Soccer podcast, looks back at a very busy, and at times disappointing, week in Whitecapsland.

There was the good - the signing of tow homegrown players. The bad - the failure to convince New Westminster to be the home for the Caps' USL Pro team. And the ugly - Vancouver head to Portland this weekend to face Will Johnson and co.

We bring you all the chatter from training this week in another raw audio heavy episode.



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Ignored no more: The CSA's power play against MLS

Sep 19 2014 05:32 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

In a relationship it's often the smallest things that can prove to be a breaking point. You might feel ignored, taken for granted and unfulfilled for years but, for whatever reason, you won't take action. Then one day your partner walks into the door...

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After impressing against Dallas, Whitecap Christian Dean admits rookie season "has been a little difficult time but it's a learning process"

Sep 18 2014 12:30 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It undoubtedly felt like a long time coming for Christian Dean, but with Andy O'Brien rested, the 21-year-old finally made his first MLS start for Vancouver Whitecaps in Saturday’s 2-1 loss away to Dallas.

Dean was selected third overall by Vancouver in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and has had to bide his time for the opportunity to impress, with O'Brien, the now retired Jay DeMerit, new signing Kendall Waston, and internationals Johnny Leveron and Carlyle Mitchell all ahead of him in the centreback pecking order in Vancouver.

Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson has been consistent all season in saying that his young players will all get their opportunities and that when they do get them they need to make the most of them. That’s just what Dean did on Saturday, with a solid performance and one he was very pleased with.

"It felt great. Been waiting for a while," Dean told us at training on Tuesday. "The time finally came, I thought I took advantage of it and played really well. The team performed well and overall I just thought it was a good opportunity."

That MLS opportunity was meant to come sooner. Robinson spent time planning the season ahead and looking at managing the minutes of his young fringe players over the course of it. Dean's chance was meant to come at the end of July, but the best laid plans, and all that.



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Different coach; same old TFC

Sep 17 2014 06:38 PM | Duane Rollins in 24th Minute

Dan Calichman may be a good coach. He might even be a great coach. However, he's still a disturbing hire by Greg Vanney as an assistant coach. He's a hire that once again demonstrates TFC to be deaf to local concerns and prone to nepotism hires over...

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Copa Centroamericana 2014: Four things we learned

Sep 17 2014 05:04 PM | Grant in Some Canadian Guys

Canada played one friendly during the Sept. 1 to 9 Fifa window. That’s good. The Central American nations of Concacaf played a mini-tournament whose champion earned a spot in the 2016 Copa America. That’s better. Here’s what we learned in these embryonic stages of the 2018 World Cup qualifying cycle.

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"It's a dream come true but the work starts now" - Whitecaps Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese not resting on their laurels after signing MLS deals

Sep 17 2014 08:05 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Vancouver Whitecaps' two newest homegrown signings took part in their first training session as MLS players on Tuesday, but for Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese, that wasn't anything unusual.

The smiles may have been a bit bigger and then there was the media scrums after training finished, but the pair have been training with the first team regularly since preseason. They've been a part of Carl Robinson's MLS squad in all but official roster listing, and they've had no trouble fitting right in.

"All the older guys are very welcoming. They just treat us normal so it's easier to be a part of it," Froese told reporters.

Bustos and Froese, along with other Whitecaps Residency prospects Jackson Farmer, Jordan Haynes and Mitch Piraux were all out working hard at UBC, and it's part of the inclusive environment Robinson wants to have at the club for the young players coming through.

Having that eye on the future is something that Robinson has preached all season when he talks about possible new additions, and the signing of Bustos and Froese to MLS contracts now is down to that philosophy and already looking ahead to next year.

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Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Ottawa Fury FC Match Review - Ottawa Fury keeps playoff hopes alive as they grab a 0-2 win away at Tampa Bay

Sep 16 2014 07:49 PM | Canadian Soccer News in OttCityFootie

Ottawa pulled off a significant away victory in Tampa Bay on Saturday, winning 0-2 with a first-half header from winger Oliver and an insurance dagger in the dying minutes of the game from CM Sinisa Ubiparipovic. LB Ramon Soria provided a deep, inch-perfect cross from the left flank for the 1st goal, while ST Vini Dantas provided a sumptuous lifted ball from the centre circle for Ubiparipovic to seal the match with aplomb for the 2nd goal.
This win represented Ottawa’s 2nd away victory in a row, following their 1-2 win away at Indy three weeks ago, as well as the defense’s first shutout since the Fall Season opener away at Edmonton. The entire team played well defensively as a unit, but the team has to thank GK Romuald Peiser for an astounding performance to repel the high number of shots on target that he faced.

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Canadian Content MLS Round 27 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

Sep 16 2014 05:34 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.

It was a bumper round for Canadian participation in MLS this week, with thirteen players seeing the pitch – a few even had double-game weeks. The top three spots this round go to Dwayne De Rosario – for scoring a crucial goal, Russell Teibert – for his boundless energy, and Tesho Akindele – for picking up a game-winning assist.

Special mentions for a trio of Montreal homegrown players who took to the pitch in New England and some new signings as well.

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

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Whitecaps sign Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese to homegrown MLS contracts

Sep 15 2014 09:00 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Vancouver Whitecaps' MLS squad just got a whole lot younger, and more Canadian, today with the signing of Residency talents Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese to homegrown contracts. Bustos has signed a pre-contract and will officially join the MLS squad in January. Froese is added immediately and will be available for the remaining games this season.

The two 18-year-old Canadian youth internationals were born just six days apart and their footballing paths have often felt linked. Both now begin their pro careers at the same time.

The additions will take Vancouver's Canadian content to seven players, and homegrown contingent to eight, and is a fitting reward for the hard work put in from both players this past year.

Bustos and Froese were in action this past weekend as the Whitecaps Residency U18s kicked off their new United States Soccer Development Association (USSDA) season with a pair of home wins.

Froese played the full game in Saturday's 3-2 win over Seattle, contributing one assist, but it was Bustos who was the star of the show, playing the full 90 in both games and grabbing five goals, including a hat-trick against the Sounders.



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MLS Week in Review – Round 27

Sep 15 2014 07:58 PM | James Grossi in 24th Minute

There was something in the air this weekend around MLS. Whether a foul, cool breeze or a hot blast of controversy – depends on where the match took place – the action culminated in a contentious, hard-fought round, ending in more than a fair share of draws. When the dust finally settled, very little had changed in the standings, but few were left without the understanding that the remaining six weeks would be a scrap to the end.

Leaving aside the three midweek matches, nine games were played, resulting in a whopping five draws and a single away win. 31 goals were scored, including just three from five attempts at the spot and a lonely own-goal - off the face of Columbus’ Aaron Schoenfeld. The match officials were back in the spotlight, mired in more than enough controversy, as well as handing out 38 bookings – including nine in Sunday’s California Clasico – and a pair of red cards, one straight – to Salt Lake’s Nat Borchers – and one accumulative – to Montreal’s Krzysztof Krol.

Despite the lack of change on the table, one thing was settled this round, as the Seattle Sounders become the first – and only, thus far – club to clinch a playoff berth in pursuit of the 2014 MLS Cup.

From cracking strikes to incredible saves, missed calls and egregious ones, first goals and heavily-rotated lineups, this round had it all… but before the results, the goals of the round:

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Report and Reaction: Pesky Perez blasts Dallas past valiant Vancouver

Sep 14 2014 08:11 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

[Match report and post game reaction from both locker rooms following FC Dallas' 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps in Frisco, Texas.]


REPORT:

You don't expect the Whitecaps to go to Dallas and get anything. Four previous visits. No wins, no points and one solitary goal. Yet, with a weakened squad put out in Frisco on Saturday night, you are actually left disappointed that Vancouver left Texas empty handed.

A goal in each half from the Panamanian predator Blas Perez saw Dallas home, after Erik Hurtado found a pair of shooting boots from somewhere to bring Vancouver level midway through the second half.

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TFC Come Close to Three Points vs Fire but Settle for a Draw

Sep 14 2014 05:04 AM | Canadian Soccer News in 24th Minute

Gilberto 90' go ahead goal disallowed in 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire

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Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC Match Preview - Crisis, Again

Sep 13 2014 04:54 PM | Michael Crampton in 24th Minute

So, Toronto FC is back to being Toronto FC.

Those few months from the Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley signings until kickoff versus the New England Revolution in late August were, in retrospect, pretty fun.

Ahead of the Reds’ match in Chicago it’s worth noting that the last time Toronto visited their Great Lakes neighbour -- only a couple of months ago in reality; seemingly years apart mentally -- the perception was that TFC should be disappointed with anything less than a win. At that time the Fire were well back of Toronto in the standings and the Reds’ concern was catching DC and KC at the summit of the Eastern Conference. Now, with a win, the Fire would end the evening a mere point back of TFC.

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Whitecaps Residency back in action and looking at a promising future

Sep 13 2014 04:00 AM | Steve Pandher in AFTN

The new United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) season gets underway on Saturday with Vancouver Whitecaps' U18 and U16 sides looking to build upon two strong performances last year.

The Whitecaps Residency teams kick off their new campaign with two matches against Cascadian rivals Seattle Sounders at Terry Fox Field up at Simon Fraser University on Saturday (kicking off at 1pm), with San Juan Soccer Club coming to town on Sunday (10am kick off).

A number of players from last season have either graduated from the Residency program and/or moved on to pastures new, but with a key and talented core remaining and some exciting new additions, a lot is expected of both the U18s and U16s again this season, with a number of the players expected to move up to the Whitecaps MLS and USL Pro teams in the next few years.

Here's our preview of the season ahead....

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Whitecaps' Sam Adekugbe playing with confidence and out to impress

Sep 12 2014 08:00 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

It’s just over a year since Sam Adekugbe moved up from the Whitecaps Residency squad and signed a Homegrown contract in Major League Soccer.

Adekugbe made his debut, and first professional start, for the Caps’ in their last game of the 2013 season at home to Colorado, impressing many. Since then, he has taken his Whitecaps MLS appearances to four, including playing the full 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw at Toronto in July.

His two most recent appearances came in the last few weeks, subbing in against both Portland Timbers and last Saturday against DC United, increasing his MLS minutes to 226.

With Jordan Harvey adding that veteran presence in the backline and keen to play every minute that he can, the development opportunities have been few and far between for the now 19-year-old Adekugbe. It’s been a patience game and a learning game, but how has he seen his progression since making the move to the Whitecaps’ first team squad?


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Caps Countdown: Player rankings v San Jose Earthquakes

Sep 12 2014 07:00 PM | 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 had a game to forget in the Caps' 2-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes?

Aaron Campbell makes the selections this week. Do you agree?

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"If they’re good enough, they’re old enough", but are the Whitecaps strikers actually good enough for MLS?

Sep 12 2014 02:00 AM | Michael McColl in AFTN

The Whitecaps may have got back to winning ways, and scoring ways, against San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night, but the disappointing aspect was that neither of the goals came from open play and nor Vancouver’s strikers

The Caps attackers are still struggling to put the ball into the back of the net. It doesn’t seem to matter which striker plays up top, they all seem to suffer from the same flaw – they can’t consistently score, or at least not in Major League Soccer.

The phrase thrown around at the start of the season was "if they’re good enough, they’re old enough", which raises the question – are Erik Hurtado, Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks and Omar Salgado MLS quality strikers?

Their teammates were certainly rallying around them at training this week.

"Well they can score," was Andy O’Brien’s view of the quartet. "I think they've demonstrated it this season as to what they can do. I said in an interview we've seen an array of goals, left foot, right foot. I think Erik has got what I would describe as one of the best goals this season, his goal against Seattle, so it's there. They can do it, it's just a matter of it coming and hopefully it'll come sooner rather than later."

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The Good, The Average & The Bad: The 'Do they know the way home to San Jose?' edition

Sep 12 2014 01:00 AM | Aaron Campbell in AFTN

Blimey. They've only been and gone and done it guvnor. The Whitecaps won. And scored. And got back into the playoff places in the West. A triple whammy.

Aaron Campbell takes his regular look at "The Good, The Average & The Bad" from the Caps' 2-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes.

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Fury coverage update and game preview

Sep 11 2014 11:06 PM | Duane Rollins in OttCityFootie

Namu Yoon will be guiding Canadian Soccer News readers through the rest of Ottawa Fury FC’s inaugural season in the North American Soccer League. This is his first column. By Namu Yoon, The Ottawa Fury FC NASL franchise was born in 2011 out of a part...

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Vancouver Whitecaps v San Jose Earthquakes: The Story In Pictures

Sep 11 2014 06:45 PM | Michael McColl in AFTN

Whitecaps scored! Whitecaps scored! Twice!!

Like Chivas USA getting a full house or Toronto making the playoffs, it felt like a day that would never come. But it did, and sure, both goals had to come from set pieces, but there is no doubt that Wednesday's 2-0 win for the Whitecaps over the San Jose Earthquakes was very much needed and could have big implications on Vancouver playoff hopes once the season shakes out.

AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there capturing the game for us and here's a selection of his photos from before, during and after the Whitecaps win.

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