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Found 282 results

  1. Look at the photo above. That’s Estadio Merkatondoa, home of Club Deportivo Izarra of the Segunda División B. That’s the third tier of Spanish football. Located in the Basque region of Spain you can never accuse it of not being beautiful. It’s incredibly charming, actually. I’d love to play in that stadium. It would be appropriate for me to play in that stadium, as there are only 3,500 seats. It’s in every way a small, community-like stadium, like you find everywhere. In this particular case it also plays host to a third tier professional team. The third tier professional team that Samuel Piette most recently played for. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, of course. The third tier of Spanish professional soccer is about 60 times better than the level than likely everyone reading this played at. Well, unless someone from the Montreal Impact is reading. The Impact, of course, represent Piette’s new team, having inked him to a deal earlier this week. It was the worst kept secret in MLS for a couple days as Piette’s 6,000 relatives in the Montreal area were telling anyone that wanted to listen. Montreal fans badly wanted this signing to happen. The link started just after Piette played for the national team in Montreal in early June and intensified as the summer grew as long as the Impact playoff hopes. Let’s take a step back for a moment. What I’m about to write in no way should be interpreted as me wishing Piette failure. Nor, is it meant to suggest that I don’t think Piette has talent. I, like many, am impressed with the player’s improvement over the last year or so and think a move to MLS is very good for his career. However, I do have concerns. As suggested off the top, Piette was not playing at MLS level before the move. The third tier of Spanish soccer is, despite the screaming of MLS haters, not at the same level of the Montreal Impact. Thus, why I’m happy for Piette. He’s making a move up. Awesome for him and awesome for the Canadian national team. But…this is not a normal signing in that if Piette wasn’t a Montreal native it would have either flown under the radar or actually been criticised. If I was being cynical, I’d suggest that the Impact are caving to fan pressure to sign the local kid to distract from what is turning out to be a terrible season. Kind of like when TFC signed Julian de Guzman all those years ago. Now, JDG was playing at a higher level than MLS at the time, so it’s not a perfect comparison, but the element of local kid comes home to play for struggling team is the same. As is the fact that Piette isn’t a goal scorer. Many, many Impact fans are sophisticated enough to appreciate the subtleness of a destroyer’s game – comparing him to Donadel, as the Impact have, will help that. But, fans will always fan and some are going to want offensive production from a signing that got as much attention as Piette did. It’s worth a reminder that Piette is just 22. He’s improved, but he’s still going to need to earn his time at MLS. Hopefully, the Impact made this signing with his best interests in mind and they have a plan to bring him up to speed. Even more hopefully, he is already ready to make an immediate (sorry) impact for the Impact.
  2. Look at the photo above. That’s Estadio Merkatondoa, home of Club Deportivo Izarra of the Segunda División B. That’s the third tier of Spanish football. Located in the Basque region of Spain you can never accuse it of not being beautiful. It’s incredibly charming, actually. I’d love to play in that stadium. It would be appropriate for me to play in that stadium, as there are only 3,500 seats. It’s in every way a small, community-like stadium, like you find everywhere. In this particular case it also plays host to a third tier professional team. The third tier professional team that Samuel Piette most recently played for. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, of course. The third tier of Spanish professional soccer is about 60 times better than the level than likely everyone reading this played at. Well, unless someone from the Montreal Impact is reading. The Impact, of course, represent Piette’s new team, having inked him to a deal earlier this week. It was the worst kept secret in MLS for a couple days as Piette’s 6,000 relatives in the Montreal area were telling anyone that wanted to listen. Montreal fans badly wanted this signing to happen. The link started just after Piette played for the national team in Montreal in early June and intensified as the summer grew as long as the Impact playoff hopes. Let’s take a step back for a moment. What I’m about to write in no way should be interpreted as me wishing Piette failure. Nor, is it meant to suggest that I don’t think Piette has talent. I, like many, am impressed with the player’s improvement over the last year or so and think a move to MLS is very good for his career. However, I do have concerns. As suggested off the top, Piette was not playing at MLS level before the move. The third tier of Spanish soccer is, despite the screaming of MLS haters, not at the same level of the Montreal Impact. Thus, why I’m happy for Piette. He’s making a move up. Awesome for him and awesome for the Canadian national team. But…this is not a normal signing in that if Piette wasn’t a Montreal native it would have either flown under the radar or actually been criticised. If I was being cynical, I’d suggest that the Impact are caving to fan pressure to sign the local kid to distract from what is turning out to be a terrible season. Kind of like when TFC signed Julian de Guzman all those years ago. Now, JDG was playing at a higher level than MLS at the time, so it’s not a perfect comparison, but the element of local kid comes home to play for struggling team is the same. As is the fact that Piette isn’t a goal scorer. Many, many Impact fans are sophisticated enough to appreciate the subtleness of a destroyer’s game – comparing him to Donadel, as the Impact have, will help that. But, fans will always fan and some are going to want offensive production from a signing that got as much attention as Piette did. It’s worth a reminder that Piette is just 22. He’s improved, but he’s still going to need to earn his time at MLS. Hopefully, the Impact made this signing with his best interests in mind and they have a plan to bring him up to speed. Even more hopefully, he is already ready to make an immediate (sorry) impact for the Impact. View full record
  3. Stephen Appiah was 14 years and 322 days old when he made his senior debut for Ghana. He is the 8th youngest player to play a full international and the youngest to have played for a country that has qualified for a senior World Cup. Although Appiah was never really a global superstar, his was a career that nearly any player would have been proud of. He had 67 senior caps for Ghana, scoring 14 goals. He won a FIFA u17 World Cup, was an Olympian and played in several AFCON tournaments. On the club side, he managed to find the field for one of the biggest clubs in the world, Juventus, where he made 10 Champions League appearances. I can’t say that I remember what kind of hype Appiah had back on Nov 11, 1995 when he made his debut, but I suspect there was a lot of excitement about him. You don’t play a kid who isn’t even 15 yet unless you think he has immense talent and potential. However, I know this: If that debut had taken place even 10 years later we all would remember the hype. In November ’95 only geeks and the truly obsessive were using the Internet beyond checking their email and patiently waiting three hours for the pixels to reveal what that photo was going to show. In 2005, everyone was on the Internet and we had started to move into the hype first, substance last world that we currently live in. I do remember talking about the soccer poster boy for lost potential, Freddy Adu, in 2005. Let’s not pile on Freddy’s soccer grave here, but we can all agree that the hype of the mid 2000s never really panned out for him. In fact, Adu’s biggest contribution to modern North American soccer has been to become a lesson to point to when hyping up young players. “Pump the breaks, we don’t want to see ____ become another Freddy Adu,” is something you consistently hear whenever a young player breaks through. It’s something we’ve heard in relation to the 2017 Gold Cup Golden Boot and Young Player of the tournament winner, Alphonso Davies. At just 16, he continues to be protected at every turn by both the Whitecaps and the CSA. The shadow of Adu looms large, despite the fact that Adu wasn’t a product of this country, nor of the MLS academy era. There’s some good in that. You do want to manage a young player to a certain extent. At the Gold Cup, Davies’ play did fade as the tournament wore on. The quarterfinal was probably his least effective game. But, here’s the thing. For every Adu there’s an Appiah. There is no direct correlation between debuting young and failing. There’s not even a direct connection between hype and failing. So, we need to treat Davies like his own man (boy?) and let his story tell itself. As fans, we can also allow ourselves to be excited by not just Davies but by all the young players that are stepping up for Canada on both the men’s and women’s teams. Jordyn Huitema, Raheem Edwards, Deanna Rose and Davies are the future and the future, for once, looks pretty good. Be excited. Celebrate their accomplishments thus far and dream of a future with even more glory. Davies story isn’t just one that’s being noticed in Canada. You don’t win a Golden Boot at a Confederation Championship event without ears perking up around the football world. When he becomes eligible to be transferred the names that are going to be attached to him are going to make long-term Canadian fans dizzy. That’s in the near future. But, in the meantime Vancouver and Canadian fans should enjoy the remaining time we have with this kid and stop worrying about whether we’re putting too much pressure on him. Talent finds its way. In short, pump the breaks less and spread the wings more.
  4. Stephen Appiah was 14 years and 322 days old when he made his senior debut for Ghana. He is the 8th youngest player to play a full international and the youngest to have played for a country that has qualified for a senior World Cup. Although Appiah was never really a global superstar, his was a career that nearly any player would have been proud of. He had 67 senior caps for Ghana, scoring 14 goals. He won a FIFA u17 World Cup, was an Olympian and played in several AFCON tournaments. On the club side, he managed to find the field for one of the biggest clubs in the world, Juventus, where he made 10 Champions League appearances. I can’t say that I remember what kind of hype Appiah had back on Nov 11, 1995 when he made his debut, but I suspect there was a lot of excitement about him. You don’t play a kid who isn’t even 15 yet unless you think he has immense talent and potential. However, I know this: If that debut had taken place even 10 years later we all would remember the hype. In November ’95 only geeks and the truly obsessive were using the Internet beyond checking their email and patiently waiting three hours for the pixels to reveal what that photo was going to show. In 2005, everyone was on the Internet and we had started to move into the hype first, substance last world that we currently live in. I do remember talking about the soccer poster boy for lost potential, Freddy Adu, in 2005. Let’s not pile on Freddy’s soccer grave here, but we can all agree that the hype of the mid 2000s never really panned out for him. In fact, Adu’s biggest contribution to modern North American soccer has been to become a lesson to point to when hyping up young players. “Pump the breaks, we don’t want to see ____ become another Freddy Adu,” is something you consistently hear whenever a young player breaks through. It’s something we’ve heard in relation to the 2017 Gold Cup Golden Boot and Young Player of the tournament winner, Alphonso Davies. At just 16, he continues to be protected at every turn by both the Whitecaps and the CSA. The shadow of Adu looms large, despite the fact that Adu wasn’t a product of this country, nor of the MLS academy era. There’s some good in that. You do want to manage a young player to a certain extent. At the Gold Cup, Davies’ play did fade as the tournament wore on. The quarterfinal was probably his least effective game. But, here’s the thing. For every Adu there’s an Appiah. There is no direct correlation between debuting young and failing. There’s not even a direct connection between hype and failing. So, we need to treat Davies like his own man (boy?) and let his story tell itself. As fans, we can also allow ourselves to be excited by not just Davies but by all the young players that are stepping up for Canada on both the men’s and women’s teams. Jordyn Huitema, Raheem Edwards, Deanna Rose and Davies are the future and the future, for once, looks pretty good. Be excited. Celebrate their accomplishments thus far and dream of a future with even more glory. Davies story isn’t just one that’s being noticed in Canada. You don’t win a Golden Boot at a Confederation Championship event without ears perking up around the football world. When he becomes eligible to be transferred the names that are going to be attached to him are going to make long-term Canadian fans dizzy. That’s in the near future. But, in the meantime Vancouver and Canadian fans should enjoy the remaining time we have with this kid and stop worrying about whether we’re putting too much pressure on him. Talent finds its way. In short, pump the breaks less and spread the wings more. View full record
  5. Back in the glory days of the 24thMinute.com (no one blogs anymore. It’s kind of sad, he says ironically) I used to publish a monthly projection of the MLS standings that was designed to take into consideration the massive swing in fortune between teams playing at home and on the road. Many TFC fans got irrationally angry at such a suggestion because, at the time, they had seen no evidence of teams excelling at home. Man, weren’t those early days fun! However, the simply projections proved to be remarkably accurate throughout the years that I published them. After a Twitter exchange with Kurt Larson and Doug Roberson of AJC.com earlier this week I was compelled to revisit my old tracking system. The impetus to the discussion and my curiosity was the fact that Atlanta has an absurd six game home stand in September. As with TFC’s absurd road trips to start 2015 and 2016 the reason for the long stretch at home is stadium related. The Falcons are building the latest shrine to the NFL (No, Tom Brady has not been invited to the grand opening) and Atlanta United is sharing in the spoils. By all accounts it’s going to be one hell of a stadium. It must be because it’s not exactly one of those Soccer Specific Stadiums Don Garber talks about when it fits his agenda. At any rate, Larson felt that this long home stand, combined with a current solid run of form, meant that Atlanta was in the Supporters Shield race. Roberson, who covers the team for AJC.com, agreed, with the caveat that Atlanta was a difficult team to project in 2017. I, the contrarian I tend to be, disagreed and I threw a whole bunch of those fancy stats at them to back up my opinion. Specifically they have the worst PDO in MLS, were 12th in xGoals, 19th in xGoals against and 12th in TSR. For those who read the above paragraph as Greek – the PDO number means they are, statistically speaking, the luckiest team in the league, score way more goals than their possession and shot placement would suggest, let in fewer goals than the same against them would suggest and they typically give up more shots than they get themselves (which has proven to be a very effective measure of success in global football, albeit less so in MLS). Now, part of the reason Atlanta’s numbers are lower might be because they’ve played more road games than home games (12 to 8), but it’s still dangerous to ignore them completely. There’s little to no guarantee that a home heavy schedule will automatically mean that you can just automatically say 6 x 3 = 18 GO! Just ask 2015 TFC about that… But, anyway. I decided to break it down into the simplest projection I could think of to try and factor in the home schedule of Atlanta’s to see how much of a penitential threat the upstarts are to TFC’s Shield run. Before I present the table please remember that I fully understand that a projection based on past performance in no way guarantees that the same form will continue. It simply means that IF teams continue to play the way that they have this season thus far we can reasonably project that they will finish with X amount of points. This isn’t a complicated formula (H pts / H GP x 17) + (R pts / R GP x17) = Projected final points. Here are the results: East 1. Toronto FC 66 2. Chicago 62 3. NYCFC 59 4. Atlanta 59 5. NYRB 54 6. Columbus 49 7. Orlando 45 8. Montreal 44 9. Philly 39 10. New England 39 11. DCU 30 West 1. Dallas 61 2. SKC 54 3. Houston 53 4. Seattle 50 5. Vancouver 48 6. Portland 46 7. San Jose 43 8. RSL 38 9. Galaxy 37 10. Colorado 31 11. Minnesota 27 Plan. The. Parade. Ok, maybe not, but the projection backs up the eyeball test that TFC remains the clear favourite to capture the Shield and it also suggests, as most eyeball tests have also suggested, that Dallas is the class of the West. Another thing that it suggests is that if you’re under the red line in July, it’s going to be a fight to pull above it by October. It’s happened, but far, far less likely than the hype-masters at league headquarters would have you believe. The standings at the 2/3 point are usually pretty close to how things will shake out at the end. In terms of Atlanta, it does show a very healthy return on points, but ultimately they are probably too far back already in MLS, where 6 points might as well be 20. Of course it all resets to 0 once the final 12 are decided. As for TFC…maybe don’t plan the parade, but start sketching out the Shield winning tifo design. Quietly. You wouldn’t want to jinx it, after all.
  6. Back in the glory days of the 24thMinute.com (no one blogs anymore. It’s kind of sad, he says ironically) I used to publish a monthly projection of the MLS standings that was designed to take into consideration the massive swing in fortune between teams playing at home and on the road. Many TFC fans got irrationally angry at such a suggestion because, at the time, they had seen no evidence of teams excelling at home. Man, weren’t those early days fun! However, the simply projections proved to be remarkably accurate throughout the years that I published them. After a Twitter exchange with Kurt Larson and Doug Roberson of AJC.com earlier this week I was compelled to revisit my old tracking system. The impetus to the discussion and my curiosity was the fact that Atlanta has an absurd six game home stand in September. As with TFC’s absurd road trips to start 2015 and 2016 the reason for the long stretch at home is stadium related. The Falcons are building the latest shrine to the NFL (No, Tom Brady has not been invited to the grand opening) and Atlanta United is sharing in the spoils. By all accounts it’s going to be one hell of a stadium. It must be because it’s not exactly one of those Soccer Specific Stadiums Don Garber talks about when it fits his agenda. At any rate, Larson felt that this long home stand, combined with a current solid run of form, meant that Atlanta was in the Supporters Shield race. Roberson, who covers the team for AJC.com, agreed, with the caveat that Atlanta was a difficult team to project in 2017. I, the contrarian I tend to be, disagreed and I threw a whole bunch of those fancy stats at them to back up my opinion. Specifically they have the worst PDO in MLS, were 12th in xGoals, 19th in xGoals against and 12th in TSR. For those who read the above paragraph as Greek – the PDO number means they are, statistically speaking, the luckiest team in the league, score way more goals than their possession and shot placement would suggest, let in fewer goals than the same against them would suggest and they typically give up more shots than they get themselves (which has proven to be a very effective measure of success in global football, albeit less so in MLS). Now, part of the reason Atlanta’s numbers are lower might be because they’ve played more road games than home games (12 to 8), but it’s still dangerous to ignore them completely. There’s little to no guarantee that a home heavy schedule will automatically mean that you can just automatically say 6 x 3 = 18 GO! Just ask 2015 TFC about that… But, anyway. I decided to break it down into the simplest projection I could think of to try and factor in the home schedule of Atlanta’s to see how much of a penitential threat the upstarts are to TFC’s Shield run. Before I present the table please remember that I fully understand that a projection based on past performance in no way guarantees that the same form will continue. It simply means that IF teams continue to play the way that they have this season thus far we can reasonably project that they will finish with X amount of points. This isn’t a complicated formula (H pts / H GP x 17) + (R pts / R GP x17) = Projected final points. Here are the results: East 1. Toronto FC 66 2. Chicago 62 3. NYCFC 59 4. Atlanta 59 5. NYRB 54 6. Columbus 49 7. Orlando 45 8. Montreal 44 9. Philly 39 10. New England 39 11. DCU 30 West 1. Dallas 61 2. SKC 54 3. Houston 53 4. Seattle 50 5. Vancouver 48 6. Portland 46 7. San Jose 43 8. RSL 38 9. Galaxy 37 10. Colorado 31 11. Minnesota 27 Plan. The. Parade. Ok, maybe not, but the projection backs up the eyeball test that TFC remains the clear favourite to capture the Shield and it also suggests, as most eyeball tests have also suggested, that Dallas is the class of the West. Another thing that it suggests is that if you’re under the red line in July, it’s going to be a fight to pull above it by October. It’s happened, but far, far less likely than the hype-masters at league headquarters would have you believe. The standings at the 2/3 point are usually pretty close to how things will shake out at the end. In terms of Atlanta, it does show a very healthy return on points, but ultimately they are probably too far back already in MLS, where 6 points might as well be 20. Of course it all resets to 0 once the final 12 are decided. As for TFC…maybe don’t plan the parade, but start sketching out the Shield winning tifo design. Quietly. You wouldn’t want to jinx it, after all. View full record
  7. Let’s not be subtle here. If the allegations are true – and it’s a little hard to come up with a scenario where they aren’t – then Cyle Larin was, well, a dumbass last night. He blew .182 blood alcohol level. That’s not “had a glass of wine too many” drunk. That’s I can’t see straight, blind hammered. There is no way he possibly thought he could drive. There’s very little possibility he thought, period. This was a major, major lapse in judgement and no one should be making excuses for him. In fairness – and this is the only bit of fairness I’ll allow him today – he hasn’t come out and made any excuses so far today. He, nor the club/league/CSA, haven't said anything at all. That’s not anything to celebrate, but the lack of excuse making is at least not rage inducing. By all accounts, he was “cooperative” during the arrest. Thank God, for small miracles, I guess. Look, we all make mistakes. And, we all deserve chances to make up for those mistakes. For two years, in my early 20s, I worked as a correctional officer for young offenders. The idea of redemption and rehabilitation is close to my heart. I will watch Cyle Larin’s next moves closely and, so long as this isn’t a pattern of behaviour, I will continue to wish him the best. But the other side of redemption and rehabilitation is consequence. You can’t have the former without the latter and Cyle Larin will need to face consequences for these actions. He most certainly will legally – I suspect he’ll have to park that Mercedes for a while – but he should also face them professionally. Earlier today, I ran a poll asking whether Larin should be excluded from Canada’s Gold Cup roster because of this. As of writing, close to 500 people had responded with 55 per cent agreeing that he should be left home. The majority is right. This is a serious incident and the CSA needs to react in a serious way. To fail to do so is to value the potential of soccer success over doing the ethically responsible thing. One mistake should not destroy a career. Larin should, and absolutely will, get lots of opportunity to redeem himself. We all should hope he does. But, not before he is appropriately punished. Leaving him off the Gold Cup roster is a perfectly appropriate punishment.
  8. Let’s not be subtle here. If the allegations are true – and it’s a little hard to come up with a scenario where they aren’t – then Cyle Larin was, well, a dumbass last night. He blew .182 blood alcohol level. That’s not “had a glass of wine too many” drunk. That’s I can’t see straight, blind hammered. There is no way he possibly thought he could drive. There’s very little possibility he thought, period. This was a major, major lapse in judgement and no one should be making excuses for him. In fairness – and this is the only bit of fairness I’ll allow him today – he hasn’t come out and made any excuses so far today. He, nor the club/league/CSA, haven't said anything at all. That’s not anything to celebrate, but the lack of excuse making is at least not rage inducing. By all accounts, he was “cooperative” during the arrest. Thank God, for small miracles, I guess. Look, we all make mistakes. And, we all deserve chances to make up for those mistakes. For two years, in my early 20s, I worked as a correctional officer for young offenders. The idea of redemption and rehabilitation is close to my heart. I will watch Cyle Larin’s next moves closely and, so long as this isn’t a pattern of behaviour, I will continue to wish him the best. But the other side of redemption and rehabilitation is consequence. You can’t have the former without the latter and Cyle Larin will need to face consequences for these actions. He most certainly will legally – I suspect he’ll have to park that Mercedes for a while – but he should also face them professionally. Earlier today, I ran a poll asking whether Larin should be excluded from Canada’s Gold Cup roster because of this. As of writing, close to 500 people had responded with 55 per cent agreeing that he should be left home. The majority is right. This is a serious incident and the CSA needs to react in a serious way. To fail to do so is to value the potential of soccer success over doing the ethically responsible thing. One mistake should not destroy a career. Larin should, and absolutely will, get lots of opportunity to redeem himself. We all should hope he does. But, not before he is appropriately punished. Leaving him off the Gold Cup roster is a perfectly appropriate punishment. View full record
  9. Every Friday, I will give my keys to victory for the Montreal Impact, in 3 points! No Piatti, No Party? The Montreal Impact will be without the service of their star Designated Player Nacho Piatti on Saturday versus Chicago. Ignacio could be out several weeks due to a groin injury. Can the Impact create quality goal scoring chances without the Argentinian in the lineup? Can the Impact capitalize on their looks on goal with a depleted lineup? If so, Montreal could come out of Toyota Park with a favorable result. In this case, I would consider a draw on the road a favorable result. If not, a tough afternoon at the office it will be. Shoot to Score The Impact are 17th in MLS for shot attempts. The ratio of attempts vs on target is respectable (26/10). To compensate for the clinical finishing skills of Piatti during his absence, the Impact needs to put the odds in their favor literally and raise the amount of shot attempts, hopefully on target. It will not be easy and with the injury to Patrice Bernier, the service coming from the midfield could struggle, but raising the amount of shot attempts could raise the probability of goal scored. Forget Bastian, Cover Dax! It will be a big day for the Fire, to say the least. Bastian could play, but will doubtfully start. Dax and Juninho are the two key Fire players you need to cover at all times. The revamped midfield for Chicago has already paid dividends this year and with all the new eyes on their product on Saturday, they will want to put on a show! If Montreal can stifle the Combustible Duo like they successfully stifled David Villa two weeks ago, Montreal could pull off the result on the road for a second straight game. You can follow Kevin on twitter @KevLaramee
  10. Every Friday, I will give my keys to victory for the Montreal Impact, in 3 points! No Piatti, No Party? The Montreal Impact will be without the service of their star Designated Player Nacho Piatti on Saturday versus Chicago. Ignacio could be out several weeks due to a groin injury. Can the Impact create quality goal scoring chances without the Argentinian in the lineup? Can the Impact capitalize on their looks on goal with a depleted lineup? If so, Montreal could come out of Toyota Park with a favorable result. In this case, I would consider a draw on the road a favorable result. If not, a tough afternoon at the office it will be. Shoot to Score The Impact are 17th in MLS for shot attempts. The ratio of attempts vs on target is respectable (26/10). To compensate for the clinical finishing skills of Piatti during his absence, the Impact needs to put the odds in their favor literally and raise the amount of shot attempts, hopefully on target. It will not be easy and with the injury to Patrice Bernier, the service coming from the midfield could struggle, but raising the amount of shot attempts could raise the probability of goal scored. Forget Bastian, Cover Dax! It will be a big day for the Fire, to say the least. Bastian could play, but will doubtfully start. Dax and Juninho are the two key Fire players you need to cover at all times. The revamped midfield for Chicago has already paid dividends this year and with all the new eyes on their product on Saturday, they will want to put on a show! If Montreal can stifle the Combustible Duo like they successfully stifled David Villa two weeks ago, Montreal could pull off the result on the road for a second straight game. You can follow Kevin on twitter @KevLaramee View full record
  11. Scores, Game Reports, Analysis, Interviews and especially FUN!! Hosted by Kevin Laramee @KevLaramee Send in your thoughts on your favorite MLS Team and/or your game reports, feedback to mlspostgameshow@gmail.com https://sportpodcastingnetwork.com https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/sports-podcasting-network/id1018126433?mt=2 https://patreon.com/sportspodcastingnetwork https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/spn-soccer-feed-sports-podcasting-network/id1079055075?mt=2 LISTEN LIVE HERE EVERY SUNDAY AT 1AM E / 10PM P DURING THE MLS SEASON https://sportspodcastingnetwork.com/mlspostgameshow/ STUDIO LINE 1-802-731-0131 SUBSCRIBE HERE! SPN Radio’s LIVE Youtube Page STUDIO LINE 1-802-731-0131 I can’t wait to hear from you and your thoughts on your favorite team! Call in at 1-802-731-0131 or send them to mlspostgameshow@gmail.com. Kevin Laramee Founder Sports Podcasting Network
  12. Scores, Game Reports, Analysis, Interviews and especially FUN!! Hosted by Kevin Laramee @KevLaramee Send in your thoughts on your favorite MLS Team and/or your game reports, feedback to mlspostgameshow@gmail.com https://sportpodcastingnetwork.com https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/sports-podcasting-network/id1018126433?mt=2 https://patreon.com/sportspodcastingnetwork https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/spn-soccer-feed-sports-podcasting-network/id1079055075?mt=2 LISTEN LIVE HERE EVERY SUNDAY AT 1AM E / 10PM P DURING THE MLS SEASON https://sportspodcastingnetwork.com/mlspostgameshow/ STUDIO LINE 1-802-731-0131 SUBSCRIBE HERE! SPN Radio’s LIVE Youtube Page STUDIO LINE 1-802-731-0131 I can’t wait to hear from you and your thoughts on your favorite team! Call in at 1-802-731-0131 or send them to mlspostgameshow@gmail.com. Kevin Laramee Founder Sports Podcasting Network View full record
  13. Good day, good night and welcome back to Off the Woodworkx!Guest Today: Tristan D'Amours@tristandamours of SoccerByIvesPost-Game comments of Mauro Biello, Evan Bush and Patrice Bernier of the Montreal ImpactUntil next time, have a great soccer! Twitter: @offthewoodworkx @KevLaramee @SportsPodNetFacebook: facebook.com/offthewoodworkxItunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/off-woodworkx-sports-podcasting/id1067439813?mt=2SPN: http://sportspodcastingnetwork.com
  14. Good day, good night and welcome back to Off the Woodworkx!Guest Today: Tristan D'Amours@tristandamours of SoccerByIvesPost-Game comments of Mauro Biello, Evan Bush and Patrice Bernier of the Montreal ImpactUntil next time, have a great soccer! Twitter: @offthewoodworkx @KevLaramee @SportsPodNetFacebook: facebook.com/offthewoodworkxItunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/off-woodworkx-sports-podcasting/id1067439813?mt=2SPN: http://sportspodcastingnetwork.com View full record
  15. Close, but no cigar. We saw a better performance by the Montreal Impact tonight, especially in the midfield, but an old foe has come back to sink the Home-Opener's ship; extra time. With already over 3 minutes played after the first 90, the Seattle Sounders and their new veteran acquisition, Will Bruin made Montreal pay for their lack of killer instinct earlier in the game. It all started beautifully though for the Bleu-Blanc-Noir, better possession and passing accuracy in the midfield, early looks on goal, great use of the flanks by Oyongo, Piatti and Oduro. Montreal even took a two goal lead, but it proved insufficient for the 1642ers. A beautiful through ball to Mancosu by Piatti, setup perfectly by the captain Patrice Bernier to open up the 2017 goal tally and a great finish by Piatti for the second. What was really impressive on Piatti's goal was his dismantling of Torres' coverage. Being caught ball watching and not focusing on Piatti's hips, Torres was left flat footed and couldn't cover Piatti's strong foot; 2-nil the Impact. But, has it has been the case far too often over the last few years, the defense could not hold on. A questionable penalty call on a Ciman tackle and a moment of panic in the box late in extra time were enough for the Sounders to leave Montreal in a hurry with a stolen point. Like Mauro Biello mentioned in his post-game press conference, there were several questionable decisions on both sides by the referee Jair Marrufo. Early yellow cards, misplaced free kicks, questionable no-calls and a controversial tying goal scored after the initial 3 minutes of extra time are all issues that should be looked at carefully by PRO (Professional Referee Organization) and its general manager, Peter Walton. On the positive side for Montreal, big improvements were made when we compare to last week's performance in Northern California. The passing accuracy went from a mediocre below 70% last week, to a very respectable 79.3% tonight and especially accurate in the defensive midfield (Bernier 84.6% Donadel 91.1% Bernardello 93.6%) . The confusion in the midfield has been addressed, Bernier-Bernardello-Donadel knew exactly where to be and how to execute the game plan this time around. The captain had a great home opener, 2 assists and a multitude of chances created by using the flank players to move up on the pitch. Oyongo and Oduro were instrumental in Montreal's attack, being able to use the space left open in front of them to generate space and time for Piatti to be effective offensively. According to Evan Bush, the fitness aspect of the game, especially late in the game was the difference between a win and a draw. On top of the fitness, the substitution of Patrice Bernier for a debuting Adrian Arregui at the 59 minute mark spelled the end of domination for Montreal and especially the end of ball possession on the night. Coincidence? I think not. Overall, 2 goal scored, a good performance by the core and star players and a more stable and reliable midfield are good improvements from game 1. Some doubts concerning the backline still remains, unfortunately, and more discipline is needed by the Montreal defense if they want to have success in 2017. Until next time, have a great soccer! You can follow Kevin Laramee on Twitter @KevLaramee You can listen to all of Kevin's thoughts on the game, player interviews and coaches post-game comments on the latest Off the Woodworkx every Sunday morning!
  16. Close, but no cigar. We saw a better performance by the Montreal Impact tonight, especially in the midfield, but an old foe has come back to sink the Home-Opener's ship; extra time. With already over 3 minutes played after the first 90, the Seattle Sounders and their new veteran acquisition, Will Bruin made Montreal pay for their lack of killer instinct earlier in the game. It all started beautifully though for the Bleu-Blanc-Noir, better possession and passing accuracy in the midfield, early looks on goal, great use of the flanks by Oyongo, Piatti and Oduro. Montreal even took a two goal lead, but it proved insufficient for the 1642ers. A beautiful through ball to Mancosu by Piatti, setup perfectly by the captain Patrice Bernier to open up the 2017 goal tally and a great finish by Piatti for the second. What was really impressive on Piatti's goal was his dismantling of Torres' coverage. Being caught ball watching and not focusing on Piatti's hips, Torres was left flat footed and couldn't cover Piatti's strong foot; 2-nil the Impact. But, has it has been the case far too often over the last few years, the defense could not hold on. A questionable penalty call on a Ciman tackle and a moment of panic in the box late in extra time were enough for the Sounders to leave Montreal in a hurry with a stolen point. Like Mauro Biello mentioned in his post-game press conference, there were several questionable decisions on both sides by the referee Jair Marrufo. Early yellow cards, misplaced free kicks, questionable no-calls and a controversial tying goal scored after the initial 3 minutes of extra time are all issues that should be looked at carefully by PRO (Professional Referee Organization) and its general manager, Peter Walton. On the positive side for Montreal, big improvements were made when we compare to last week's performance in Northern California. The passing accuracy went from a mediocre below 70% last week, to a very respectable 79.3% tonight and especially accurate in the defensive midfield (Bernier 84.6% Donadel 91.1% Bernardello 93.6%) . The confusion in the midfield has been addressed, Bernier-Bernardello-Donadel knew exactly where to be and how to execute the game plan this time around. The captain had a great home opener, 2 assists and a multitude of chances created by using the flank players to move up on the pitch. Oyongo and Oduro were instrumental in Montreal's attack, being able to use the space left open in front of them to generate space and time for Piatti to be effective offensively. According to Evan Bush, the fitness aspect of the game, especially late in the game was the difference between a win and a draw. On top of the fitness, the substitution of Patrice Bernier for a debuting Adrian Arregui at the 59 minute mark spelled the end of domination for Montreal and especially the end of ball possession on the night. Coincidence? I think not. Overall, 2 goal scored, a good performance by the core and star players and a more stable and reliable midfield are good improvements from game 1. Some doubts concerning the backline still remains, unfortunately, and more discipline is needed by the Montreal defense if they want to have success in 2017. Until next time, have a great soccer! You can follow Kevin Laramee on Twitter @KevLaramee You can listen to all of Kevin's thoughts on the game, player interviews and coaches post-game comments on the latest Off the Woodworkx every Sunday morning! View full record
  17. Philadelphia Union (0-0-1) v TFC (0-0-1), Match Day 2 TSN 4 – 4:30pm, Saturday CSN Away Viewing is upstairs at Pauper’s Pub (Bathurst and Bloor). Check the usual suspects (Wheat Sheaf, Shoeless Joe’s, etc.) for others or add your viewing in the comments. Last meeting: TFC won its first ever playoff game in rather convincing fashion to launch a magical run that lasted through to the end of November. I’m not sure what happened in December. Most famous game: In what was possibly Aron Winter’s darkest moment the exceptionally average Union put six – yes, SIX – goals by the Worst Team in the World to win 6-2 in front of a grumpy BMO Field back in 2012. Key Union player: Let’s go with Super Keeper Andre Blake, who is arguably the best shot stopper in all of MLS. Thankfully, TFC has not been robbed blind by a keeper standing on his head in almost three months. Former Red alert: With the man responsible for BMO Field’s lack of plastic, Mo Edu, still recovering from his broken leg the former Reds alert is Warren Creavalle. The utility player most famous in Toronto for the drunk guy two rows back of you insisting he’d be a better option at right-back has actually found some half-decent form for the Union. Key TFC player: Gotta be Seba, no? After yet another week of MLS’ tried and true defensive strategy of hack-a-little-Italian, the Atomic Ant will be looking to open his account in style this weekend. Home advantage: Meh. Unless you’re trying to park your car after sunset there isn’t much intimating about Chester’s best soccer stadium. The weather on game day is going to be positively Canadian -- -4C expected at kick-off. No orange ball likely though. What opposing fans are saying: REVENGE!!!!1!!!!1! They are also mostly calling for a tight game and possibly a draw. Yippee. TFC panic level (as expressed by the name of a former player): Danny Koevermans (He’s really good, but we’re scared it’s all going to go wrong at any moment) Our view: It says here that TFC gets its first three points of the year and Seba opens his account with a brace. 3-0 Reds.
  18. Philadelphia Union (0-0-1) v TFC (0-0-1), Match Day 2 TSN 4 – 4:30pm, Saturday CSN Away Viewing is upstairs at Pauper’s Pub (Bathurst and Bloor). Check the usual suspects (Wheat Sheaf, Shoeless Joe’s, etc.) for others or add your viewing in the comments. Last meeting: TFC won its first ever playoff game in rather convincing fashion to launch a magical run that lasted through to the end of November. I’m not sure what happened in December. Most famous game: In what was possibly Aron Winter’s darkest moment the exceptionally average Union put six – yes, SIX – goals by the Worst Team in the World to win 6-2 in front of a grumpy BMO Field back in 2012. Key Union player: Let’s go with Super Keeper Andre Blake, who is arguably the best shot stopper in all of MLS. Thankfully, TFC has not been robbed blind by a keeper standing on his head in almost three months. Former Red alert: With the man responsible for BMO Field’s lack of plastic, Mo Edu, still recovering from his broken leg the former Reds alert is Warren Creavalle. The utility player most famous in Toronto for the drunk guy two rows back of you insisting he’d be a better option at right-back has actually found some half-decent form for the Union. Key TFC player: Gotta be Seba, no? After yet another week of MLS’ tried and true defensive strategy of hack-a-little-Italian, the Atomic Ant will be looking to open his account in style this weekend. Home advantage: Meh. Unless you’re trying to park your car after sunset there isn’t much intimating about Chester’s best soccer stadium. The weather on game day is going to be positively Canadian -- -4C expected at kick-off. No orange ball likely though. What opposing fans are saying: REVENGE!!!!1!!!!1! They are also mostly calling for a tight game and possibly a draw. Yippee. TFC panic level (as expressed by the name of a former player): Danny Koevermans (He’s really good, but we’re scared it’s all going to go wrong at any moment) Our view: It says here that TFC gets its first three points of the year and Seba opens his account with a brace. 3-0 Reds. View full record
  19. Official preview video
  20. Scores, Game Reports, Analysis, Interviews and especially FUN!! Hosted by Kevin Laramee @KevLaramee STUDIO LINE 1-802-731-0131 LISTEN LIVE HERE EVERY SUNDAY AT 1AM E / 10PM P DURING THE MLS SEASON https://sportspodcastingnetwork.com/mlspostgameshow/ Send in your thoughts on your favorite MLS Team and/or your game reports, feedback to mlspostgameshow@gmail.com https://sportpodcastingnetwork.com https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/sports-podcasting-network/id1018126433?mt=2 https://patreon.com/sportspodcastingnetwork https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/spn-soccer-feed-sports-podcasting-network/id1079055075?mt=2
  21. Scores, Game Reports, Analysis, Interviews and especially FUN!! Hosted by Kevin Laramee @KevLaramee STUDIO LINE 1-802-731-0131 LISTEN LIVE HERE EVERY SUNDAY AT 1AM E / 10PM P DURING THE MLS SEASON https://sportspodcastingnetwork.com/mlspostgameshow/ Send in your thoughts on your favorite MLS Team and/or your game reports, feedback to mlspostgameshow@gmail.com https://sportpodcastingnetwork.com https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/sports-podcasting-network/id1018126433?mt=2 https://patreon.com/sportspodcastingnetwork https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/spn-soccer-feed-sports-podcasting-network/id1079055075?mt=2 View full record
  22. The world of football with a soccer perspective, this is Soccer Today! with Duane Rollins and Kevin Laramee @SoccerTodaySPN @KevLaramee @24thminute SOCCER TODAY! https://sportspodcastingnetwork.com/ http://patreon.com/sportspodcastingnetwork
  23. The world of football with a soccer perspective, this is Soccer Today! with Duane Rollins and Kevin Laramee @SoccerTodaySPN @KevLaramee @24thminute SOCCER TODAY! https://sportspodcastingnetwork.com/ http://patreon.com/sportspodcastingnetwork View full record
  24. Have a listen! And apologies for the slight echo feel to most of it when we had to change mics a little bit in! You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 20,000 other shows HERE. Or after all that, you could just listen on the player below!
  25. Ben McKendry graduated from the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency in the summer of 2012. It felt at the time like the end of an era for followers of the program, with the close knit group splitting up and going their separate ways after years of playing together. After making the decision to continue his career in the college ranks, McKendry made the move to New Mexico, where the Lobos became his new family. McKendry was part of the Caps' exciting U18 side that reached the 2012 USSDA Championship game before going down to a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Dallas. It was a team rich in talent but as is the case all over Canada at the moment, the opportunities to continue their professional development were limited. Bryce Alderson and Caleb Clarke earned MLS contracts. Ben Fisk should have but was given a PDL one and has been loaned out twice now. Others, like Daniel Stanese, have sought careers overseas. Some still had another year to go in the Residency and graduated this summer, whilst others continued their education in NCAA and CIS schools. Although much maligned by some, the college route is the only viable option for many graduating academy players, with all that getting a good education behind them does for their future career prospects outwith the game. This latter point played a big part in Ben's decision to join a talented New Mexico team. "After graduating from the Residency program I was kind of unfortunate not to get signed by the first team, which is obviously the goal of the program and all of the players in it. So I kind of had to reassess what I wanted to do with my career. "I decided that the college system was right for me. I'm extremely fortunate to be able to get an education and play soccer. I'm really happy with how things turned out." McKendry had a stellar first year in Albuquerque, scoring seven goals, four of them game winners, and contributing two assists in his 22 appearances. That goal tally placed him in the top 15 players in the country in goals by a freshman. "The first year was fantastic for me. I was fortunate enough to be part of a great team and we had a great leadership group last year that really helped me to kind of ease myself into the college system." Two of that team were selected in January's MLS SuperDraft, with Montreal picking up Blake Smith in round one and RSL getting a great late pick in Devon Sandoval in round two. McKendry picked up the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation 'Newcomer of the Year' honours and made the MPSF All-Tournament team, before the Lobos bowed out of the NCAA tournament in the third round following a 2-1 double overtime loss to Connecticut. Making the leap from U18 level to the college ranks isn't always easy, but at least the vast amount of time spent travelling the US with the Caps gave him some good experience and preparation to take with him. As has the experience he gained playing for Canada at U18 and U20 level. There have of course been differences that he's needed to adjust to, the main two being the speed of play and physicality of playing with older guys. With such a short season and the way the NCAA rankings can play out, there is also a feeling that every game is huge, with a strong must win mental approach constantly needed. It's a mentality that Lobos' 12 year head coach Jeremy Fishbein expects of all his players. McKendry's sophomore season has continued to see him develop as a midfielder, and bring more to the table in games. "This season I'm taking on more of a leadership role, which is important. I'm having a great time and really thankful to be with the team." When we caught up with Ben following a last seconds 1-0 win in Santa Barbara in September, he seemed to be playing more of a defensive midfielder role. Has that been the plan for him to play a bit deeper this year? "Last season I was more of a box to box midfielder, kinda jump into the play late to try and pick up some loose balls. Definitely tonight I was just trying to protect the back line a bit more because we know they throw lots of guys forward. I'm kind of a little bit more mobile and willing to go forward I think as well." After a bit of a slow start and finding his feet in the new role, Ben's offensive game came to the fore and he currently sits with four goals and one assist from 17 games so far this year, making the All-Conference first team. With things going well down New Mexico way is the plan for Ben to stay with the Lobos for the full four years or would he consider putting his education on hold if the right opportunity came along, whether that be from the Whitecaps or elsewhere? "Definitely. It's something you wait and see what happens. I'm happy with where I am right now but if it gets to the point where it feels like I'm ready to go into the professional environment then definitely, I make that jump. But I'm in no rush. I think I'm in a good position right now." McKendry headed back to Vancouver this summer and trained with the Caps' MLS squad. "The Whitecaps organisation has been great since I left the club. They've been emailing me and keeping tabs on how things are going. I'm extremely thankful that they've given me opportunities to come back and train with them in the summer to stay fit. "They're doing a great job with that and I think it's something they'll continue to do as more players are graduating from the Residency program and going into other environments like the college system." Ben's ultimate goal is still to make a career as a professional footballer, whether that be with the Whitecaps or wherever the game takes him. "I never really thought much about anything other than soccer, so it's kind of weird doing the school part, but I'm enjoying the school part of it as well." Although McKendry is listed on the Lobos website as studying psychology, he doesn't think that this will be what his major will end up being. "In the American college system you get two years to decide what you want to major in, so really I'm still deciding. It says psychology but I don't think that's what it'll be. Maybe business or economic or something like that." We still have hopes here at AFTN of seeing a Whitecaps midfield of McKendry, Fisk, Alderson and Alex Rowley again one day, so we'll be watching where Ben's future footballing career takes him with interest. The Lobos made the move to Conference USA for this year and won their first new Conference title with an 11-4-2 record. Their postseason gets underway on Friday when they take on Tulsa in the Conference USA semi final, with a place in the NCAA tournament first round awaiting. Good luck to Ben and good luck to Lobos.