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Found 5 results

  1. It’s a bad day to be a soccer fan in Winnipeg or Hamilton. Ironically, the first two cities to commit to being part of the Canadian Premier League were the two notable cities not included on the list of cities Canada has approached to apply to be a host city in the 2026 World Cup. Obviously, this will be a moot point if Morocco somehow takes the bid away from the hugely favourite United North America bid, but few think that will happen. So, it’s basically the end of any dream that either city will ever host a World Cup. It’s a double blow for Hamilton in that they were also left off the Women’s World Cup rotation in 2015. It’s a shame because the city was a wonderful host to the Pan Am tournament and a women’s pre-tournament friendly between England and Canada. It’s a bit baffling, actually. Tim Horton’s Field is only 24,000, sure, but it can be expanded to 40,000 (and possibly even more for a major event like a World Cup). Since it seems unlikely that the CSA is springing this on these cities blindly, it could be that the City of Hamilton turned down the chance to bid. In fact, that's the noise that many are suggesting -- that Hamilton turned down the chance to bid. That seems short-sighted, but I’m not a Hamilton rate payer. Much of what was written about Hamilton can be extended to Winnipeg. Two new stadiums in cities that don’t traditionally get looked at to host major events….surprising, to say the least. And, once again, it appears that Winnipeg came to the conclusion on their own. There weren’t a lot of shocks among the cities included. Both Toronto and Montreal were invited to apply with two stadiums – BMO Field/Stade Saputo and The Stadium Formally Known as SkyDome/Olympic Stadium – and the rest of the cities – Ottawa, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver are basically the default cities that pop up in these conversations. The two biggest questions among the included cities might be Montreal and Calgary. The Big O is an old 43 years now. It’s hard to imagine it not being held together by duct tape and empty bottles of Old Vienna by 2026. Saputo is the smallest of the stadiums included. It would take a major renovation to get up to the required size (although with the Habs having never hosted an outdoor NHL game that might be of interest to the city). Calgary has no legitimate option other than to build something new. McMahon Stadium is already 57 years old and it’s never been called anything other than functional, even by its fans. It seems likely that Calgary has been included to add further support to an ongoing effort to completely overhaul the city’s sports infrastructure. Calgary wants to build a new hockey rink, multipurpose stadium and host the 2026 Winter Olympics. Hosting a couple extra World Cup games a few months after the big party would be the icing on that very expensive cake. Mexico only put three cities forward, so you’d imagine they plan an even split of games. That’s not in Canada’s nature – the games here will be split equally between the east and the west. View full record
  2. It’s a bad day to be a soccer fan in Winnipeg or Hamilton. Ironically, the first two cities to commit to being part of the Canadian Premier League were the two notable cities not included on the list of cities Canada has approached to apply to be a host city in the 2026 World Cup. Obviously, this will be a moot point if Morocco somehow takes the bid away from the hugely favourite United North America bid, but few think that will happen. So, it’s basically the end of any dream that either city will ever host a World Cup. It’s a double blow for Hamilton in that they were also left off the Women’s World Cup rotation in 2015. It’s a shame because the city was a wonderful host to the Pan Am tournament and a women’s pre-tournament friendly between England and Canada. It’s a bit baffling, actually. Tim Horton’s Field is only 24,000, sure, but it can be expanded to 40,000 (and possibly even more for a major event like a World Cup). Since it seems unlikely that the CSA is springing this on these cities blindly, it could be that the City of Hamilton turned down the chance to bid. In fact, that's the noise that many are suggesting -- that Hamilton turned down the chance to bid. That seems short-sighted, but I’m not a Hamilton rate payer. Much of what was written about Hamilton can be extended to Winnipeg. Two new stadiums in cities that don’t traditionally get looked at to host major events….surprising, to say the least. And, once again, it appears that Winnipeg came to the conclusion on their own. There weren’t a lot of shocks among the cities included. Both Toronto and Montreal were invited to apply with two stadiums – BMO Field/Stade Saputo and The Stadium Formally Known as SkyDome/Olympic Stadium – and the rest of the cities – Ottawa, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver are basically the default cities that pop up in these conversations. The two biggest questions among the included cities might be Montreal and Calgary. The Big O is an old 43 years now. It’s hard to imagine it not being held together by duct tape and empty bottles of Old Vienna by 2026. Saputo is the smallest of the stadiums included. It would take a major renovation to get up to the required size (although with the Habs having never hosted an outdoor NHL game that might be of interest to the city). Calgary has no legitimate option other than to build something new. McMahon Stadium is already 57 years old and it’s never been called anything other than functional, even by its fans. It seems likely that Calgary has been included to add further support to an ongoing effort to completely overhaul the city’s sports infrastructure. Calgary wants to build a new hockey rink, multipurpose stadium and host the 2026 Winter Olympics. Hosting a couple extra World Cup games a few months after the big party would be the icing on that very expensive cake. Mexico only put three cities forward, so you’d imagine they plan an even split of games. That’s not in Canada’s nature – the games here will be split equally between the east and the west.
  3. Until next time, have a great soccer! @TwoSolitudesPod @24thminute @KevLaramee http://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/two-solitudes-soccer-podcast/id833616975?mt=2 http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-two-solitudes-mls-podcast http://feeds.feedburner.com/twosolitudespod OTW Studios http://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/otw-studios/id1018126433 http://feeds.feedburner.com/otwstudios http://canadiansoccernews.com http://kevinlaramee.com
  4. Having the US hordes here on Tuesday, and days of pre-match build up, and with Canada coming on Sunday, obviously helps. Prior to that, Group C wasn’t the most exciting group on paper to get fans’ juices flowing. The games turned out to be entertaining or high scoring affairs though and that also helped get a buzz generated. Now some will argue that it was a great group. It contained the World champions after all in Japan. But realistically, how many of the target audience really knew or cared about that fact? The first round of Vancouver’s group games wrapped up on Tuesday evening as the US narrowly saw off Nigeria 1-0 to top Group D and send the Africans crashing out of the tournament. A vociferous crowd of 52,123 packed into BC Place, the largest crowd for a football match since the renovations at the stadium, and one which the ‘Caps will dream could one day be a regular occurrence for MLS matches. A long term dream admittedly, as we're still a very long away from a Seattle-style attendance here. One day! The Vancouver crowds have been good in general for the tournament so far. 25,942 for a Monday afternoon/evening double header that kicked off at 4pm was sneered upon by some out east, but was excellent as far as we’re concerned. Friday’s Group C double header brought out even more, 31,441, making a combined total of 109,506 for the three first round gamedays in Vancouver. Considering who was playing, that’s been great and above my expectations. As have the matches themselves. Five games, 22 goals, some of them crackers, penalties galore. Not bad going. Sure there’s been a couple of blowouts against Ecuador, but goalfests can be entertaining too if the goals are good, which they were. Plus we got to see the excellent and entertaining dark horse, or should that be lionesses, of the tournament, Cameroon. We’ve seen some of the world’s best female players so far. Japan legend Homare Sawa delighted her supporters and long time fans of the women’s game. Switzerland’s Ramona Bachmann, put in a great performance and could still be a star of the tournament. You feel here future in the women’s game is wherever she wants it to be moving forward. Then there were the US girls, some of whom we’ll grudgingly acknowledge are amongst the world’s elite. Cameroon were a delight and their coach Enow Ngachu a real character. In Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene and Gaelle Enganamouit they have two players that could find themselves offered some lucrative deals once the tournament is over. Keeping with the African teams, I liked Nigeria centre back Onome Ebi as well. Solid, tough tackling and held off most of the US attacks. The fans we’ve spoken to have all pretty much enjoyed themselves. There’s been a couple of reports of some security buzzkill at the first Japan match, but on the whole a good time has been had by all. Well maybe not Ecuador supporters. The tournament already feels like it’s been going on forever, and there’s still four matches to be played in Vancouver – two 2nd round match-ups, a quarter-final and, of course, the final itself. The Final has already sold out and Canada’s 2nd round match-up this weekend against Switzerland will bring in the crowds and should be a cracker. If that doesn't sell-out but the US game does, then there's something wrong with the general Vancouver fanbase. It could also very realistically signal the end of Canada’s run at the tournament if we see the Swiss side of the qualifying campaign and the shooting boots from their slaughter of Ecuador. If Canada do advance, that should mean another full house at BC Place for their quarter-final game on June 27th. That seems a long way away right now mind you. Outside of the matchday experience at the stadium, the Fan Zone has proved to be a success, especially when the US games have been playing. There's been a couple of thousand fans watching games, with daily combined highs of up to 8000 in attendance. The custom built Fox Sports set has also been a talking point and a place fans have congregated. So all in all, so far so good. It's hard to see the buzz dying down, but if Canada and then the US crash out early, that may not still be the case. We'll have to see. For now, we can say the tournament has been a success. It's set to break the record for most tickets sold for a Women's World Cup and Vancouver has certainly played its part in it all. We'll leave you with some fan photos from the five first round games played at BC Place so far and a couple from the Fan Zone. And the excitement's really only just begun. Now the real tournament starts.
  5. The two big off season acquisitions of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore connected to help Toronto FC rally to defeat the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 at BC Place on Saturday. The match highlighted what both squads’ new designated players were capable of. Whitecaps DP Octavio Rivero made his presence felt in his debut when he nearly scored in the ninth minute. But the Uruguayan missed the tap in from less than six yards from the net. Rivero bounced back ten minutes later by making the most of the space left by Toronto’s high back line. Defender Pa Modou Kah sent a long ball to the left flank for Rivero who needed just two touches before slotting it past keeper Joe Bendik. Vancouver controlled the pace for most of the first half and left Toronto looking slow in defense. TFC’s back line played high which gave the Whitecaps plenty of space in transition and a handful of solid scoring chances off the break. Offensively, the Reds had a difficult time of creating opportunities the final third and found themselves knocked off the ball. In the 32nd minute TFC were able to string together a sequence of clean touches in pursuit of an equalizer. Jonathan Osorio fended off fellow Canadian International Russel Teibert and slipped the ball to Giovinco. The Italian threaded a pass, which appeared to be intended for Robert Findlay, through three Whitecaps. However Findlay lost his footing which created space for Altidore to run in. The American stepped by keeper David Ousted, and knocked off a right footed shot to the bottom left of the goal. Despite the scoreline at the half, Toronto FC appeared badly out-paced. The pace of the match changed considerably in the second half in favour of the Reds as Vancouver wasn't able to break out in transition as easily as it had during the first 45. Toronto took advantage of the swing in momentum in the 59th minute. Bradley sent a ball from just inside the defending half to Benoit Cheyrou up the middle. Cheyrou found Brandon Morrow on the run on the left flank. He sent a low cross to Findlay who crept behind the Whitecaps defense to score from close range. The Whitecaps threatening presence from the first half seemed to have disappeared. In the 89th minute substitute Collen Warner fed a long range pass to the top of the box for Altidore who was hauled down in front of the net by Kah. The Gambian was shown yellow for his challenge and TFC were awarded a penalty shot. Altidore stepped up and converted a cheeky chip straight down the middle from the spot over Ousted for his second of the contest, matching his total during his time at Sunderland. This is Toronto FC’s first MLS regular season win at BC Place. Toronto continue its seven game road swing March 14th against the Columbus Crew.
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