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    Lord Bob
    Stewie the Starfish’s stalwart seamen have become impotent.
    From first place in the Canadian Premier League they have dropped to a lowly sixth after a mid-week 3-0 battering by Forge FC. Vainly do we say that first place was after the second game in league history, or that our two losses were another midweeker to better-rested Valour and a game well-earned by the Hamiltonians but not the worst 3-0 ever1. Pacific has not looked great by eye or numbers and this weekend’s tilt, away to FC Edmonton, will pit us against tenacious defending and lots of athleticism to weary a tired team.
    We knew Pacific’s defensive depth would be a problem but maybe not so early. Former League1 Ontario man Lukas MacNaughton had two games full of quality and violence. But he was suspended for the Valour match, while Hendrik Starostzik has missed two and counting with a foot problem. In their place Ryan McCurdy was abominable and Émile Legault, a neat little player, is too short and inexperienced to play centre back professionally right now. Given Starostzik and MacNaughton Pacific likely beats Valour, and while Forge was another thing altogether being able to spell fullbacks Blake Smith and Kadin Chung with Legault would have done a power of good.
    Pacific have recently added Saudi youth trainee Ahmed Alghamdi and former TSS FC Rover Zach Verhoven to their roster. Even so they stand at 20 players signed, counting the seriously injured Marcel de Jong. They had very few reserves to draw upon, have drawn upon them early, and didn’t even get wins out of it: add depth, please, and the sooner the better.
    But there’s no merit in complaining about a lack of signings if you can’t suggest any, and while Sergio Ramos would be a quality addition my source at Pacific says they’re unlikely to agree terms.
    Here are three ideas for Pacific FC. All are meant to be realistic. They are professionally out of contract but have played recently at a high level (no stirring Luca Bellisomo comebacks). They are not so accomplished as players that they’d automatically demand large wages, and possess some tenuous connection to British Columbia soccer. We are looking for useful players here to fill out the back of the roster, not superstars. They might make a disproportionate difference.
    Read more at https://www.maple-leaf-forever.com/2019/05/10/three-candidates-for-pacific-fc-depth/

    Rintaran
    Lots of games to review and talk about in this episode. We start off with the Whitecaps, and their WIN vs Colorado. Then we preview the upcoming game against their Cascadia Rivals— the Portland Timbers. After our Whitecaps talk, we bring you up to date with everything Pacific FC and Canadian Premier League!
    What's Up Whitecaps A weekly podcast that brings you up to date with everything Whitecaps, Canada Soccer, and even hints at other sports around Vancouver. Hosted by Ben Steiner, and Tom Curyer.

    Duane Rollins
    On today's SoccerToday Kevin and Duane talked at length about the positive impact of CanPL so far.
    They also talked about one major failing -- the lack of French content on the official webpage and app. This needs to be addressed.
    From Sports Podcasting Network: 
     
    Listen to Kevin and Duane discuss this on Two Solitudes here . This clip, normally behind the paywall, is free.  

    Duane Rollins
    A month ago this lead would have been more generous. It would have pointed to a stellar playing and coaching career and spoke about how much he had contributed to the game.

    Eventually it would have reached the same conclusion, but it would have been with regret. A suggestion that a humane option be presented to him would have been made.

    That’s off the table now. Now, 40 years of good will are out the window. There will be no punches pulled.

    Bobby Lenarduzzi must be fired. Not given an opportunity to “spend more time with his family,” or “move into a consulting role,” or any other way teams let long time servants save face when the time comes to move on.

    No, he needs to be canned. Sacked. **** canned. Axed. Shown the door. Given a pink slip.

    Fired. Yesterday.

    As the most public face of the Vancouver Whitecaps and the person who was in charge when the alleged abuses (abuses that the Whitecaps internally, if quietly, decided were real at the time) and when the decision to hire a youth coach who was found to have thrown a banana at a black player, he’s got to go.

    It’s no longer a debatable point. It’s quite literally the least that the club can do.

    To be clear, this isn’t about the scoreboard, nor should anyone muddy the waters by bringing results into this.

    As the leader of the organization, Lenarduzzi oversaw a toxic work environment that legitimately has caused harm to people. That is inexcusable. Maybe a way forward could have been found when this first came out. Had Lenarduzzi and the team immediately apologized and agreed to make real changes to prevent it ever happening again then…maybe.

    But, they didn’t and they somehow made a terrible situation worse. So, the time for niceties is over.

    Bobby’s got to go.

    It won’t fix it. There’s a hell of a lot of work that needs to happen after he leaves, but that work doesn’t start – can’t start – until he’s gone.    


    Rintaran
    by Robert Brown
    Canada coasted through the CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers with ease. The Canadians quickly disposed of the US Virgin Islands, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and French Guiana by a combined 18-1 scoreline.
    Although the opposition was relatively weak, John Herdman’s troop displayed their goal-scoring prowess.
    The CONCACAF Nations League presents a bonafide opportunity for Team Canada to compete against the best in the CONCACAF region.
    The inaugural competition spans through September 2019 to March 2020. Canada is in a group with proven CONCACAF opponents in the United States and Cuba. Due to the introduction of the Nations League, Team Canada has the opportunity to partake in meaningful matches, effectively replacing friendlies. In the same breath, these games will be a measuring stick against the premier sides in North America.
    This competition presents a unique opportunity to John Herdman and his players. A group stage consisting of 3 teams is a new concept for team Canada and Herdman himself. In this relegation/promotion style tournament, Canada will be put to the test from day one. Each and every game is of the utmost importance. One bad match can derail Canada’s success in the tourney.
    Canada begins the CONCACAF Nations League with a hotly contested matchup against Cuba. Cuba may not be a fierce side in the CONCACAF circuit, however, they have experienced varied success in the past. Although they failed to qualify for the 2017 Gold Cup, Cuba displayed their resiliency with consecutive trips the Quarterfinals in 2013 & 2015.
    ...
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    Rintaran
    Although Ben Fisk was born and grew up across the Georgia Strait in Vancouver, playing in Pacific FC’s inaugural Canadian Premier League game, a 1-0 win over HFX Wanderers FC at Westhills Stadium in Langford, felt like a homecoming for the 26-year-old.
    “Sunday was a pretty special one with all my friends and family there to watch,” Fisk said. “That was the first time in my pro career that I’ve had so many people in the stadium at one time and the fact that we were able to get the win made it that much more special.”
    After getting his start with the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Residency program and making appearances with both their former U23 PDL side and USL affiliate, Fisk made a name for himself across North America and Europe with stints with Coruxo and Deportivo B in Spain, FC Edmonton in the NASL, and Derry City in the League of Ireland.
    ...
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    Rintaran
    April finished off with a number of big wins and troubling losses. With the top-4 leagues, comprising 12 Canadian Teams, now actively playing, there’s been some interesting movement that is important to watch.
    It all came down to the final weekend, but Montreal Impact FC have flipped the script and taken the top spot from Toronto FC. With an elo-rating gap of only 7.877, this could flip back pretty easily with a pair of results.
    Similarly, Pacific FC are the first CPL club to reach top-of-the-table. With only 2-matches played in the league so far, that victory could be fleeting, especially with MacNaughton out of Wednesday’s match against Valour FC due to the two yellows he received Sunday.
    ...
    Read  more on the NSXI Network.

    Lord Bob
    Never go into the archives of Maple Leaf Forever! without expert supervision. Any post written before about 2016 is pretty much unreadable. But this morning I dove into the crap to get a particular nugget: my first visit to Langford’s ironically-named City Centre Park in May 2010 to watch the Victoria Highlanders host the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23s in the USL PDL season opener.
    A lot has changed in nine years. For one thing I ripped Russell Teibert, who was a year or so from becoming Canadian Soccer Jesus. Both the Highlanders and the Whitecaps U-23s folded then came back as completely different setups. Also, the ironically-named City Centre Park is almost unrecognizable. 2010’s aluminum-bleachered main stand now has beautiful purple seats with “PFC” picked out in white and wouldn’t look out of place in England’s League Two. The “Bear Mountain Stadium” sign now says “Westhills Stadium” (though it is otherwise exactly the same, which is fun). The neighbourhood has built up; a weirdly obscure tree-shrouded ground nestled in with the industry and parking lots is now in a fast-growing part of Langford that’ll probably be 50% condos by the time Noah Verhoeven gets his testimonial.
    But a few things are the same. Quoting myself:
    It took nine years, and they’re not the Highlanders, and it’s actually the first division. And security checks bags now, though they’re still human beings rather than dicks with badges and let us bring in cookies for Clare Rustad. Otherwise 2010 Ben would be pretty happy with how those paragraphs worked out.
    Read the rest at https://www.maple-leaf-forever.com/2019/04/29/another-day-one-at-westhills-stadium/

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    • At the game, had an excellent time. Thought the atmosphere was great, very professional performance, we played with tons on confidence, shape and fluidity, along with very strong and confident defending. A few minor things to tidy up, but the squad is in excellent form which shows from our undefeated 2019 record 6-0-2 and only conceeding 1 goal.  Many players impressed, not one player had a poor game in my eyes. I was especially impressed with Lawrence and her ability to play both as a RB & LB along with her overall coverage of the field.  
    • I think that the opinion of respective federations is what counts to FIFA, via its regional bodies.  Right now there's a team in Andorra, called Andorra and now owned by Pique, that is playing in a Spanish division. The rest are in the Andorra league and the winner goes to Europa League qualifying rounds. Why does this team play outside of Andorra? First, the Andorran federation is in favour as many national team players are on it. Next, it raises profile of Andorra outside of the small country. Third, the Spanish federation has no problem with it, nor ever has, in part because Andorra, before full constitutional independance, was a Principality with co-princes, who were the President of France and the closest Spanish bishop (in a city called la Seu d'Urgell, in Catalonia). So there was a historically favourable basis on a political level. An Andorran team also plays in the Spanish basketball league and even played European competition this year as a Spanish rep. Contrary position: Gibraltar. No Gibraltar team plays in any Spanish league (it perhaps did occur in the past, but not now).  Spain claims that it is a colony, as it is British by a treaty arrangement from a colonial period war, as had been Menorca. Spain argues that it is theirs, that it should be decolonised in line with all post WWII decolonisation processes. Obviously this argument is not accepted by the UK (and has some holes), though recently, in the Brexit negotiation, the EU accepted most of the Spanish argument. All this is beside the point: Spain will not let Gibraltar teams with that name play in their leagues, for political reasons, unless they submit themselves to the Spanish federation. And also has requested to the EU to NEVER have to play any international match vs. a Gibraltar team, not senior, u-20, not women: NEVER. Which means all draws in Europe are doctored on this basis (Spain also refuses to recognise or play against Kosovo).  So basically what are we saying: the mutual interest of the two parts, which in this case would be CSA and USSF, is what is important. If both agree, then you come to an arrangement. If one part does not accept it, then it can't happen. That is the criteria, though arguments about relative quality, budget, travel, or whatever, are simply additional reasoning to bolster the national federation's decision: which can ignore all those criteria if a simple political factor is enough to override them. Same, I believe, here: if the CSA says no, then it is no, but with MLS as a precedent, you can throw in arguments, any you like, to back the decision. 
    • He might just start keeping Azira, a solid MLS CM for years, out of the lineup. 
    • It’s a shame they are not eligible for the Concacaf league. Would be nice to see them make it to the third round of the Voyageurs cup and give Vancouver a real test. 
    • I don't see him making the 40 - it's a wonderful time, we can debate whether a guy playing regularly in MLS even makes the 40 man roster. #allezlesrouges
    • I suspect familiarity is the reason for the good form. There may be a leveling effect as time passes. But if what you're saying holds true into the second half of the year, I'll wholeheartedly agree with you.
    • I feel like Cavs are USL level and the rest of the league is closer to USL1. We just play a much more complete game than anyone else in the CPL.
    • In terms of PFC and their attendance... I am a little disappointed with the numbers, but, to be fair, they have taken one for the league in terms of early scheduling. That being said, it would obviously be better if we were getting more fans, and it would show more signs of long term sustainability.  Back to the scheduling, aside from the home opener, none of these games have been played on ideal dates. Our second and CC games were on weeknights with less then ideal weather. This guarentees an empty family section. The game against York may seem like an ideal day, but there are two issues that likely cost them 1,000 or so fans. Firstly, I think for the sake of timing the viewing schedule, they started at 12:30, which is far from ideal in terms of drawing in any walk up crowds. In addition, this is the May long weekend. A weekend in which half of the people of Victoria leave the city to go for the first camp or something of the year. Based on the many season tickets that seemed to be on resale. I actually wouldn't be surprised if paid attendance was actually higher then those who showed.  All these excuses aside, it can hopefully improve with more exposure, marketing, and better dates. Given the time before our next home game, the day (Sunday), and time (3pm) anything less then 4k would be bad no matter how it is spun.  Final thoughts... Positives- It seems that weather, day, etc aside, PFC can rely on a pretty passionate and knowledgeable base of 2000-2500 fans. Given the size of the stadium, there is still clearly a great atmosphere as well. The ownership group seems willing to stick it out for at least a couple years, and given the salaries, sponsorship, other sources of revenue, if they can get average attendance up to 4k by the end of the year, they may still break even.  Negatives- You still need more paying customers to break even. The stadium location is still not ideal. I am hopeful again that the busing and exposure will help. Neutral- Langford and the mayor is very supportive, which is probably helping to mitigate costs, as they are handling it. This is great for the team ownership, but is a neutral because if more receptive ears opened up in the downtown, Langford will probably not want to let it go. 
    • Larin has played so little, should he even be at the Gold Cup? 
    • On another day he would have had two assists last night with two perfectly weighted balls on Urruti, who squandered them. He's getting stronger and stronger and I suspect he's in the 40 man roster. 
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