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    L1O Roundup: New Beginnings


    “And it’s like stars have aligned all in Alliance
    Heart of a lion, balls of Goliath”

    Ok….. I know, I know. I’ve been away and missed the first month of the season, my bad. But as the saying goes, semi informational and questionably entertaining things come to those who wait.

    What’s new?

    Well, what hasn’t changed? Sanjaxx are gone, which sucks for me as both the downtown clubs (Nitros), have quit the league in the last two years meaning travelling to every ground is now a hassle. But the ying to that yang is that Durham are back after taking a couple of years out. TFC3 also left but that happened mid last season, so all this means that there are 16 teams in the men’s league this year and they all play each other once before the top 8 go into the playoffs.

    The playoffs were fun last year, with the best teams going up against each other, there were shocks and disappointments so I expect more of the same this year as well.

    Plenty of players have left to ply their trade in the CPL, a lot of which have started out very well, so lineups for specifically Sigma and Vaughan have changed drastically. Aurora have signed up half of the Humber college alumni, including Oakville stalwart Filipe Vilela, and N. Mississauga have also had a lot of change in their squad.

    As for this column, it won’t be coming weekly as in the past but once or twice a month rounding up the action, then with additional insights and interviews sporadically to try to add more value and exposure. So to the action on the field, what are the highlights of the season so far….

     

    Continued on the NSXI Network

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    • They were talking for a long time about changing the way soccer fans consume soccer so it looked like they were probably going to do the webstreaming thing in house before Mediapro came along, so it wasn't something that emerged completely out of the blue.
    • One factor I think is that at home teams come out with the idea they have to dominate the visitor. It is a natural tendency, and then it is understandable since this is the first season in front of the fans, and you want to show them you can boss the rival. This is fine if you have the play for it, most teams do not.  And then, most teams, regardless of how weak they are at possession play or in attack, do not want to sit back and defend at home, since that sends a negative message to the fan base. If we got a few years down the road and everyone was saying, yeah well, its Cavalry, you better sit back since they are the top team in the league, then fine. Like what happens in top leagues, you respect the powerhouses and the fans accept it when they come to visit.  But we are not there yet, every team feels it is equal to every other, and 5 months of soccer has not changed that.  After all, the fans are just the 12th man, if that. So it is an 8% addition to the team, which is not a lot, it is not enough of an edge if you are not clear about how to use your home field to your full advantage. And from what you say, that is currently the case, not even the rival's travel has been a clear factor so far.  
    • Exactly, it is like communications companies in Canada, they are all forged in the CRTC regulatory web and are basically gifted near monopoly status by our system.  My brother, who is a communications expert of sorts, once told me way back that the Griffiths family could not run a hockey team effectively (the Canucks at the time) for success because communications sector was all about getting licenses and maintaining a status--there was no winning involved. Maybe this has changed slightly, but still. The commment always stuck with me since he hates sports, he was just analysing what kind of business person is most appropriate for the ownership of an entity whose goal is to win over rivals and show leadership.  You'd need to have someone at Bell who really wanted to think outside the box, or someone at TSN allowed to, but then: what benefit would that give to the business?  
    • Are you finally going to engage in some soul searching to determine why it is that your personality is so universally considered to be repellent by those you come across?
    • Amidst all the deflection and whataboutery to use a UK expression that's the part that is genuinely on topic for this thread. Still no crowd number for Pacific vs FCE. Announcing that there were 2500 people there towards the end of the game on Saturday would have invited ridicule on a nationally televised broadcast but I thought they would have circulated something by now. The first step to solving an issue is admitting that you have a problem that needs to be fixed. The optimistic outlook on this that I am reasonably confident is what's going on is that they have found out the hard way why North American pro leagues have playoffs in the absence of relegation. Once teams are out of contention for the championship title a lot of fans will lose interest and drift away. The average Canadian soccer fan really wasn't craving Euro style authenticity that MLS wasn't providing them regardless of what a few hipsters types who have yet to show up in any huge numbers at York 9's league games were posting online. The league will find out if a more pessimistic outlook was applicable once they know what season ticket renewal rates are looking like.
    • To be fair I think each new bout has different combatants plucking feathers off the same parrot, which must surely be close to bald by now. I'm not sure what happens when the feathers are all gone. Strangulation? A garrote for the parrot has a ring to it.
    • This website makes it easy to run the actual numbers (CPL matches only): https://www.flashscore.ca/soccer/canada/canadian-premier-league/ 76 Matches played: Home win: 34 = 44.7% Away win:  25 = 32.9% Draw:         17 = 22.4% The numbers I remember as "normal" from a number of years ago (so could be different now) are 43% home win / 27% away win / 30% draw. Seems as though CPL actually does have a home advantage although Valour fans could certainly be forgiven for doubting it as the only advantage at IGF is a comfortable seat from which to watch the latest disaster unfold.
    • Jonas subbed in on min. 86 in a 2-0 Euro U21 qualifying victory over Ukraine. A few days later he remained on the bench vs. Northern Ireland. https://www.transfermarkt.us/spielbericht/index/spielbericht/3168059
    • People can blame TSN and Sportsnet for not showing highlights if they want, but I don't think they can let the CPL off the hook here.  The CPL chose the money option with mediapro/onesoccer.  We all knew that this was a likely outcome, and if you didn't then you were incredibly naive.  It's not unprecedented.  The NHL chose the Outdoor Network (and then NBC Sports) after their lockout, and as a consequence ESPN stopped showing anything.
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