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    Rintaran
    Forge’s Board is joined by AFC Curtis to discuss the results of the inaugural Spring Season of the Canadian Premier League. They evaluate the status of the league and picture what it may look like in years to come. The lads also discuss what to expect from the upcoming Fall Season and canvass the league for a potential dark horse. AFC Curtis also shines a light on the status of soccer in Manitoba and how it has been impacted since Valour FC was established.
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    Rintaran
    It’s been a difficult spring season for Valour FC in the inaugural Canadian Premier League campaign – there’s no denying that. For a team many expected to be competitive for the CanPL title right off the bat due to impressive depth in the front 6 and a plethora of quality individual talent, nothing seems to be working for Rob Gale’s side at the moment.
    One of those aforementioned quality individual talents is none other than former Montreal Impact player, Louis Beland-Goyette, who has been starting as the deepest midfielder all season long for the Winnipeg-based side – in a role known widely as the “regista”, or deep-lying playmaker.
    While Beland-Goyette brings some impressive vision to the table, which partners quite nicely with his high-quality ball-retention and tempo-keeping abilities, he did tend to struggle off the ball in the early part of the season, especially in those crucial moments when Valour were transitioning into their defensive shape, and the opposition attacked with speed.
    ...
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    El Diego
    Canada stormed out to a 2-0 lead before half time and looked a safe bet to advance to their first Gold Cup semi final since 2007. Haiti kept the faith in the second half and punished a lackluster Canadian side to keep their improbable run alive.

    El Diego
    Canada posted an impressive looking 4-0 result over former bogey side Martinique to open their Gold Cup campaign. In truth it was John Herdman’s first real test as manager of the men’s national team, and Canada was pushed in the first half before out classing the Caribbean side in the second. There is a danger in over-extrapolating from one match, especially against a side nowhere near the levels of Mexico, the U.S.A, Costa Rica, or Jamaica, but there were some interesting tid bits from the match.

    Lord Bob
    Historically, the Cameroon women’s national team is bad at soccer. They have qualified for one Olympics and two World Cups despite only having to get out of Africa, which some of my readers could do if they found ten equivalent friends. In 2015 they won two games in the group stage, somehow, over Switzerland and worst-team-alive Ecuador, but those were their first and only points in major competition. That aside, on the rare occasion they play non-African competition they lose heavily including a 2018 6-0 friendly loss to France. Their FIFA ranking is 46th, which is well into the disgraces.
    Yet, in their opening game of the 2019 World Cup, Cameroon held Canada, who have an outside chance at winning this thing, to only a 1-0 win. Worse, that seemed fair: Chris Henderson had Canada leading the expected goals 1.31 to 0.68. This is impossible to look up but I doubt any team outside Africa has ever generated as few as 1.31 expected goals against the Cameroonians.
    Read more at Maple Leaf Forever!

    Lord Bob
    The 2019 Canadian women’s national team is being called, by serious players who have even watched the games that aren’t on TSN, our best ever. The only serious argument would come from the circa 2003 team, which was mostly too young but featured apex Andrea Neil and was the only major tournament where both 20-year-old Christine Sinclair and 35-year-old Charmaine Hooper were within reasonable range of their primes. That team didn’t beat anybody they weren’t supposed to beat, but they beat everybody they had to and got us our best-ever fourth-place finish at a World Cup. You could argue for our 2016 Olympic team, but since that’s this team with some young players replaced by inferior old ones, it sort of concedes the argument.
    Naturally, the rest of the world has not sat still. As we know this is also the best Dutch team ever, the best Australian, probably the best English, and overall maybe the best American, which is a thought to chill the blood. Even last year, at home, this Canadian team was distinctly outplayed by Germany.
    Yet sit down, plan Canada’s path to victory, and it is the right side of insane. If we win our group, which is difficult but realistic, we get a round-of-16 match against most likely England or Japan. That’s rough for a round-of-16 game, but Canada winning would arguably not even be a surprise. England is good, but maybe a bit overrated; certainly not off Canada’s tier. Japan seems to be on the way down. We’ve also beaten both teams recently after some long cold streaks. The last World Cup aside, and we absolutely could have won that game, Canada’s had England’s number since 2014 or so. Get through that and the probable quarter-final is against Australia, an easier opponent, or a pupu platter of South Korea/Brazil/Norway-type outfits who could upset the Aussies but aren’t really in our weight class. Then you’re in the money, and the rest of the way every team is either good or on a roll, but the most probable semi-final opponent is Germany and even though it didn’t really count we’ve beaten them too…
    Read more at Maple Leaf Forever!

    Lord Bob
    The 2015 Women’s World Cup had some teams that really didn’t belong. How well we remember results like Germany 10-0 Ivory Coast, or Switzerland 10-1 Ecuador, or Cameroon 6-0 Ecuador. Ecuador was really bad. But it’s 2019, women’s soccer has developed for four years, and Ecuador didn’t qualify. Instead we have Chile, and Jamaica, and Thailand and Cameroon are back!
    Fans in France will get to enjoy some hilarious blowouts, making all those Ligue 1 Féminin fans feel at home.
    Usefully previewing a whole 24-team women’s soccer tournament is impossible. How’s Thailand’s depth at fullback? Any writer not actually Thai will neither know nor care. In the men’s World Cup even bad teams have a few guys playing in the Eredivisie or something so you’ll know a guy who’s seen him on DAZN or at least have a good, instinctive feel for the level? The Women’s World Cup does not play that way.
    Read more at Maple Leaf Forever!

    Lord Bob
    The Women’s World Cup happens every four years, and soccer teams change a lot in that time. Comparing one World Cup team to the previous World Cup team is just the sort of lazy, valueless sportswriting that is typical of women’s soccer but informs nobody about anything.
    So comparing Canada’s group in 2015 to that in 2019 is obviously insane, but in fairness, the soccer gods really really want me to.
    In 2015 Canada, who were not really one of the best six teams in world women’s soccer, were seeded A1 for the World Cup draw because we were the host country. As a result we got a softball group of us, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and China; no minnows but three teams we should beat most of the time. We won one, drew two, didn’t concede, won the thing; not fun, but effective. In the round of 16 we beat Switzerland in a really good game, then lost in the quarter-final when our depleted defensive depth finally caught up to us and the odd break didn’t go our way.
    In 2019 Canada might be one of the best six teams in world women’s soccer and the FIFA gods smiled upon us, placing us in Pot 1 for the draw on merit1. As a result Canada was placed in a group with New Zealand, the Netherlands, and, um, Cameroon.
    Read more on Maple Leaf Forever!

    Rintaran
    Yet again, HFX Wanderers will go to work at Wanderers Grounds tomorrow evening. This time, it is Valour FC making the trip from Winnipeg to the East Coast for the first leg of a Canadian Championship second round clash. 

    Wanderers reached this stage by overcoming Vaughan Azzuri on away goals, after a nervy second leg at Wanderers Grounds saw the tie finish 3-3. This will be the first ever appearance in this competition for Valour, as they were gifted a first round bye.
    The only time these sides have met previously came almost a month ago, with Valour running out 1-0 victors in Winnipeg. That match probably holds up as Wanderers best away performance to date, but a lack of cutting edge (and, perhaps synonymously, Luis Alberto Perea) saw them fall to defeat. 
    Wanderers will come into this match feeling good, as two solid performances have seen them earn 4 points out of 6 at home in the last week. A hard-fought 1-1 draw with York last Wednesday was followed by a 2-1 victory over Pacific, with Akeem Garcia and the aforementioned Perea seeing off the B.C. side. 

    Valour come into this game fresh off of a 1-0 away victory over Edmonton, having previously been on an extended rest. Ali Musse played the role of super-sub in that victory, popping up off the bench to score the winner in the second half.
     
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

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