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!
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.
“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.
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….
HFX Wanderers begin their first real run of home games this year with a test against York 9 FC. Both teams have struggled to pick up points early in the spring season, which lends added impetus to a match that both sides will hope to use to kick-start their campaign.
Each side comes into this one off the back of a 2-0 loss, with Wanderers falling to Cavalry in Calgary and York dropping their home opener to Forge in a clash marred by brutal weather conditions.
With the finish line somehow already in sight in this abbreviated spring season, this is a crucial match for both sides as they look to start moving up the table.
Read more on the NSXI Network.
Heading into her third season of play in United Women’s Soccer (UWS), 21-year-old Emily Burns is as excited to start the season as she’s ever been.
Fresh off her experience with Calgary Foothills WFC’s run to the semifinals of the 2018 UWS National Playoffs, the goalkeeper is ready to backstop her team to the championship.
“I definitely want to see us come out of our conference and make it to the final four championships again like last year,” Burns said. “I want to see us get a better result than we did last year because we came up a bit short when we had such a great season and it kind of ended bitterly. I’d like to see us go all the way and try to win it this year.”
Coming off her fourth year as the goalkeeper of the MacEwan University Griffins, where she was named a second-team Canada West all-star, Burns looks set to help bring Foothills WFC to success and this year she has the starting position all to herself.
Despite being named the 2017 UWS West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year and earning a clean sheet while making four saves in Foothills’ first game of 2018, when Canadian national team goalkeeper and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Stephanie Labbe joined the team, Burns’ workload for the season was cut down.
“I played in the first game last year against Salt Lake and [Labbe] ended up coming after that,” Burns said.
Labbe was infamously banned from playing in PDL action with Calgary Foothills FC in 2018, so she joined Foothills’ women’s team instead.
Read more on the NSXI Network.
The Purple Reign Podcast is a collaboration between Maxwell Mowbray (PFCOntario) and Xav Ouellette (The Hydro Pole). With both hosts building a presence on Twitter, they have decided to take on the world of podcasting. Together these two Pacific FC fans created a one-stop podcast for all things Pacific FC. Despite the hosts being 3300 KM apart, Maxwell and Xav will bring you all the latest news, rumours and discussion regarding VanIsle football.
The second episode of the Purple Reign Podcast includes:
A discussion on the 2-2 draw at the Pacific FC vs York9 FC match on May 18th, 2019.
An interview with Pacific FC CEO/Co-Owner/Sporting Director Rob Friend. This interview will include topics such as building Pacific FC, the emphasis on youth players at PFC, the lack of CanPL players on the Canada 40-man Gold Cup roster, and CanPL expansion.
A quick discussion on our new signing, Alexander “Makelele” Gonzalez.
Die-hard York9 FC fan Eric Pronio brings his outspoken (and probably biased) opinions to the internet. Focusing on York9 FC, but also touching on all things CPL, Canadian soccer news, worldwide soccer news, and pop culture.
On today’s podcast, Maxwell Mowbray (aka @PFCOntario) joins the pod to talk about his love for Pacific FC and the CPL. Eric also gets into the 40-man Gold Cup Roster for Canada, and has a quick preview of the second leg between York9 FC and AS Blainville.
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/