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    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.

    Rintaran
    “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

    Rintaran
    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.

    Rintaran
    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.

    Rintaran
    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.

    Rintaran
    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.

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  • Posts

    • https://www.instagram.com/reel/CjYcLT5AIhE/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y= Alistair's question 🤣 
    • Arfield definitely loses some points for (I guess, still not 100% sure what happened) choosing to no longer play for Canada. That's a perfectly reasonable perspective. I just rate him so much higher than all our other midfield players other than Eustaquio. Osorio is obviously having issues, Hutch is getting older by the second and having issues. Kone is unproven and plays deeper, MAK I don't really rate and plays deeper. Piette has stepped up and plays deeper. I would just think them making it out of the group would be so amazing and all things considered Arfield would help dramatically. Even just off the bench. I don't know how that's even debatable 
    • YES.  Players like Adekube (and even Lareya if he starts) give you the flexibly to easily switch on the fly from three at the back and 5 in MF TO 4 and 4 and/or vice versa.   Formations are not as intransigent and constraining as some may think it is.  It is more important to put the best 11 on the pitch.  And have the players fit the formation than have to force the players to fit teh formation.   As long as you have balance of 5 and 5 who are defensively and offensively focused (or both).  
    • He is actually one of the few I know that grew up in Morocco, along with Aguerd (who I only know because West Ham signed him) and En-Nesyri (who we played against last year). 
    • Unfortunately this rarely happens in  club or international football as one can't have too many forwards/attacking players in the starting XI, but having quality subs is very important and can be the difference maker.
    • Mine (line) wasn't.  Mine (younger brother) was off the charts better.  Should have done more.
    • A good back 3 shifts to a back 4 pretty easily, which is I think what you are saying. My problem is that just leaves Vitoria and Miller in the middle.  Both give up something to elite forwards. A back three is supposed to mean having quicker, smarter players that are looking to give help with those forwards (and in other areas).  I would like 3 in middle of midfield and Adekugbe and Buchanan wide but I am not sure who the 3 in the middle would be from those available, in order to justify giving up Larin.  I just watched West Ham play a 343 tonight but it was an attempt to dominayte a lesser team.  (Might have worked if we had our finishing boots on) We (Canada) can't look to do that at the World Cup.
    • That's ok, it's just a line anyway. 
    • I am no cryptologist but it seems to suggest the coach is planning to use him in some capacity in their game tomorrow.   
    • If you ask Adekugbe to stay back and play as an outside back more, then you have a back 4. It is not so great an adjustment. One of the problems vs Uruguay for me was that Adekugbe stayed wide and Davies was turning in very early, when it could have been otherwise.  In any case, here is Herdman insisting on this back 3 and the wingbacks, but if you choose Buchanan over Larin, on form, then you may have to rework the entire premise. And then, what have you been preparing for?
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