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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. Shit 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/

    Rintaran
    It looked grim, really grim, you will recall. At this point last year with six games under their belt, Ottawa Fury had notched up four defeats and achieved only two draws. The team had just two points to show for 540 minutes or more of football, having conceded 14 goals, five of them in one game alone.
    This time around it looks nowhere near so ghastly, mercifully so. The extended pre-season spent in sun-splashed Florida evidently did the squad a world of good, as there is reason to believe that the Ottawa Fury may well have a half-decent season this year.
    ...
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

  • Posts

    • So that puts them 8 above relegation with 7 games to go. Not done yet, but close. Having Scott play another year in B2 is big for us, for his age, the experience it will give him. 
    • Yes. The host confederation gets an extra place in the 2026 intercontinental playoff. It's 6 teams playing for two places. 1 from each confederation except UEFA plus one more from the host confederation.  Single leg KO at a neutral site.  Two seeded teams get a bye to the 2nd round.
    • His reluctance to attack is so complete that it seems it must be on instructions. But it actually weakens Bayern as the opposition know that he will not take them on. It does not make sense, especially when most of the attacking on the night by Bayern was mechanical and not too hard to defend against. They could have used a few drives down the left to mix things up and unsettle the defence.  I agree with several posters that Hernandez was superior in this game, which is actually the first time I have felt that so clearly. I don’t see Bayern changing Davies’ position but I hope they unleash him a little to get greater benefit from his skill set which leans offensive.
    • Lots to like. If our vets are injured, TFC is not bringing in anyone new, might as well. I'd rather see a bunch of green-ish, passionate and talented (if unrefined) young players who give a damn than vets who aren't in shape and might be a little unmotivated by the situation (which is awful for any team).
    • I doubt he'd take money from TFC without some disclosure. He's a true journalist that way. Still, he might freelance with SportsNet, CBC, TSN and maybe the US networks (Fox etc..) who cover MLS. I don't think that's very lucrative, but if he's able to draw 500-1000 paid readers he might do OK. Molinaro's stuff is really good -- he's one of the most thoughtful writers in the Canadian soccer scene. I'd hope he would expand his view outside of TFC -- maybe over time. Let's see. I wish him well in this and might subscribe. $50 to support a quality writer when the big media outlets are doing so little isn't too much in my eyes.
    • They wouldn't, but for those teams that aren't doing fine it might be an idea. The East is the only part of the country that's been consistently stable and might allow for training to go without a stop/start/stop/start sequence. It's a fair bit of effort, but if Athletico can go off to Madrid, it's not a crazy idea.
    • When is FIFA doing the intercontinental draw for the 2022 World Cup? All I can find is at a later date. 
    • As I said earlier, I'm not so convinced about our attacking ability.  We are overly deliberate in most attacks, while not having the ability to break down the structured defense that has time to organize itself.  Against a poorer defense in Wales, nice through-balls behind the back line were misplayed time and again by our attackers, usually not even resulting in a shot on goal.  All this was also apparent at the She Believes Cup.  We are going to have a hard time scoring against good teams if things stay as they are.  We need to figure out how to be more effective on attack, or we'll have to rely on luck and hope that the opponent makes mistakes like England did.  At the very least, we should try to improve crossing the ball into the box.
    • Really important win for Regensburg, and another solid performance from Kennedy. Good awareness as usual with his tackling and heading, but his passing looked a lot better today too. He didn't lob the ball to the other side of the field without pressure, and actually played it forward competently. He even held up possession with runs up the left a few times, and I'm not sure if we have other defenders (let alone CB's) who can do that. 7.1  rating on sofascore.
    • Priestman has maintained the solid defensive structure seen under KHM. But it looks like the back line seems more comfortable playing out from pressure. Offensively, she has improved the structure from being lethargic to showing some flashes of dynamism. No one really emerged under KHM but it seems Quinn is stepping up. Creativity in midfield is still hard to find but given Carle, Riviere & Chapman all can handle being fullbacks, Lawrence should be in the middle of the park against most opponents. Otherwise, it's about relying on speed, power and jumping on mistakes. And it looks like Canada can play and score without Sinclair. Viens is a good technical poacher in a similar vein as Sinclair. Huitema can bring energy and physicality as a sub.
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