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  • Canadian Content MLS Round 31 – How did our Canadians do in MLS this week?

    James Grossi

    Jonathan Osorio

    Osorio started both of Toronto’s losses this week, on Wednesday 0-1 against Houston in Toronto and on Saturday 3-1 in New York – they were his 22nd and 23rd starts of the season, bringing his total appearance tally to 26.

    On Wednesday, attacking from the left-side of the midfield, Osorio tucked in-field in order to get on the ball and insert himself into the play, but also made good use of the wide spaces. He would pick out Jermain Defoe with a nice long ball, but the striker was called off-side in the first half.

    The second half saw him put in some solid work out on the touch-line, combining with Justin Morrow to work towards goal, only to be blocked off by Ricardo Clark – a foul whistle was not forthcoming. It was a ball from just such an area, though a little higher, that led to TFC’s penalty kick, Osorio finding Defoe in the middle, who helped it on to Luke Moore who was pulled down leading to a red card and spot kick, which Defoe would miss after a long delay.

    Overall his passing on the night was superb, with just six of some sixty-plus going astray.

    He took a rather vicious ball to the face on one passage that left him slight shaken for a moment, but the Toronto, Ontario-native composed himself to help his side go in search of a goal (or two) that would not come.

    On Saturday, Osorio was equally impressive in New York; going forward at least.

    Nominally on the left again, he would move further and further in-field as the game wore on, his passing again was nearly-perfect, completing all but three of roughly forty attempts.

    Osorio would get involved straight from the off, trying to race onto a through-ball down the left-channel, only for Luis Robles to beat him and make the clearance. The Canadian was further involved minutes later, on the receiving end of a crunching challenge from Richard Eckersley, who saw a yellow card for his efforts.

    His attacking instincts – or more succinctly, the lack of defensive ones - proved costly, as he

    , which was touched in by Dax McCarty – the back-breaker before half-time.

    His disappointment during the half-time interview was palpable – and a little depressing to be honest.

    Osorio would respond to the tough first half, offering his side a life-line by scoring ten minutes after the restart,

    after Michael Bradley had played the full-back down that side – it was his third goal of the season, his last having come ten matches ago in Columbus; happier times for TFC, no doubt.

    Russell Teibert

    Teibert started a tenth-straight match in Vancouver’s crucial 0-1 win in Seattle on Friday night – it was his twentieth start and 27th appearance of the season.

    Paired with Matias Laba at the base of the midfield, Teibert covered plenty of ground in a largely defensive outing, racking up seven recoveries, two clearances, and an interception. Early in the match he tracked well back to close down an Obafemi Martins run, preventing his path to goal, but allowing the Seattle attacker to spray a wide ball to the opposite flank. He was unable to stop an Osvaldo Alonso run later on, but was aided by Steven Beitashour, who cleared away the trouble.

    Despite focusing on the defensive aspects of the game – providing coverage, mopping up loose balls, and assisting in double-teams – the Niagara Falls, Ontario-native moved the ball relatively well, though many of his more adventurous passes went awry, sending a seriously over-hit ball down the right on one occasion.

    It was especially nice to see Teibert yapping at Martins when he protested a late foul call and then proceeded to get in the face of Clint Dempsey. Teibert is being groomed for a leadership role in Vancouver, something he is growing into with each match.

    The Whitecaps would seal up a second-straight Cascadia Cup, put themselves in control of the final playoff spot in the West, and all but ensure they will represent Canada in next year’s rendition of the CONCACAF Champions League. They released this nifty graphic heralding their Cascadia triumph.

    Kyle Bekker

    Bekker made his eleventh and twelfth starts of the season in Toronto’s double-game week – he has made eighteen appearances this season.

    Paired with Michael Bradley in the centre of the pitch in both matches, Bekker played, somewhat bizarrely, as the more advanced of the duo, from where he pressed very high.

    His passing was very crisp that night, with just six of thirty-odd passes incomplete, setting up looks for Bradley – a weak shot – and Jermain Defoe – with a deft touch to Luke Moore that set up Defoe’s run. The Oakville, Ontario-native had two shots himself, testing Houston keeper Tyler Deric with a low drive from range early in the second half; his later attempt was blocked before making way for Dominic Oduro in the 65th minute when Greg Vanney looked to inject more pace to help spread the match.

    On Saturday in New York, Bekker was one of the more involved players through a strong opening twenty-plus minutes until New York took the lead, somewhat against the run of play. His movement was good, covering a lot of ground, and misplacing just three of 25 or so passes.

    He would be sacrificed for Gilberto at half-time with Toronto desperate for goals.

    Tesho Akindele

    Akindele returned to the Dallas starting eleven in their win over Los Angeles on Sunday night – it was his eighteenth start and 24th appearance of the season.

    Playing up top with David Texeira, Akindele ranged all over the pitch, as is his wont, popping up to cause problems for the Galaxy defenses. His first real involvement came in the first half when he ran at left-back James Riley, beating the full-back around the outside to pull-back a feed for Texeira – the striker made of mess of the play, tripping up over his own feet and the ball to waste the chance. He later played an inviting layoff to Victor Ulloa, who shot wide.

    The Calgary, Alberta-native had one look at goal himself, collecting the ball from a Fabian Castillo touch deep in the midfield before hitting a right-footer from distance – it sailed off target.

    His willingness to assist his side defensively was admirable, collecting four interceptions and four recoveries on the night. That unending work would force a late turnover after battling to gain control, setting up a weak Adam Moffat shot.

    Kianz Froese

    Froese, who signed his homegrown contract with Vancouver in the middle of September, made his debut on Friday night in Seattle, coming on at half-time to replace the injured Kekuta Manneh.

    The 18-year old took up the left-side of the attacking midfield three and immediately put himself about. Coming on, at half-time, on the road, in front of more than sixty-thousand fans can be a daunting task, but the Cuban-born teenage did well, if was a little rambunctious, picking up a pair of fouls – both on Seattle’s Jalil Anibaba and losing out on three dribbles.

    The first came just ten minutes after his entrance, moving inside to run at the Sounders defense. Unfortunately a heavy touch – nerves and turf – saw the ball run away from him, leading to a heavy tackle that sent Anibaba flying. He would catch his target with a late challenge in the 78th minute – clearly not afraid to get involved in the physical side of the game.

    Froese showed some good speed tearing up the left to get on the end of a Pedro Morales ball, but it was hit too far and Chad Marshall was able to come over to collect.

    He was featured in a piece on MLSsoccer.com (by CSN’s own Michael McColl), where he spoke of making his debut and Carl Robinson made note of his strong outing.

    Maxim Tissot

    Tissot began Montreal’s 2-2 draw against New England on Saturday on the bench, coming on in the 65th minute for Justin Mapp – it was his eighteenth appearance of the season, all but six have come as a substitute.

    Andres Romero would swap over to Mapp’s right-side allowing Tissot to take up his preferred left, from which he got involved with little success. Montreal would relinquish their lead four minutes after his introduction and the Gatineau, Quebec-native would spend the remaining twenty-plus minutes trying to correct that setback.

    His passing suffered in an attempt to force the issue, completing just five of his fifteen attempts, but he did win a foul after a nice move up the left to combine with Marco Di Vaio, for getting shoved over by Jermaine Jones.

    Tissot even took up a bit of the set-piece responsibilities, sending in a corner kick from the right.

    His best passage saw him cut into the left-side of the area from a nice Patrice Bernier ball, working to the end-line only to see his cross cut out by a swarm of Montreal attackers.

    Patrice Bernier

    Bernier returned to the pitch after a six-match injury lay-off due to a foot problem – it was his 24th appearance of the six, but only his sixth from the bench.

    Coming on for Felipe in the 77th minute, the Brossard, Quebec-native was his usual imperious self on the ball, completing all but one of his passes – including laying that ball in for Tissot after a bursting, slashing run up the pitch.

    Dwayne De Rosario

    De Rosario was a substitute in both of Toronto’s losses this round, coming on for Jackson in the 80th minute on Wednesday and Warren Creavalle in the 83rd on Saturday – De Rosario has made appearance from the bench in TFC’s last six matches, bring his season total up to eighteen, only four of which have been starts.

    Against his former club on Wednesday, the Scarborough, Ontario-native was very lively with his running, making on darting run to the right that dragged a pair of defenders with him, allowing Luke Moore to find Jermain Defoe in acres of space on the left – his effort sailed harmlessly over the bar.

    Three minutes after coming on in New York, Toronto would be reduced to ten men, limiting his ability to make an impact.

    The Rest

    Kofi Opare, Sam Adekugbe, Maxime Crepeau, and Wandrille Lefevre were unused substitutes on the bench for their respective sides.

    Each week James takes a look at the contributions of Canadians in the league and the league as a whole.

    You can follow James on twitter @grawsee or read more of his writing at Partially Obstructed View

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