Jump to content
  • Sign in to follow this  

    Canadian Content MLS Rounds 14 & 15 – How did the Canadians in MLS do this week?


    James Grossi

    Cyle Larin

    Larin may have began Orlando City's match in Chicago on the bench, but with his side trailing 2-1, he made his way on in the 66th minute, replacing Pedro Ribeiro - his third-appearance from the bench and his eleventh-overall this season.

    He immediately set about pestering the Fire defenses, getting into a wrestling match for position with centre-back Adailton, but his most important contribution came in the 82nd minute when he scored the fifth goal of his rookie campaign.

    Larin was dispossessed by Adailton, but stuck with the play, winning it back and finding a pocket of space to unleash a right-footed blast from some 25 yards, beating Jon Busch low to the left-post, his shot banking in off the woodwork.

    Having leveled the match at twos, the Brampton, Ontario-native would not rest on his laurels, continuing his hard work in the 86th minute when Orlando took the lead courtesy an Adailton own-goal.

    Carlos Rivas was sprung down the left-channel by a Kaka ball, attempting to pick out the run of Larin in the middle, only for his delivery to bank in off the Chicago centre-back. Initially, Larin had motored into position to be an option, but upon realizing the situation, he wisely used his stature to prevent the recovering Joevin Jones from getting to the trickling ball, not allowing him to make the required goal-line clearance. That goal would prove the winner, as Orlando City picked up a solid 2-3 road victory,

    Though his stat-line was unimpressive – he scored on his only shot, did not complete his only pass, while adding a pair of clearances and a tackle, as well as straying offside twice – Larin was the crucial factor in both of Orlando's late goals, steering the side to victory.

    Post-match he spoke of the importance of winning on the road: "I think it's important that we move up in the table. I think we fought back and were on them the whole game, we needed to get the ball then, then you saw it when we came back, we started playing, and we started scoring." And of turning around the match from a losing position: "I think when we really believe in each other, we'll come back. We're a really good team, and I think once we believe in each other, and play with a sense of urgency, we'll be fine."

    A very modest and team-based attitude from the young Canadian. He also spoke about getting ready for the Canadian National Team with World Cup Qualifying and the Gold Cup ahead.

    Maxim Tissot

    Tissot featured in two of Montreal's three fixtures over this time period, coming on against Vancouver, and starting at Columbus – he was rested in New York against City in Round Fifteen.

    In Wednesday's 2-1 win over Vancouver, Tissot came on for Andres Romero in the 63rd minute, taking up the right-side midfield position. He was not particularly involved in the Impact's attack down that flank, spending more of his time tracking the movement of Cristian Techera down his side.

    He did manage one shot – it was off-target, while completing nine of his ten passes, adding an interception and a recovery.

    Come Saturday and a trip to Columbus, Tissot was in the starting eleven, returning to his more familiar left-sided midfield role.

    Aside from playing an early ball into the box that was just a little too far ahead of Jack McInerney – Crew keeper, Steve Clark, collected it easily – the Gatineau, Quebec-native would have to wait until the 55th minute to make his mark on the match.

    Romero scooped a ball into the area for McInerney, who saw his sliding chance denied by Clark, but Tissot was on hand to tap in a right-footer from close range, scoring his first goal of the season.

    Minutes later, Tissot nearly added a second from very similar circumstances, on hand once more to pounce on the rebound from a McInerney header, only for Clark to pull-off an epic double-save – Tissot may have been offside anyways.

    The third-year player was at his most dangerous with his late, unmarked runs into attacking positions – he received a ball from Romero on one such occasion when the Argentine worked in from the left, only to horribly miss-hit his attempt, skewing it well wide.

    He would make way for Victor Cabrera in the 82nd minute with Montreal protecting a 0-2 lead, en route to a 1-2 win – Federico Higuain would score in stoppage-time.

    Tissot ended the match with two shots – one on (his goal) and one off, completing 14 of 23 passes, making two recoveries and an interception, committing a single foul.

    Post-match he noted, “It’s been a lot of time talking about getting that first win on the road, so we are really pleased. We stayed focused the entire game and stuck to the game plan tonight.”

    Wandrille Lefevre

    Lefevre started all three of Montreal's matches, bringing his season total up to four.

    Against Vancouver as the right-sided centre-back, he was immense defensively, racking up eight clearances, six recoveries, five blocks, two interceptions, and two tackles, all while conceding just a single foul.

    He showed his mobility, tracking Darren Mattocks all the way to end-line to cut out a cross, conceding a corner kick, and then moved out wide quickly to pressure Kekuta Manneh, later he did the same to Octavio Rivero, snuffing out an attack with good horizontal defending.

    And he was fearless in the wall, getting his head on a Pedro Morales free-kick, again directing it out for a corner. The French-born defender completed all but eight of his 35-odd passes in a winning effort.

    In Columbus on the weekend, he was similarly active in the face of the threat posed by Kei Kamara, one of the hottest goal-scorers in MLS. Lefevre tracked Kamara to the near-post on one chance, limiting the result to a corner kick, and then making up for a poor clearing header of his own, which fell to Kristinn Steindorsson, following up to get in a needed clearance.

    He did have one miscommunication with his keeper, Evan Bush, touching out for a corner when the keeper wanted to collect, but that did not prevent Montreal from seeing out the road victory.

    Lefever was again influential, contributing eleven clearances, two tackles, two recoveries, and an interception; again, committing just a single foul.

    The following weekend, a match in New York against City, was an eventful one for Lefevre, culpable on two of New York's goals, but scoring one himself in the 3-1 loss.

    He was dragged out wide in his pursuit of Ned Grabavoy, leading to David Villa's 31st minute strike, failing to cut out the pass that picked out Villa and was horribly isolated on New York's second, pressured into a slip and a turnover by the hard-charging of Kwadko Poku and the cunning positioning of Villa, who prevented Lefevre from playing by to his keeper by lurking, ready to intercept.

    Poku capitalized on the slip, stealing possession and finding Mix Diskerud, who beat Bush with a low shot.

    He needed his teammates to come back and provide options to play out of that dead-end.

    Despite those two setbacks, Lefevre would still compile seven recoveries, six clearances, two tackles, and an interception, though his passing was a bit off, completing less than half of his some 25 attempts – Montreal looked a little tired, diminishing the options.

    But come the 88th minute, he wiped away the frustration, scoring his first MLS goal when he arrived completely unmarked at the back-post to power a header from a deep Laurent Ciman free-kick on the left past Josh Saunders in the New York goal – it was his only 'shot' of the night.

    Post-match he commented on playing on a narrow pitch: “It was hard at the beginning to find our marks on this pitch. We were trying to play long balls in the first half, but we played much better in the second half. And scoring his first: “It was a great delivery by Laurent to score my first goal, but I can’t be happy because we were losing 2-0 and we still lost that game.”

    Lefevre was featured in an MLSsoccer.com piece around that period as well.

    Will Johnson

    Having been rested for the trip to Colorado, Johnson returned to the Portland midfield for their 2-0 win over New England, lining up alongside Diego Chara at the base of the formation – it was his second start of the season.

    The Toronto-born Johnson showed glimpses of his former self – putting in a strong tackle on Scott Caldwell that spurred a Timbers counter, Max Urruti would sent the chance wide, and then ripping a low right-footed shot from distance wide of the left-post having collected a lay-off from Sebastian Fernandez.

    His passing was succinct as ever, completing all but four of his 45-plus attempts, including one nice ball down the right for Dairon Asprilla – he would drags his shot wide of the far-post.

    But a woeful free-kick in the 64th minute from long-range that drifted horribly wide showed that he still has a few things to work on before it can be said he is the same ol' Will Johnson.

    Blushes aside, Johnson did play a role in the build-up that led to Fanendo Adi's second of the night, making one of the early passes in midfield that led to the goal, securing the 2-0 win for the Timbers.

    Johnson took two shots – both off-target, adding two interceptions and a recovery to his credit, conceding a single foul.

    He spoke about a possible return to the Canadian National Team in a feature, noting of the upcoming summer: “It’s an interesting situation. It’s a big summer for us. Obviously this is the last competitive camp before the Gold Cup, so I think it kind of makes sense to see where I’m at and see if I fit into Benito’s plans for the Gold Cup. So I’m thankful they’re giving me the opportunity to at least showcase myself.”

    He continued: “Obviously the timing is not great coming off a long injury, but I’m starting to feel good about where I am and think I can compete even on the international level.”

    As readers will know, Johnson will not be participating in the Gold Cup.

    Kofi Opare

    Opare started both of DC United's matches in Round Fourteen before spending Fifteen's match in Orlando on the bench – bringing his season start total up to twelve; it will be interesting to see how the battle for a starting position between him and Steve Birnbaum for a spot in the DC eleven.

    Midweek against Chicago, Opare was solid at both ends of the pitch, though he could not prevent David Accam from getting on the end of a Quincy Amarikwa ball leading to the game's opening goal in the 28th minute.

    He would make up for that short-coming later in the match, when despite getting beat in a battle with Amarikwa, Opare flung himself at the ground, doing just enough to put off the attack – last-ditch defending indeed.

    At the attacking end, he was a presence in the box, getting on the end of successive corner kicks, both directed off-target under heavy pressure – he would end the night with three attempts at goal – two off and one blocked.

    Opare completed all but five of some 35-passes, making six recoveries, three clearances, two interceptions, a block, and a tackle throughout.

    Post-match he disgusted the game of two halves – DC fell behind in the first before responding with three in the second for the 3-1 home win: “Obviously the first half started a little slow. It looked a little lethargic I thought. The second half we, at half time, had time to regroup and adjust some things tactically and I think we made some minor changes that in the second half we implemented. Obviously with the addition of Fabi definitely helped us. Him, Davy, they definitely made a difference when they came on. Also, Facundo as well.”

    On Saturday against Toronto FC, the Ghana-born, Niagara Falls-raised defender had his hands full with the machinations of Sebastian Giovinco.

    Giovinco got the better of him from a Luke Moore through-ball - Andrew Dykstra rushed out to force the attacker wide – but Opare made amends in their next meeting, getting out wide left to close down Giovinco, forcing a rushed-shot that was off-target.

    Giovinco would win the next one, Opare unable to keep pace with his dash across the top of the box, but nothing came of the move.

    And Opare nearly scored himself, robbed of his second goal of the season by an off-side flag after he swept in a free-kick that TFC keeper Chris Konopka failed to collect. Replays showed the decision may have been a harsh one.

    Back to his running battle with Giovinco, Opare would lose once more, allowing the attacker to spin away, but Opare recovered, rushing back to prevent Giovinco slicing towards goal. However, come the 83rd minute Giovinco would have the last laugh, scoring his second of the night when Opare held off applying pressure, allowing Giovinco to beat Dykstra with aplomb from distance.

    Opare would pick up a yellow card in the 88th minute for bundling over Jackson on the edge of the area after conceding possession – it was his first booking of the season; another measure of how solid he has been since stepping into the lineup.

    He completed all but eight of his 25-odd passes, make four recoveries, one interception, and one clearance; his booking was his only foul of the match, against Giovinco, rather impressive, though the Italian did score two goals.

    Marcel de Jong

    Having returned from a lengthy injury lay-off last round, de Jong was in the starting lineup for Kansas City as they dispatched with Seattle 1-0 on Saturday – it was his seventh start and eighth appearance of the season.

    Taking up a left-sided midfield role, de Jong was full of energy early, at times, nearly leading the line, swapping positions with Graham Zusi, for Sporting as they took the match to the Sounders.

    He had one left-footer from range whisk just over the crossbar and another in short order that was deflected wide for a corner kick. And third attempt at goal was straight at Stefan Frei, who handled the effort easily.

    The attacking wide player also showed his ability to link up with teammates, exhibiting some neat interplay with full-back Amadou Dia down the left and pulling back to the top of the area twice – the first was met by Connor Hallisey, sending his effort over, and the other was into a crowd of defenders.

    The Newmarket, Ontario-native added a bit of defensive work, tracking all the way to his own corner to win a throw-in, and a bit of physicality, catching Chad Marshall in the midsection with a stray boot, before making way for Dom Dwyer in the 58th minute having run his socks off.

    de Jong had five shots – three off and one blocked, completing eight of his sixteen pass attempts, and adding two clearances and a recovery in his hour on the pitch.

    Jonathan Osorio

    With Michael Bradley away with the US National Team in Europe, Osorio was handed the keys to the attacking midfield in Toronto's 1-2 win in DC – it was Osorio's fourth-straight start bringing his season tally up to nine at the time.

    From that central role, Osorio looked very good, showing that after a slow start to the season he has grown accustomed to his new surroundings.

    He looked strong, holding off the attentions of Davy Arnaud to turn and initiate an attack, and made the run into the box to get on the end of the rebound from a saved Giovinco shot, but was unable to get the needed touch.

    The Toronto, Ontario-native showed a measure of coolness in attack, calmly waiting for the window to open before sliding a ball inside to Luke Moore, who in turn set-up Giovinco's first goal of the match.

    Like the earlier rebound, Osorio was unable to get on the end of a one-two flick from Giovinco, but the idea was there, which is half the battle.

    He would get in position for a popped cross from the Italian at the back-post, only for a covering Sean Franklin to deflect the chance wide – nearly banking it into his own net.

    Osorio's passing was impressive, misplacing just six of over 35 attempts, while adding two interceptions, two recoveries, and a clearance to his performance, winning a pair of fouls in the process.

    Post-match he commented on taking up the central reins: “I think I did pretty well. I think I helped the team a lot in possession, keeping the ball and trying to maintain it while they were pressing a lot. I thought I did a good job at holding it up and creating chances for the team.”

    His interview can be viewed here.

    Patrice Bernier

    Bernier appeared in all three of Montreal's matches – starting midweek against Vancouver before coming on as a sub in both weekend matches.

    Captaining the side against fellow Canadian club, Vancouver, Bernier was involved in an all-Canadian handshake, as both he and Russell Teibert took part in the prematch sportsmanship. It was just his second start of the year.

    The Brossard, Quebec-native would make a near-immediate impact, heading a Nicolas Mezquida flick at the near-post off the goal-line, behind for another corner kick, sparing an early deficit.

    And he showed glimpses of the old Bernier, giving Teibert a lesson in defensive-midfieldery with a textbook tackle that halted his younger counterpart's run and winning the ball, spurring a counter in the other direction.

    Bernier would come off in the 81st minute with the scores tied at one, to be replaced by Anthony Jackson-Hamel. He had one shot – a free-kick into the wall – completed all but eight of his forty-odd passes, while making ten recoveries, four clearances, three tackles, two blocks, and two interceptions in a classic performance.

    With that exertion and having helped beat a domestic rival, Bernier would be on the bench come the weekend, entering for Marco Donadel in the 80th minute to help see out the result.

    And again the following weekend, waiting until the 70th minute to replace Callum Mallace against New York City. He was lucky to escape a booking when he hauled Grabavoy to the ground and was partially responsible for Poku's late goal, City's third, when a cross squeezed under his foot, falling to the attacker on the right-side of the box.

    Russell Teibert

    Teibert appeared in both of Vancouver's matches, captaining and starting against Montreal before coming on as a late sub on the weekend in Los Angeles.

    In Montreal as a central midfielder, he was tasked largely with tracking the movements of Piatti, providing cover to his defenders and matching the runs from the Impact midfield.

    The Niagara Falls, Ontario-native would contribute to the attack, sending a long ball into the box for Mattocks, who would hit the post, and playing in a cross after a short corner kick that picked out the head of Kendall Waston for a weak header.

    Like Bernier, he was lucky to escape a booking when he bundled over Piatti on a run at the edge of the area, though the foul was conceded – one of two he committed.

    Teibert completed all but six of his some thirty attempts, making four recoveries, three interceptions, two clearances, and a tackle.

    Come the weekend, Teibert was on the bench as Vancouver won their first-ever match at LA by a 0-1 scoreline with Manneh scoring in the 32nd minute.

    Teibert came on in the 75th minute for Matias Laba, helping to see out the result, completing three of five passes and three recoveries.

    Kyle Bekker

    Bekker went unused on the bench in San Jose in Round Fourteen, but was in the starting eleven for a Round Fifteen match in Seattle – just his second start of the season.

    From his central midfield position, Bekker was allowed to press forward; his partner, Victor Ulloa, playing more the holding role, and the Oakville, Ontario-native did surprisingly well given his intermittent playing time this season.

    He won a ball in midfield, leaving it to Blas Perez, who set up Fabian Castillo to blast over the bar early. And then made a run into the area himself, drawing a Save of the Week-calibre stop from Frei.

    Mauro Diaz played out wide to Perez on the left, who fed the streaking Bekker. The Canadian had to dig the pass out of his feet, it was a little behind him, but got off a left-footer that nearly beat the Seattle keeper.

    He then played a good ball in from the right for Perez, who touched to Castillo, only for a Zach Scott tackle to end the play.

    Events turned against Bekker at the other end of the pitch, when he was stripped of possession by Thomas in the 55th minute, leading to Lamar Neagle's goal. And was then helpless to defend against the might of Obafemi Martins at the low-post, where the Nigerian effortlessly turned Bekker and scored from a tight-angle in the 73rd minute.

    Bekker would be replaced in the 74th minute by Rolando Escobar having taken two shots – one on, one off, completed more than two-thirds of his thirty-plus passes, while making seven recoveries, three interceptions, and a tackle.

    Karl Ouimette

    Ouimette made his fourth-straight start for New York in their Friday night encounter in Houston – it was his fifth start and sixth appearance of the season.

    Lining up alongside Roy Miller as the right centre-back, Ouimette had a tough night as his side fell 4-2.

    The Terrebonne, Quebec-native managed to keep both Will Bruin and Giles Barnes quiet for the first half, but come the 59th minute his attempted block on an Oscar Boniek Garcia shot caused the effort to loop up, over Luis Robles, and into the New York goal, equalizing the score at one. Somehow that was not considered an own-goal – MLS is very generous in such situations.

    He would nearly be involved in a second own-goal, when Kemar Lawrence's clearance went straight into Ouimette, the rebound dribbling just wide of the post in the 72nd minute. Ricardo Clark would score Houston's second from the ensuing corner kick.

    A threat in the opponent's box, Ouimette would try to get up on a Felipe free-kick, only to be dumped to the ground by David Horst, while his attempt to reach a long ball from Chris Duvall when New York were trailing and in search of an equalizer would go wanting.

    He completed twelve of his eighteen passes, contributing eight clearances, three interceptions, and two recoveries; his only foul of the match came when colliding with Tyler Deric on that long ball from Duvall.

    Ashtone Morgan

    Morgan started a tenth-straight match for Toronto in a winning effort, away to DC United.

    From his left-back position, Morgan was solid defensively, getting out quick to shutdown an early Conor Doyle chance, conceding a corner in the process. And he showed the awareness that has seen him take his game to a higher level, his head on swivel with Nick DeLeon lurking wide, constantly refreshing his knowledge of where the attacker was off his back-shoulder on a DC attack down the opposite flank.

    His signature tenacity was on display as well, absolutely crunching Fabian Espindola with a clean sliding challenge.

    In attack, the Toronto, Ontario-native was a factor too, sending in a good cross from the left that went untouched through a dangerous area, and then setting up Jackson with a pass that resulted in a horrendous shot.

    His passing was a bit off, completing just fifteen of his 25 attempts, but with four recoveries, three clearances, two tackles, an interception, and a block, he more than made up for that short-coming.

    Tesho Akindele

    Akindele made a second-straight start for Dallas in their 0-0 draw in San Jose – it was his ninth of the season.

    Nominally the wide right-sided attacker, Akindele was free to roam as usual, popping up all over the pitch, once dropping deep to collect a loose-ball in the midfield, dishing off to Diaz, who sent his effort over the bar.

    The Calgary-born forward could not get enough power on a header from a corner kick and had a right-footed crack from distance that went straight into Earthquake centre-back, Clarence Goodson.

    It was a frustrating game for Dallas and Tesho, he did a lot of good running to get into positions, but his teammates were a touch too individualistic to made the most of his movement.

    His only shot of the match was blocked, though he completed twenty of his 25 passes, a good rate for him, adding three recoveries, a tackle, and a clearance to his mark.

    Anthony Jackson-Hamel

    Jackson-Hamel featured in two of Montreal's three matches, coming on as a substitute against Vancouver and New York; he was unused on the bench against Columbus.

    Coming on in the 81st minute for Bernier against Vancouver, Jackson-Hamel played a minor role in the game-winner, rolling a ball to Romero, who in turn set up Piatti for the strike. After playing the pass, his strong run was enough to distract the defense, opening up space centrally for Piatti to run into.

    A few minutes later he nearly added one of his own, touching a Romero pull-back at the near-post just wide with his left-foot after a neat paused-run to get onto the service at the last minute.

    His only shot was off-target, but he completed nine of ten passes, adding an interception and a recovery.

    In New York a week and a half later, the Quebec City, Quebec-native would come on at half-time for Victor Cabrera, moving up top alongside McInerney to give Montreal more of an attacking presence for the second half.

    He struggled to gain a foothold with Montreal disjointed and too widely-spaced. He did manage to corral a bouncing long ball away from Jason Hernandez, only for Saunders to come rushing out to collect the half-chance.

    Jackson-Hamel completed half his ten passes, making one tackle and a recovery in his half of play – his longest run-out of the season.

    Jay Chapman

    Chapman entered TFC's match in DC in the 73rd minute, replacing Warren Creavalle – it was his second appearance of the season.

    Taking up the right-sided midfield role, the Brampton, Ontario-native nearly got on the end of a Jackson cross and was on hand to clear a DC corner kick away from Toronto's near-post as the clock ticked down.

    He completed four of his six passes, adding a recovery and a clearance in the process.

    Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare

    Gagnon-Lapare made his second appearance of the season against New York City, coming on in the 78th minute for Piatti with New York holding a two-goal lead.

    Sitting deep, alongside Bernier, Gagnon-Lapare was tasked with preventing any further damage. He had one rather enjoyable moment, getting into a tangle with Villa, who did not appreciate the attention, kicking out a little at the Sherbrooke, Quebec-native after a bit of contact.

    He completed six of his ten passes, making two recoveries, and an interception.

    The Rest

    Chris Mannella was on the bench for Toronto FC away to DC United.

    Note: As far as catching up with the reviews goes, the plan is to compile Round 16 this week, and then get to Round 17 for early next week. Rounds 18 & 19 will be combined – most of the Canadians will be away at the Gold Cup anyways – and so by the time they rejoin their clubs, everything will be back in sync.

    Apologies again for the absence and thanks for reading.

    Each week (normally) James takes a look at the contributions of Canadians in the league. He can be followed on twitter @grawsee and more of his writing is available at Partially Obstructed View

    Sign in to follow this  



×
×
  • Create New...