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  • Canadian Content MLS Rounds 17-19 – How did the Canadians in MLS do these weeks?


    James Grossi
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    Cyle Larin

    Larin made his second-straight start for Orlando City as they beat Colorado 2-0 midweek in Round 17, adding another goal to his impressive rookie campaign – it was his tenth start and thirteenth appearance of the season.

    Following a quiet first half, Larin came to life in the second, making a good near-post run towards a cross from Carlos Rivas on the left. Similar movement allowed him to direct a right-sided Rafael Ramos cross on goal, but it was easily saved.

    Having gotten his aim set, Larin would score in the 62nd minute, getting on the end of another Rivas ball as the speedy wide attacker beat Joseph Greenspan down the left to hit a curling ball behind the Colorado back-line. Larin arrived perfectly to guide a right-footed touch past Clint Irwin to give the hosts the lead - it was his sixth goal for Orlando this year.

    The Brampton, Ontario-native contributed defensively as well, covering the dangerous Drew Moor on a Rapids free-kick, marking him all the way back to the Lions six-yard box.

    Larin had three shots – two on and one off, completed seven of eight passes, and added a clearance to his name before making way for Pedro Ribeiro in the 69th minute.

    Prior to departing for the Canada camp, Larin discussed the result post-match.

    Jonathan Osorio

    Osorio started both of TFC's Round 17 matches, beating Montreal 3-1 on Wednesday and drawing 0-0 against a steadfast DC United on Saturday – they were his eleventh and twelfth starts of the season.

    Against Montreal in a thrilling Toronto night, Osorio was excellent in the build-up, completing all but four of his some-35 passes, making seven recoveries, two tackles, and an interception; getting a little dirty with a pair of fouls.

    As he has in recent weeks, the Toronto, Ontario-native looked more and more comfortable with his role in a midfield dominated by Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco's need to get on the ball. Drifting wide, Osorio would receive a ball from deep and look to feed either of his higher profile teammates, alternative wide and central movements in search of the ball and space.

    He showed some excellent footwork out wide, skipping over a tackle to set up Giovinco, who saw his attempt blocked. And nearly stole in on goal himself, making an overlapping run down the left to get on the end of a Jozy Altidore pass.

    The ball was a tad underhit, allowing Bakary Soumare to get in the required blocking tackle – Osorio's only attempt at goal, blocked.

    Come Saturday, he reprised his left-sided midfield role with another sublime passing display, completing all but four of his 37 attempts.

    His aim was still a little off, that first goal of the season still proving elusive, dragging a low shot from the top of the box after Giovinco found him atop the arc. Osorio stepped around the sliding Nick DeLeon, but his effort was wide of the right-post.

    Osorio showed further good vision to lay a ball down the left-side of the area, picking out the run of Giovinco with a through-ball, but Bill Hamid was equal to the threat.

    He added four recoveries and a foul to his afternoon.

    Jay Chapman

    Chapman featured in both of TFC's Round 17 matches, coming on as a sub in each, before getting his first MLS start the following week in LA – bring his season appearance total up to five.

    Against Montreal, he came on in the 78th minute for Marky Delgado with Toronto already in a 2-1 lead – a third would seal up the result shortly. Chapman contributed some strong work down the right side, both offensively and defensively, sending in a good cross that won a corner kick and helping to see out the victory.

    He completed seven of his ten passes, adding two recoveries and a tackle, committing one foul.

    In DC on Saturday, the Brampton, Ontario-native again came on in the 78th minute, this time for Osorio, once more putting in a solid, if brief, shift.

    He completed eight of ten passes, made two tackles and a recovery, committing another single foul.

    There was one play in particular that showed a glimpse of what Chapman can be: a tenacious and versatile central midfielder with good range. He drifted out wide to confront Chris Korb on the ball, muscling him off it, then deftly plucking away the now-loosened ball to initiate a Toronto move – very well done.

    The rookie would get his first start in LA a week later, manning the left-side of the midfield.

    Despite the tough outing for Toronto – they lost 4-0 – Chapman showed well, intercepting a Baggio Husidic ball and laying a pass down the left for Giovinco that was a little too far ahead of the Italian phenom.

    A Justin Morrow ball was played a touch beyond his reach and a cross into the area from Chapman was cut out by Leonardo.

    Defensively he was solid, intercepting a Robbie Keane ball played across the top of the box and clearing the danger, tracking back to hurry Keane on a later chance, preventing the hat-trick scorer from getting a clean shot off from the top of the arc, and hacking down Robbie Rogers in the middle, escaping a booking for his zealotry.

    He would make way for Dan Lovitz in the 70th minute – his longest outing of the season – having completed 27 of 35 passes, making four recoveries and a clearance, conceding just a single foul.

    He was back on the bench in Round 19 when Toronto played in New York.

    Kofi Opare

    Opare returned to the starting lineup following a two-match absence for DC's Round 17 midweek match in Chicago, taking up his left-sided centre-back role alongside Bobby Boswell.

    Opare barely missed a beat, rising up with the Chicago keeper to guide a header wide from a left-sided Luis Silva corner kick and showing a stellar burst of pace to get back and pressure Kennedy Igboananike on a break, forced a rushed shot that hit the outside of the post.

    That same recovery ability was on display again when Mike Magee was able to ghost in behind the DC back-line, receiving a long pass from Guly do Prado. Opare made up the ground quickly, preventing Magee from making the most of his fortune.

    Having completed 24 of 30 passes, while racking up seven clearances, five recoveries, four interceptions, and two tackles on the night, Opare was a massive presence in the air as Chicago flung ball in late, looking for an equalizer, helping his side see out the 0-1 win away from home.

    Despite that impressive contribution, the Niagara Falls-raised Opare was an unused substitute on the weekend in Toronto and again the following round when DC travelled to Seattle.

    Ashtone Morgan

    Having missed the midweek round, Morgan returned to the Toronto starting eleven on Saturday to make one final appearance before joining Canada – it was his twelfth start of the season.

    From his familiar left-back role, Morgan was able to find acres of space up that flank with DC laying off and staying compact.

    His best play of the match was a sneaky throw-in combination with Giovinco that nearly allowed the Italian maestro to steal in down the left-side of the area.

    The Toronto, Ontario-native would be scythed down by Facundo Coria in the 89th minute, the DC sub seeing a yellow card for his action, and Morgan would have a go at goal himself from distance following a half-cleared corner kick, but it was blocked.

    He completed just seventeen of his 32 passes, but made five recoveries, four tackles, three clearances, and an interception, winning a trio of fouls in the process.

    Maxim Tissot

    Tissot got the nod when Montreal visited Toronto for a midweek Round 17 encounter, making his fourth start of the season.

    On the left-side of the midfield, the Gatineau, Quebec-native had a rather quiet match. He had one good passage, making a strong inside run that led to a chance for Jack McInerney. That attempt was blocked and Andres Romero's follow-up went wide.

    Tissot contributed at the back on occasion, tracking deep to help contain and pester Giovinco.

    He completed fifteen of 23 passes, made two recoveries, one clearance, and one tackle, before being replaced by Duka in the 57th minute.

    He was on the bench come the weekend when Montreal travelled to Philadelphia.

    Tesho Akindele

    Akindele began Dallas' Texas derby against Houston on the bench, coming on in the 60th minute for David Texeira, to make his final appearance before the Gold Cup – it was his fifteenth appearance of the season and sixth from the bench.

    With his side already ahead by two goals, Akindele injected some energy into seeing out the result, beating DaMarcus Beasley to whip a low ball through the box and getting past the full-back once more to pick out Mauro Diaz with a pull-back – it was cut out before reaching it's target.

    Akindele too chipped in defensively, winning a corner kick in his own area.

    The Calgary, Alberta-native completed 19 of his 22 passes, made three recoveries and a clearance in his half-hour, winning a pair of foul and conceding one.

    One day earlier, it was announced that he had extended his tenure with Dallas, signing a new, multi-year deal that will see him with the club through 2018.

    Patrice Bernier

    Bernier featured in both of Montreal's Round 17 matches, coming on as a sub in Toronto before starting way to Philadelphia on the weekend.

    Against Toronto, the Brossard, Quebec-native entered the fray in the 77th minute for Ignacio Piatti, completing ten of his twelve passing, adding three recoveries, an interception, and a clearance in his brief cameo.

    Inserted into the starting eleven in Philly, sitting deep in the midfield alongside Callum Mallace, Bernier had a difficult evening against a rampant Union attack, hitting their stride, though Montreal scrapped to a 2-2 draw.

    He would see a yellow card in the 22nd minute – his first of the season – for blocking off a Cristian Maidana run, ending a potential counterattack.

    Bernier would come up with a key block in the area against Maidana who attempted an end-line run. Having cut back on Laurent Ciman, Maidana looked to play into the area, but Bernier stayed with him, ending the threat.

    With Philadelphia on the front foot, Bernier was forced to do a lot of deep tracking.

    He would pick up a second yellow card in the 67th minute for a rash sliding challenge on Vincent Nogueira, who attempted to initiate another counter. The ensuing red card was Bernier's first in MLS in his 95th appearance for the Impact.

    It was very uncharacteristic of the veteran midfielder, who has seen just thirteen bookings in his four seasons with Montreal, though it was his fourth foul of the match.

    Bernier's passing was again supreme, missing just one of some thirty attempts, adding five recoveries, two clearances, two tackles, and an interception prior to departing.

    He owned up to his error post-match.

    Having served his one-match suspension, Bernier was on the bench against Columbus in Round 19.

    Marcel de Jong

    de Jong made his eighth start of the season for Kansas City as they beat Colorado 2-0 on the Saturday night of Round 17 – it was his ninth and final appearance before a Gold Cup enforced hiatus.

    Ostensibly manning the left-back position, de Jong was an attacking force, winning a corner kick with an early cross that greatly troubled Clint Irwin and ballooning a later effort well over the bar.

    His flair in attack is admirable – he made a dashing inside run in the 41st minute to collect a knockdown from Krisztian Nemeth and laying a ball down the side of the area for Dom Dwyer, it skipped just beyond the striker's reach – but when committed forward, it leaves him capable of being exposed at the back – his positioning was found faulty when Luis Solignac was sent in down the attacking-right, but Tim Melia bailed out his teammate, making the save and holding the rebound.

    The Newmarket, Ontario-native would complete twelve of his 23 passes, compiling five clearances, four interceptions, three recoveries, and three tackles before making way for Saad Abdul-Salaam in the 78th minute.

    Will Johnson

    Johnson started his fourth and fifth matches of the season for Portland over Rounds 17 and 18, helping to guide his side to a pair of wins over Western Conference opponents, Seattle and San Jose.

    In the 4-1 win over Seattle, Johnson was strong, but still looked like a man still finding his feet after the long injury lay-off.

    Sitting deep for most of the match, the Toronto-born midfielder was not involved in much of the attack, though he did make his impact felt.

    Fanendo Adi was able to collect the rebound from a weak Johnson shot from distance, testing Stefan Frei with an effort, and Johnson played a secondary role in forcing the turnover that led to Adi's second goal, playing an early pass in the build-up as well.

    His only shot was blocked, but Johnson completed 37 of his 42 passes, ending the match with two recoveries and two clearances, committing and winning a pair of fouls each way.

    The following weekend against San Jose, Johnson was again conservatively influential, once more sitting deep, orchestrating and supporting from there.

    This time however, he had four shots, some good, some not so much.

    He horribly screwed a right-footer wide from the top of the box after Darlington Nagbe pulled back to him, but he nearly made amends for that minutes before half-time with another attempt from distance – some thirty yards – that bent agonizingly wide of the top right-corner of the goal.

    Another attempt in the second half, this time from an Adi layoff, was blocked, and his final attempt at goal was a supreme example of his iron will (get it?), fighting off a pair of defenders to get on the end of an Alvas Powell cross from the right at the back-post, directing his header towards goal, requiring a block and winning a corner.

    There was one comical moment when Gaston Fernandez thought he had scored a late-winner, only to be denied by the off-side flag. Johnson recovered his discarded shirt and pointed out the assistant referee, somehow helping to avoid a booking for his frustrated teammate.

    Portland would find the eventual winner.

    Johnson completed 35 of 42 passes, adding seven recoveries and four tackles, committing a single foul.

    Anthony Jackson-Hamel

    Jackson-Hamel came on in the 83rd minute for Dilly Duka in Montreal's 1-2 home loss to New York City in Round 18 – it was his fourth such appearance of the season.

    With the Impact having fallen behind to a second David Villa strike, Jackson-Hamel joined Jack McInerney up top in search of a late equalizer.

    The Quebec City, Quebec-native nearly proved the hero, but just could not stretch enough to get on the end of a Marco Donadel free-kick. His stat-line for the brief cameo was all zeros.

    He was an unused substitute in Round 19 when Montreal hosted Columbus.

    Jordan Hamilton

    Hamilton entered Toronto's heavy loss in Los Angeles in the 86th minute, replacing Robbie Findley with the score already three goals in the Galaxy's favour – it was his first run-out of the season.

    The Scarborough, Ontario-native was energetic, but could not make headway against a tough LA defense, though he did complete all three of his passes.

    He was an unused substitute the following round in New York.

    The Rest

    Kianz Froese was on the bench for all three of Vancouver's matches over this spell, but failed to see any playing time following the opening of his account last round. He was however the subject of a feature at MLSsoccer.com, expressing his thoughts on scoring his first MLS goal.

    Wandrille Lefevre was an unused substitute for Montreal in Rounds 17 and 18. There was some huge news for the French-born defender on July 2nd, as he became a Canadian citizen in a ceremony held at Stade Saputo – mmm, Maple crème cookies.

    Russell Teibert was on the bench for Vancouver in New England in Round 17, but was not used, departing for Canada and the Gold Cup shortly thereafter.

    Chris Mannella was an unused substitute for Toronto in LA.

    Each week (ideally) 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

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