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  • Lessons Learned



    Things which can be learnt from the two September friendlies Canada played against Peru and Honduras respectively (outside of the obvious "we still have a long ways to go" bit):

    1. More attacking options need to be tried up front. We need to try Rob Friend alongside another striker to see if he can be more effective in a 4-4-2 with someone to play off, as it seems unlikely in the 4-5-1 that Coach Stephen Hart employs that an avalanche of goals will come from the striker, or even to Ali Gerba levels of productivity. With the style Canada prefers to play - keeping the ball on the ground rather than aiming long balls at the second coming of John Catliff up front (and even he was almost always utilized in a 4-4-2) - it's easy to see why Der Cucumber Bomber is often more effective and productive for Canada than Friend, who seems to thrive much more with service in the air - which he doesn't often get playing for Canada. Occean needs to be given another look, and yes, Hart must do everything in his power to convince Bunbury and Hoillet to play for Canada - not to mention getting Jono De Guzman to switch back. And lets give Marcus Haber (in the SPL) and Julian Uccello (in Serie B) a look. We really have nothing to lose.

    2. Our offensive central midfield options are somewhat limited - both Bernier and De Ro are in their 30's already. Pedro Pacheco, our recent Portugese signing, could provide part of the answer here, a shame that he was injured and therefore not called.

    3. Terry Dunfield could be a valuable addition to the national team player pool. Nothing flashy in the d-mid role, but his distribution was very good, always keeping his team in possession against Honduras and I don't think he gave the ball away once. Playing for the Whitecaps in MLS next season will hopefully get him acclimatized to Concacaf officiating, which he got a taste of in Montreal. Simeon Jackson and Adam Straith also look like regulars for the future. It would be nice to get young Eddie Sidra in there as well for some speed coming out of the back - hopefully his club situation sorts itself out soon. And we still need an explanation for what the heck happened with the non playing of Nana Attakora, since we wasted a golden opportunity to see the kid try his luck at the international level.

    4. One spot Canada actually now has some decent depth in is central defense. Outside of the three central defenders who did play in the two games, we didn't play Nana, and Adrian Cann and Andrew Hainault weren't called from their MLS clubs - making the non-call of David Edgar somewhat of a rare luxury for Coach Hart. It would be nice to get David back in the fold however, but also nice for him to start playing regular first-team football.

    5. The CSA's goal at this point for home games needs to be filling the stands with Canadian fans. Team up with the pro clubs if necessary or let them run the marketing for the games in each respective city. There has been talk even from the Mayor of Toronto that the CSA needs to do more promotion, but charging more money for friendlies than the pro clubs do for games that "count" is part of the problem that hasn't been discussed. The game in Toronto was promoted well enough that the city's Peruvian community (many of who mistook the Canadian team for the Peruvian one when Canada came out to warm up, indicating how much - or rather how little - they follow the Peruivan team) came out to watch the match, whereas few Canadians outside of dedicated supporters did. This suggests a lack of interest by more general soccer fans (as opposed to "supporters") for the national team - at least for friendlies - and you aren't going to get them into the stands by charging more money than they are used to paying for games that count. I would like to think that most people would see supporting the national team as being more important than a club team, but not everybody does - and the distinction between "real games" and "exhibition matches" is far more prevalent with the average sports fan that is often realized.


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