Jump to content
  • A game that wasn’t


    A groggy Sunday morning finds an exhausted soccer scribe squinting at the fixture list, seeking inspiration. Nothing much is cutting through the fog, though that Liverpool-Everton FA Cup tie-up might well be worth a visit to the Football Factory later this afternoon.

    The game I’m really thinking about … isn’t going to happen.

    February 11, 2009, CONCACAF World Cup qualifying final round – Canada at Costa Rica.


    This deduction is based on the intricate, cutting-edge scientific method of crossing Honduras off the Hex sked, and scribbling in Canada instead. It works out pretty well, too. Honduras doesn’t play a home match until they host Mexico on April 1. Shouldn’t be too much snow in Canada’s soccer palaces by then.

    Had Our Lads managed to finish ahead of the tough, artistic Tegucigalpans in last year’s group stage, they might indeed be setting up to play Costa Rica, a side Canada against whom Canada has had reasonable recent success. There’d likely be a training camp coming up in Florida, and the fan boards would be bristling with roster debates.

    The Dale Mitchell coaching debate would still be simmering, but on a back burner. Would TFC captain Jim Brennan be invited to camp? Would Rob Friend, goal-poaching strikeman for Borussia Moenchengladbach? Both have said they will never play for Mitchell again – but had Canada won some games and qualified, would those words have ever been mentioned?

    How much of midfield drive-train Dwayne DeRosario’s “welcome to Toronto FC” press conference last week would have been devoted to World Cup qualifying?

    And where would the April 1 home game against Mexico be played? Did Toronto earn the honours with the singing, stomping passionate crowd that turned out to see things go oddly wrong against Jamaica? Or is Montreal still the players’ preference, despite its patchy grass and hugely pro-Honduran crowd last September?

    These are all things I’d love to be writing about – debates I’d adore to see us all have.

    Instead, we’re getting ready to play … Cyprus.

    With all due respect to an ancient beautiful land, and to Cypriot squad Anorthosis Famagusta’s giddy, unexpected run in the UEFA Champions League, how is visiting yet another Mediterranean minnow (remember the 1-0 loss in Malta?) going to help a divided, disheartened Canada prepare for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup?

    Come on, CSA! Ask one of the Cool Girls to dance! Portugal! Uruguay! Senegal!

    Just a good, technical team that can put out an advanced-level 90 minutes to get our guys ready to at least put out an honest effort in the regional shin-dig.

    But then again, given all the vocal discontent that is finally flowing forth from player after frustrated player, why should any of them bother to put out a better effort than the Canadian game’s sad, silly masters at the CSA?

    … Where Dale Mitchell is still coach, and they got us a game with Cyprus.

    Is it time to start writing the player/fan boycott story?


  • Create New...