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  • Long Balls: Sorry Simeon Jackson, this goal drought’s for real



    The fortunes of Canadian footballers in the English Championship are illustrated by the divergent yet oddly similar paths being forged by Simeon Jackson and Iain Hume. The latter is playing and scoring, but doing so for a team rooted firmly at the bottom of the table. The former is struggling for minutes, and his few opportunities are squandered as he slowly plays himself out of a side looking likely to qualify for the Premier League.


    Saturday, October 23, 2010. That date must have popped at least momentarily into Simeon Jackson’s head as he prepared for a rare start with Norwich against Bristol City on Tuesday. It's been almost five months since he scored in the Championship, in the 44th minute against Middlesbrough. But is it better for a slumping striker to get opportunities and miss them or to flutter around anonymously barely getting a kick in? In Jackson’s case it was the former. Depending on which match report you read, the Canadian striker missed between three and five decent chances to score, including one of the “my Grandma could’ve scored that” variety in the 35th minute.

    It’s all heading south for Canadians in the English Championship. Neither David Edgar nor Jaime Peters got off the bench in either match their clubs played on the weekend and midweek. Hume offered a spot of hope with his second goal in two matches on Tuesday and his seventh of the year for Preston North End against Scunthorpe United. However as mentioned, PNE are almost certain to begin next season in the third division.

    Neither Jackson nor Hume appear headed in the right direction, at least in terms of the English soccer hierarchy. While there’s a decent argument to be made that landing with different Championship sides next season would be the best thing for their development, it would be nice to see two of Canada’s striking linchpins advance up the club pyramid instead of down it.

    Other Canadians abroad:

    Milan Borjan grabbed his third clean sheet on the trot as Rad drew Sevojno 0-0 in the Serb top flight.

    Atiba Hutchinson went 90 minutes on the weekend in a 2-2 draw with NEC and then another 90 -- including his best Luis Suarez impersonation as he saved a goal with his hand (unpunished by the referee whether intentional or not) -- as PSV dumped Rangers out of the Europa League with a 1-0 win in Scotland.

    Remember Mike Klukowski? Canada’s best leftback who used to play for the national team all the time until last spring, when his absences started being brushed off with increasingly vague comments by Stephen Hart? Well, he played 90 minutes and got an assist as Ankaragücü topped Galatasaray 3-2 on the weekend.

    Speaking of players we don’t hear a lot from here at Long Balls, Issey Nakajima-Farran played 61 minutes as Horsens fell to Silkeborg 2-1. He’s sitting at three goals in 18 appearances for the Danish club this season.

    Pedro Miguel Salgadinho Pacheco de Melo plays 90 minutes for the first time all season as Santa Clara draw 0-0 with Belenenses in a Portuguese second division match that featured six yellow cards and one red.

    Will Johnson went 90 minutes as Real Salt Lake opened up a comfortable 2-0 at home in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League semifinals against Costa Rica’s Saprissa.

    Elsewhere in Concacaf this week:

    Several unsourced reports emerged from Argentina guaranteeing that Japan would pull out of the upcoming Copa America in the wake of last week’s massive earthquake. Several more unsourced reports immediately popped up identifying the U.S., Honduras or Costa Rica as possible replacements.

    The Japanese FA has since assured the world that the Asian country’s participation in the Copa is a go, ignoring the fact that South American supporters don't really give a shit whether it's an American or Japanese B-team their countries use as target practice for the knockout rounds.

    Speaking of poorly sourced reporting, goal.com says DC United wunderkid Andy Najar will finally choose to represent Honduras internationally, making himself available for that country’s upcoming U20 matches. For anyone loitering below my apartment window this afternoon, that loud expletive was Long Balls' immediate response to the news. The last thing Canada’s World Cup hopes need is one of the most talented youngsters in MLS opting to play for Honduras.

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