Jump to content

Caps Insider

Recommended Posts

Caps Insider

August 23, 2004

More Caps Insiders


Thursday’s 2-1 win over Minnesota salvaged a miserable week at Swangard, that included the 1-0 afternoon loss to Seattle, and the abysmal result for Canada against Guatemala in World Cup Qualifying.

There had been plenty of momentum in Canadian soccer of late, with strong results from the women’s U-19 side, the awarding of a FIFA World Youth championship to our country in 2007, and talk of stadiums in Toronto and here at home. For a time, it was Vancouver and Montreal that topped the two A-League Conferences, while the Whitecaps Women became the first Canadian team to win a W-League title. Canada’s back-to-back 4-0 wins over Belize in WCQ could have been more convincing, but Frank Yallop’s attack minded approach was far more appetizing than recent squads. And the results against Hearts and Millwall proved A-League based players deserved WCQ consideration. So it was particularly disturbing to see Canada suffer the “stage fright” it showed last Wednesday in Burnaby with 6,500 creating one of the more festive and derby-like atmospheres in recent memory.

More frustrating still, was the absence of two critical players Jason DeVos, and Thomas Radzinski, who missed the match to injury, only to play for their club teams the following Saturday! Nevio Pizzolitto was beaten twice by the speedy Carlos Ruiz, in the centre back spot normally occupied by the experienced captain DeVos. And while Olivier Occean has huge potential, he lacked the polish and killer instinct that a Radzinski could have provided. The 2-0 loss to a speedy and in-style Guatemalan side will prove to be a huge speed bump in what is easily the most difficult group of this region’s semi final round. Let’s hope the calm and confident Frank Yallop can settle his squad for what turns out to be a must win September 4th, when his team hosts Honduras in Edmonton. A Honduran team that opened qualifying with a 5-2 win in Costa Rica.

Carlo Corazzin’s 5th goal of the season in his 50th start for Vancouver capped off a brilliant first half for the Whitecaps Thursday, as they continued their historical home dominance of Minnesota 2-1. Jason Jordan pounced on a 11th minute Martin Nash corner for his 6th of the campaign, before referee Paul Ward awarded Minnesota a dodgy penalty in the 22nd minute, which Johnny Menyongar converted. It was the first time the men in White managed two first half goals since the game against Edmonton July 4th, in which they led by two only to lose 3-2 in the last minute. There had been plenty of grumbling in the stands over Vancouver’s lack of urgency in the Sunday afternoon loss to Seattle, a style of play coach Tony Fonseca sharply defended as necessary due to a schedule that had the Whitecaps play four games in seven days. Interestingly enough, the Whitecaps completely owned the Thunder in the first 45 minutes Thursday, moving forward at every opportunity…even though they played a tough Seattle squad through extra time the night before on field turf.

Should Vancouver do as expected and make the playoffs, you’d think they would prefer a first round meeting with Minnesota over Seattle. The Sounder’s back to back wins over the Whitecaps were convincing, and Brian Smetzer’s squad has quietly had an impressive run of late. Meanwhile Vancouver hasn’t lost at home to a Minnesota Team since 1997, and should the Whitecaps have home field advantage with the Thunder, you wonder if they’d elect to play the first game at Swangard, forcing Buzz Lagos’s road weary team to fly twice between games. It’s unlikely the Whitecaps will face Portland in round one, a team Vancouver has beaten three times this season, (twice at PGE Park) but one that has been dominant of late with the return of striker Fadi Afash. We’ll have all the answers in a week!

I had a fascinating chat with the Executive Director and COO of the United Soccer Leagues (which oversees the A-League) as David Askinas’ visited Vancouver last week. Like many Swangard regulars, I had my concerns over the A-League’s Western Conference, with two struggling Alberta franchises, and an owner in Seattle that wants to take his franchise to the MLS. Not to mention the fact that the conference leading Portland Timbers are without an owner. The very affable Askinas felt quite positive that there was interest in keeping soccer alive in Edmonton, if the city’s corporate base was forgiving, and if Clarke Park came at a reasonable price. I also asked David about several other Canadian cities including Victoria, which would make for a natural geographic fit in the west. Askinas felt our provincial capital would be perfect for a PDL team (one division below) given the ideal facility at Royal Athletic Park. He wasn’t sure however, if the population base and corporate climate was right for the A-League just yet. As for Hamilton, there was definite interest from Italo Ferrari, the owner of the CPSL’s Hamilton Thunder, which have Brian Timmis Stadium at their disposal.

And while the USL would like to increase its Canadian content, their first goal is to determine which current markets meet A-League standards and which should be positioned as PDL cities. It’s conceivable that there could be a single table league next season of anywhere between 12 and 15 teams. The USL’s strategic committee has proposed a two-division league format with a separate cup competition to embrace traditions long established in other leagues. Having never met Dave before I was encouraged by his enthusiasm and his desire to attract owners with the same kind of vision and commitment that we’ve been blessed with in Vancouver.

And congratulations to Jeff Clarke for a very successful golf tournament last Friday. The Whitecaps number 2 could see proceeds to the Canadian Cancer Society triple from last year’s inaugural event. The highlight of the night was Oliver Heald’s speech after he received top prize for the putting contest!

Peter Schaad provides colour commentary for the Whitecaps this Week.

Join Hosts Craig MacEwen, Bob Lenarduzzi and Peter Schaad as they take a look inside Vancouver Whitecaps A- League Soccer Team, through Features,Highlights and Game Previews on Whitecaps this Week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:... other Canadian cities including Victoria, which would make for a natural geographic fit in the west. Askinas felt our provincial capital would be perfect for a PDL team (one division below) given the ideal facility at Royal Athletic Park. He wasn’t sure however, if the population base and corporate climate was right for the A-League just yet.

Funny but we already have a successful team at the "PDL level" that just won all three titles available in the Pacific Coast Soccer League.

He is right that we probably are not ready for an A-League team however unless a local boy (or two) turned millionaire who likes soccer feels like doing a "Kerfoot".

Hmmm ...

Yahoo money + basketball money = a heckuva lot more than the $500K needed to run for a year in the A-League.

Well, I can dream can't I? :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...