Jump to content

"Nash's hopes rest on Hart"


Recommended Posts


Nash's hopes rest on Hart

Star's chance to play for Canada depends on interim head coach

Dan Stinson, Vancouver Sun

Published: Friday, May 04, 2007

Martin Nash is trying to please two head coaches this spring. One is the Vancouver Whitecaps' Bob Lilley, who's never short of praise when discussing the veteran central midfielder, and the other is Stephen Hart of Canada's senior men's national team.

While Nash is firmly entrenched in the Caps' scheme of things -- he figures to extend his franchise-record consecutive games streak to 72 today against the host Rochester Raging Rhinos -- the lines of communication at the national level of soccer are uncertain.

Nash has earned 32 caps, and scored two goals, in a Canada jersey, but he wasn't selected for national team games when Frank Yallop was head coach of the side from Feb. 5, 2004 to his resignation on June 7, 2006. Citing underfunding of the national team program, Yallop was signed by Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy as their bench boss last July 6.

Hart replaced Yallop as Canada's interim head coach last July 12, and called up Nash to play in two friendly international games -- against host Jamaica last Aug. 10 in Kingston and against host Bermuda on March 25 in Hamilton. Nash played a combined 88 minutes in the two games and assisted on striker Tomasz Radzinski's insurance goal in Canada's 3-0 win over Bermuda.

Nash's goals this year include rejoining the national team for the June 6-24 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament in the U.S. While Hart remains in the national post, his long-term tenure is undecided in the wake of the Canadian Soccer Association's announcement last week that the board of directors voted against hiring Brazil native Rene Simoes to the position.

Nash is proceeding on the assumption that Hart, a Trinidad & Tobago native who was raised in Halifax, will still be calling the shots when the Gold Cup tournament starts.

"All I can do is keep plugging away with the Whitecaps," Nash said Thursday as the team was en route to Rochester, where the Caps captured their first USLFD championship last Sept. 30 with a 3-0 trouncing of the Rhinos at PAETEC Park. "There's been no discussions [with Hart] since I played in Bermuda. My national team status obviously depends on who's in charge of the team when the Gold Cup comes around."

Hart, who doubles as head coach of Canada's under-17 team, could not be reached for comment. He was in Jamaica with the under-17 side, preparing for a Saturday CONCACAF zone qualifying match against Trinidad & Tobago for this year's Aug. 18-Sept. 8 under-17 World Cup tournament in Korea.

But Hart's decision to recall Nash was justified. Following a six-week training camp in which he produced one goal and two assists, Nash was a consistent playmaker and scoring threat in the Caps' recent two-game homestand, which resulted in a 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders on April 15 and a 2-2 tie against the expansion California Victory last Saturday.

Nash scored the 2-2 equalizer against California on a scorching 26-yard shot, earning selection to the league's team of the week for the second time in the young season.

The Rhinos play their season home opener today following two road games -- a 2-1 loss to the Puerto Rico Islanders on April 13 and a 1-0 win over Miami FC on April 15.

"We were lacking a bit defensively and weren't at our best in either of the home games," said Nash.

"I welcome the game against Rochester. You want to play the strongest teams early in the season so you know where you stand and what adjustments are needed. Rochester is going to be fired up. They'll want revenge for losing last year's final on their own pitch."

GOAL DUST: Rochester will play without injured first-choice goalkeeper Scott Vallow (elbow). He'll be replaced by Chase Harrison, who joined the Rhinos this season after playing for Real Salt Lake of MLS last year ... The Rhinos' most notable offensive addition is Ivory Coast forward Hamed Diallo, who shares the team scoring lead -- one goal -- with U.S. defender Kenney Bertz ... The Rhinos won the 2006 regular-season series against the Caps. The teams played to a 0-0 tie May 22 at Swangard, but the Rhinos prevailed 2-0 at PAETEC Park on July 3.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Jeffery S.

Maybe someone could kindly suggest to Stinson that he is seriously distorting things by suggesting that the presence of Nash is fully merited. It is one thing to give a guy a free platform to spout his cause, quite another to inform readership of the reality of international soccer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


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

  • Create New...