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Canada's "bad" defense


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3 minutes ago, PopePouri said:

It's worth noting the following:

1) Hutch isn't part of that team and he's considered 660k. "Come on maaaaan" using a 38 year old player to prove a point?  Even if it is Hutch, obviously his value will go down. 
2) Defenders will always evaluated less than midfielders/strikers. Davies is a d-man, how much is he worth?
3) Transfermarkt won't always reflect the players form. True, but still a good indication of value and performance.

Obviously, our CB aren't as good as mid/strikers, but given the quality we have in those positions, it's not "bad". All the players we've called up are decent. They're certainly not USL level.

 

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1 minute ago, PopePouri said:

It's worth noting the following:

1) Hutch isn't part of that team and he's considered 660k.
2) Defenders will always evaluated less than midfielders/strikers.
3) Transfermarkt won't always reflect the players form.

Obviously, our CB aren't as good as mid/strikers, but given the quality we have in those positions, it's not "bad". All the players we've called up are decent.

And in addition to all you have said here, which I agree with, the best metric to look at is how many goals this team has allowed, which is just 1. 

That should trump player valuations. Even if the argument was that our backline is overperforming based on their market values, it doesn't matter. 1 goal allowed is still 1 goal allowed.

Obviously we'll learn more in the Gold Cup, but so far we are shaping up to be a far more well rounded team than we've been getting credit for.

27 minutes ago, Free kick said:

I never go and never have gone to american forums for soccer.  Nor any other kind of soccer medium that is primarily geared for american fans.  We are not going to get respect, and thats to be expected.

I hear yeah, it's just the ignorance that I don't understand. I can deal with the lack of respect. We haven't gotten the results and respect is earned and not given. One poster said our backline is barely USL level. It's so preposterous I can see why you don't visit their forums. 

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Gian-Luca said:

The MLS website guys tend to be more respectful than some of the posters on the forums or other areas of social media, whether or not that is because of the 3 CDN MLS teams. 

The mls site is teh one exception where i do read fan comments and posts.  But i dont really consider it a forum or social medium.  Other than that, i listen to extra time podcasts. And thats its.

the big media sites like ESPN etc,  you can forget about it.   Canada and Canadian clubs are almost persona non grata.  And thats not just for soccer, its for all other sports as well.   In many cases they are very very well informed but they just wont talk about any content that is canadian related .  

Edited by Free kick
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7 minutes ago, Obinna said:

Should our midfield be a cause for concern with 500k Hutchinson in there?

Your post demonstrates my point. There comes a time when you must look at the real world defensive results and acknowledge the narrative has been overexaggerated. 

 A decade ago we were asking where the goals would come from, because that was our weakest link.  Now it's just moved to the back, its just normal to be worried about a teams weak spot.    

Not talking about someone's addiction won't help make it go away, it's just reality and it's ok to talk about it.  Ignoring it on the other hand is an issue.

 

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36 minutes ago, Kent said:

I miss the comment section of the MLS website. It is the only place I had interactions with American fans (aside from that one guy that sometimes posts here, but he is mostly harmless so it isn't much fun).

I do as well, it was fun to see them tear each other apart on that site. For example, you have to figure the Crew and Rev fans would likely be tearing each other into pieces debating about the own goal that Liam Fraser pinged off Andrew Farrell’s head with a 60 yard bank shot (which has to be up there with Duverger and Spanish keeper own goals for misplays of the last month or so, topped only by the idiot French woman with the sign who caused the crash at the Tour de France). On the plus side it does mean eating less popcorn these days

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1 minute ago, costarg said:

 A decade ago we were asking where the goals would come from, because that was our weakest link.  Now it's just moved to the back, its just normal to be worried about a teams weak spot.    

Not talking about someone's addiction won't help make it go away, it's just reality and it's ok to talk about it.  Ignoring it on the other hand is an issue.

 

Back in the day, we never asked where the goals would come because our strikers had low market values. We asked where the goals would come from because we had trouble scoring. You can't flip it around and say we have trouble keeping the ball out of the net, because that is not the reality.

I am not in denial that our defense is our weakest link relative to our midfield and attack. My issue is that it's an overblown and lazy narrative. The lazy part comes from just looking at player values and surmising our defense sucks, instead of doing the work of analyzing the team's defensive play, which has been very steady. 

Again, I am okay with adding an asterisk next to the Cayman Islands and Aruba games, even the Suriname game, but the shut out wins home and away to Haiti deserve credit, if not from the rest of concacaf than from our own.

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10 minutes ago, Obinna said:

Panama has allowed more goals than Canada so far in WCQ, but nobody talks about their defense as being bad. 

The guy claiming that Canada’s alleged USL-only defence is the worst in the Octagon clearly hasn’t got the memo that El Salvador has recently upgraded their defence with the mighty El Grande Sobrino himself, Eric Zavaleta. But such people are a waste of time and aren’t worth two scoops of moose manure. I would let them toil in their own ignorance, rather than bother to get annoyed. It would only be the pundits making such comments that would bother me, although even then the temptation would be to enjoy the underestimation now and then enjoy it later when they realize that we aren’t quite the feces-ridden team they are claiming- should such an obvious false claim not worth a pile of elk-excrement be made, that is.

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9 minutes ago, Bertuzzi44 said:

They probably do in Panama lol

Sure, their own fans may be critical of that, who's to say.

When it comes to people analyzing Canada however, the defense always comes up as an issue, even though it hasn't been an issue. It's just basically paper talk. We are blessed with so many great attackers that our defense (on paper) looks poor by comparison.  

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1 hour ago, Gian-Luca said:

The MLS website guys tend to be more respectful than some of the posters on the forums or other areas of social media, whether or not that is because of the 3 CDN MLS teams. 

If I didn't know any better I would have thought Gass and perhaps Wiebe were Canadian, the way they talk about Canadian soccer...

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2 hours ago, gigi riva said:

Our CB situation is  improving , ALL teams have a weak link somewere , look at some teams in the Euro both Spain and Italy lack that striker , for example 

Even when Spain was winning major trophies, the goal scoring was just okay. At the WC they just squeezed it out, scoring less than they should have in almost every match. The exception was that 2012 Euro final vs. Italy, where we played, basically, without strikers. Even if you look at the Wiki page in Spanish, hilariously, they put the starters and list 4 defenders and six midfielders. 

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_de_la_Eurocopa_2012

So nowadays when the Spain strikers are getting a lot of flack, the difference between these guys and Fernando Torres and David Villa is not significant. Meaning, as said: you can do well if it is a team effort. But it is very hard to survive a short tournament or knockout rounds with terrible bonehead moves from CBs or keepers.

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And while I can't stop laughing at the own goal that Columbus scored against NE (both for the 60 yard pinging-off-the-back-of-Farrell's-head bank shot by Fraser and for the three way collision at the goal line with the ball bouncing back off Farrell when Turner - who doesn't run as close to the ball as he should for some reason - tries to kick it out), its notable that in the clip below, Caleb Porter was using Fraser exactly where Vanney used to use Bradley in the days when Bradley was actually good, in the back, splitting the centre backs and hitting long, diagonal accurate long balls. If the ball here doesn't smack Farrell in the back of the head it probably falls right at Zardes' feet. I don't know what we have the greatest distribution out of our CB's either, but I think the likes of Eustaquio & Fraser can partly accommodate for that, and I think its partly why Fraser makes the squad.

https://www.mlssoccer.com/video/own-goal-andrew-farrell-columbus-crew-69th-minute#own-goal-andrew-farrell-columbus-crew-69th-minute

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4 hours ago, Unnamed Trialist said:

Even when Spain was winning major trophies, the goal scoring was just okay. At the WC they just squeezed it out, scoring less than they should have in almost every match. The exception was that 2012 Euro final vs. Italy, where we played, basically, without strikers. Even if you look at the Wiki page in Spanish, hilariously, they put the starters and list 4 defenders and six midfielders. 

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_de_la_Eurocopa_2012

So nowadays when the Spain strikers are getting a lot of flack, the difference between these guys and Fernando Torres and David Villa is not significant. Meaning, as said: you can do well if it is a team effort. But it is very hard to survive a short tournament or knockout rounds with terrible bonehead moves from CBs or keepers.

I'm realllllly hoping for a repeat of this game tomorrow.

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I think we will have a better idea in a few weeks once we have played our group matches and hopefully a quarter final in the Gold Cup.  I take the view that our defense has improved in the last year or so with the addition of Kennedy and Johnston but its still thin compared to other positions.  And they are untested against decent competition (Haiti is ok but not like the sides we will face in the Octo).  I hope in a few weeks I am more positive.  Until they prove it, I remain skeptical.

We do have a number of prospects around the MLS and in Europe but I think most are 2 to 3 years away. My real hope is one or two of those dozen or so prospects step forward in the next year in a big way and push themselves into contention.  But realistically, that wont happen for qualifying but might for the World Cup if we qualify.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Gian-Luca said:

And while I can't stop laughing at the own goal that Columbus scored against NE (both for the 60 yard pinging-off-the-back-of-Farrell's-head bank shot by Fraser and for the three way collision at the goal line with the ball bouncing back off Farrell when Turner - who doesn't run as close to the ball as he should for some reason - tries to kick it out), its notable that in the clip below, Caleb Porter was using Fraser exactly where Vanney used to use Bradley in the days when Bradley was actually good, in the back, splitting the centre backs and hitting long, diagonal accurate long balls. If the ball here doesn't smack Farrell in the back of the head it probably falls right at Zardes' feet. I don't know what we have the greatest distribution out of our CB's either, but I think the likes of Eustaquio & Fraser can partly accommodate for that, and I think its partly why Fraser makes the squad.

https://www.mlssoccer.com/video/own-goal-andrew-farrell-columbus-crew-69th-minute#own-goal-andrew-farrell-columbus-crew-69th-minute

OMG.  Why don't you just throw a toonie down the pavement and watch the panhandlers scramble for it as it rolls into oncoming traffic?

I have to start watching MLS again.

Edited by Cheeta
Sorry. Moment of madness.
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17 hours ago, narduch said:

In my opinion for this team to transcend its current status we need a keeper playing regularly and performing well in a top 5 league. 

Exactly and Borjan our #1 plays in Europe but he plays in Serbian league. If he was like in English Premier League, Serie A, French Ligue 1 or Bundesliga a lot more people would rate him high as far as best goalkeepers in the world.

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12 hours ago, An Observer said:

I think we will have a better idea in a few weeks once we have played our group matches and hopefully a quarter final in the Gold Cup. 

This is my generally thought.  There is clear head-to-head evidence, we are better than we were two years ago.  We then did well and not so well against our biggest (only Octo) opponent since then.   We had some early nervous moments against the other decent teams we have faced since then and maybe should have been punished by better teams.  But we were not and the players generally grew into every game they played.  Lots to like about what can develop there but we still need to see it happen against the teams we need to take points from in order to be at the World Cup or win the Gold Cup. 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, WestHamCanadianinOxford said:

This is my generally thought.  There is clear head-to-head evidence, we are better than we were two years ago.  We then did well and not so well against our biggest (only Octo) opponent since then.   We had some early nervous moments against the other decent teams we have faced since then and maybe should have been punished by better teams.  But we were not and the players generally grew into every game they played.  Lots to like about what can develop there but we still need to see it happen against the teams we need to take points from in order to be at the World Cup or win the Gold Cup. 

This is how I see it.

Let our team's defense be judged on real world results, not on expectation based on the club affiliation or market value of our defenders. 

By the end of the Gold Cup, there should be enough data for analysts to judge whether this is a bad defensive team heading into the Ocho.

Edited by Obinna
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I get Mexico and USA fans shitting on our defense, some of it is merit compared to their own, and some of it based on ignorance. However, as far as the remaining CONCACAF teams (Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Jamaica), its hilarious to hear their fans try to bash our defense, when theirs is not much better... if better at all. I think Canada's defense as it stands is good enough for CONCACAF (if we made a world cup then that's a whole different story), whereas the majority of CONCACAF's defensive lines are NOT good enough to contain Canada's attack.

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Posted (edited)

So, I started fiddling with a basic statistic that was accessible and not too baroque so you could compare apples to apples where defense is concerned.  In other words, how do you compare defenses when teams play different numbers of games, minnows vs strong opposition, etc. 

I took the Ocho-qualified Concacaf teams and looked at all their games from 2021.  I took the ELO rankings at the time games were played to calculate a) the average rank of the opponents who scored against a team (meaning if an opponent did not score they were not included and b) the average of each opponent goal in terms of ranking per game played (which incorporates games with clean sheets).  In both cases a lower score is better.

In the first instance, well, we sucked, because of our goal against Bermuda. (We would have been first with a score of zero otherwise). From 1 to 8, the CONCACAF Ocho teams scores were:  

Jamaica (29.3), Costa Rica (33.3), Mexico (34.3), USA (38), Honduras (41.2), Panama (99.7), El Salvador (125.5), Canada (136)

In the second instance, which favours clean sheets and fewer goals against, we did much better:

Mexico (22.1), Canada (22.7), USA (25.9), El Salvador (31.4), Panama (47), Costa Rica (47.4), Honduras (60.2), Jamaica (93.3)

Really interesting results I thought.  Spreadsheet is below. if you're interested.  Sorry for the huge paste if you're not, lol.  Teams are listed in order of CONCACAF ELO Ranking.  I decided to consider Japan U-23 to be equivalent to Japan for Jamaica.

 

  Opponent Goals against ELO Rank of opponent C x D
Mexico (1) Wales 1 20 20
  Iceland 1 57 57
  Costa Rica 0   0
  USA 3 26 78
  Honduras 0   0
  Panama 0   0
  Nigeria 0   0
      103 155
      34.33 22.14
         
USA (2) Trinidad 0   0
  Jamaica 1 63 63
  N. Ireland 1 60 60
  Switzerland 2 15 30
  Honduras 0   0
  Mexico 2 14 28
  Costa Rica 0   0
      152 181
      38.00 25.86
         
Canada (3) Bermuda 1 136 136
  Cayman I 0   0
  Aruba 0   0
  Suriname 0   0
  Haiti 0   0
  Haiti 0   0
      136 136
      136.00 22.67
         
Costa Rica (4) Bosnia H 0   0
  Mexico 1 13 13
  Mexico 0   0
  Honduras 2 62 124
  USA 4 25 100
      100 237
      33.33 47.40
         
Honduras (5) Belarus 1 81 81
  Greece 2 46 92
  USA 1 30 30
  Costa Rica 2 49 98
  Mexico 0   0
      206 301
      41.20 60.20
         
Jamaica (6) USA 4 35 140
  Serbia 1 24 24
  Japan* (U23) 4 29 116
      88 280
      29.33 93.33
         
Panama (7) Barbados 0   0
  Dominica 1 187 187
  Anguilla 0   0
  Dom. Rep 0   0
  Curacao 1 97 97
  Curacao 0   0
  Mexico 3 15 45
      299 329
      99.67 47.00
         
El Salvador (10) Grenada 0   0
  Montserrat 1 205 205
  USVI 0   0
  Antigua 0   0
  St. Kitts 0   0
  St. Kitts 0   0
  Guatemala 0   0
  Qatar 1 46 46
      251 251
      125.50 31.38
Edited by shorty
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