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Free kick

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    North York, , Canada.
  1. Might have been a better result for Montreal had they been able to play at Stade Saputo. Honestly, i think that the hardness of the surface and ensuing high bounces and difficulty in the controlling the ball, hurt Montreal much more than the Honduran side. I dont think that there is any question that talent-wise, Montreal had the upper hand by far. But those fractions of seconds that are lost because of high ball bounces, means that the team with the better talent cant get into rhythm and flow. And better teams can play and move the ball quicker which you cant do because you spend the whole friggen watching the ball in the air and waiting for it to land on the ground. High ball bounces nullifies all the advantages that the more talented team would have. No soccer should be played on that kind of suface.
  2. There was supposed to be more news this year about 2026. I recall at the time that the WC was awarded to the joint bid, that the Organizing committee indicated that the final list of host cities would be announced in 2020. This list should (one would suspect) coincide with the other info like “ whose automatically in”.
  3. Yes. And there are also the intangible factors. It will be easier to stir up interest and keep squads motivated by playing in the hex. Thats due to the type of opponents, the regional rivalries factor, the familiarity of the opposing players and the geo-political..etc. There is greater pride in wearing the jersey when the setting feels like the matches you are playing feel important to you and your countrymen. WCQ in concacaf can feel very different depending on the opponents. A hex opponent can offer up a packed stadium in professional venue whereas the repechage route conjures up images of dusty fields, empty stadiums and backwater settings. Thats not going to sell well in canada because it will look and feel like your in the second division. The psyche of playing in that kind of setting can, in itself, adversely affect results in the short and long term.
  4. In Vancouver’s case, looks like the exchange rate accounts for the operating loss. In Montreal’s case, the sheer size of that negative of the operating margins cant be explained by just the exchange rate. In MLS, like other sports leagues, salaries in are paid in USD but revenues are in Canadian dollars. That make Cnd clubs at something like a 20% disadvantage as far as spending on players.
  5. If there is a good thing about the outcome of that game, its that TFC managed to win and yet played poorly enough for any coach to conclude that that kind of performance wont suffice in the final. So he will have to shuffle things a bit. I dont believe that Ciman has two good games in him at playing defense. Yes, he plays the ball at his feet really well, but his marking and defensive play makes me nervous. Endoh has scored some goals down the stretch so the coach has to reward him. But at the same time, you would see brain cramps, sub par play or invisibility at other points of the game. I only see minor improvement in his game since going down and coming up. He works hard, but i am not sure he should ever be starter in this league if you want to be a good team. Deleon scores but through out the year, i often found myself wondering why they saw in him when they decided to sign him. Goal scoring is like the blind squirrel finding the nuts every now and then. You get playing time, odds are better that you will get a goal every now and then. But if you are a blind squirrel, you are still a blind squirrel.
  6. Yeah. I noticed that as well. what the **** was he complaining about? Very poor effort there. For anyone who plans to watch the replay of that goal again, keep an eye on number 24 (Gressel) throughout that play.
  7. The thing with using DP money on domestics slot, is that its humongous benefit in league with quotas. In the CFL they call these guys ratio busters. By securing competitive or elite domestics players, you can be more selective and have a larger margin of error with your TAM signings. You have less holes in your lineup and you have a ton of flexibility in roster construction. I believe that this has been a key to TFC’s success. This is more important given that IMHO the top end of US international talent has slipped in recent years. They are not IMHO where they were when they had Donovan, Dempsey etc. We are at the point now, judging from the recent concacaf matches, where our top end (top 2-3 players) might be on par or better. Sorry but, in the games i saw in recent years, i am yet to see what the fuss is about Pulisich is. Or even Morris. I dont think you will see, in the future, US domestic talent coming back to MLS having the same impact than Bradley and Altidore. I get and can see that Bradley has slipped a little. And i can see the argument that he’s not worth the money. But if you try to replace him straight up with a domestic, your taking risks. Fraser can look good, but is he really ready at his age, to take on that load? If not Fraser, then who else is there?
  8. I was thinking along those lines. We have watched many matches involving TFC (such as the 2016 final) where we see an opponent do very little thats positive and just sit back and wait to pounce. TFC lost some of these big matches and maybe thats just seeing things from TFC’s side of things. This is the first significant game that i can think of where i felt TFC stole one. It was fair assessment IMO of the game commentary, that TFC gutted this one out and did nothing special technically or tactically. But we will take it. But, at the same time, it must be said that i cant think of another venue in MLS where refs seem to be influenced by the size of the crowd than in Atlanta. In a previous post, last year, i had counted all the PK’s that were awarded in MLS and which team had benefited most from PK. Everything looked normal or within a margin or error except for Atlanta. Atlanta had something like double the number of PK awarded than the team that had the second most. You could see it last night, Atlanta could press and be far more aggressive on the fifty fifty balls but TFC couldnt and would lose those fifty fifty balls knowing that they would get whistled for them. Last year, Some of the worst calls i have seen in mls games not involving TFC, were in atlanta and benefitted Atlanta.
  9. Regarding the offside call. I had never heard a soccer broadcast crew (broadcasting to a home audience) object to a ref's call, that benefited the home team, to that extend. Usually, as is the case with home town broadcasters in any sport, you will hear these kind of bad ref calls that benefit the home side mentioned sotto voce for about five seconds (IF AT ALL) and then they move on. But that one was unique, they talked about it at length and even into the intermission or post game. Steven Caldwell's point was that the defender could only do what was natural and that's exactly what he did. So, as you said, technically speaking its the right call but only in the same way that Erin Mcleod was technically guilty of holding the ball for more than six second in that semi final game at the Olympics. Both were technically correct but still bad calls. Regarding the 3.5 years versus 5 years. BTW i double checked before posting that, so ok lets say 3.5 but my point doesn't change and I could have said it was six years but that would have been unfair because the stats show that he played only a minute. But he was on the club for during this entire five years time, you don't just get to prove your stuff during games but also practices and scrimmages and pre season games and those voyageurs cup games. stuff that we either didn't see or they don't show up in the stats. It pretty safe to say that they have seen him and got a pretty damn good read. i stand by my point, if he had gone to Europe (or even another MLS team) there is no chance that they keep someone around (much less a foreigner) that long unless there is substantial improvement each year. They have to have really wanted him to succeed to keep him around that long. We can go back the 12 years and find a countless number of college super draft picks, for example, who were lucky to even get a year and/or less than 100 minutes to prove themselves. Also, its not just Vanney and TFC who see things differently than what your alluding to. Another coach, John Herdman, seems to see things in same manner as Vanney as witness by the fact that Hamilton didn't get any recent invites. I really cant argue the fact that Anthony Jackson Hamel (who is only two years older and has played comparable minutes in MLS) is more deserving of a callup. And their coach, Remi Garde, has been much more inclined ( like many European coaches) to call out players in the media. He did call out AJH publicly when explaining why Jackson Hamel wasn't starting ahead of Mancuso (i think it was). when it comes to this stuff, Vanney is softy in the mold of the North american pro sports coaches (especially NHL coaches), they dont throw their players under the bus, rather they do it with carefully crafted words that force you to read between the lines to that fact that this or that player got called out. I have some recollection of the recent Vanney quote in regards to Hamilton. it was in reference to his positioning and ability to read the play and react and recall thinking: "Yes" that is exactly what i have been seeing all along!. The players cant seem to find him on the pitch and he would score more often if he got more chances but he doesn't get many chance. You can say a fwd is poor when they fail too often to convert on their chances, but it worst if you are not getting chances. if saying that is akin to throwing someone under a bus, then what would we conclude of Remi Garde's style?and of what he said of AJH?. If Hamilton would shown me something comparable to what we see from AJH (who has been called up to the MNT several times) over the same period, we would not be be having this discussion. i have a distinct memory of one of Hamiltons first ever goals for TFC. i was convinced that this guy had a real future in the game. there was the effortless calm and coolness to it. it looked like the ease and instinct of an assassin. Got the ball at the top of the box and picked the corner with a clean strike making it look simple. Unfortunately, i dont think i ever saw that again. More importantly, there was no improvement or hint of having learned something new from year to year.
  10. Yes. When all is said and done, he scored 11 goals in five years wearing a TFC jersey. I too wanted him to succeed but if you look closely at those numbers you would find many were scored in the soccer equivalent of the what they call the garbage minutes in basketball. One of the ones this year he was the beneficiary of one of the worst offside missed call that TFC ever benefited from. He came to the club as teenager and got five years out of it. When you get five year, you cant say that the club hasnt been patient. He is now 23, so he is not prospect or developing player anymore. With that kind of productivity over five years, it shows that TFC is giving a chance to developing canadian players because he would never get five years at the same club to show what you got in europe. He has played 1500 minutes last year and this year, over 900 minutes in 2016, thats more than enough time to show your stuff. that said, i hope he find his game in Columbus. Different faces and different suroundings, different tactics, different culture might work miracles.
  11. Been following for too long. For the first time in as long as i can recall, i thought that we were on the upswing this time. Even despite the loss to Haiti at the GC, i had seen positives in our play. So I actually thought that under the old format, there was chance this time. This was not how i felt going into the WCQ for 2018 whereby, personel-wise, i thought we were regressing. Also thought coaching-wise, we had an imposter.
  12. Ok. Thanks. But then my assumption stands when indicated that the best that those 7-35 teams can hope four is a quarter spot. Which means teams from four regions battling for one spot.
  13. Unless missed something (which is entirely possible) i thought in concacaf it was 3 1/4 spots that they allocated. And, that hence this intercontinental playoff was supposed to involve one side from each of four regions
  14. Its depends on how you look at it. If you look only at the performance at the WC, then i completely agree. I have mentioned before here that, yes, Mexico has shown that they are very much competitive or better than many of the 10-15 ranked (hypothetically) qualifiers from Europe. But i was looking at it in different way and from the perspective of who Canada might be facing in that mini tournament. And, based on history, it NOT the kind of side that Mexico might have previously beaten at the WC finals. In Europe the final qualifier come from the final phase involving a two legged tie involving the second place finishers. In the first phase its something like 9 groups of 6 teams give or take. In those groups of six you have guarantee of 2 minnows or near minnows in each group. There might be 1 clear cut favourite and a clear second who is a solid side and every now and then the teams 2 to to 3 might be realistic contenders. Occasionally there are three good sides but never where three are truly on par in terms of pedigree. So in 95-98 percent of the time all games result in a “Clockwork” predicability. But in the second phase of the two legged tie everything changes because of this: The pairings are determined via random draw. Hence, unlike the group stage, the strong sides and weaker sides are not even distributed (like the group stage) in order to ensure a seeding-like matchups. You will see two of the weaker second place sides matched up and vice versa. Getting back to the group stage for a moment, recall i said that there is often a generally accepted top seed. If that top seed, for example, slips on a banana peel for what ever reason (ie.; overconfidence , bad ref calls, poor preparation etc) and earns, say, a draw in the home leg on their matchup against the second strongest side (ie.: the 2-5 percent) then, given that all the rest of the group results are always predictable like a clock and that means that you will almost always have a superpower team or two that slips in into that second phase. And it might or often does get paired with a decent or even good side. Or they will get paired with just a good or decent who decides to parks the bus. All this to say this: what i described above explains why in past world cups, sides like France, Italy, Holland, England, Portugal etc have failed to qualify. Do we really believe that Mexico are this level? Or even the fifth place Conmebol side? And thats the kind of side that you would see in an intercontinental play off. Not sides like Slovenia or Poland or Ireland whereby we believe that Mexico can matchup well against. In other words, the 10-14 ranked Euro sides at the WC are seldom stronger than one or two that just missed out because that random draw has alot to do with it. Also, the emergence of Belgium has complicated things as far as group seedings. Also dont forget, since nine is not devisable by two, one of those randomly drawn second placers might be the one gets sent to the intercontinental playoff. I recall that Ireland was one of those sides once. Because the draw is random, it could easily be one of the superpowers.
  15. Thanks for the clarification. I was trying to look it up to see if Europe was one of the four but couldn’t find anything. If it actually was, then I would have said we have literally no chance what so ever given that the top concacaf side (Mexico) would have been a significant underdog against the potential 15th qualifier from Europe. Going from what we saw at recent World Cup qualifiers, that last team that just barely finished out of qualifying in UEFA could have been a side like Holland, Ireland or Italy. Not even Mexico would stand chance. Mexico might even be hard pressed against the hypothetical South American side.
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