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Found 9 results

  1. Red Nation spoke to David Monsalve after his second leg of Europa League qualifying: http://www.rednationonline.ca/Monsalve_Looks_to_Regain_Form_After_Europa_League_Performance_august_6_10_article.shtml
  2. 1. So the Canada roster is now out. Any names on there that Mexico fans will recognize, nevermind actually be concerned about facing? If Mexico fans follow MLS, then they will know the name Cyle Larin. The Orlando City striker should be the one who gets the lion’s share of the publicity this week. Folks will also remember Julian de Guzman because he played with Andres Guardado at Deportivo la Coruña. Personally, I just saw Tesho Akindele provide a spark for FC Dallas against Les Québecois, so he should be on the radar as well, at least for the people that matter. 2. I understand Benito Floro had a well-regarded spell with Monterrey in the late 90's. Does the fact he currently manages Canada mean there is additional interest or curiosity around this Canada team among Mexico fans or media? If he would have won a title at Monterrey, then people might hold him in higher regard (or, as a God in Monterrey) than they already do. [Lasting] four seasons with one club is a decent record for any coach who has worked in Mexico. Honestly, the fact he coached Real Madrid carries a lot more weight among the Mexican media snobs. 3. In terms of the Mexico roster, what are the biggest surprises in terms of additions or players being left out? The focus this week was on the omissions of Giovani Dos Santos, Carlos Vela, and Guillermo Ochoa. Dos Santos was left out because he is injured, Real Sociedad asked the [Mexican federation] not to call up Vela, and Memo Ochoa saw his first league action in two years at Malaga just two weeks ago. The lesson here, do your homework when you are looking for a team as a free agent. Ochoa could have gone anywhere after his performance at the World Cup, then zeroed in at Malaga without realizing that the current keeper, Carlos Kameni, is coached by his Cameroonian countryman. But, none of these three are a bigger omission than Oribe Peralta – Olympic hero, consistent goal scorer for club and country, and the only Mexican striker of note who is on any kind of a hot streak. As far as unexpected additions, people tend to focus their wrath on the dudes that will never see the field. In this case, third-string keeper Pikolin Palacios and the defender Yasser Corona, who just came back from injury in January. The player who could force the issue and will likely come in as a substitute is Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, fresh off a hat trick over the weekend. 4. Benito Floro will likely line Canada up in some variation of a 10-1-0 and 11-0-0 for these two matches, hoping to steal a draw. What can we expect from Mexico in terms of starting eleven, tactics and/or formation knowing that a large part of the job will involve waiting patiently to break down the bus and not getting busted on the counter or on set-pieces? Juan Carlos Osorio has different tactical philosophies for road and home games. He will be much more cautious and defensive on the road, so he will line up in a 4-4-2 with defensive minded wingbacks. As he did against Honduras, he will stress organization to avoid getting caught out on numbers on a Canadian counter. I suspect he will use his subs in the second half to bring in a fast, technical player who can tip the balance in Mexico’s favor. Jesus Corona and the aforementioned Chucky are the likely candidates. The Azteca will be a different story. Osorio will play a 4-4-2 that will turn into a 4-2-4 for most of the match. He understands that the Azteca has to once again become that intimidating fortress with an armada of trebuchets at the ready to devastate their opponents. Mexico lost that in 2013. They need to get it back. 5. There's been a lot of talk among Canada fans about the crowd at BC Place. Almost 50K tickets have been sold, a huge crowd by Canadian soccer standards, but the worry is that the majority of those seats will be occupied by Mexico supporters. The Canadian Soccer Association has tried to mitigate this by limiting sales to people with a Canadian mailing address. We know El Tri is a big business in the U.S., do you think those fans will find a way to make it up to Canada and fill the stadium? Mexico has fans all over the U.S., and that includes the Northwest. I expect there will be those who make the drive, just as I will (I am flying to Seattle and driving across). Mexican fans also have the tendency to buy tickets day of, so any unsold seats may be filled by fans wearing green. 6. Let's talk feelings. Mexico obviously has a huge rivalry with the U.S. men's team, and there's certainly no love lost when it comes to certain countries in Central America either, but what about Canada? Do Mexico fans have any special feelings or memories when it comes to playing Canada? Are we an afterthought? Not at all. You have to remember that the U.S. is a relative newcomer to the upper echelon of CONCACAF. It has only been 20 years that the U.S. has staked their claim. Before that, Mexico’s biggest rivals in the region were Canada and Costa Rica. I still remember the nerve racking qualifier in 1993 in Toronto where Mexico had to come from behind, and the 2008 game [in Edmonton] where Mexico struggled to draw 2-2, a point that they needed just to get out of the semi-final round. 7. Alright, brass tacks time. Is there a chance Canada steals a point over the course of these two games? (And we're not talking a Dumb and Dumber 'So you're saying I have a chance?' type of chance.) Of course there is. The stench of Mexico’s 2013 hex still hangs in the air. The longer the game goes scoreless, especially at the Azteca, the stifling pressure that nearly drowned Mexico last cycle will begin to weigh heavily on the players again. This is not the 1990’s, where Mexico dominated their regional rivals. That was due to the fact that Mexico had better players, but also because Mexico was almost entirely a 'local league' national team who was used to playing at altitude. As talented as this side is – and make no mistake they are VERY talented - up to nine starters will be European based. That's nine players who do not play at altitude on a regular basis. Now, if Mexico scores an early one, then things change. And then it could get ugly for Les Rouges. 8. I would probably pass out and then repeatedly douse myself with cold water for several hours afterward to make sure I wasn't dreaming, but I'd like you to describe how you'd react at the final whistle of a Canada victory at Azteca Stadium on Mar. 29? I would not be happy, of course. But I learned long ago to hedge my emotional investment in sports teams. That said, Mexico’s inevitable elimination at any World Cup still causes me to go into a major funk that lasts a few weeks.
  3. Canada carried the majority of play through the first half but were unable to create any clear chances until after the half hour mark when after a nice combo by Junior Hoilett and Atiba Hutchinson, Julian de Guzman took a shot from distance that forced a big save from Noel Valladares. A few minutes later Canada would capitalise on their play, with Larin scoring the opener and his fourth for the national team. After completing a give and go with Hutchinson, Hoilett delivered a cross from the left sideline to the far post where Will Johnson headed it towards the net.On its way to the goal the ball came into contact with Larin, who had tumbled with the Honduran defender heading to the net, before going over the line giving the Canadians a much needed lead going into the half. The home side pressed for another goal as the second half started and came very close after the hour mark when Will Johnson’s free kick attempt from 35 yards out hit the right post. There were chances for Honduras to earn the draw late in the match as Milan Borjan came up big to stop a shot from distance by Mario Martinez. Another shot from distance came with less than ten minutes left. This time Borjan spilled, causing a scare, before the keeper was able to gather it. Ultimately Canada was able to finish the match with the victory and an important three points to kick off this round of 2018 World Cup Qualifying. There will be little time for the players and coaches to enjoy this win as they will travel to El Salvador for their next match on Tuesday. With Benito Floro and all of the Canadian players raving about the atmosphere at BC Place on Friday night, and buoyed by the win, fans in Vancouver won't have to wait another 11 years for the national team to return. Expect them back in March to take on Mexico. FINAL SCORE: Canada 1 - 0 Honduras ATT: 20,108 CANADA: Milan Borjan; Karl Ouimette, Adam Straith, Dejan Jakovic, Marcel de Jong; Julian de Guzman (Samuel Piette 78), Atiba Hutchinson, Will Johnson; Junior Hoilett (Tesho Akindele 81), Tosaint Ricketts, Cyle Larin (Marcus Haber 73) [subs Not Used: Simon Thomas, Kenny Stamatopoulos, Fraser Aird, Sam Adekugbe. Manjrekar James, David Edgar, Wandrille Lefevre, Russell Teibert, Kianz Froese] HONDURAS: Noel Valladares; Brayan Beckeles, Maynor Figueroa, Jhony Palacios, Ever Alvarado; Carlos Discua (Angel Tejeda 69), Boniek Garcia, Bryan Acosta (Mario Martinez 65); Luis Garrido, Erick Andino (Romell Quioto 55), Rubilio Castillo [subs Not Used: Donis Escober, Johnny Leveron, David Velasquez, Wilmer Crisanto, Emilio Iazguirre, Arnold Peralta, Olivier Morazan, Cesar Oseguera, Jerry Bengtson]
  4. The Whitecaps are getting a pretty fresh Teibert back in the squad. The 22-year-old didn't start any of Canada's Gold Cup games, coming on as a sub in all three matches for a combined total of just 49 minutes. Benito Floro's decision not to start Teibert raised ire in some quarters. It shouldn't have been a surprise though, as Floro has only started the Whitecap twice in the past two years. After some friction between the pair at the start of last year, it looked like the Spaniard had buried the hatchet after starting Teibert in the World Cup qualifier in Dominica at the start of June. He even scored, albeit just from a penalty, but they all count and it was his first international goal. But then the Gold Cup came around and Teibert found himself back out of favour. Frustrating? I'm sure it was, but he wasn't showing it back in Vancouver, instead focusing on the positives from his experience at the tournament. "It's a learning experience for me again," Teibert said. "I walk out of that tournament with my head held high. Walking out confident because I did everything I could for my country. "Whether it was in a starting position or whether it was coming off the bench, I wanted to play whatever role the coach asked me to play and I did, to the best of my ability." Canada's loss is the Whitecaps gain and head coach Carl Robinson will now have Teibert available for this weekend's crucial Cascadia Cup clash in Portland. The young Canadian is unlikely to see the start. He admits he still needs to get back up to full match sharpness after having not played a full 90 minutes for a while, but expect him to feature at some stage during the game. Robinson is delighted to have a relatively fresh Teibert back in his squad, although he wouldn't be drawn on Floro's decision not to use his player more. Well not too drawn! "Rusty came on in three games, so I'm delighted he managed to get three more international caps under his belt," was Robinson's take. "I thought the game against Costa Rica, he came on and was lively. "Each manager has his own decisions and dilemmas. Benito's decision to not start Rusty was his decision. Rightfully or wrongly, that's his decision. You'll have to ask him about that." And despite the lack of gametime, Robinson feels that Teibert still has a very bright future ahead of him on the international stage. But for now, his prime concern is Teibert as a Whitecap. "Do I think Rusty's got a big future for Canada?," Robinson asked. "Without a doubt. He's got a big part to play for me here right now. He'll be involved at the weekend. "It's great to have him back because he brings an energy about him and about the place. I'm delighted that he's playing international football again because this time last year he wasn't. He wasn't even in the mix. Step by step. You can't run before you can walk." Teibert has primarily played as a defensive midfielder under Robinson in his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. Under Canada, with their one man DM role, Teibert has been playing a more attacking role and on the wing. Confusing for the player or a chance for the Whitecaps to see one of their guys in a different position without having to do the experimenting themselves? "I actually don't mind it," Robinson told us. "I want my players to learn to play in different positions. When Martin [Rennie] was manager here, Rusty played on the right side of midfield, even though he's left footed, and he played some very, very good games. "I wanted to try and play Rusty in a more central role because I think his attributes bring a lot to the table. The way he gets on the ball, the way he covers ground, the way he connects passes and he's done fantastic for me in that role. "Benito plays him on the right, like he's played before, it's great. Part of players development is being able to play in a number of positions and fortunately Rusty can. I even played him at left back today [in training], which is good!" Some of Floro's team selections and tactics may have been frustrating, but the entire Gold Cup campaign was a downright disappointment, as Canada once again crashed out of the Group Stage, winless and goalless for the second straight tournament. Although Teibert feels that there were positives that could be taken from Canada's performance, he acknowledged that work still needs to be done in certain areas and particularly in the scoring department. "I'm proud of the team because we created chances and kept a couple of clean sheets," Teibert began. "But again it felt like the same old story of not being able to finish off our chances. Not being able to score a goal. I think we just got to keep plugging away and if we can finish off our chances, we put ourselves in a good position." But can they actually find the ability to do that? After the failure at the 2013 Gold Cup, surely no-one thought that another tournament with no goals was on the cards? "It's happened in the past," Teibert said. "You go into a tournament with every expectation, with every possibility. Obviously you don't want that to happen. You try and make a difference, do as much as you can. But at the end of the day, things happen the way they do and things happen for a reason." I'm sure we're all eager to eventually find out just what that reason is and whether a truckload of broken mirrors was involved. But for now, Teibert turns his full focus back on to the Whitecaps and he's fired up to return for a Cascadian derby down in Portland. And he'll be facing a familiar face, and a good friend of his, in Will Johnson down there. Johnson turned down the opportunity to join Canada's Gold Cup squad as he continues his return from injury. Whether that will put him in Floro's doghouse will remain to be seen, but all Teibert knows is that he can't wait to get back to battling him on the pitch again this weekend. "He made a decision not to go to the Gold Cup for personal reasons," Teibert said of Johnson. "I can't really speak too much about that because I don't know the full story. It's always nice to play against him and it'll be a battle, not only between us but between both sides." After all the disappointments of the past few weeks, Teibert just can't wait to get back into action with the 'Caps again and they don't come much bigger to return for than an away Cascadian derby. "It's a big game," Teibert said. "A big game in a lot of different ways. Cascadia match. Playoff hunt already. Rivalry. Personally, playing against Will. Him coming back from injury. Our fans travelling down to Portland. It's going to be an exciting match and I can't wait to just be there."
  5. Have a listen! You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 20,000 other shows HERE. Or after all that, you could just listen on the player below!
  6. While others in MLS go down the route of bringing in big name and big money signings, to varying degrees of success, the Whitecaps have gone with a lower key and in-house development approach. Some critics accuse them of being cheap. That was an accusation surprisingly levelled by some out east following the signing of young DP Octavio Rivero last month. But if we're being honest, you're not going to get the likes of Kaka, Frank Lampard, or Steven Gerrard coming to Vancouver to play on a horrendous fake pitch week in and week out. You might not even see them coming here when their teams actually play in the city. What you will see is an array of lesser known South American talent and burgeoning homegrown talent keen to make their name in the game, and that's an approach that the Whitecaps won't be shifting from for the foreseeable future and the 'Caps approach to youth development is something that Lenarduzzi is particularly proud of. "Even prior to joining MLS, it was clear we invested a lot of money in youth development for a good three, four years in advance," Lenarduzzi told reporters at the 'Caps first media presser of the new year. "That was always our philosophy. Having said that, we also knew that we had to bring in players that were difference makers. "We decided that we want to be known as a club that develops it's own players and we've stayed the course in that regard. If you look at the U20 team and the U17s, and we have nine players on both of those teams that are either current Residency players or have been through our system and I think that speaks that it's starting to work. Now what we need to do is to get more players, like Russell Teibert, like Kianz Froese, and we need those players to be coming though on an annual basis." Producing a steady stream of quality young players is a key focus for the Whitecaps, and one which Lenarduzzi is well aware won't just help Vancouver to the success they desire, but also provide a big boost for the Canadian national team, at all age levels, in the process. "One of our goals is to try to have a conveyor belt of having players coming through our system and onto our first team," Lenarduzzi said. "But equally important, on to our national teams. We need to get back to the World Cup. "I think a lot of what will determine if that's a possibility or not is what we are doing and what Toronto are doing and what Montreal are doing, Edmonton, Ottawa, in terms of giving those players an opportunity to play and get better and vie for MLS spots and national team spots." Of the 20 players named in Rob Gale's Canadian roster for the upcoming 2015 CONCACAF U20 Championship in Jamaica, which gets underway on Saturday, nine came through the Whitecaps Residency program. Four are currently on the Whitecaps MLS squad, two others will be part of the 'Caps USL PRO squad this season and two more are currently away at college. Add in nine of the 20 members of Canada's U17 squad being part of the 'Caps Residency program at present and the footballing future is looking very bright for Vancouver, with Lenarduzzi acknowledging how far ahead the Whitecaps seem to be right now compared to their Canadian rivals in terms of youth development. "It's nice when you look at those numbers and you look at the representations from the other professional clubs, it's something at this stage that we can be proud of. But we're not going to rest on our laurels. We're going to continue to put the emphasis on development and I think as much as we want to be a club that develops players, we need for the coaching staff to play those players. "And in Carl's case, he proved that last year in the Amway Cup and probably the best example of that was not long after Kianz Froese signed a MLS contract, he's coming off the bench at half time in front of 50,000 plus people. That's when people will ideally look at it and go they're doing what they said they wanted to do. It's taken them time, but player development is all about time." And therein lies one of the key components to it all. The switch from youth football to the pro ranks and getting playing time. The Whitecaps may have six Canadians on their MLS roster, but none of them are going to be starters when the new season kicks off in March. They're not at that level yet compared to others in the squad, although Sam Adekugbe is arguably the closest. Even ahead of Russell Teibert due to squad positional depth. Lenarduzzi admits that there isn't too much point developing all this young homegrown talent if they're not going to get too many minutes on the pitch and sees that as the next step for the Whitecaps to take. "We've stayed the course and now we're starting to see the dividends from it," Lenarduzzi feels. "Ultimately, we will see the dividends from it when we have three or four or five of those guys in our first team on a regular basis but I've always suggested that development is time consuming. It takes time for players to come through and do what you want them to do at the first team level. You don't just snap your fingers and have players go from not playing to playing. We'll continue to do what we're doing. "I'd love to see Marco Bustos, Carducci, Kianz Froese coming on in MLS games, CCL games, Amway Cup games and getting the minutes that will determine if they're capable of playing at that level or not. We think they are but all we're asking for as a club from our coaching staff is if we're going to develop these players, and there's an opportunity to play them, let's play them and then find out whether they're capable or not." It's a position that Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson fully understands and is keen to remedy, but not to the detriment of both the player and a successful team on the park. "Money doesn't guarantee you success, as you've seen with a number of clubs," Robinson told reporters today. "I want to try and guarantee success but in the right way and I feel the right way is developing our own Canadian players through our Residency program. "We spent a lot of money on our Residency program. For that to come to fruition, there's nothing better for me and the club that we would like more than to develop them, play them in the first team and then maybe sell them on at a later date. That's going to be our model. We'll stick to that. We won't change our philosophy, I won't change my philosophy and we'll continue to try and strive for success." One of the crucial pieces to the development puzzle will be put in place with the 'Caps new USL PRO team. That team may be kicking off their season in a few weeks time but they don't have a head coach at the helm as it currently stands. That's a situation though that the club hope to have settled within the next fortnight. "We're still going through the process," Lenarduzzi admitted. "There are some candidates internally and as you can imagine, once people realised that we were in USL, we had a lot of resumes come from virtually all over the world." "We've narrowed the list down but we still need to do a little bit more work with the people that we have decided we'd like to interview further. Ideally we'll have a decision, by the latest, in two weeks." So, with a healthy amount of Canadians in their first team squad, some more promising ones on the horizon, a new USL PRO team set to kick off packed full of homegrown talent and providing the bulk of players for Canada's younger national teams, Vancouver Whitecaps certainly seem to be doing their bit for Canadian soccer. Could they do more? Perhaps. But they're streaks ahead of some of their rivals. But what of all those naysayers out there who like to say that the Whitecaps hate Canada and do nothing for Canadian football? "It's shocking to me, but that comes from a very small circle as far as I can gather," Lenarduzzi said. "I don't pay a lot of attention to that but whenever I hear that and I hear that we're not playing Canadian players, what I often do is turn that question back around on the person that's making those comments. "[i ask them] tell me of a player right now in Canada, that's not in our Residency program, that should be playing in our first team? And more often or not I get silence. I also believe that if you're going to make comments like that, you should also have the ability to back them up. A lot of people say it but a lot of people can't back it up and that's frustrating." Indeed it is, but ultimately, who cares? The Whitecaps will be the ones having the last laugh and the continued success.
  7. The 2016 100th anniversary Copa America and whether Canada can qualify for it have raised the stakes for our nation’s soccer fandom. (The men's side is what we're focused on here.) Not to mention the oft-rumoured changes to Concacaf WC qualifying that could offer more difficult matches at an earlier stage. Sure, losing by seven goals in Honduras was shattering. But how about gassing July’s Gold Cup and thus missing the hemisphere's biggest soccer party ever. And then come September, suffering early elimination from Russia 2018 at the hands of, say, Guatemala. Narrowly missing out on the Hex for the first time since 1997 while getting slaughtered by a hated rival is certainly bad, but elimination from WC qualifying before the good Concacaf teams have even started would be a more insidious failure. Imagine suffering the months-long hype around a suddenly Canada-free 2016 Copa America. It would be existential-crisis stuff all over again for Canada fans. At that point it might be time to order genetic testing kits to shake out some long-lost Latin American ancestry. At least it would be a team to cheer for. It’s hard to know what long-term damage such rapid-succession setbacks would provoke. Some of you may be screaming right now, “After all we’ve come through, WHY WOULD WE STOP NOW?” Fair enough. But consider this. It’s not the incorrigible addicts we have to worry about. Elimination from World Cup qualifying in 2015 would mean three more years without meaningful games for the senior men’s team. Goodwill engendered from a respectable second half in 2014? Wasted. An entire summer of hot North and South American soccer action for Canada-haters to revel in on social media. We could lose a mini-generation of Canada soccer fans currently feeling okay about themselves, maybe on account of U20 success or perhaps the fact a former Real Madrid manager has wrangled the national side into playing solid-yet-uninspiring soccer. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve outlined the absolute worst-case scenario. It’s also completely reasonable to expect Canada to turn in a solid Gold Cup and then comfortably dispatch its opening opponent in qualifying, favourable draw or not. But if there’s anything my relatively short stint as a supporter of Canada’s men’s team has taught me, it’s that a whole bunch of bad shit always seems to happen. I've learned to mentally prepare for the worst. And you know what? Maybe three long years of nothing to get excited about (over and above the numerous long years of nothing to get excited about already in the books) would simply solidify support among Canada’s base. Long simmering resentments given more time to stew. Chips on shoulders given more time to fester. It would just make the long-awaited Holy Grail of World Cup qualification that much sweeter and more savoury, wouldn’t it? We’ll wait for genuine success until we die, or at until Canada ceases to exist as a Fifa recognized nation. Now go buy yourself a new Canada kit. We’ve got some soccer to watch this year.
  8. Don Garber delivered his annual MLS State of the League address this morning. Canada featured a lot more prominently than in previous years. For starters, we were mentioned or referred to five times in Garber's first few minutes of speaking. There were even some Canadian specific questions. Someone's had feedback! The big one, once again, was on the issue of Canadians not being counted as domestic players on US squads, but American players being counted as such in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Garber gave the stock labour law reply that doesn't seem to bother USL PRO and the whole situation is frankly unacceptable, but there's been enough written about that issue elsewhere that there's not any point in me traipsing over old ground any further. One of the other big issues that once again came to the surface today, especially in Twitter and blog discussions, and is somewhat tied into the whole domestic categorisation issue, is that of getting more playing time for Canadian players and MLS benefitting and helping to grow the Canadian national team as a result. It is NOT, and nor should it be, Major League Soccer's responsibility to help improve the Canadian national team. Neither should it be their responsibility to improve the American national team. They are separate entities, and rightly so. They should also elicit different emotional buy ins, but more on that shortly. MLS clearly are keen to help better the USMNT and are saying the same things now around the CMNT. Why? Does the English Premiership make such statements and are seen as the key for developing domestic players in England? La Liga about the Spanish national team? Serie A about the Italian? Are those league's primary aim to help their respective national teams or to grow the business of their own league? If it was the former, there wouldn't be so many non EU nationals in every top team. Of course, it would be a nice knock on effect of a successful league with top domestic talent playing in it to see Canada do better on the international stage, but why the obsession here? Is it pressure being put on MLS by the USSF and CSA and trying to be seen to appease? As Garber rightly covered in his address today, then there also has to be some give and take both ways, especially when it comes to calling up players for meaningless matches during crunch times in the MLS season. Neither is it the primary role of the Whitecaps, the Impact or TFC to help the Canadian national team pull themselves out of the rut the CSA has allowed them to get into over the years. Again, it would be a nice side effect if it were to happen, but the main fundamental for a football club is to challenge every year and win trophies. Not to act as a development ground for a national team. If the CSA want that, then they should set up their own national league with such stipulations for clubs to benefit them. How much of Vancouver's $35 million MLS expansion fee did the CSA chip in? How much of Montreal's $40 million and Toronto's $10 million? Yet they want these clubs and these owners to spend their own money developing something that isn't theirs and can actually prove detrimental to their own club - the CSA product that is the Canadian Mens national team? We're not talking loose change here either. The Whitecaps have spent millions on their Residency program. Not because they want to benefit the Canadian national team, but because they want to develop their own player pool of young talent that they can promote the first team, when ready, and save paying transfer fees. In some cases, selling some of these players to help fund the program. And they key here is the phrase "when ready". A player should always be playing for the Whitecaps first team on merit and not on nationality. You want to know why the Whitecaps haven't played as much Canadian talent as TFC have? Simple. There have been better playing options at the club. The result - two playoff appearances to none. As nice as it would be to see the Residency talent I've watched and cheered on for years make it through the ranks and into the MLS side, it can only be because they are good enough to have got there and make a difference and a significant impact to the team. Take the case of Bryce Alderson as an example. When he left the Whitecaps a few weeks ago, all the nonsense started about the 'Caps not playing Canadian talent. Yup, they're right. Vancouver didn't play him. Why? Because he was fourth, maybe fifth, in the DM depth charts and simply not good enough to be playing first team football in MLS right now. Would people have seriously had him playing over Matias Laba or Gershon Koffie and the ultimate knock on effect that would have had on the Whitecaps and their playoff push, just because he was Canadian? If the answer from anyone is seriously yes, then they need to give their heads a shake. I don't want to watch a losing Whitecaps team full of plucky Canadians. I want to see the Whitecaps win trophies, at all levels, and I couldn't give a flying fuck what nationality the players are that take them to that point. And I can assure you, I am not in the minority here. Now I can't speak for the fanbases in Toronto and Montreal, but if you were to poll Whitecaps supporters (and I'm not talking about the hardcore supporters' groups element here but the general majority of fans here) about whether they would rather have a successful 'Caps side or a successful Canadian national team, I can guarantee you that success at club level would be the clear winner. Now, I admit that the two are not mutually exclusive, and the 'Caps could, one day, lift the MLS Cup with a core base of homegrown talent, but let's face facts - the Canadian talent pool is mighty thin right now. If it was so wonderful, Canada would not be ranked 110th in the world alongside Ethiopia and be 28 years and counting since it's last World Cup finals appearance. The top Canadian players can earn far more overseas, so the Canadian clubs are left with the second best options, sometimes third or fourth. Not the quality that will be bringing home silverware on a regular basis. Anyone who thinks that increasing the Canadian quota throughout MLS, or allowing them to be classed as domestics, is going to see a sudden influx of Canadian talent come back from overseas is living in cloud cuckoo land. Most players dream of playing in Europe and many speak very openly about that. Given the choice they won't be coming back to play for Columbus. But if you can get the club game right here, then it will become more appealing over the years. You're not going to do that by turning the clubs into poor quality teams that are basically just development sources for the national team. In places like Scotland, England, Spain and Italy, teams mean something to their fans more than just being a football club. They have a long, proud history. They have local and family emotional attachments. That's something that will take some time to fully build up in North America and it may never reach the psyche of some over here. And part of the reason that the club game brings this level of passion is the regularity of it all. You can watch your side week in, week out. For about three quarters of the year or more, not just a few matches a year like you get with a national team and if you're lucky at a major tournament every couple of years. The key for the continued success of football in North America, and especially Canada, is a strong game at club level. Successful sides, winning trophies, raising interest and increasing attendances. Out of that will naturally come strong domestic talent and a better Canadian national team. It may take a while. Clubs like Vancouver Whitecaps need to look after themselves and their fanbase first and foremost. The 'Caps remit is simple - focus on what they are there for and that is becoming a consistently successful and trophy winning football club. Helping the Canadian national team along the way would be an enjoyable added bonus but it certainly should not be a main priority. Trying to force playing time for Canadians, and making teams weaker as a result, will only kill the game here and many people's passion for it. If the CSA want to improve their national team then they need to find a way to do it with their own initiatives, their own leagues and their own money.
  9. I am not aware of any previous incidents involving Palomo and gross journalistic inaccuracy, but it's always important to remember that until we receive official confirmation this remains one guy's word. With that in mind, here’s a good summary of the report it in English. Rather than relying on a group stage in which only the winners advance to the semifinal round (the one right ahead of the Hex; the one Canada keeps failing at), Concacaf nations will advance through three home-and-away knockout rounds to get to the semi-final group stage. The top six ranked nations in Concacaf receive a bye directly to the semifinal round. The surprising catch here is that Concacaf intends to use the August Fifa rankings, which don’t take into account matches played at the recently competed Copa Centroamericana. That fact has elicited howls of protest, literally in some cases, especially from commentators on ESPN Deportes popular drive-time radio show Jorge Ramos y su Banda last Wednesday. It’s easy to see why fans of certain Central American nations would be bitter in regards to that seemingly arbitrary decision. The August rankings have Trinidad and Tobago sitting in sixth place, with Haiti in eighth. That means the Trinidadians would avoid the initial knockout games altogether, while Haiti would only play in one round of them. The guys on Jorge Ramos' show were (predictably) eager to point out that Concacaf president Jeffrey Webb hails from the Cayman Islands, which is a member of the Caribbean Football Union. In terms of really getting the jam, look no further than Guatemala. Los Chapines shot up to sixth in the September ratings from 15th in August. What does it mean for Canada? Canada sits ninth in the August rankings, meaning Les Rouges would enter the second round of home-and-aways played next June on Fifa dates, which won't conflict with July's Gold Cup. (There is a lengthy thread on the Voyageurs supporters' group forum where you can pore over incredibly detailed research on how Canada's Fifa spot is calculated. Suffice to say, Canada dips to 15th in the Sept. ranking and is headed further down.) If Concacaf goes with August rankings, Canada would most likely face opponents such as Antigua and Barbuda, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua or St Kitts and Nevis in this second round. Of course, it all depends on how the draw is structured and whether it is somehow seeded. The following home-and-away, slated for September 2015, could (big emphasis on could) entail a far trickier opponent. We're talking El Salvador or Guatemala here. And as someone who idles away a great deal of time following Central American soccer, that terrifies me. Either way, next summer is shaping up to be a swell month for Canadian soccer fans, what with a spot on the Copa America on the line in the Gold Cup and the possible advent of sudden-death World Cup qualifying.
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