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  1. Good day, good night and welcome back to Off the Woodworkx!Guest Today: Tristan D'Amours@tristandamours of SoccerByIvesPost-Game comments of Mauro Biello, Evan Bush and Patrice Bernier of the Montreal ImpactUntil next time, have a great soccer! Twitter: @offthewoodworkx @KevLaramee @SportsPodNetFacebook: facebook.com/offthewoodworkxItunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/off-woodworkx-sports-podcasting/id1067439813?mt=2SPN: http://sportspodcastingnetwork.com
  2. Good day, good night and welcome back to Off the Woodworkx!Guest Today: Tristan D'Amours@tristandamours of SoccerByIvesPost-Game comments of Mauro Biello, Evan Bush and Patrice Bernier of the Montreal ImpactUntil next time, have a great soccer! Twitter: @offthewoodworkx @KevLaramee @SportsPodNetFacebook: facebook.com/offthewoodworkxItunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/off-woodworkx-sports-podcasting/id1067439813?mt=2SPN: http://sportspodcastingnetwork.com View full record
  3. Kianz Froese Froese made his sixth appearance of the season for Vancouver in their 1-2 win away to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, coming on for Kekuta Manneh in the 71st minute. Taking up a right-sided midfield position, the Cuban-born attacker was very active down that side, making a nuisance of himself with his energy. That ability would prove useful on a quick Vancouver break, racing to give Octavio Rivero an option to the right, receiving a slip pass and beating Luis Robles with a low right-footer across to the left-side of goal. Froese began the play himself, intercepting an under-hit New York ball in the centre-circle before rushing forward to score his first MLS goal. Having celebrated that moment, Froese would retain his composure, tracking all the way back to pressure Manolo Sanchez after Pa Modou Kah whiffed on a header. That effort took a little off the shot, allowing David Ousted to make the needed save and preserve the victory. He scored on his only shot of the night, completing five of his six passes, adding two interceptions and a recovery, while winning a foul. Froese was interviewed post-match. Jonathan Osorio Osorio started his tenth match of the season for Toronto FC's 0-2 loss to New York City this round – it was his fifth-straight start having recovered from an injury and lack of form that saw him miss out on three matches. Stationed on the left-side of the midfield, Osorio was a force all match long, showing some of that excellent footwork in tight spaces to play away from pressure and keep the ball moving. Over the past few weeks, Osorio has been looking more and more comfortable in the renovated TFC midfield. There were times earlier in the year when he looked a little lost for ideas, unsure of how to get involved after ceding dominance to the likes of Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco; that is no longer a concern. Tucking in a little from that left-flank, Osorio was regularly on the ball, misplaying just six of some thirty-plus attempts, and his picking of passes have taken on an interesting shape. Consider the ball that he played to Bradley that led to a Luke Moore chance: Osorio shapes as though he is going to play a cross-field ball, instead he cuts the follow-through, stabbing a ball forward. That sort of disguise on a through-ball helped Toronto work through a dense New York midfield regularly, though it did not result in any goals. The Toronto, Ontario-native may have won a penalty call on another day, taking a hefty shove in the back from defender RJ Allen on one play. He was caught a little flat-footed on an Eriq Zavaleta that led to New York's second goal, the pass was intercepted by Mix Diskerud and worked over to David Villa, who notched his second of the afternoon. Osorio would show some more good footwork at the edge of the area late to find Giovinco, but his effort was blocked. The midfielder added three recoveries, two tackles, and an interception to his stat-line, conceding a foul and winning two in a combative match. Ashtone Morgan Morgan made his eleventh start of the season for Toronto in their loss to New York City, picking up a slight knock in the process that would keep him out of TFC's midweek clash with Montreal the following round. Manning the left-back spot, Morgan was forceful all night, repeatedly sending crosses in and linking up or providing an option in attack. One cross fell to Justin Morrow at the back-post, but he could not settle it for a shot, while another ball in, after Giovinco had played him down the left, was met by Bradley, only for Josh Saunders to come up with a huge save on the TFC skipper. The Toronto, Ontario-native was harshly shown a yellow card in first half stoppage-time for a challenge on Mehdi Ballouchy, when the midfielder recklessly slid into Morgan, who pulled out of the tackle. It was his second booking of the season. He would hang one more ball up to the back-post for Moore, forcing a defensive-header out of Chris Wingert, who nearly beat his own keeper in the process. Like Osorio, Morgan was caught a little slow on New York's second goal, allowing Tommy McNamara to get goal-side in the build-up that eventually found Villa on the attacking-left in space. He would come off in the 83rd minute for Robbie Findley, having completed 26 of his 41 passes, racking up four recoveries and three tackles, committing two fouls and winning another. Cyle Larin Larin made his ninth start of the season for Orlando City as the fell 2-0 away to Montreal on Saturday – it was his twelfth appearance of his rookie season. Through the opening passages, Larin had a flurry of chances, getting on the end of a Rafael Ramos cross with his head, touching it wide as he was clattered by Montreal keeper, Evan Bush. Shortly thereafter, he would make a neat delayed run to get ball-side on the experience Laurent Ciman, deflecting a Brek Shea cross over the bar. The chances would continue in the second half, turning on a ball in the area and sending a left-footer wide – he could not quite wrap his foot around it, before chesting down a long ball from Luke Boden that he was unable to get on the end of under pressure from Ciman. A ball would run away from him in the 84th minute as he tangled with Bakary Soumare, and a chance was nicked off his boot by Ciman sixty-seconds later. The Brampton, Ontario-native would end the night with three shots, all off, having completed ten of his twelve passes, and made one clearance. He was offside twice and won a single foul. Will Johnson Johnson continued to work his way back into the Portland lineup, making a second-straight and third-overall start for the Timbers when they met Houston on Saturday night. Once more alongside Diego Chara at the base of the midfield, the Toronto-born Johnson showed glimpses of his old self, while also the occasional moment that he was still not fully up to pace. With both sides ostensibly playing five-man midfields, the match was a little muddled, the middle of the pitch clogged with bodies. And once Portland took the lead in the 34th minute through Max Urruti, Johnson tended to sit deep, protecting a lead at home. He completed all but eight of some forty-plus passes, adding eight recoveries, five interceptions, and a tackle to his night, winning a single foul as well. Johnson spoke about the team's mentality post-match: “Confidence is high, guys are playing well. The defense is getting shutouts and the attackers are finding enough goals for us to win games. It’s good. When you have that feeling, that confidence, it’s a nice thing but we’ve all got to understand it takes grinding and hard work. We are not just going to walk on the field because we have won a few games in a row and get a result. For me the biggest part mentally is we’ve stayed focused and we’ve taken it one game at a time to just get those three points.” Kyle Bekker Bekker made his eighth appearance of the season for FC Dallas in their Friday night 1-1 draw at Colorado. Coming on at half-time for Michel, Bekker took up a central position, picking up the first assist of his career with the most simple of passes, playing a short pass to Fabian Castillo on the left-corner of the box for the Colombian to do the rest. The Oakville, Ontario-native had one shot at goal himself a week after being denied his first goal by Stefan Frei, but his attempt was straight at the keeper after Michael Barrios had pulled back to him following a goal-kick that was flicked on by Blas Perez. He completed 17 of 23 passes, while making eight recoveries, a clearance, and a tackle. Patrice Bernier Bernier made his ninth appearance of the season for Montreal in their win over Orlando City, coming on in the 72nd minute for Marco Donadel. The Brossard, Quebec-native completed all but one of his twelve passes, sending a cross to the left-post for Maxim Tissot, who sent his header agonizingly wide, and then played one of his signature long balls to spring Dominic Oduro, leading to his goal in the 93rd minute. Bernier was denied an assist by Oduro's initial cross being cutout, before he beat the Orlando keeper. The veteran added a recovery and a tackle to his cameo performance. Maxim Tissot Tissot made his third start of the season for Montreal against Orlando. On the left-side of the midfield, Tissot was hammered in a challenge from Cristian Higuita through the early goings, and played a nice leading ball for Ignacio Piatti down the middle that just skittered away from him. The Gatineau, Quebec-native found himself wide open on another attack, but was overlooked by Piatti, who opted for a weak shot instead. He then failed to direct a header on target after Bernier found him attacking the back-post – his only attempt of the match. He completed 28 of his 37 passes, making six recoveries and a pair of tackles; winning and conceding a foul each way. Russell Teibert Teibert came on for Vancouver in the 88th minute for Nicolas Mezquida to make his fourth substitute's appearance of the season, bringing his season appearance total to fourteen ahead of the Gold Cup. With the Whitecaps having relinquished half of their two-goal lead, Teibert was tasked with closing out the few remaining minutes. The Niagara Falls, Ontario-native completed both his passes, suceeding in keeping New York from equalizing. The Rest Tesho Akindele, Jay Chapman, Kofi Opare, and Marcel de Jong were all available this round, unused substitutes on the bench for their respective sides. Each week (normally) James takes a look at the contributions of Canadians in the league. He can be followed on twitter @grawsee and more of his writing is available at Partially Obstructed View
  4. Cyle Larin Larin started his first MLS match in Orlando City's 0-2 win at Portland on Sunday – it was his third appearance of the season and his longest spell on the pitch, with Orlando suffering an injury crunch at the top of their formation. Drafted into the first eleven after Pedro Ribeiro's injury last round, Larin did not look out of place, though he was tasked with a rather difficult path to goal, the only true forward, staring down a pair of grizzled (and rather hairy) veteran centre-backs in Nat Borchers and Liam Ridgewell, who minimized his looks at goal. The Brampton, Ontario-native would have two chances inside the first twenty minutes, both hurried shots that trailed wide under the watchful eyes of his experienced opponents. But he was finding positions, a skill that would come in handy on the half-hour mark, helping him get a modicum of space in front of Borchers and behind Ridgewell to attack the near-post. A weak headed touch from Borchers was collected by Kevin Molino, who scythed down the right-side of the area, picking out Larin at the near-side with a bullet cross into the middle. With no time or space to bring down the fast-moving pass, Larin adjusted his body to direct the service in with his chest. Not the prettiest of goals, it did exhibit an awareness and calmness that is worth noting. The best forwards care not how they go in, simply that they go. Through his previous two appearances Larin had looked eager, but perhaps overly so, snatching at half-chances, rushing his looks. This was a coolly dispatched opportunity, one that was easier to send off-target than on. No doubt it will be the first of many. He would not get the chance to add to his tally this night however, coming off for Carlos Rivas in the 82nd minute as Adrian Heath sought to inject some addition pace and fresh legs with Portland pressing forward leaving holes at the back. Larin would complete twelve of his eighteen passes, take three shots – the goal and two off-target, while contributing defensively as well, with three clearances, two recoveries, and, peculiarly-for-a-forward, two tackles, committing three fouls and winning one. Heath praised his rookie post-match: “As a young player starting to make a career in MLS, you always want to get that first one. We had chances last week, when I thought Cyle played really well, and he kept getting in the right place today. This time he got his reward and it was a really great finish, to have the foresight to direct it towards goal the way he did. He didn’t have time to try to try to pull the ball down from Kevin’s cross and it showed great presence of mind. He also matched up well against two very big, physical defenders. He can be very pleased with his day’s work.” Elaborating, 党The finish was fantastic because there was no way he was going to be able to control the ball and shoot in that tight of an area. It was a really good improvisation on his part and I think that will be the first of many for him in MLS.媒 Larin himself reacted in this post-match interview. Russell Teibert Teibert featured twice for Vancouver this round, starting Wednesday's 2-2 draw against Columbus at home and coming on from the bench in Saturday's 1-0 loss at San Jose ・his fourth start and fifth appearance, respectively. On Wednesday, from his usual deep-lying defensive midfield position, Teibert was everywhere, ending the match with two shots ・one off, one blocked, both from distance ・seven recoveries, four tackles, two clearances, one block, one interception, and a foul; completing all but six of his roughly seventy passes on the night. The evening got off to a concerning start, as there was a slight scare when he pulled up, appearing to tweak his hamstring in a footrace to pressure the ball carrier Ethan Finlay as Columbus countered. The Crew would open the scoring on the play, Kei Kamara netting in the 24th minute, and Teibert would require some treatment, but would soldier on. Unhampered, Teibert would resume his running, tracking another Finlay run to strip the dangerous opponent on one play and making repeated timely interventions to pin back Columbus as Vancouver tied the match shortly after the hour and looked for a winner as the match built to crescendo. The Niagara Falls, Ontario-native was precise on the ball, as usual, playing one especially pretty long pass to spring Darren Mattocks. His post-match interview can be seen here. On Saturday, Teibert would come on in the 68th minute, replacing Derby Flores. Taking up that central midfield role, Teibert would provide some fresh legs in the middle, pressuring the ball at every turn ・in his 22 minutes he racked up three fouls, indicative of his aggressive play (and of the referee's penchant for blowing his whistle). Completing thirteen of his fourteen passes, Teibert was again excellent on the ball, and suffered further injury troubles when a teammate stepped on his hand as he got tangled up in a challenge with Matias Perez Garcia; once more he ignored the concern. He also exhibited his growing leadership, holding back Pedro Morales who was infuriated at receiving a kick and a red card in the 88th minute, perhaps sparing his teammate any additional sanction from the disciplinary committee for voicing his frustrations. Teibert was very-much involved in the action on that play, making the initial challenge that brought Adam Jahn to the ground, spurring the fractious encounter. Teibert added an interception and a recovery to his defensive tallies on the night. Patrice Bernier Bernier started his first league match of the 2015 season in Montreal's 3-0 loss at Houston on Saturday ・it was his second-appearance, having come on as a substitute against Orlando in their last MLS match at the end of April. Stationed deep in the Montreal midfield, Bernier was a calming presence, regularly dropping very deep to get on the ball and moving it well, as per usual ・completing all but seven of his 45-odd passes. Sporting the captain's armband, he may have a few miles (sorry, kilometres) on the legs, but he can still pick his moments, playing a lovely ball over the top to spring Donny Toia down the left; were it not for a vital touch from Houston centre-back David Horst, the full-back may have been in clear on goal with a chance. And in the 58th minute, with the Impact trailing 1-0, Bernier stepped to a free-kick after Andres Romero was fouled, neatly bending his right-footer around wall, but skimming the top of the bar, too high by the slightest of margins ・it was his only shot of the night. With eight recoveries, one clearance, a tackle, and a foul each way, the Brossard, Quebec-native was instrumental ・it should be noted that once he made way for Nigel Reo-Coker in the 67th minute Houston sealed the night with two further goals, one within five minutes of his departure ・though he did concede possession sloppily on one occasion, allowing Giles Barnes a shot from distance. While Bernier may not feature regularly, he will undoubtedly play a role in any success Montreal finds this season. Kofi Opare Opare started a second-straight match for DC United in their 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday ・it was his third appearance of the season, all since Steve Birnbaum went down with an ankle injury. As the left-sided centre-back, Opare was forced into action early, exhibiting good speed to get back and pressure Bradley Wright-Phillips as he strode towards goal in the 9th minute, only to redirect the eventual cross, which struck off the base of the post, narrowly avoiding an own goal. It was the first of many plays in which Opare would play a critical role. The Niagara Falls, Ontario-raised defender would drag opposing centre-back Matt Miazga out of a central position in the 26th minute on a Taylor Kemp right-sided corner kick, , in off the underside of the bar.Opare would then get taken advantage of himself in the 68th minute, not even able to get up to challenge as .In between those specific plays, Opare continued his admirable play for DC, completing 17 of 26 passes, racking up six clearances, three interceptions, two recoveries, and a block. With Birnbaum out for four-to-six weeks, Opare will get further chances to prove his worth for United. Marcel De Jong De Jong started a second-consecutive match for Kansas City as they drew 0-0 at home against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night ・it was his fourth start of the season. Resuming his left-back position De Jong was active as usual, completing 20 of 32 passes ・including a lot of searching long passes or crosses from deep positions, an indication of his conservative positioning given the threat of Salt Lake in those wide spaces ・and collecting four tackles, one interception, a recovery, and a clearance by the end of the match. The Newmarket, Ontario-native played at least two balls of note, the first a lovely cross that picked out Servando Carrasco at the back-post early, only for Salt Lake centre-back Elias Vasquez to get the important headed touch out for a corner. And then dragging a low ball through the box, only for no Sporting attacker to be able to get the required touch on the back-end. And his education in the physicality of MLS continued, getting caught late by a Jordan Allen challenge, flipping De Jong up in the air ・more spectacular than dangerous. It was initially surprising that De Jong landed in Kansas City ・and that no Canadian side sought out his services ・but that he has managed to force long-time left-back Seth Sinovic into a secondary role is truly evidence that De Jong's style fits well with what Peter Vermes desired from his full-backs. Steven Vitoria Vitoria continued his iron-man streak for Philadelphia in their 2-1 win over New York City on Saturday ・it was his sixth start of the season, going the distance in each of the Union's matches this year. Once more as the left-sided centre-back, paired again with Maurice Edu, Vitoria was a solid defensive presence, keeping the potentially explosive City attack at bay for large stretches of the match ・he was, however, .The Toronto-born defender was caught stepping up to David Villa in midfield late, leading to an Edu foul and a dangerous free-kick in the 89th minute ・luckily Villa would launch his attempt well over the target. He even got his first attempt at goal, rising up to meet an early corner kick, only to send his effort wide under pressure from Jason Hernandez. His six recoveries, six clearances, interception, and tackle, while conceding three fouls were impressive figures, but it was his overall calming influence that was most helpful for Philadelphia. Vitoria regularly helped talk debutant keeper John McCarthy through the match and reminded Vincent Nogueira that, despite his winner, the match was not over, as the Union saw out the final few minutes to seal their first win of the season. Vitoria's passing, completing just 13 of 31, was of concern, but given the sheer number of long launches that were counted as 'passes' it should be considered more a measure of the pressure applied by City than of Vitoria's decision-making. Sam Adekugbe Adekugbe started his fifth match of season for Vancouver on Wednesday against Columbus ・he has featured in all but two of the Whitecaps' matches this year. In his customary left-back position, Adekugbe continued to show exciting glimpses of the player he will become, making darting runs forward ・once drifting off-side, but still testing Steve Clark for the heck of it, and then having a touchline sprint ended by a necessary defensive touch ・and hitting a lovely curling ball from the left that sought out Octavio Rivero in the area ・his weak header was easily saved by Clark. Defensively he did well to get out wide and block a Hector Jimenez cross, but was beat twice on a play in the 84th minute with the game tied, first pinching high on Ethan Finlay only to be by-passed by a neat flick, and then lunging into a recovering challenge on Finlay at the edge of the box, missing the Kei Kamara pass entirely and allowing Finlay clear in on goal ・luckily David Ousted was off his line quick to deny the chance. Despite that one mistake, the English-born full-back tallied some solid numbers: five interceptions, two recoveries, two clearances, and a single foul ・misplacing just 8 of some 45-plus passes. Adekugbe was an unused substitute on Saturday in San Jose. Kyle Bekker Bekker made his third-appearance of the season for FC Dallas in their surprising 0-4 loss to Colorado on Friday night, coming on for Michel at half-time with his side already down a pair of goals. With Dallas chasing the game, Bekker took up a slightly more advanced position, getting himself involved in the build-up, in search of a much-needed goal. He played one particularly nice ball over the top for Tesho Akindele, and then collected the ensuing rebound at the top of the box, opting for the unselfish pass rather than take the shot himself ・a shot he should perhaps have taken. But Colorado were flying, unleashing all the pent up frustrations of long winless and goal-less spells, and that energy forced some poor passes out of Bekker, who completed just 15 of 26 in his 45 minutes of play. The Oakville, Ontario-native had one final chance to make an impact in the 83rd minute, standing over a free-kick. This time he opted to go at goal rather than curl a ball into the crowd at the back-post, hoping to catch Clint Irwin shading to the far-side, only for the keeper to be alert to the threat ・it was his only shot of the match. He would accumulate three recoveries and a pair of tackles throughout. It has been interesting to watch how Bekker has fit into his new side; some positive signs, but a lot of the same problems ・namely, easy turnovers ・that plagued his time in Toronto. Will he feature when his new side faces his old one next weekend? He is still awaiting his first MLS goal and there would be no sweeter time to score it. Tesho Akindele Akindele started a sixth-straight match for Dallas in their loss to Colorado ・factoring in the starting eleven for each of his side's games. Nominally playing as the withdrawn forward, off the shoulder of Blas Perez in the middle, Akindele would regularly swap with Ryan Hollingshead to take up the attacking right-sided position. But Dallas struggled to find the connections that saw them surge to the top of the standings, and the Calgary-born forward consequently suffered. His best look of the match came from the aforementioned Bekker pass, forcing a strong parry from Irwin in the 53rd minute, after getting the ball out of his feet ・one of his two shots on the night, both were on target. Akindele would exhibit that same ranging play he has all season, racing up the right to find space and get on the ball, but his low cross was easily cleared. His passing was very succinct, completing 27 of 32, while contributing defensively with a pair of tackles and a recovery. With the rest of his side, he was caught napping on a quickly-taken Rapids free-kick, turning his back on the ball to coordinate his teammates, as Marcelo Sarvas picked out Dillon Powers who sent a low drive into the far-corner of the goal in the 43rd minute to double the visitors advantage ・one needs to stay alert and focused at all times, a lesson he will have learned from this mishap. Post-match Akindele noted, 的t wasn稚 a good game for us・It just wasn稚 our day. We will figure it out this week・Figure out what we did wrong・We will do better next week.媒 Kianz Froese Froese made his third-appearance of the season from the bench for Vancouver in the waning minutes of their loss at San Jose, coming on for Matias Laba in the 80th minute. In need of an equalizer, Froese made one nice run, cutting into a good position to get off a right-footer from the top of the area, but the weak attempt was handled easily by David Bingham ・it was his only attempt at goal. The Cuban-born midfielder completed six of his eight passes and added a clearance in his ten-minute cameo. The Rest Karl Ouimette was an unused substitute on the bench for New York in DC. His former teammates, Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Maxim Tissot were similarly unused by Montreal in Houston. Each week James takes a look at the contributions of Canadians in the league. He can be followed on twitter @grawsee and more of his writing is available at Partially Obstructed View
  5. Issey Nakajima-Farran Nakajima-Farran returned to the Montreal starting lineup in their 1-1 draw against DC on Saturday – it was his fifth start and thirteenth appearance for the Impact and his first start since picking up a red card back on July 24 against Salt Lake. From the left-side of the midfield attacking three, Issey was incredibly active, getting up and down that side, swapping flanks with Andres Romero, and generally forcing the match forward. But first a painting he crafted for retiring teammate Marco Di Vaio, entitled ‘Taking Off the Tape’ was presented to the Italian veteran prior to kickoff. It took barely more than a minute for Nakajima-Farran’s first foray forward, getting on the end of a Calum Mallace ball to the near-post, sending his header over the bar. In the thirteenth minute, Issey would size up a right-footed shot from the left-corner of the box, only for his effort to skim the top of the bar at the far-side – the second of his three attempts at goal (the third would be blocked, squirreling out for a corner kick). Come the 26th minute, it was an interception by the Calgary, Alberta-native that helped bring about the opening goal, , directing his header forward for Di Vaio. Bobby Boswell would cut it out, but Dilly Duka recovered and played the striker down the left for a clinical finish.He completed over two-thirds of his passes, pretty good considering how he was trying to spring attacks against a solid DC defense. One such example was this neat little ball to find Duka, who in turn sprung Di Vaio, drawing a save out of Bill Hamid. Another measure of how active he was in searching out the ball was his nine recoveries; Issey also collected two interceptions, an indication of his willingness to get back and defend. Nakajima-Farran was , trying to cover both Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola on a short corner kick, losing out on a last-ditch lunge, allowing Espindola to walk in a hit a low drive that beat Evan Bush.Adding his totals for both Montreal and Toronto, Issey made seven starts and eighteen appearances in his first season in MLS, racking up two goals – both for TFC – a yellow card and a red one to match. Doneil Henry Henry made a second-straight start for Toronto FC in their 1-0 loss in New England on Saturday – it was his nineteenth start and 21st appearance of the season. Alongside Steven Caldwell in the centre of the defense, playing as the left-sided of the duo, Henry was again impressive, if caught out on one or two occasions. But he made headlines midweek when it was revealed that he had been sold to a Cypriot club in a deal involving Kia Joorabchian and played the 2014 season on loan in Toronto – a rather bizarre turn of fate. There is apparently a possibility that he will still be with TFC, on loan, next season, though developments – and their timely revelation – could potentially happen at any moment. Back to the match – Henry was on the ball a lot in Toronto’s more controlled 4-3-3 system, completing a majority of his mass of passes, though his ability to play long balls out of the back was again lacking – they accounted for a majority of his incompletes – though he did pick out Gilberto on one occasion, the ball eventually being put out for an attacking throw-in. The Brampton, Ontario-native was again a force at the back, collecting six clearances, five interceptions, five recoveries, and tackle on the night, while making one big stepping-block to cut out a troublesome run by Charlie Davies, whom he and Caldwell kept under tight wraps all match, but Henry was caught out by a ball over the top from Lee Nguyen for Kelyn Rowe, who mercifully chipped his attempt over the bar. Henry was also guilty of not playing to the whistle, rather than closing down Nguyen, who scored the game’s only goal.He would end his fifth season in Toronto with one goal and eight yellow cards. Undoubted the most successful academy product the club has produced thus far, if Henry leaves, he will do so with seventy league appearances for the club, 55 of which came as starts, having scored two goals and collected three assists. Patrice Bernier Bernier maintained his starting position for a second-consecutive match in Montreal’s draw on Saturday – it was his twentieth start and 26th appearance of the season. Stationed at the base of the midfield, alongside Calum Mallace, Bernier was again impressive on the ball and solid in preventing DC from operating in those troublesome areas in from of the back-line. The Brossard, Quebec-native misplaced ten of his forty-odd passes and proved particularly adept at swinging the ball into those wide positions, regularly picking out Krzysztof Krol on the left to spur attacks up that side, including one play when he made a neat back-heel to the full-back before getting leveled by Lewis Neal. Bernier was involved in the wars, making a good interception on one play, only to get flattened by Eddie Johnson in pursuit; a foul call was not forthcoming – though on four other occasions he did win fouls. The Montreal captain, who passed the armband to Marco Di Vaio on his special day, added thirteen recoveries, three tackles, two interceptions, and a pair of clearances to his tally. He was one of several Impact players to give Di Vaio a solid hug as he left the pitch for the final time in his storied career. Post-match, he spoke of the legendary Italian’s time with the club, commenting: “Marco brought us to another level in this league and was always a leader amongst us. It was an honor to play with him and to have my name side by side with his in the Montreal Impact`s history.” Remarking, “Even though he played at a higher level before, he never came here with a bad attitude. He was always happy and professional with everyone he met. He has a passion that he transcends on to everyone. We want him to stay, but all we can do now is appreciate his time spent with us and salute his successful passage here in Montreal.” Bernier is one of several Montreal players whose contract will be up at the end of the season, but there is little doubt he will re-sign, despite his production dropping off this season with no goals and just three assists, having averaged six and four over his first two seasons in the league. Russell Teibert Teibert started a twelfth-consecutive match for Vancouver as they saw their push to the playoffs come to fruition with a late 1-0 win over Colorado on Saturday – it was the 22nd start and 29th appearance of the season for the player. Stationed at the base of the Whitecaps midfield alongside Matias Laba, Teibert was heavily involved in the build out of the back, while helping to keep Colorado from putting any serious dents in those post-season aspirations. His passing was again solid, if unspectacular, completing all but seven attempts, but again he was unable to force the play forward – not really his role, anyways – four of those incomplete passes came in the attacking half. But with Vancouver in need of a goal, the Niagara Falls, Ontario-native was replaced by Kekuta Manneh in the 56th minute. Like Bernier, his offensive production stagnated this season, failing to score a single goal and collecting just two assists after his breakout 2013, where he scored twice and racked up nine assists, likely in part to his newfound defensive role with the club under the tutelage of Carl Robinson, himself a tenacious defensive-minded midfielder. Kyle Bekker Bekker returned to the TFC starting lineup in their loss at New England on Saturday – it was his thirteenth start and twentieth appearance of the season. Greg Vanney opted to try something a little different in Toronto’s final match, taking to the field in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, depending on how one looks at it, with Bekker playing that central attacking midfield role. In recent weeks, Bekker has been playing more advanced than he has in previous outings, granted the attacking license to get forward and press high, rather than tracking deep into his own third – to mixed results. The most obvious measure of his advanced position was that he had three shots – two on goal and one blocked – considering he only had fifteen all season that is a marked increase, though none of his efforts caused Bobby Shuttleworth much trouble. His first, spreading a quick ball wide out to Dominic Oduro on the right before making a surging run into the box to receive a return pass, was nice, but he sent his tight-angled effort straight at the keeper rather than spotting the back-side run of Gilberto, who may have been in a better position. The Oakville, Ontario-native’s passing was clinical, missing just nine of over forty attempts, but he was not able to either get on the ball or do much with it in the final third – New England is not the sort of opponent to give opposition a lot of time on the ball, especially with Scott Caldwell and Jermaine Jones both on the pitch. Bekker was able to contribute defensively, making four recoveries and two interceptions – not bad considering how ball-hungry the Revolution are – and he made one key clearance, blocking a sneaky Lee Nguyen ball into the goalmouth. His clearance caught Michael Bradley in the face before trickling out for a corner. He ends his sophomore season in MLS with new marks for starts and appearances, but has yet to register a single point; though he did pick up his first booking. No doubt a disappointment, but there is plenty of room for growth and there has been some progression from season one to two, albeit less than many had hoped for. Karl Ouimette Ouimette made his first appearance in six weeks, coming in for Montreal season-ending draw with DC on Saturday – it was his ninth start and eleventh appearance of the season. A part of a young four-man back-line that featured three Canadians, Ouimette, paired with Wandrille Lefevre in the centre, took up the right-sided slot and helped to keep a potent DC attack under wraps for the majority of the match. Defensively the Terrebonne, Quebec-native accumulated some impressive numbers, collecting eight clearances, seven recoveries, four tackles, and three interceptions, once vitally arriving to clear a dangerous DC passage with a thumping clearance. Both he and Lefevre were caught out on one occasion, both stepping up to pressure Eddie Johnson, allowing him to slip Fabian Espindola in behind, but the attack fizzled out. Wandrille Lefèvre Lefevre returned to the starting lineup after a four-match absence in Montreal draw against DC United on Saturday – it was the thirteenth start and fifteenth appearance of the season. Taking up his usual left-centre-back position, alongside Karl Ouimette, Lefevre was incredibly busy, contributing twelve recoveries, eleven clearances, five interceptions, five tackles, and a block, but his usually superb passing was a little off, completing less than half of his attempts – though to be fair the French-born defender often attempted to spring attacks with long, low-percentage balls. Like Ouimette, he bit a little too hard on one play, rushing towards Eddie Johnson, opening up space for a DC attack. He was also spared a potential handball penalty concession by an offside flag late in the match. Sam Adekugbe Adekugbe was forced into the crucial season-decider for Vancouver in the 33rd minute when Steven Beitashour went down injured – it was just his fourth appearance of the season, the first in nearly two months, and his third as a substitute. Despite being thrown in the deep-end, the London-born left-back did very well, getting up and down his side with ease, combining to build up that flank, and putting in a defensive shift with two tackles, a recovery, a clearance, and an interception. But perhaps his most important play was an intelligent passage of defending, inserting himself in-between Charles Eloundou and the ball on one Colorado odd-man break, drawing a foul by cutting in front of the attack to quell the threat. Maxim Tissot Tissot returned to the starting lineup, making a third-straight appearance after a pair of solid substitute outings – it was his seventh start and twentieth appearance of the season. Returned to his original left-back spot – he has spent a lot of time playing as more a left-winger – Tissot was lively, but a little less-so than normal – apparently he was dealing with a stomach bug that would eventually force him off, to be replaced by Krzysztof Krol in the 59th minute. The Gatineau, Quebec-native was not able to get forward as much as he normally would, perhaps the effect the aforementioned illness, but he did hit one nice corner kick – a skill set he has been allowed to display more often of late. Having doubled his starts and trebled his appearances, Tissot will end the season with two goals to his name – similarly double his output from last season. Post-match, club manager Frank Klopas commented on Tissot and the performance from the younger players: “Max had a solid game. He had something in his stomach that was bothering him so he gave it his all and it came to the point where he couldn’t continue. The younger generation, are guys that we can rely on but they have to understand that it takes hard work to continue to develop and grow and one of the positive things that we can look at from a club standpoint, is the future USL PRO team that will be created. These games are crucial for the reserve player`s that don’t get to play on a regular basis with the MLS team so that they can stay fit and sharp. I think that will be a big plus for the organization and there was no better guy for them to learn from than Marco Di Vaio.” Tesho Akindele Akindele was again left out of Dallas’ starting lineup on Saturday as they fell 0-2 to Portland - it was the fourth time in the last five matches that he has come on as a substitute and his 26th appearance of the season, eighteen of which were starts. Coming on the 73rd minute to replace David Texeira with Dallas trailing by a goal, Akindele was energetic, but could not help his side find a way back into the game and Portland doubled their lead shortly after he entered. Blas Perez nearly found him with a little ball to the near-post on one occasion, but Portland full-back Jorge Villafana was able to cut out the pass; the Calgary, Alberta-native did find a late chance, meeting a corner kick in the 95th minute, but his header was just over the bar. Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé Gagnon-Lapare was a late substitute for Montreal on Saturday, coming on in the 92nd minute to make his fifth appearance of the season, but just a second from the bench. In doing so, the Sherbrooke, Quebec-native made himself a place in football trivia lore, becoming the final player to replace Marco Di Vaio as a substitute. The Rest Kyle Porter, Maxime Crépeau, Louis Beland-Goyette, Ashtone Morgan, and Chris Mannella were on the benches for their respective sides. Vancouver will be the sole Canadian representative in this season’s rendition of the MLS Cup Playoffs. By finishing highest amongst the three Canadian clubs, they will also represent the nation in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League, as the Voyageurs Cup reconfigures its timing for next season. All quotes and videos courtesy of MLSsoccer.com Each week James takes a look at the contributions of Canadians in the league and the league as a whole. You can follow James on twitter @grawsee or read more of his writing at Partially Obstructed View
  6. Patrice Bernier Bernier returned to the Montreal starting lineup in their 1-1 draw at Toronto on Saturday for the first time in a month and a half, having just returned from a bout of plantar fasciitis last week – it was his nineteenth start and 21st appearance of the season. Lining up alongside Calum Mallace at the base of the midfield, Bernier was a dominant force in the middle, even if his usually accurate passing was a little off – completing roughly half of his attempts, though in fairness many incomplete ones were of the longer variety, trying to spring attackers behind the Toronto defenses from deep. Raw numbers rarely tell the whole story, but by way of evidence they can be indicative, as such Bernier racked up a jaw-dropping sixteen recoveries, six interceptions, four clearances, and three tackles – a stunning 27 defensive interventions. He had one attempt at goal, sending a long-range effort wide in the 75th minute, but his real impact came in his quelling of Toronto attacks and spring of Montreal ones. He intercepted a weak ball in the centre of the pitch, playing up to Dilly Duka that led to a Jack McInerney chance in the first half and it was his lovely, long cross-field ball that found Andres Romero streaking down the left that led to Felipe’s equalizer in 39th minute. The Brossard, Quebec-native was not done there, hitting a curling free-kick to the back-post for Hassoun Camara in the second half that led to a handball shout and devising a quick restart from a later dead-ball that found Issey Nakajima-Farran leading to a Marco Di Vaio chance as the match wound down. Bernier’s leadership was also evident, trying, without success, to talk Baldomero Toledo out of an early booking for Camara – the defender would be sent off for his second yellow later – and mixing it up with National Team compatriot Dwayne De Rosario as the two sides debated the merits of Jackson’s yellow card – each shoving the other. Post-match he commented: “It was a good performance. Against Toronto, it’s always special for a Montrealer. It’d been a month since I played. The last game was [with Canada] against Jamaica, here in Toronto, and we won 3-1. It went well, and I'm glad, all the more so given that I’d only returned to training last week.” Adding: “Emotions are let loose sometimes, and you try to control the game, you try to help the referee as well, but you can see it goes overboard sometimes, especially in those games. There were a few red cards, but in the end, it didn’t go overboard so much. For me, it was one of the more exciting and emotional games we had against Toronto.” Doneil Henry Henry too returned to the starting lineup for Toronto on Saturday against Montreal for the first time after a six-match hiatus – it was his eighteenth start and twentieth appearance of the season, though more importantly (if rumours are to be believed) it may well have been his final home match for the club. Paired with Steven Caldwell in the centre of defense, taking up the left-sided role, he was tasked with keeping the tireless running of Jack McInerney under wraps. With Toronto taking the initiative and Montreal looking to spring quick breaks, Henry was required to mop up a lot of half chances, making nine recoveries, five interceptions, three clearances, and two blocked throughout the ninety mintues. The Brampton, Ontario-native was a little late to spot Felipe’s trailing run on Montreal’s goal, both he and Caldwell dropping back with the runner rather than protecting the vulnerable top of the box, but he made amends with that error with a good recovery-intervention when Felipe chipped McInerney in early in the second half, doing just enough to rush the striker into clipping his finish off the face of the bar. With TFC in desperate need of the points late and some time with the National Team at full-back, Henry pressed high up the right later in the match, getting involved in the oft-impotent attack. His first pass into the box showed all the finesse one would expect of a centre-back in attack – easily cut out by Patrice Bernier – but his second was rather nice, scooping the ball over the tackle of Felipe before bypassing Bernier to play in Dwayne De Rosario down the right-side of the box; unfortunately De Rosario blazed his effort over the bar. Perhaps indicative of change in the future, Henry was one of the few Toronto players who ventured to the South End to applaud the fans after another disappointing season. Henry has been the success story of the nascent TFC academy and has a lot of room for further growth in his game. Jonathan Osorio Osorio started a sixth-consecutive match for Toronto in their draw on Saturday – it was his 24th start and 27th appearance of the season. Allowed to take up his preferred central-role, playing ahead of Collen Warner with Michael Bradley suspended, Osorio was good, but was unable to make use of the full pitch, opting instead to stay deep, often taking up the Bradley-role of dropping very deep to pick up the initial pass out of the back. The consequence of which was that he did not have a single pass in the final third of the pitch, which is a criminal misuse of his skills with Toronto desperate for goals. The Toronto, Ontario-native was indeed key in TFC’s ball movement, completing all but eight of his approximately forty passes, but it would have been nice if some had been in more dangerous areas of the pitch. Despite that reserved nature, he did help spring two notable attacks – laying a skipping ball down the right for Mark Bloom that led to Luke Moore’s fade-away header at the back-post that was cut out by Matteo Ferrari and playing a scoop pass in midfield to Moore that led to the counterattack that drew a fine foot save out of Evan Bush at the back-post on Dominic Oduro – likely TFC’s best scoring chance of the match. His night would come to a premature end in the 93rd minute when he was dismissed with a very harsh red card from the referee, who had obviously tired managing the game midway through the second half and chose to instead start sending everybody off – it was the first red card of his MLS career and just his third bookings. No doubt Osorio caught Felipe with a foul, but did it warrant a red card? Video evidence is inconclusive, but it is worth pointing out no Montreal players were particularly angered by the challenge, as they were by Jackson’s on Eric Miller some minutes earlier. Unless it is rescinded, which is unlikely given the Independent Review Panel’s silence on Nick Hagglund’s bizarre red the previous week (there is little reason to stir the pot and overturn cards when the matches are meaningless), Osorio will have played his final match of 2014, ending the season with three goals and five assists after scoring five and garnering a single assist in his rookie campaign, making six further starts, but one less appearance than he did in 2013. Post-match he discussed a plethora of subjects, sharing his thoughts on the match: “It was a difficult game. Obviously they came out with a lot of energy. You could kind of feel that. They definitely wanted to end our playoff hopes. To be fair they played pretty well. We played pretty good too. I thought we had many chances, especially in the first half. Unfortunately we gave up that goal and we couldn’t get the next one in the 2nd half.” On the red card: “As Felipe was passing the ball I just kind of reached in with my foot and I kind of got him a little bit. I don’t know if it deserved red card but I did get him. It was a foul.” On Felipe’s goal-celebration: “I was waiting to get a goal myself because I had something up my sleeve but it’s okay it happens.” And finally on the fan’s impatience, speaking truth in the face of much pressure: “We understand the fans are impatient now because it’s been a long time since the club started and we’ve never been in the playoffs. We have to look at the reality and the reality is we’re still a club making changes. We went up a step from last year and if we can continue building that, pretty soon we will be a team fighting for a championship. “We definitely do have the players, maybe we’re missing some pieces but I think more it’s about the team being together longer. The more we get to practice with each other, the more fluidity we’ll get in our team and the better we will be.” Russell Teibert Teibert retained his starting position for Vancouver in the 0-0 draw in San Jose on Saturday night for the eleventh-consecutive match – it was his 21st start and 28th appearance of the season. Once more alongside Matias Laba at the base of the midfield, Teibert had a solid outing, covering tons of ground and was nearly perfect in his passing, competing all but four of some fifty attempts. It was a rather quiet match on the whole, but the Niagara Falls, Ontario-native had one crack from long range that strayed wide and hit a spectator, who dropped like a stone and he played numerous balls into the wide areas, hoping to spur attacks, finding Erik Hurtado one on occasion, who could not see out the chance. He was guilty of over-committing on one occasion, biting hard and blazing past Khari Stephenson’s touch allowing a blistering shot from the top of the box that was well-saved by David Ousted. Teibert looked forward to Vancouver’s final match – the one which would determine if they will make this year’s playoffs - in his post-match comments: “We said that we had five cup finals to play in, and we’ve won three and tied one. This is the last cup final that we’re going to have to play in before the playoffs, and we’re going to approach it like we have the past four games. I think if we stick to our game plan and everybody focuses on their tasks, individually and collectively, I know we can get a result.” Issey Nakajima-Farran Nakajima-Farran began his return to Toronto on the bench, coming on for Dilly Duka in the 73rd minute to make his fifth-substitute appearance in Montreal’s last six matches after an impressive outing for Canada against Colombia on Tuesday – it was his twelfth appearance of the season for the Impact, all but four coming as a sub. Lively and full of confidence, the Calgary, Alberta-native took every opportunity to close down TFC players on the ball, helping to prevent the home side from finding the game-winner they needed. He nearly got a winner himself when Patrice Bernier played a quick free-kick to him, running at Steven Caldwell before playing to Marco Di Vaio down the right. Joe Bendik would deny the striker’s attempt and the rebound trickled beyond the reach of Nakajima-Farran at the back-post with the net gaping – it would have been sweet justice for how his midseason transfer between the clubs was handled. He spoke post-match about returning to Toronto: “I’ve got close friends on the other team so I always wish them the best but at the same time it’s bittersweet because of how the situation went down. As much as I want to prove myself to them against them for what they did, but this is MLS, but I have mixed feelings because I have close friends on the other side.” And on how everything has played out for him this season: “Well, they didn’t really play out too well for me. As soon as I settled down in Montreal, I haven’t been playing as much ever since the red card. I’ve been playing here and there but no more than an hour in the past 10 or 15 games I guess. It’s been frustrating and very unexciting time for myself, but, everything has been going great with the national team. I’m very thankful for Benito (Floro) and especially all the guys that surround the national team so it’s been a great season for that.” Dwayne De Rosario De Rosario entered Toronto’s draw from the bench in the 57th minute, replacing the goal-scorer Warren Creavalle with TFC in search of an equalizer – it was the eighth-straight appearance for the veteran, all but the first coming from as a substitute; he has made nineteen appearances this season, four of them starts. Given a free role, De Rosario ranged all over the pitch in an effort to find a way through the Montreal defenses, though he was nominally stationed on the right of the midfield. Shortly after entering, he nearly picked out the run of Gilberto with a long ball down the left-channel, but his delivery was slightly over-hit, skidding to Evan Bush who cleared away the threat. The Scarborough, Ontario-native had a glorious chance to get the winner himself, after Doneil Henry silky-skills played him in down the right-side of the area, but his right-footer sailed woefully over. His run into the area even later was overlooked by a Gilberto headed pass, opting instead to try and find Luke Moore to little effect. De Rosario had several run-ins with his Canadian associates, marking Issey Nakajima-Farran on a free-kick, tangling and bundling him over in the process and exchanging shoves with Patrice Bernier after Jackson’s booking. The veteran exhibited he still has plenty of fire, responding to getting hacked down by Hassoun Camara with a back-heel, leg-hook, can-opener, earning a yellow card for his troubles – it was his first booking of the season. Kyle Bekker Bekker’s run of three-straight starts came to an end on Saturday, returning to the bench from which he made his introduction in the 68th minute, replacing Collen Warner with TFC chases a victory – it was his nineteenth appearance of the season and seventh as a substitute. Taking up the deep-lying central role, Bekker was good, but wasted his chance to play the hero, sending his last-second free-kick sailing high onto the roof of the net. The Oakville, Ontario-native did have his moments, making the interception that led to Dominic Oduro’s chance on the counterattack and hitting a lovely corner kick that Gilberto should have done better with, but it was not to be; his frustration when his free-kick floated away was obvious. Tesho Akindele Akindele was back on the bench for the start of Dallas’ eventual 0-1 win in Colorado on Saturday – it was his 25th appearance of the season, eighteen of which have been starts. It was the third match in the last four in which he was used as a substitute, perhaps Oscar Pareja is trying to get the rookie some rest before the playoffs begin, plus Dallas’ other offseason acquisitions – David Texeira and Andres Escobar - have found their form, making inclusion in the starting lineup a more uncertain prospect. Entering the fray at half-time, replacing Texeira, the Calgary, Alberta-native was full of his usual running, unfortunately it was a pretty uneventful match. Dallas took the lead in the 56th minute from the penalty spot and then Colorado were reduced to ten men in the 79th minute, all but ending the contest. Despite that awesome ‘Vote for Tesho’ campaign video, his Rookie of the Year bid will have suffered some in that his production has dropped off of late – his last goal came in that hat-trick nine matches ago; since then he has picked up a pair of assists. The transition from the short college season to the lengthy professional one always weighs heavy on young players, perhaps a further reason for his lack of starts recently. Maxim Tissot Tissot entered Montreal’s draw in Toronto in the 82nd minute, replacing Andres Romero with fresh legs as the Impact looked to end TFC’s season – it was his nineteenth appearance of the season; all but six of which have come from the bench. Taking up the left-side of the Montreal midfield, the Gatineau, Quebec-native was tasked largely with matching the speed threat of Dominic Oduro down that flank, making at least one crucial intervention on the tricky Ghanaian to see out the result. The Rest Ashtone Morgan, Maxime Crepeau, Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé, Sam Adekugbe, and Kofi Opare were unused substitutes on the bench for their respective sides. Mark Watson and Nick Dasovic were relieved on their managerial duties in San Jose last Wednesday when it was announced that the rumoured return of Dominic Kinnear to his former stomping grounds would be coming to fruition next season. Despite the shockingly public nature of the back-room machinations, Watson ‘took the high road’ in his comments to the San Jose Mercury. Hopefully the duo will land on their feet; who knows, Toronto could be looking for a new management team in the near future. All quotes and video courtesy of MLSsoccer.com Each week James takes a look at the contributions of Canadians in the league and the league as a whole. You can follow James on twitter @grawsee or read more of his writing at Partially Obstructed View
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