Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'usl'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • It's Called Football
  • PhotoHazard
  • 24th Minute
  • Games
  • AFTN
    • AFTN Soccer Podcast
  • Some Canadian Guys
  • OttCityFootie
  • Onward Soccer
  • Euro File
  • West Coast Soccer Podcast
  • Le12eJoueur
  • Media Takedown
  • SoccerPlus
  • Voyageurs

Categories

  • Canadian National Teams
  • Canadian Premiere League
  • Canadian Teams & Leagues
  • Major League Soccer
  • Canadian Podcast Links
  • World

Categories

  • Canadian National Teams
  • Canadian Premier League
  • Major League Soccer
  • Canadian Teams & Leagues
  • World Soccer

Forums

  • Soccer
    • Men's National Teams
    • Women's National Teams
    • Canadian Premier League
    • Players
    • Major League Soccer
    • Canadian Teams & Leagues
    • Voyageurs Cup & CONCACAF Champions League
    • World Soccer
    • Futsal
    • Le soccer canadien en français!
  • CSN Comments
    • Article & Video Comments
  • Question & Answer
    • Question and Answer

Categories

  • Canadian National Teams
  • Canadian Premiere League
  • Major League Soccer
  • Canadian Teams & Leagues
  • Canadian Player Highlights
  • World Soccer

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


AIM


MSN


Website URL


ICQ


Yahoo


Jabber


Skype


Interests


Biography


Location


Interests


Occupation


City


Province/State


Postal Code


Country

Found 56 results

  1. The Ottawa Fury appear to have lost the game of chicken that they were playing against CONCACAF and the CSA. Yesterday, the club announced that they would not be allowed to play in the US-based USL for 2019. This is despite receiving a tepid approval from the CSA in September, when they refused to become founding members of the CanPL. This leaves the Fury in a difficult position just four months out from the start of the season. However, according to multiple people working inside the game, they shouldn’t be surprised. “They knew this was possible,” one source said. “Yet, they went ahead anyway and now they are crying about being discriminated.” Another person went even further, suggesting that the Fury might have “half wanted (to be denied sanctioning).” The suggestion being that OSEG doesn’t really want to be involved in soccer anymore, but didn’t want to be the bad guy in fans’ eyes, least it hurt them with RedBlacks’ ticket sales. What happened yesterday was predicted by many. In a Sept 6 article on CSN I quoted a source suggesting that this was a distinct possibility. “Who is going to sanction them,” they said at the time “They may get a ‘pity’ sanction for 2019, but beyond that?” Another person speculated that the CSA would be reluctant to directly challenge the Fury, but would work behind closed doors to challenge the legitimacy of the club playing in a US-based league. “They won’t say anything publicly, but they are hoping CONCACAF steps in,” they said at the time. We don’t know if CONCACAF is acting on behalf of the CSA, but CONCACAF did in fact step in. The question now is what happens next. Most still believe a temporary sanctioning for 2019 will come through, but only with the understanding that this will be the final year it is permitted. Will the Fury continue with that understanding? For the sake of the fans, let’s hope so. But, relations between the CanPL and the Fury weren’t great already and, although there is no direct link between the CanPL and CONCACAF denying sanctioning, yesterday didn’t help the relationship improve. Beyond the Fury, yesterday’s decision could have a trickle down impact on Canadian soccer. If CONCACAF is to enforce the policy evenly, you would have to think that USL-2 teams (formerly PDL) will be the next to be targeted. The rule being referenced in the Fury’s case states that no team is allowed to play in a league outside its country if a league of the same standard is available in their country. Clearly, CONCACAF has concluded that CanPL is equal to USL. But, is League1 Ontario and the PLSQ the same as USL2? It’s long been the desire of the CSA to stop teams at the D3 level from playing out of country in the hope that the provinces would step up and start D3 leagues. So far only two have, which has allowed several D3 teams to ignore that desire and play in the US. With the CanPL buying L1O, there is speculation that the plan is to bring that model to all parts of the country. When that happens, you would expect that the existing D3 teams be asked to return to Canada. Anyone operating a D3 team now would be wise to plan ahead with this in mind. Which brings us to the MLS teams. Many fans will not accept the rational that they should be exempt from this. In the interest of “fairness” it will be argued that they too should be forced to join CanPL. It won’t happen, but it will create some bad optics for the CSA. The reason it won’t happen now is because it’s clear that forcing TFC, IMFC and VWFC out of MLS would be negative for player development and soccer culture in the country. That would be counter to the entire purpose of creating the CanPL. Although many USL fans strongly disagree, that league is not viewed as having a net benefit to the country and thus is fair game here. Will this eventually change? Is there a scenario where the three MLS teams are required to enter the CanPL. Yes. And possibly sooner than most believe. (That is if one or more of the Canadian MLS teams isn’t part of a bigger league by then – a league that is launched as part of the United 2026 bid and is designed to disrupt the established order of world football. But, that’s a topic for another day).
  2. The Ottawa Fury appear to have lost the game of chicken that they were playing against CONCACAF and the CSA. Yesterday, the club announced that they would not be allowed to play in the US-based USL for 2019. This is despite receiving a tepid approval from the CSA in September, when they refused to become founding members of the CanPL. This leaves the Fury in a difficult position just four months out from the start of the season. However, according to multiple people working inside the game, they shouldn’t be surprised. “They knew this was possible,” one source said. “Yet, they went ahead anyway and now they are crying about being discriminated.” Another person went even further, suggesting that the Fury might have “half wanted (to be denied sanctioning).” The suggestion being that OSEG doesn’t really want to be involved in soccer anymore, but didn’t want to be the bad guy in fans’ eyes, least it hurt them with RedBlacks’ ticket sales. What happened yesterday was predicted by many. In a Sept 6 article on CSN I quoted a source suggesting that this was a distinct possibility. “Who is going to sanction them,” they said at the time “They may get a ‘pity’ sanction for 2019, but beyond that?” Another person speculated that the CSA would be reluctant to directly challenge the Fury, but would work behind closed doors to challenge the legitimacy of the club playing in a US-based league. “They won’t say anything publicly, but they are hoping CONCACAF steps in,” they said at the time. We don’t know if CONCACAF is acting on behalf of the CSA, but CONCACAF did in fact step in. The question now is what happens next. Most still believe a temporary sanctioning for 2019 will come through, but only with the understanding that this will be the final year it is permitted. Will the Fury continue with that understanding? For the sake of the fans, let’s hope so. But, relations between the CanPL and the Fury weren’t great already and, although there is no direct link between the CanPL and CONCACAF denying sanctioning, yesterday didn’t help the relationship improve. Beyond the Fury, yesterday’s decision could have a trickle down impact on Canadian soccer. If CONCACAF is to enforce the policy evenly, you would have to think that USL-2 teams (formerly PDL) will be the next to be targeted. The rule being referenced in the Fury’s case states that no team is allowed to play in a league outside its country if a league of the same standard is available in their country. Clearly, CONCACAF has concluded that CanPL is equal to USL. But, is League1 Ontario and the PLSQ the same as USL2? It’s long been the desire of the CSA to stop teams at the D3 level from playing out of country in the hope that the provinces would step up and start D3 leagues. So far only two have, which has allowed several D3 teams to ignore that desire and play in the US. With the CanPL buying L1O, there is speculation that the plan is to bring that model to all parts of the country. When that happens, you would expect that the existing D3 teams be asked to return to Canada. Anyone operating a D3 team now would be wise to plan ahead with this in mind. Which brings us to the MLS teams. Many fans will not accept the rational that they should be exempt from this. In the interest of “fairness” it will be argued that they too should be forced to join CanPL. It won’t happen, but it will create some bad optics for the CSA. The reason it won’t happen now is because it’s clear that forcing TFC, IMFC and VWFC out of MLS would be negative for player development and soccer culture in the country. That would be counter to the entire purpose of creating the CanPL. Although many USL fans strongly disagree, that league is not viewed as having a net benefit to the country and thus is fair game here. Will this eventually change? Is there a scenario where the three MLS teams are required to enter the CanPL. Yes. And possibly sooner than most believe. (That is if one or more of the Canadian MLS teams isn’t part of a bigger league by then – a league that is launched as part of the United 2026 bid and is designed to disrupt the established order of world football. But, that’s a topic for another day). View full record
  3. Multiple sources in the CanPL and in Canadian soccer have confirmed that the Ottawa Fury will struggle to be sanctioned after 2019, if not sooner. “Who is going to sanction them,” one source said? “They may get a ‘pity’ sanction for 2019, but beyond that?” Another person working in the game suggested that the CSA will be reluctant to directly challenge the Fury, but that they are working behind closed doors to challenge the legitimacy of the club playing in the US-based USL. “They won’t say anything publicly, but they are hoping CONCACAF steps in.” The suggestion is that CONCACAF may ban teams outside the top flight from participating in leagues outside their country. This would be in reaction to not just the Canadian situation, but also in the Caribbean where several teams have attached themselves to US leagues now and in the past. There is a movement within CONCACAF to create a D1 pan-Caribbean league and having clubs play in the US makes that more challenging. This could offer an opportunity to stop the practice moving forward. It’s also difficult to justify the three Canadian MLS teams, if you ban teams from below the top flight. Especially if, as the CSA has suggested, the CanPL is launched as a Division 1 league. It would seem that at the very least you would need to acknowledge that CanPL is a D2 league, if you were to allow TFC, the Whitecaps and Impact to remain in the American league, while barring Ottawa entry into USL. Not everyone believes the CSA is ready to take the so-called “nuclear option” of denying sanctioning. There is a significant amount of people that are hoping that the Fury can be convinced to join the league, although everyone I spoke to today agrees that the likelihood of that happening for 2019 is close to zero. Regardless, it is clear that the idea that the CSA and CanPL are supportive of the Fury’s choice, as has been reported in Ottawa, is completely false. It is possible that the Fury will be allowed to play 2019 in USL, but it will not be with the blessing of the governing body. The best the Fury can hope for is the CSA’s silence. More tomorrow…
  4. Multiple sources in the CanPL and in Canadian soccer have confirmed that the Ottawa Fury will struggle to be sanctioned after 2019, if not sooner. “Who is going to sanction them,” one source said? “They may get a ‘pity’ sanction for 2019, but beyond that?” Another person working in the game suggested that the CSA will be reluctant to directly challenge the Fury, but that they are working behind closed doors to challenge the legitimacy of the club playing in the US-based USL. “They won’t say anything publicly, but they are hoping CONCACAF steps in.” The suggestion is that CONCACAF may ban teams outside the top flight from participating in leagues outside their country. This would be in reaction to not just the Canadian situation, but also in the Caribbean where several teams have attached themselves to US leagues now and in the past. There is a movement within CONCACAF to create a D1 pan-Caribbean league and having clubs play in the US makes that more challenging. This could offer an opportunity to stop the practice moving forward. It’s also difficult to justify the three Canadian MLS teams, if you ban teams from below the top flight. Especially if, as the CSA has suggested, the CanPL is launched as a Division 1 league. It would seem that at the very least you would need to acknowledge that CanPL is a D2 league, if you were to allow TFC, the Whitecaps and Impact to remain in the American league, while barring Ottawa entry into USL. Not everyone believes the CSA is ready to take the so-called “nuclear option” of denying sanctioning. There is a significant amount of people that are hoping that the Fury can be convinced to join the league, although everyone I spoke to today agrees that the likelihood of that happening for 2019 is close to zero. Regardless, it is clear that the idea that the CSA and CanPL are supportive of the Fury’s choice, as has been reported in Ottawa, is completely false. It is possible that the Fury will be allowed to play 2019 in USL, but it will not be with the blessing of the governing body. The best the Fury can hope for is the CSA’s silence. More tomorrow… View full record
  5. So a couple of episodes back(not the last one but the one before that I believe) on footysoldiers they were talking about naming the teams and more than that sort of the club "mission statement"/"Identity" that would be the basis for each club. They mentioned "farmer johns" in regina and the regina regiment as well as privateers in halifax and how that can influence a team from the top-down so that there is always a clear purpose for how the team is going to play. Another example was the 86ers and how when they came in they said they were going to play BC guys and they were going to go for it in terms of scoring goals. I'll start off - I was thinking about Sigma Sauga - how the city is commonly understood as sort of a techhub/fortune 500 company hub and how sigma is a math symbol - this combined with seeing a tweet from the club recently where they were showing their youth players a slide show on tactics got me thinking. They could be known as precise and calculated tactically - it would go along with the Sigma thing as well as the general feel for the city. their mission statement could be something along the lines of "Our goal is to create intelligent, tactically aware players, who are capable of adapting on the fly different formations both from the opposition and from their own club, to give them a tactical advantage over the opponent - with the ultimate goal of winning, whether by defence or offence - by outsmarting the opposition". Thoughts?
  6. I was blown away by this article, in all respects. Deep-pocket owners, sport management experience, nice stadium with steep stands, great for soccer, and 15,000 a game in USL. Then the amazing sports rivalries you get in Ohio, and the youth soccer base. I mean, you can talk all you want about expansion prospects, but those numbers and that venue, in a month's of USL existence, are MLS quality, say no more. http://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2016/05/13/another-orlando-inside-charts-exciting-rise-fc-cincinnati
  7. USL is kicking off their season next week. 29 clubs will participate in the season. The following are some discussion points that I think will be interesting to follow over the course of the year. - Will Whitecaps FC 2 actually follow sanctioning requirements this year, starting 6 Canadians every match? - Do any Canadians currently signed to a USL contract sign an MLS contract before the season's end? Someone like, Uccello, Levis or Riggi perhaps? - How do the Canadians on American USL clubs fare? Will be interesting to see how Laryea, Ewart, Pasher, Cox, Grant, and Murrell do among others. Laryea especially since I don't see him getting much action with Orlando City. - How do our U-17 prospects fare in USL? Eyes will be on Davies, Tabla and Chung. - Do any new Canadian wonder kids sign a USL contract before the season's end? Someone like Adonijah Reid perhaps? - Do any of the USL clubs sign someone completely outside of their academies? Someone like Dominic Russo? - Does Tosaint Ricketts sign in USL? I'm mostly kidding, but not 100%. - How many arguments in this thread about winning versus development are had in this thread?
  8. 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!
  9. 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!
  10. Plus, post game comments from Zachary Sukunda, Jacques Haman ( in french ) , Mitchell Bringolf ( CB in the USL Team of the Week ) and the goalkeeper coach of FC Montreal, Jack Stern talks about the progression of his keepers and the reason behind their only 2 goals conceded in the last 4 games! Post-Game Report by Tristan D'Amours :http://uslradio.com/2015/08/12/fc-montreal-win-their-second-401-derby-game-at-home/ Until next time, have a great soccer!! @USLRdio @24thminute @KevLaramee @TristanDAmours https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/usl-soccer-radio/id986025694?mt=2 http://stitcher.com/s?fid=64575&refid=stpr http://uslradio.com OTW Studios http://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/otw-studios/id1018126433 http://feeds.feedburner.com/otwstudios Support Kevin and OTW Studios http://patreon.com/kevinlaramee
  11. Now 21-years-old, Cain is about to enter his senior season with the Wright State Raiders this fall. A Canadian youth international, Cain first headed to the University of Northwestern Ohio, where he led the team in scoring in his Freshman year with ten goals. He then made the cross state transfer to the Wright State University in Dayton where he added a further two goals in 19 games of his second year and two in 21 games this season just past. Although the college route isn't for everyone who graduates from the 'Caps Residency, opportunities were few and far between just three years ago, but Cain has loved his time in the college game. "It's a lot different in America than it is in Canada," Cain told us. "It's a great experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've learned a lot living there and I've grown up a lot too. It's a different game and it makes me adjust. It's good." As we said, Cain will be going for PDL Championship glory this Sunday when his K-W United side face New York Red Bulls U23s at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington. After a strong season, the striker can't wait for a chance to lift the trophy. "It's great," Cain told us. "It's a great feeling. I haven't been in a big final since I played with the Whitecaps and that was years ago. So it's going to be great." K-W United got to the Championship game after a dramatic last-second win over Seattle Sounders U23s on Friday night. Cain came on as a second half sub in that game, but with most of those watching expecting the match to head into extra time, the striker watched German midfielder Julian Buescher win it late with his free kick. "Julian's great on the ball on set plays," Cain said. "I was hoping it was going to go in, but I didn't know. Before the free kick, I thought it was going to go to extra-time but we pulled it together, riled up the gang and got it in." This is Cain's second season with K-W United, but it's not his first experience of PDL play and he played for Whitecaps U23s in the league in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. And the reason he's currently at K-W in the first place is due to another Vancouver connection, his former Residency coach Stuart Neely. "My first year I came here because Stuart was coaching," Cain told us. "I got in contact with him and he told me to come. It's a great team. We had a great season last year but fell a bit short. This year, once again we're strong again and this time we feel like we're going to do it." After that Cain will be heading back to Wright State for his final year, where he is studying Media Relations. And after that? "My focus is to become a professional," Cain told us. "I'm really determined. I really think I can make either a USL team or a MLS team. My goal after college is to go on some trials with some clubs and see what I can do." With the Whitecaps not keeping homegrown rights on Cain, he will be free to be picked up by any club side now, but he's also looking at overseas as an option. So does he have access to an European passport that opens doors for so many players here? "Unfortunately I don't," Cain said. "I just have a Canadian passport, but because I'm half Jamaican, I'm working on getting a Jamaican passport to try and get over. It'll be easier with that in England." We wish Wesley (and Adam) all the very best in today's big PDL Championship game with New York Red Bulls and don't forget you can follow his college progress, and that of all the other 'Caps Residency alumni, in our regular "Caps In College' feature come the fall.
  12. It was no more than K-W deserved, after coming closing on numerous occasions during the match, hitting the woodwork three times and causing numerous goalmouth scrambles. Leading scorer Ben Polk had a shot cleared off the goalline in the 18th minute. The rebound fell to Oyvind Alseth on the edge of the box but his shot cannoned off the crossbar. When Sergio Camargo hit the left post with a rasping shot in the 32nd minute, you wondered if it wasn't going to be the Canadian's day. Even more so when Polk hit the crossbar again six minutes into the second half. Seattle also had their chances, in an entertaining and fast-paced game that was swinging end to end, with Joseph Gjertsen coming within inches of giving the host the lead five minutes in and Guillermo Delgado doing everything right to create a chance out of nothing a minute before the break, but lobbing hit final effort just over. The Sounders were looking lively in the closing stages after bringing on sub Derek Johnson, with Whitecaps Residency alumni Wesley Cain causing Seattle problems with his pace up front for K-W, before Buescher grabbed the late winner. "We had the better chances but Seattle were a very, very good team," Pozniak felt. "Very organised and very quick on transitions, so it was always a little bit dangerous. But in the end, a little bit of quality and we scored a great goal." So when Buescher lined up that game winning free-kick, what was going through Pozniak's mind? Was he already planning his tactics for extra time? "No, no," Pozniak told us. "Actually I've seen Julian bang those in during training all the time, so I had a feeling it was going in." The K-W head coaching position is Pozniak's first stint in management at the senior level and what a start to his managerial career. Pozniak retired at the end of 2012, having played club football in five countries and being capped for Canada internationally. The defender played in MLS with Toronto FC in their inaugural season and also had a stint with Chivas USA in 2008. Many AFTN readers will also be familiar with Pozniak for the three seasons he spent with the Whitecaps from the 2008 USL Championship winning side up to 2010. To reach the Championship game in his first season in management means as much to him as it does the players, but he puts a lot of the success down to the earlier work done by another ex-Whitecap, former PDL coach Stuart Neely. "It's fantastic," Pozniak enthused. "I couldn't have asked for a better start to coaching at this level. I've had great support and we've also recruited some fantastic players, which made it easy for me. "We had great groundwork from the year before from Stuart Neely, my predecessor. So the returning players, who are our captains, Sergio Camargo and Nate Ingham, set the tone already. So it made my job easier the first couple of weeks and ever since then it's gone uphill." But the job is only halfway done and K-W United will now face New York Red Bulls U23s in Sunday's PDL Championship game. The Red Bulls had a dramatic late semi-final win of their own at Starfire Stadium. Having taken an early lead, then wasting several chances to kill the game off, New York let Florida side Ocala Stampede tie things up late in the first half. The second half then became an edgy affair, with no further goals to break the deadlock. With penalties looming, Ocala's Anthony Arico was sent off for a lunging challenge in the New York box and the Stampede were punished when Joe Farrell hit a stunning looping effort into the next with six minutes of extra time remaining. It'll be a tough game, but a very winnable one and K-W United are top seeds for this Final Four. New York won the Mid Atlantic Division and then the Eastern Conference Championship and have a number of returning players and from their successful academy. How much does Pozniak know about them and did he get an opportunity to watch any of their semi-final? "I got the chance to watch their first half," Pozniak told us. "We were warming up so we didn't see the second half (or extra time) but we've got a pretty good idea of how they play and what they're about." The PDL Championship game kicks off at Starfire at 2pm on Sunday afternoon, with admission only $10. If you're staying down in the area after the 'Caps game at the Clink tonight, then get yourself along and cheer on the Canadians to lift the trophy. Good luck to K-W United. And we'll leave you with some photos from Friday's semi-final win.
  13. But football-wise, they've got better season upon season, making the Central Conference semi-finals in 2014 under former Whitecaps Residency head coach Stuart Neely. With Neely moving back to coaching with Toronto at the start of this year, another former Whitecap took the reigns, in the shape of defender, and former Canadian international, Chris Pozniak, who played for the 'Caps from 2008 to 2010 in the old USL days. Pozniak guided K-W to a second place finish in the Great Lakes Division, losing just two games all season and finishing just a point behind the defending PDL champions, the Michigan Bucks. That set-up an all-Canadian Central Conference quarter-final showdown with Forest City London, which they won 2-0. Heartland Division champions Des Moines Menace were next up in the semi-finals and were dispatched 3-2. K-W United were now one game away from their first-ever Central Conference Championship and the Final Four and they got there with a 3-1 over Michigan Bucks and with a Whitecaps hand in each of their goals. Polakiewicz set up Ken Krolicki's 9th minute opener, before adding a second himself five minutes later. Cain made it 3-0 in the 55th minute, sending the Ontario side on their travels to Washington this weekend. Both Cain and Polakiewicz graduated from the Whitecaps Residency program after the 2011/12 USSDA season and were part of the 'Caps U18 side that agonisingly lost out on the 2012 Championship game to an 82nd minute goal in a 3-2 defeat to FC Dallas. After graduating, Cain went the NCAA route and has just finished his Junior season with Wright State University Raiders. Lead the team in scoring in his Freshman year with ten goals, adding a further two in 19 games of his second year and two in 21 games this season just past. He will enter his final Senior season this fall. This is the second season with K-W United for the Guelph native, as he looks to keep up to match shape for the NCAA season ahead. Cain made 12 appearances for K-W last season in regular play, grabbing one goal and one assist. This year he's made 17 appearances, grabbing that one crucial goal last Saturday. Polakiewicz graduated from the Residency after the Championship game and played some PDL for the ‘Caps. He initially moved to Poland and joined top division side Slask Wroclaw, but soon returned to Canada to play PDL with K-W United in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. He’s with the club again this season and has made 11 appearances with two goals and assist. Another BC connection on the K-W side is defender Quante Abbott-Hill Smith, who played with the SFU Clan and was on the first preseason camp roster with WFC2 back in February. If K-W United are going to make history then they're going to have to do it the hard way, facing off against Seattle Sounders U23s on Friday night at 8pm. If they can get through that, they will face the winner of NYRB and Ocala Stampede on Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Tickets are still available, cost $10 for each day, and can be bought HERE. AFTN will be there, so get along if you can and lend some Canadian cheers to the guys.
  14. Patience has been the key for Dean during his time in Vancouver. We've written about it before, but after being drafted third overall by the 'Caps in last year's SuperDraft, it was a tough first year for the California Golden Bears alumni, but not an unexpected one. With 123 MLS minutes logged in his rookie MLS season, Dean only made one start and four overall appearances for the Whitecaps last year. For most rookies, that's actually not the worst return, but when your college defensive partner, Steve Birnbaum, gets drafted in the spot just before you and goes on to make 21 appearances for DC United in his rookie season, you would understandably wonder what might have been had another club taken you instead of the 'Caps. But Dean found himself surrounded by a number of top centre backs in Vancouver last year and he took the opportunity to learn from the likes of Andy O'Brien and Jay DeMerit, put his head down, worked hard and improved his game with the hope of fighting for a spot this past preseason. When O'Brien and Johnny Leveron left, his hopes must have been high but the additions of three new centre backs in Pa Modou Kah, Diego Rodriguez and draft pick Parker has actually seen Dean fall down the pecking order and the depth charts. Again, a tough blow to take, but Dean knew there was no point pouting over it and the only way to improve his lot was to show Robinson and the rest of the coaching staff that he deserved to be in the frame for MLS minutes by continually producing and impressing in training and in USL action with WFC2. And he's done just that. Dean's played in eight WFC2 matches this season and has continued to show improvement and development week upon week. And it's not gone unnoticed by Robinson. "I think especially in the last two or three weeks, he's grown," Robinson told AFTN at training on Friday. "He's matured. He's looking at being a better player. The little things, he's doing a lot better now. Never underestimate the small details in defenders. We're lucky we've got five fantastic centre backs in the squad. They'll come through or they'll have their confident spurts at different times. "Christian seems to have found his rhythm at the moment playing in USL and in training. He's trained very, very well the last few games. His chance will be around the corner, without a doubt. Whether it's this Sunday or whether it's next week, he'll get his opportunity because he's not far from being ready now." All of Dean's hard work culminated in his first professional goal this past weekend against Seattle Sounders 2, a moment he described as "awesome" and building upon his first international goal for the US U23 team against Mexico earlier in the year. It's nice to get those rewards when you put the work and effort in. Building on it all is now the key. Dean's attitude has been first class. As disheartening as the additions to the 'Caps MLS squad must have been over the offseason, he again put his head down and worked to battle for a spot. And there may be some battle between Parker and Dean for their minutes on the pitch, the pair have become good friends off it, supporting and challenging each other. "Tim's probably honestly one of my best friends on the team," Dean told AFTN back in April. "We're both American, we're both coming out of college, we're both fighting for that spot. "But once one of us gets it, I think we're both going to be happy for each other that we got the opportunity and once we see the other person got it, we're going to know we can get it. So it's just going to be a fight until that times comes." It's been Parker who got that opportunity first. The rookie has made four appearances with the first team so far this season. Three of them starts and most of them coming in the right back role. Parker got his first MLS start as centre back two games ago in the win at New England. Dean was delighted for his friend and seeing Robinson be true to his word and give the younger players their chance has been a shot in the arm for him. "It makes me excited," Dean admitted to us. "Tim deserves his chance. He's been playing fantastic during training sessions and scrimmages. The guy's a professional. I'm trying to learn, even from him right now. "It's an exciting time for us young players, with Sam [Adekugbe] getting time at the beginning and Deybi [Flores] getting time and Kianz [Froese] getting time. All the young players are coming in and showing what we can do. It's an exciting time for our team." Dean is a versatile player. He's been playing two positions with the USL side this season, both centre back and left back. He's partnered Parker well when they've played together and I wouldn't have too many fears about both of them playing alongside each other in a MLS match. Of course, he's in the team to hone his skills and playing two different positions perhaps makes that a little bit harder, but he's enjoying the opportunity to work on both roles. "I'm playing two positions here, at centre back and at left back, so I'm learning each position," Dean says. "I feel that when I do get the opportunity to play with the first team I'm going to take it, whether it's left back or centre half." He's been looking particularly sharp in the left back role once he found his feet and got used to playing regularly there. It was from that position that he grabbed his first professional goal against Seattle last Sunday and he's been getting up and down the wing well. Does he have any actual preference between the two positions? "I like both right now," Dean says. "Left back's a lot of running, it's fun, keeps my fitness up. I wouldn't mind playing either." Dean looks comfortable at left back and for a player that stands 6-foot-3, he's pretty good with the ball at his feet for a big man. "I used to play striker," Dean laughs. "Then as I got older I started moving back and back and further back, and thinking I just need to keep my footwork up." His continue improvement has been noted by both Robinson and USL head coach Alan Koch. It needs to continue and it needs to be more consistent. Once that all clicks into place, Dean's not going to be too far away from seeing the pitch once again in Major League Soccer action. "Christian was very, very good [against Seattle]," Koch told us. "Getting up and down the flanks. When you have somebody like him who can play two positions, it hard for him to get into a role of being comfortable. But he played very, very well against Portland two weeks ago. I had a chat with him, I didn't think he as good, particularly in the first 20 minutes, against Orange County. He was a lot better again [on Sunday]. "Just like all the other young guys in our team, he has to find consistent performances and that's hopefully going to improve his chances of getting playing time in the first team." That time should be coming soon from what Robinson has indicated. When it does, it's then up to Dean to seize that moment. With the Whitecaps having a crazy August, playing eight games in three different tournaments, Dean will undoubtedly see some first team minutes during that spell. But he's not even thinking that far ahead and is targeting July for his first MLS minutes of the season. "Yeah, not even August," Dean told us. "I'm aiming to try and get into games this month if I can. Just showing what I've got in training sessions and everything. As a player, you always want to play and when you get the opportunity you just have to take it."
  15. The 'Caps looked a little out of sorts in the first half and T2 headed into the break with a one goal lead thanks to a long range effort from Fatawu Safiu, and although Ben McKendry nearly equalised immediately, Vancouver weren't at the races. Head coach Alan Koch gave the 'Caps the kick up the ass they needed during his half time team talk and WFC2 and they were back on level terms two minutes after the restart and captain Tyler Rosenlund grabbed his first goal of the season when he put away an Andre Lewis cross. It was a much different 'Caps side now and they deservedly went ahead in the 63rd minute when Victor Blasco and Billy Schuler combined for the third time in two games and the Spaniard curled a nice finish into the net to put WFC2 into a 2-1 lead they didn't give up. In fact, they could have added to it and McKendry could only look on as his low effort crashed off the left post and then centre back Craig Nitti tried to lob T2 keeper Justin Luthy from his own half but saw his fantastic effort crash off the crossbar. Another three points and although Koch was left happy with that, he wasn't pleased by the Jekyll and Hyde performance from his team. "Pleased with the second half, not pleased with the first half," Koch told us after the match. "I thought we were very lacklustre in the first half. I think they clearly wanted it more than we did. We were a little bit naive how we approached the first 45 minutes. Addressed a couple of things and full credit to the guys, a much, much better performance in the second half." Also pleasing was Victor Blasco's third goal in two games. We wondered if last week's strikes would now spur him on and open the gates for more and it's looking like it has, although Koch also felt the Spaniard's performance matched that of the whole team over the 90 minutes. "In the second half, yes he did [look good]," Koch told us. "I had a chat with him at half time and said the first half wasn't good enough to be honest if he wanted to build on last week. You expect him to come out firing. He didn't do it in the first 45 minutes but full credit to him, he did it in the second half. "He took another step forward in the right direction and hopefully he can keep doing the same thing." The game did have some other disappointment for Vancouver, with Brett Levis being stretchered off late on after coming off worse for wear in a 50-50 challenge. The midfielder has been having a good season for the 'Caps but left the stadium on a cart with his foot and ankle heavily bandaged up and he was unable to put any pressure on it. A big loss for the team and with Caleb Clarke and Jackson Farmer away with Canada on international duty at the Pan Am Games, the WFC2 squad is getting down to the bare bones. With a busy month coming up, how will they cope? "The same way we've dealt with it all season long," Koch added. "Obviously when we're healthy, it's great and it's nice and easy. But when you're players short it gives other guys an opportunity to step in. Caleb was gone today and Billy Schuler stepped in and put in a great 90 minutes work. "If Brett's gone for a little while it'll give somebody an opportunity and they'll come in and do the exact same thing." WFC2 are in action again this coming Wednesday when the previously Western Conference leading Colorado Springs Switchbacks come to UBC. It'll be a tough game, but this month gives the 'Caps the chance to make a real push for a playoff spot. With a trip to Portland coming up next Sunday, and then a home and away set against Tulsa Roughnecks, points are up for grabs against two teams below them in the standings. Koch is hoping to use the recent results to now push on down the stretch but he's not looking too far beyond the next game right now. "We want to make the playoffs," Koch stated. "That's our goal. We'd like to push on and see how well we can do this last little bit of the season. We don't look too far ahead to be honest. We're going to focus on Wednesday. "We know next Sunday down at the Timbers will be a tough game, but we know we'll have a tough game on Wednesday first. So we'll go one game at a time. We're not looking too far ahead of that, particularly with the group that we have. We'll get ready not to take care of business on Wednesday." AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was at WFC2's exciting win over Portland to capture all the action from before, during and after the game. Here's our "Story In Pictures", with a full Flickr slideshow at the end. [Also check out Tom's website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work]. The WFC2 Starting XI Fatawu Safiu sparks the game into life in the 35th minute with a long range strike That beats Paolo Tornaghi and nestles nicely in the net Never nice to see happy Timbers Curva Collective in the house and in full voice for the canines in attendance After a half time kick up the ass, the 'Caps come out firing and Tyler Rosenlund grabs his first of the season in the 47th minute Then in the 63rd minute, the dynamic duo of Victor Blasco and Billy Schuler link up again And the Spaniard curls home from inside the box to make it 2-1 WFC2 Blasco is blazing a trail this month in USL Ben McKendry lets rip and nearly make it three for the 'Caps But can only look on as his effort crashes off the left post Not all good news for the 'Caps as Brett Levis comes off second best in a 50-50 challenge And is stretchered off in some pain Robbo congratulates Alan Koch on another win against a Cascadian rival. Next weekend they'll plot a double header down in Portland Pa Modou Kah has some advice and words of encouragement for the younger 'Caps One man and his dog - as if his looks didn't make Christian Dean a babe magnet already! You can see more photos from the match in the Flickr slideshow below:
  16. "I'm really happy," Blasco told reporters after the match. "I've been working hard for that for a long time. The most important thing is the three points, so thanks to my teammates." You could sense that it was just a matter of time before Blasco got those first goals, and they must have come as something off a weight off his shoulders. "Yeah, it's a bit like that," Blasco told us. "I had a bit of pressure for that because I've been always used to scoring goals. It was taking a little bit long, but now I'm happy. I was kinda calm though because I've plenty experience scoring goals. I knew it was like. If I take my time and was calm then there you go." Blasco has scored goals wherever he’s been. The 22-year-old (his birthday was on Canada Day!) came through the fabled Barcelona academy system before leaving to play with the youth and reserves teams of Mallorca, Cornella and Sabadell. Current WFC2 head coach Alan Koch had scouted Blasco in Spain and brought him over with the initial plan of playing NCAA soccer with the SFU Clan. That move was delayed to allow Blasco to head over to Nanaimo to play for Vancouver Island University Mariners, while taking classes to improve his English. As fate would have it, Koch moved on from SFU to take charge of the Whitecaps USL team and he knew a player he wanted to bring with him. When we ran our profiled Blasco in March, we asked Koch about what Blasco could offer the team. "If you watch him in a training session, you’ll see within five minutes" he told us. And it’s true. Blasco has impressed with his skills and touch in training and scrimmages. He just needs to put it all together in competitive games, and these two goals could very well be the spark that now sees him kick on and impress on the pitch for the rest of the season. There’s no doubting that Vancouver Whitecaps’ USL team is packed with talent. Some of it is more honed than others at this stage of their careers. Some of it is raw. Some of it has taken a bit of time to find its feet in the pro ranks and get fully going. It’s a young side and with that, as Carl Robinson regularly highlights with the MLS team, comes inconsistency, and that is also what Koch wants to see from Blasco. "When he scored that goal, you could kind of see a weight off his shoulders instantaneously," Koch told us. "A huge sigh of relief for him, which is great, and he went back and scored a goal right away. Hopefully that game's the catalyst that gets him going. "Good game by him, but he's still capable of more. We see special things from him in training. He just needs to figure out how to be more consistent. If he can do that in every game, he won't be in the USL for very, very long." The aim for all the players on the USL squad is to grab people’s attention, impress and ultimately land a MLS deal with the Whitecaps. Not all will make it with the ‘Caps, not all will make it to a higher level at all, but you get the feeling that Blasco is certainly one of the players that the Whitecaps are taking a close interest in to see how he develops and where his ceiling may be. Blasco has played in 13 matches so far this season, starting 7. With two goals and two assists, it’s not a bad return for the winger, and he also sits third on the team for shots on goal. Much like the team, it was a somewhat mixed start to the season for Blasco, who was sent off in the home opener against Toronto, before finding his rhythm. So on a personal level, how has he found his first season with the Whitecaps so far?. "I think it was kind of a rollercoaster a little bit," Blasco told us. "I've been playing good matches and some of them not so good. I've been getting used to the league also because here they play different. Also, fitness-wise, I was struggling a little bit, but now, every day that passes, I'm getting more used to it and I'm more happy and comfortable with the team and the coach." As Koch says, consistency is now the key fir Blasco and putting in the type of performances he had as a super sub against Seattle, week in and week out. That in itself is a challenge for all the young players on the USL team due to squad rotation and the minutes being shared around between the squad players and the MLS players coming down to play. But that is just the nature of the beast and Blasco knows, to thrive in the environment, you just have to find way to succeed. "When we all came here, we knew it wasn't going to be easy because a lot of the MLS guys come up and down," Blasco admits. "We all know our role here. We're all to work for the group. So every time we get our chance, we need to take it the best that we can."
  17. The Sounders had the best of the early chances and Marco Carducci did fantastic to dive and knock the ball off the feet of Oalex Anderson as he looked poised to open the scoring. It was a pretty end to end game in the first half, with the 'Caps shading the better play, led by an impressive Marco Bustos, Brett Levis and Andre Lewis. WFC2 could have been a couple of goals up if Bustos had perhaps played a quicker pass on a couple of breaks. WFC2's pressure was to pay off though four minutes before half time when Christian Dean grabbed his first professional goal after a neat one-two with Brett Levis. Dean had looked dangerous in the left back role, getting up and down the wing through the half and his work was rewarded by a well taken goal. 1-0 to the 'Caps at the half, and it was a half that showed just how good this young 'Caps side can be. They're certainly starting to click and develop as the year goes on. But not for the first time this season, they let their lead slip and S2 tied things up in the 67th minute when WFC2 failed to clear a corner, allowing Oniel Fisher to lay the ball off to Sergio Mota and the Brazilian curled a 20 yard beauty past a diving Carducci. The game seemed destined to end in another stalemate before WFC2 sub Victor Blasco stole the show. The Spaniard had come on as a 77th minute sub for Lewis and won all three points for the Whitecaps with two goals in a 78 second spell right at the end of the match. Not only was the brace his first goals of the season but they were also his first professional goals after a youth career in Spain and a college stint here on Vancouver Island. Blasco's first came in the 89th minute when fellow sub Billy Schuler cut the ball back and he slotted home from eight yards out. The pair combined again in the last minute of normal time when Schuler played in Blasco and the winger took a step inside his man before curling the ball past Charlie Lyon in the Sounders goal for a 3-1 final. A great and well-deserved win for the Whitecaps that moves them to within three points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings. "Great game," was WFC2 coach Alan Koch's take after the match. "I thought we played very, very well. Good performance, great result. Obviously lots of little things that we can tidy up. We did give them a couple of chances that we're not happy with, but with a young group you obviously expect that. "Very, very pleased with the overall performance. Not only from the guys that started but the guys that came off the bench and made major impacts in the game today." One of those disappointing aspects for WFC2 was letting another lead slip away, although Koch was delighted with how his team regrouped. It's another sign of his this squad is growing. "Frustrating," Koch told us. "We try to play and with young players we're going to make mistakes. Happy to be 1-0 up, not happy when they scored. You could kind of see our guys take a bit of a pause for a second, kind of gather themselves thank goodness and then push towards the end. "You've got to play for the full 90 minutes, which we did today, and we deserved to get the three points. Full credit to the guys. I think everybody was good from top to bottom." WFC2 are in action again this coming Friday and it's another Cascadian derby as Timbers 2 come to town. It's a 7pm kick off, so head along if you can. AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was at WFC2's exciting win over Seattle to capture all the action. Here's our "Story In Pictures", with a full Flickr slideshow at the end. [Also check out Tom's website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work]. The Caps had some early pressure with Marco Bustos and Andre Lewis linking up well And the pressure pays of when Christian Dean plays a neat one-two with Brett Levis And hits a great finish to make it 1-0 WFC2 It was also Dean's first professional goal And you can see just what it meant to the big man Not for the first time in the game, Marco Carducci had to be at his best to keep out S2 While at the other end, Seattle's Lyon roared But when Sergio Mota unleashed his 20 yard curling beauty in the 67th minute There was nothing Carducci could do to keep it out Look who it is! Robert Earnshaw makes his return after his recent calf injury With a draw looming, up steps Super Sub Victor Blasco inn the 89th minute And the Spaniard slots home Billy Schuler's cutback to put the 'Caps ahead again Another first professional goal! And with three points likely secure, it's joy all round But Blasco wasn't finished yet! And he curls home his second just over a minute later to make it 3-1 Whitecaps! Blasco loves it and the fans love him! The goalscorers embrace! You can see more photos from the match in the Flickr slideshow below:
  18. "It's been probably exactly what I expected," Robinson told AFTN this week. "Everyone compares us to Portland and Seattle because they're USL teams as well. If you look at the average age of Seattle's USL team, correct me if I'm wrong, but it's older than my first team squad. "So every team and every club has their own identity of what they want to do with their club moving forward. Ours was, well we've got a young first team squad so unfortunately Alan's going to have a young USL squad. We've got 18, 19, 20 year olds playing against 23, 24, 25 year olds. They'll learn but they'll learn for the good of it as well." Robinson is still trying to find the right balance between how many of his MLS guys to send down to keep sharp and the use of them in his regularly rotating gameday squads. To date, 13 of the Whitecaps 30-man MLS roster has turned out in USL action, with the recovering Diego Rodriguez and Marco Bustos perhaps being the best beneficiaries so far. That's obviously meant a lot of chopping and changing in the WFC2 starting line-up, as has the rotation of the remaining USL squad members in order to get as many minutes for all the young players as possible. "Obviously you want to go and get results but it's about development," Robinson added. "It really is about development at that level for me. If Alan can push players into my team in the next couple of years or I can get players games, which I have from the first team, it's a vital tool." After a mixed start, the Caps are starting to see the best of both worlds - player developmental time and wins in the process. At the halfway stage of the season, WFC2 sits with a 3-7-4 record and 13 points. Not fantastic, but not the worst in the league either. They currently sit second bottom of a tight Western Conference, but at the time of writing this, that sees them only four points off the sixth and final playoff place in the West. Still a lot to play for down the stretch and like MLS, a run of wins or a run of losses can see a team rise or fall down that table pretty quickly. With a young squad that was put together pretty close to when the season got underway, it's been an overall pleasing start to their inaugural campaign in the eyes of WFC2 head coach Alan Koch. "We're halfway through the season and we're only four points out of a playoff spot," Koch said after last Sunday's loss to LA. "That's a huge positive for the group that we have. It's a young group. I think we still have the youngest group in the league. "To be at the halfway mark and be only four points out, that's a huge positive. As much as we're going to address things that weren't good today [in the loss to LA II], we are in a good place and hopefully we can continue the good work that the guys have been putting in during the second half of the season." Koch echoed Robinson's comments as to the exact purpose of the team, telling us that "as much as this group is about development, that's the primary mandate, we want to get results". And they have been coming. The team was unbeaten at home before LA came to town and had a four game unbeaten streak before hitting their current three match losing one. Fine lines, as Robinson would say. But all things considered, is the team where Koch was hoping they would be at this stage of the season or is he a little bit disappointed that they're not a bit further along in terms of development and results? "Tough question after we've just lost 2-0 and we didn't play very well," Koch told us. "We are in a good place. The team has got better, I'd say, every single week, other than this week, so we've come on a long, long way. A lot of the young players have really improved and the experience that they're getting is invaluable. "They're much, much better players now than they were when we started the season. I think we've come together as a group. We're creating a team identity. So after 14 games, we're in a much better place now than we were at the start of the season and I hope after the next 14 games we can say the exact same thing." It will certainly be interesting to see who the standout players have been come the end of the season. So far, a few have impressed, some unexpectedly, others have been slow to find their feet but are starting to come on to their game, and some have struggled and you have to give the honest assessment that they aren't likely to be with the club next year if they don't show rapid improvement. We won't name names at this stage, that's not fair considering the whole set-up of the team. It should also be remembered that for the vast majority, this is their first experience of the pro game and they're coming up against some much older players. Players will also learn and find their feet and comfort zone at different paces. And while it may sound harsh, part of the remit of the team is to see which players the Whitecaps should continue investing in and which players aren't ready or likely to make the grade and should be cut free. Expect a big turnaround in this team over the years. Football's a tough business. You need to perform to survive. Have WFC2's games shown that any of the MLS players stepping down could make an impact in the first team squad? Yes. And is there talent on the USL roster that could develop into a MLS player one day? Again, yes. So a win-win situation there. Moving in to the second half of the season now, there are some clear areas that Koch and his coaching team will need to focus on at both ends of the pitch. Defensively, WFC2 have a tendency to ship goals. The goals against total of 24 is the highest in all of USL and can't continue if they have the playoffs in mind. That's two dozen goals conceded in 14 matches and two of those saw clean sheets. Considering a lot of the Caps defence has consisted of MLS guys this season, that's a bit of a worry. "Obviously conceding those goals is disappointing, so we do have to tidy it up at the back," Koch told us. "The positives are we're creating a lot of chances but didn't score. So we've got to address both sides of the ball. "We've got make sure we defend better. The big part of that for the young players is learning to communicate a lot more on the field. Sometimes they're timid and sometimes they show that they actually can grab the bull by the horns and sometimes they don't." While the aim of WFC2 is to mirror the playing style of the MLS team in terms of formation and tactics, they also seem to have inherited their missedchanceitis. The team are looking good going forward every game until it gets to the final third and chances are regularly squandered. Caleb Clarke leads the scoring charts with five goals, but the Whitecaps overall total of 14 goals is second worst in the Conference and sixth worst in the 24 team league. Those 14 goals have come from 151 attempted shots, 72 of which have been on target. It's been tough going but a few more chances going in here or there would have made one hell of a difference to the teams standing. 'Every game that we've played, we've created chances," Koch continued. "We've just got to have the confidence and composure to go and take them. So we'll address both sides. Aim for a clean sheet and aim to score goals and hopefully that'll lead to good performances and positive results too." WFC2 get the second half of their debut season underway this afternoon with a home Cascadian clash with Timbers 2. Portland are currently sitting in that sixth and final playoff spot in the west, so it's a game which could give us all an indication as to whether the remainder of the season will be an exciting playoff battle or a tough slog with development and improvement very much in focus with an eye to next year already. For everyone involved, let's hope it's the former!
  19. It could have been all so different after Ian Christianson was sent crashing in the box as half-time approached and with the game still goalless. Caleb Clarke hit a woeful penalty wide left and the 'Caps were punished when LA took the lead moments later, in the 43rd minute. Carl Robinson always talks about "fine lines" and that was one there in a huge game-swinging two minute spell. "I think it would have made a huge difference," Koch said of Clarke's missed penalty. "We would have been a goal up shortly before half-time and hopefully would have gained some confidence, some momentum and maybe the game would have been better in the second half. "Any time you miss a penalty kick like that, it has huge implications on the game and today it certainly did." LA added a second half penalty of their own, after a harsh handball decision on Craig Nitti, after the ball hit his shoulder, and there was no way back for the 'Caps after that, the closest they came being when LA keeper Clement Diop tipped a Clarke shot onto the post in stoppage time. The game marked the halfway point of the regular season for WFC2 and saw the young 'Caps slump to three straight losses. That in itself is bad enough, but to be scoreless in all of those games will cause further concern. But, onwards and upwards. We'll have a look at the season so far through the eyes of Alan Koch and Carl Robinson later in the week. Next up for the 'Caps is a home Cascadian derby on Sunday against Timbers 2. How Canada's second round match-up against Switzerland at the Women's World Cup will affect the crowd will remain to be seen, but treat your dad for Father's Day if you can and take him along to the match. AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was at WFC2's loss to LA II to capture all the action before, during and after the game and here's his "Story In Pictures", with a full Flickr slideshow at the end. [Also check out Tom's website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work]. Ready for battle - the teams come out Oh Canada Victor Blasco was lively early and came close to giving the 'Caps the lead The game marked Marco Bustos' first USL start, and appearance, at home after injury WFC2 get the chance to take the lead after Ian Christianson is sent crashing in the box and the referee points to the spot Caleb Clarke steps up... But hits his 41st minute effort woefully wide And sod's law, LA go up the pitch and take the lead two minutes later after Travis Bowen is left unmarked and heads home Worse is to come in the second half as Craig Nitti is wrongly adjudged to have handled after this shot which hits his shoulder And Aeriel Lassiter makes no mistake from the spot to make it 2-0 LA in the 60th minute The 'Caps try to get back into it, switching to a 3-5-2 formation, but Blasco is thwarted again Others try but there is just no way past Clement Diop And it finished WFC2 0 LA Galaxy II 2 You can see more photos from the match (and of dogs!) in the Flickr slideshow below:
  20. You saw that for this past Sunday's USL game when the 'Caps bizarrely marketed it in part as "The return of Long Tan". I'm not quite sure just who the target audience was with that one (apart from a certain 'Old Fan' on the Southsiders forum and he couldn't even make the game!). Having all that potential was all well and good, but the problem was that Tan didn't actually cut it on the pitch with the 'Caps in Major League Soccer. Now, some would argue that that was because he didn't get the opportunity. Tan decried that fact himself on Twitter. But, to us, the fact was that he just wasn't MLS quality. DC United thought otherwise, and Tan played briefly with them towards the end of the 2012 season. A Championship winning stint in Orlando followed, before Tan returned to China for a year before returning to the US. But after all the travelling, and what felt at the time as a not so amicable parting of the ways between the two parties, Tan was back in Vancouver on Sunday when his Arizona United side headed to Thunderbird Stadium in USL action. It wasn't a happy homecoming for Tan as his side was on the end of a 2-0 loss, but he was still delighted to return to familiar surroundings. "It felt good," Tan told AFTN after the match. "It's been a long time not coming back. I feel like this is my home, so I was very excited. "I feel happy, but we lost, so I feel sad, but I still feel good that I come back home here." Tan came to Vancouver in late 2010. Having moved to the US from China in 2008, the striker first cut his teeth in the North American game with PDL side Atlanta Blackhawks, scoring seven goals in 12 appearances. Staying in the USL ranks, he moved up to D2 level with FC Tampa Bay for the 2010 season, before being part of a bizarre trade at the time that saw Tan head to Vancouver and Jonny Steele (later of New York Red Bulls "fame") and Ricardo Sanchez. Tan stayed with Tampa till the end of the season. After officially signing a MLS contract with the Caps in March 2011 after being on trial for a couple of months. He made his MLS debut a couple of weeks later and went on to play 13 games, and 437 minutes, for the Whitecaps during their inaugural season. As to what his favourite memory is of his time in Vancouver, that's an easy one. "I think it's my first goal, my first MLS goal," Tan was quick to reply. "I'm happy because I scored my first MLS goal with the Whitecaps here." Tan got that sole MLS goal against DC United on October 12th 2011. It was the match winner in a 2-1 victory and he became the first Chinese born player to score a goal in Major League Soccer. Tan made just four starts that inaugural MLS season, contributing two assists as well as his lone goal. He made more starts for the Caps PDL side, banging in five goals in six games. And therein lay one of the problems. Tan was too good for PDL level, but not quite at the MLS grade. A USL club back four years ago could have been the different breaker for him. It's something he's thought about and he's delighted to see MLS clubs in USL this season and the chance it gives the fringe guys to show their talent. "It's good for the USL and the league," Tan said. "It's good for pushing players to make the first team. It's very good for the young players." Despite shining at PDL level, grabbing that first MLS goal and with a managerial change for the 'Caps, it wasn't enough to convince new boss Martin Rennie that he was MLS calibre for his rebuilt side, and he only played 28 minutes and made four appearances in the first few months of the 2012 season. Tan was upset at the lack of opportunities, and after scoring three goals in two PDL matches, he sent out this tweet: When a player isn't getting playing time, he's going to get frustrated. That's what you want. You want that desire to get back into the team and the reckoning. It's how you express that of course that dictates how you're then viewed. The tweet earned Tan a suspension and at that point it was probably time for both parties to have a fresh start. And they did. DC United came in for Tan in return for a third round draft pick and the striker was traded 20 days after his tweet. Tan featured in six of DC's next nine games, making three starts and grabbing a goal in the 4-2 win at Chicago. But then the minutes dried up, he was loaned out to USL side Richmond Kickers and didn't feature in DC's last eight matches. He was released at the end of the season but went back to USL to join Orlando City, making 25 appearances and scoring 5 goals in their Championship winning season. "It was good, we won the Championship!" Tan told us. "They have good fans and we had a good coach and a good team. I really enjoyed there. "After they moved to MLS I had to go back to China because of my family. But now I come back to play in America again. I tried to come back to play in MLS." Tan spent the first part of 2014 with Chinese Super League side Harbin Yiteng before heading back to the US and joining Arizona United, which brings us bang up to date. He made 12 appearances for Arizona last season, banging in five goals and earning a multi-year contract with the club. After all his trials and tribulations, he's very happy in Scottsdale. Well, fairly happy! "I enjoy it there, but the weather is too hot," Tan laughed. "It's nice weather, it's better than over here! [in Vancouver]" Tan has continued his fine form with Arizona this season. He may have been blanked by the Whitecaps on Sunday, but he leads the team with four goals and an assist from their 10 games so far and he still harbours hopes of impressing at USL level with an eye to a step back up to Major League Soccer. "I hope to play MLS," Tan told us. "I hope I come back by doing good here [in Arizona]. I want to play in MLS [again]." Tan has shown he can score at the lower levels of the North American game. Can he do it at MLS level on a regular basis and earn another shot? Stranger things have happened and we wish him nothing but the best to try and get there.
  21. "If you look at the schedule, we've got so many USL games that we've got going on and so many MLS games and we've got a few injuries too, we actually had to ask for an exemption and the CSA approved it," WFC2 coach Alan Koch told AFTN after the game. "I don't think it's something we'll be using very often. You can see in our roster that we've been playing a lot of Canadians. We only started four today but we did get it approved by the CSA before the game." It wasn't the most exciting first half. Vancouver tried to take the game to Arizona but as with the first team, putting away those chances was proving difficult. The Whitecaps turned up the pressure at the start of the second and Caleb Clarke showed quick reaction four minutes in to tuck away a rebound after Arizona keeper Carl Woszcynski had done well to keep out a Kianze Froese shot from the edge of the box. The goal was Clarke's fourth of the season and his second straight game with a goal. Vancouver had several chances to add a second and were in control of the match. They finally got their second killer goal with 12 minutes of the game remaining. It came from Brett Levis and was the Saskatoon native's first professional goal. And what a beauty it was too as the midfielder won possession at the half way line and skipped past two Arizona players before burying it in the bottom right corner of the net. There was no way back for Arizona and the young Caps go marching on. Next up are two away matches in four days. Colorado Springs are first up on Wednesday followed by a trip to OKC Energy on Saturday. AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there to capture all the action before, during and after the game and here's his "Story In Pictures", with a full Flickr slideshow at the end. [Also check out Tom's website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work]. The teams come out at Thunderbird Stadium, ready for battle WFC2 starting XI A small but loud supporters' section for this one The closest WFC2 came in the first half was a Caleb Clarke header But Clarke wasn't to be denied and put the Caps ahead in the 49th minute Victor Blasco comes close to making it two And so does Caleb Clarke as he tried to round Arizona keeper Carl Wozscynski But the Caps do make it 2-0 in the 78th minute when Brett Levis picks up the ball at halfway line and runs in on goal Getting past two Arizona players on the way and slotting home his first professional goal Much to his joy And relief! The young Caps applaud the fans after back to back home wins While it's a meeting of mutual respect at the goalkeepers' union Paolo Tornaghi is in demand after his clean sheet Former Whitecap, and Arizona striker, catches up with an old friend, AFTN contributor and Curva Collective's Zachary Meisenheimer, after the game You can see a Flickr slideshow of all of Tom's photos from the game below:
  22. [Also check out Tom's website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work]. WFC2 come out for battle Oh Canada Things get feisty early with a 5th minute booking for the Monarchs' Lennon Celestino Caleb Clarke tries his new cunning plan to beat the offside trap And it works as he fires WFC2 into a 21st minute lead! Nothing like the ball nestling in the opposition net How many goals has he scored so far? Three is the answer 12 minutes later a great run, control and cut back from Victor Blasco sets up the second And Ben McKendry slots home his first of the season for 2-0 WFC2 Much to the dismay of the corner flag - and the referee who incredibly books him! "He's one of our own" sing Curva Collective Someone's a hugger Thunderbird Stadium in all its glory The 'Caps look like their heading for a comfortable win before pulling one back through a 82nd minute Lucas Baldin penalty that sends keeper Spencer Richey the wrong way The Monarchs are reduced to ten men when Phanuel Kavita picks up a second yellow It's a double bottle celebration kind of day for Jackson Farmer! Ben McKendry does the Humba with Curva Collective You can see a Flickr slideshow of all of Tom's photos from the game below:
  23. The Monarchs pulled one back through a Lucas Baldin penalty with eight minutes remaining, after Jordan Haynes brought down RSL's homegrown MLS player Sebastian Saucedo in the box. But after giving up a late equaliser against OKC Energy last weekend, there was to be no way back for the Utah side, who were reduced to ten men when Phanuel Kavita, another of the RSL's MLS players, picked up a second booking for a foul in the last minute. Vancouver looked the more dangerous team throughout, creating a number of chances but finding the Monarchs a tough team to break down at times. Real had chances of their own and did trouble the 'Caps at times, without finding a way through. WFC2 coach Alan Koch was naturally delighted with his side's first home win. "It's nice to win obviously," Koch told AFTN after the match. "It's been a long time coming. The only other win we've had was in the second game of the season so it's been a few weeks. "Give the guys credit. They've worked very, very hard for several weeks now to get that win. They've been getting sick and tired of tying at home, so I was glad that we could turn that round and get the three points today." Both teams had nine shots apiece, but Vancouver will disappointed that they appear to be mirroring the MLS side by creating some dangerous opportunities but are being let down by the final ball and the lack of clinical finishing. The defensive side of their game, and in particular not falling to another late goal, was more pleasing to Koch, but he wasn't so delighted with the overall team performance over the full 90 minutes. "We worked hard, but to be brutally honest, for the first 45 minutes I thought we weren't very good," Koch added. "We worked hard, we kept our shape, but they're a very, very good footballing team. They did good at keeping the ball. They made us run around all over the place and obviously we got a little bit tired. "But give our guys credit. The last ten minutes they score and we think, oh here we go all over again. But we hang on and showed the character to get the job done." That aspect of the Caps having to chase the ball and the Monarchs was certainly something matchwinner McKendry noticed as well. "It's credit to RSL, they came out and tried to play," McKendry told reporters after the match. "For large parts of the game, they made us chase. I think that's something we're not quite used to yet. Usually we're a team that likes to keep the ball. We did well to stay as a group. We're opportunistic and got those two goals which ultimately won us the game." The win moves WFC2 on to 9 points and a 2-4-3 record, four points off the last playoff place with a game in hand. The team is still clearly a work in progress, with all the chopping and changing of the starting line ups making it difficult to establish complete chemistry and establish a rhythm. You get the feeling it's very close to coming though and the last couple of performances have been marked improvements on some of their early season displays. "We get better every single day," Koch feels. "As I said, I wasn't that impressed with our performance today. I'd like to go watch the video, sometimes you get a different perspective from that. I was very happy with going out and obviously grinding out the result. "But our group, collectively, is getting better and better all the time. Our young guys in the team are improving and our older guys are grabbing the opportunities they've been getting. It's nice to see us rewarded today with the three points." Amongst those older players are two Americans with MLS experience. Billy Schuler played with San Jose Earthquakes last season and has played in eight of Vancouver's nine USL matches this season, starting three and grabbing two goals. Ian Christianson had two seasons with New York Red Bulls, but came to WFC2 rehabbing an injury. The midfielder got his first start with the 'Caps against the Monarchs, after two previous brief substitute appearances. Both players were brought in to add some experience to a very young WFC2 team and Koch feels that what they bring to his side will be important in the latter weeks of the season. Although fans haven't seen either player in full flow yet, Koch is confident the best is still to come from both guys. "They're obviously a little bit older than our teenagers essentially," Koch said. "They've got a little bit more experience. Both of them had good college careers and obviously have been in MLS. This is almost a second opportunity for them to see if they can do the same thing that they've done before and get themselves back into the league. It takes a little bit of time. "Billy started with us and he wasn't a 100% match fit. His match fitness is obviously a lot better now. Ian's been riddled with injuries. So we're integrating them and they've started to do better and better. Billy's scored a couple of goals and he'll hopefully continue to improve as the season goes on." Another experienced player turning out for WFC2 today was Diego Rodriguez, who played 64 minutes, and captained the side, in the centre of defence on his return from the injury he picked up against Columbus on April 8th. He looked sharp, composed in his own box and a danger at set pieces in the opponent's area. We'll have more on Rodriguez on AFTN later, but it was great to see him back and looking like he can add to the Caps in MLS. The Uruguayan was delighted to be back playing again and came through the game thankfully unscathed. "I feel very good," Rodriguez told us after the match. "It was a good game, it's a good group and we wanted to win. I felt very comfortable on the field and felt very happy." WFC2 now wrap up a three game home stand next Sunday when Arizona United come to town, with former Whitecap striker Long Tan in tow. The 'Caps are keen to make it seven points out of a possible nine against an Arizona side who are currently sitting in fourth place in the West, four points ahead of Vancouver with a 4-4-1 record. It'll be a tough game but everyone at WFC2 is keen to build on today's win and will be meeting an Arizona side coming off the back of a 3-0 US Open Cup defeat to unheralded (and relatively unknown) Californian amateur side Chula Vista Futbol Club on Wednesday and a 5-0 hammering in ULS action by Colorado Springs Switchbacks on Saturday. "They're a little bit up and down," Koch said of next week's opponents. "They were smacked on the wrong side of a rough score yesterday. I've watched videos of them already. They're a good team. A little bit hot and cold but you could say that we're a little bit hot and cold too at times. "There's no easy games in this league. The Western Conference is proving that right now. We played against Real Monarchs, who are near the bottom with us, and they're a good footballing team. There's no easy games. We'll be up for the challenge and hopefully we can get the same sort of result. Kick off is at 2pm at Thunderbird Stadium next Sunday, so get out and support the future if you can.
  24. Until next time, have a great soccer! @USLRdio @KevLaramee https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/usl-soccer-radio/id986025694?mt=2 http://stitcher.com/s?fid=64575&refid=stpr http://uslradio.com
  25. Until next time, have a great soccer! @USLRdio @KevLaramee https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/usl-soccer-radio/id986025694?mt=2 http://stitcher.com/s?fid=64575&refid=stpr http://uslradio.com
×
×
  • Create New...