Archive for March 23rd, 2011

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FC Edmonton left out in the cold by NCC schedulemaker

The needs of television have outweighed the needs of Canada’s fledgling professional team.

The Canadian Soccer Association and Rogers Sportsnet unveiled the broadcast schedule for the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, and the news wasn’t good for Edmonton soccer fans.

April 27’s game at Commonwealth Stadium between Toronto FC and FC Edmonton will kick off at 6 p.m. local time to accommodate television, which could cripple the ticket-sales campaign of the new club. Commonwealth Stadium, while on the LRT line, isn’t located downtown. Soccer, because the game takes less than two hours to play, is not a game worth going to if you are going to be a half-hour late. Having the game kick off when some people are still trying to get home from work will badly hurt FC Edmonton’s attempt to get a crowd of at least 30,000 to the game.

The mood of FCE’s front office, though, was surprisingly upbeat.

“A six o’clock start is very early,” said owner and acting general manager Tom Fath. “But we are the new kids on the block. We are going to go with the flow. We are just happy to be playing in this tournament.”
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Canadian Matt Lam ready to return to JEF United, to “help fans escape the chaos” of earthquake

Matt Lam

Matt Lam had just returned home from a training session when the earthquake struck. Even though Chiba, a suburb of Tokyo, was nearly 400 kilometres from the epicentre of the 9.0 temblor that triggered the tsunami that has claimed thousands of lives, the Canadian midfielder — and his mother, who was visiting at the time — they understood the gravity of the situation.

“The whole building rocked back and forth,” said Lam, who is back in Edmonton, training on his own, after his club, JEF United, decided to send players home after the quake. “Even though we were 350, 400 kilometres from the epicentre, we could really feel the shake.”

Luckily, Lam and his JEF United teammates, were fine. The club’s home stadium wasn’t damaged. Lam will fly back to Japan on Sunday where the team will begin training, with an eye on a training camp ahead of the tentatively scheduled April 24 restart to the Japanese League season.

Lam is on a one-year loan from FC Edmonton to JEF United, which hopes for promotion out of the Japanese second division in 2011. Lam and midfielder Sander van Gessel played with FC Edmonton in 2010, as the club played a series of friendlies. Coach Dwight Lodeweges and his assistant, Hans Schrijver, left FCE for JEF United in the offseason. All of them are fine.
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Two Canadian keepers up for Save of the Week

Pat Onstad

During the MLS off-season, no Canadian soccer fan would have predicted that keepers Greg Sutton and Pat Onstad would be in the MLS limelight as the season began.

After all, in January, no one was expecting to see either have a job as a starter. Onstad had retired, and Sutton looked entrenched in his spot as the Red Bulls’ No. 2 choice to go between the sticks.

This week, both Canadian keepers are nominated for MLS Save of the Week. Sutton made a couple of fantastic stops on attempts from Seattle’s Fredy Montero in a 1-0 win, but the best was a reflex stop with his arm as Montero tried to get one upstairs from only a couple of yards out.

Onstad, who is old enough to recall a time when players wore cotton jerseys, made a diving stop off a redirected Columbus Crew corner, as D.C. United won its opener by a 3-1 count.
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