Archive for April 21st, 2011

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Simeon Jackson scores for Norwich in derby-day rout

Simeon Jackson

It was an insurance goal, but Mississauga Ont.’s Simeon Jackson got on the scoresheet against Norwich City’s most hated rival.

Jackson, Canada’s 2009 player of the year, scored with his left foot from six yards out, the third goal in Norwich City’s 5-1 rout of Ipswich Town. The win puts, at least temporarily, Norwich into second place in the League Championship — two points ahead of Cardiff, which has a game in hand.

And, it allows the Canaries to celebrate a fantastic win over the Tractor Boys in what is their most important derby of the year. Oh, and the game was played at Portman Road… an embarrassing home loss for Ipswich Town.
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Why the EPL race isn’t over yet

Despite the alarming nature of how the U.K. soccer media declares Manchester United champion one week, then declares the race wide open the next, then United the champion again, there is still a chance that we could see a very unique scenario play out in the final weeks of the English Premier League campaign.

With five games left, Arsenal and Chelsea are each six points behind United. In a normal season, where the big clubs don’t leave that many points on the table, you would agree that the six points would be an unassailable mountain to climb.

Chelsea would rue its winter swoon, the worst period the club has suffered since Roman Abramovich came to power; and Arsenal would rue its penchant for blowing leads and turning what should have been sure wins into draws or losses; twice, the Gunners tossed two-goal leads away against Spurs; they drew with Sunderland and Liverpool because of injury-time goals surrendered; and, of course, there was the famous second-half throwaway of a four-goal cushion at Newcastle.

But United has proven to be anything but invincible this season. It also has black marks on its resume. And, what’s interesting is that it has Arsenal and Chelsea still left on the schedule.

Assuming that there aren’t any more points to be thrown away, and both Arsenal and Chelsea win out — winning their games over United — the season would end in a…

Three-way tie.

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Ex-TFC defender Nick Garcia finds some Magic

Nick Garcia has found a new team.

The ex-Toronto FC defender and whipping boy has signed a one-game deal to play an indoor exhibition game with the Kansas Magic, which will enter the Professional Arena Soccer League in the 2011-2012 season.

The Magic will face the Illinois Piasa April 30 in Topeka, Kan. The Piasa finished with a 9-3 record in PASL play in 2011.

Garcia, a veteran who played in each and every game of the Kansas City Wizards’ 2000 MLS Cup-winning season, came to Toronto FC in 2009, brought in via trade with San Jose.
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Magical strike from Morales has RSL in great shape in CONCACAF Champions League

It was a moment of brilliance. We can speak of David Ferreira, Chris Wondolowski and, yes, even Landon Donovan. But, is there a player in MLS who can carry a team quite like Javier Morales?

The Argentine midfielder conjured a goal in the 89th minute, allowing Real Salt Lake to leave Mexico with a 2-2 draw against Monterrey in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Yes, Real Salt Lake has the deepest lineup in the league. It’s not a major media market. And Morales isn’t always comfortable speaking to English-language media. And he does take the occasional card. So, Morales doesn’t get the headlines he deserves.

But he deserves massive praise after Wednesday’s evening’s draw-that-felt-like-a-win.
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FC Edmonton rues more missed chances in Carolina loss

Sam Lam

FC Edmonton finally looked like an expansion team.

After two wins to start the club’s first NASL season, the FC Edmonton couldn’t finish its chances, and were left red-faced in conceding two bad goals to the Carolina RailHawks Wednesday night in a 2-0 loss.

“The thing is, I think we created as many chances as they did, but we didn’t take ours,” said assistant coach Dave Randall. “And we gave up two very silly goals.”
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USL wants Canadian franchises, but will wait on the CSA

United Soccer Leagues president Tim Holt is on a roll. USL-PRO just signed a deal to ensure that games will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel for the next three seasons, and he just returned from Antigua, where the expansion Barracuda FC just played their opener in front of 4,000 fans.

But, while the USL is filled with Canadian clubs in the PDL, W-League and youth divisions, there isn’t one in the top flight.

Holt said the USL won’t talk expansion until the Canadian Soccer Association ends its moratorium on approving expansion teams into U.S.-based pro league outside of Major League Soccer. The CSA’s 10-month ban should end in October of 2011.

“We certainly see potential in some Canadian markets,” said Holt. “If we find the right ownership group, the right stadium. But we respect the CSA’s moratorium. For expansion to happen, we would need to reach a comfort level with the CSA. We have some great new Canadian cities in the PDL, like WSA Winnipeg. We see that potentially being a pro market. And there’s Hamilton, too. But Canadian soccer is definitely on the upswing.”
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