Archive for June, 2011

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Morace will finally lose Teflon image in wake of Canada’s embarrassing loss

Carolina Morace

Carolina Morace’s skin has been made of Teflon. The Canadian national women’s coach has got what amounts to a free pass from soccer fans and the media in this country.

In the wake of Canada’s humiliating 4-0 defeat to France Thursday at the Women’s World Cup, the questions that haven’t been asked of Morace need to come to the surface.

This wasn’t just a humbling defeat; it marks a major talking point for women’s soccer in this country. Canada’s final group-stage game against the Nigerians is basically a friendly, with both teams going home after the fact. Did winning a few pre-World Cup tournaments give us the false sense that we were far better than they actually were? Is this program really not as far along as it should be?

And Thursday was a massive failure. After holding its own against the No. 1 ranked Germans, Canada was overrun by a dominant French side in a game it has known for months that it needed to win to get out of the toughest qualifying group at the World Cup.
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Injury-ravaged TFC edges second-string Whitecaps

Nick Soolsma

Nick Soolsma’s 54th-minute penalty kick cinched a 1-0 win for Toronto FC over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night at BMO Field in a game that served as a dress rehearsal for Saturday’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship final between these same two teams.

At least, the Whitecaps saw it as a dress rehearsal. With several regulars left on the bench, it was clear that Vancouver was already looking ahead to the weekend. Toronto FC, also reduced to a second-choice lineup due to injuries, was happy to take this advantage and pick up a much-needed victory.

“For them, at this moment, the game for Saturday….is more important than the game today,” said TFC head coach Aron Winter. “But for me it’s always important, every game. If you lose like they’ve done this evening, in the coming days you’re together you have to also motivate the players, and it’s not always good for the next game. I don’t worry about it because it’s not my problem.”
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Impact gets improved effort in scoreless draw with Islanders

Montreal Coach Nick De Santis added some fire to the touchline. PHOTO: MONTREAL IMPACT/PÉPÉ

A change is as good as a rest. For the Montreal Impact, that old adage certainly held true as they provided fans with their best effort in some time, coming away from their match with the Puerto Rico Islanders with a scoreless tie in front of a crowd announced at just over 10,000 at Stade Saputo.

A team in full recycle, the Impact had Nick De Santis back on the sidelines, who was a more visible and voluble presence than the recently departed Marc dos Santos.

The former coach, who resigned Tuesday, was recognized for his efforts by the Ultras, who hung a sign reading “Merci MARC” in front of their designated roost in the east end zone.
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TFC signs German star Frings and Dutch striker Koevermans

Torsten Frings

Jurgen Klinsmann’s biggest contribution to Toronto FC came to light today.

German national team star Torsten Frings, long regarded as one of the top midfielders in the Bundesliga, the anchor of the Werder Bremen side, was announced as one of TFC’s two new Designated Players. He and Dutch striker Danny Koevermans will be eligible to play for the Reds as of July 15.

Because they join the club at the halfway mark of the season, each will cost TFC only half of the US$335,000 cap hit for a Designated Player. The team also reaches its maximum of three DPs, with Julian de Guzman still in the fold.

But, even though Koevermans scored 34 career goals in less than 100 games for PSV Eindhoven, Frings is the clear star of the deal. For two World Cup cycles, he was an automatic member of the German team’s starting XI. He is easily the biggest celebrity name to come to the club.
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Sebrango comes out of short-lived retirement to help revive Impact

Eduardo Sebrango

When Eduardo Sebrango announced his retirement from soccer earlier in April, he was stuck on 98 career Div. 2 goals. He wasn’t going to make 100.

Stop the presses. Sebrango will be going for goals 99 and 100 — and, for the offensively challenged Montreal Impact, they can’t come soon enough. The 38-year-old’s retirement lasted just a little bit more than two months.

The Impact officially announced Wednesday what has been rumoured since the team returned home from a weekend loss at FC Edmonton — that Sebrango will come out of retirement. The team also confirmed that Sebrango is expected to start in Wednesday night’s game against the Puerto Rico Islanders.
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FC Edmonton’s third kit pays homage to the Drillers

They have the rights to the league name and many of the old logos.

So, more and more, NASL clubs are gonna party like it’s 1979.

FC Edmonton is the latest of the NASL teams to announce that it will wear a retro third jersey. The club will wear the old orange-and-blue strip from the Edmonton Drillers’ NASL days. In 1981, the old Drillers won the NASL indoor title, in an era when the league was on its last legs and had both outdoor and indoor campaigns in an effort to boost revenues.
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How did CBC’s Canada-Germany ratings stack up?

CBC’s broadcast of the Women’s World Cup opener between Canada and the No. 1 ranked Germans got ratings that the men’s program can only dream about — but didn’t come close to the kind of numbers CBC pulled in for major group-stage games of the men’s World Cup last year.

CBC claimed that the Sunday morning broadcast (early afternoon in Eastern time zones) average 662,000 viewers, a healthy number. In fact, that’s a fantastic number considering that CBC didn’t have a heck of a lot to use as promotional material in the months leading up to the WWC opener.

In the weeks leading up to the WWC, coach Carolina Morace sequestered the national team in Italy, far away from the Canadian media. Friendlies were played behind closed doors. So, as Morace wanted, the Canadian team got no coverage whatsoever in the mainstream media. Can’t blame any newspaper editor or assignment editor or news director; who would spend a sizable budget to send a reporter to Italy to cover a team that doesn’t want to be covered?
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PSV confirms that Hutchinson will miss six weeks

Atiba Hutchinson PHOTO: CANADIAN SOCCER ASSOCIATION

Dutch club PSV Eindhoven confirmed Tuesday that Canadian player of the year Atiba Hutchinson will need six weeks to recover from knee surgery.

Hutchinson went under the knife Monday to repair a meniscus injury, after returning to the Netherlands from Canada’s disappointing campaign at the Gold Cup. Hutchinson missed two of Canada’s three matches due to injury.
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Marc Dos Santos quits Impact coaching job

Marc Dos Santos

Marc Dos Santos quit before he was pushed.

The Montreal Impact announced Tuesday that Dos Santos has resigned his post as the team’s head coach. Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at FC Edmonton marked left the Impact with a shocking 2-7-3 record, good for second-last in the NASL.

Sporting Director Nick De Santis takes over as interim head coach. He’ll be in charge when Montreal faces Puerto Rico on Wednesday.
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De Rosario at centre of an NHL-style trade… in MLS

Dwayne De Rosario PHOTO: CANADIAN SOCCER ASSOCIATION

It’s the kind of trade we’re used to seeing on trade deadline day in the National Hockey League, not on a Major League Soccer off-day.

A team looking to contend pulls out the stops for an aging, well-paid veteran, hoping he can bring some magic. The team that deals him looks to free up salary-cap space.

Love him or hate him, Dwayne De Rosario is big news again. Less than three months after Toronto FC traded the attacking midfielder and former face of the franchise to the New York Red Bulls, he has been sent to D.C. United.

The Red Bulls get former U.S. U-20 midfielder Dax McCarty, who was a vital part of FC Dallas’ run to MLS Cup last season, in return.
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