Canadian Soccer Archive

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Canadian women lose to Germans by a goal; but it’s a flattering scoreline

Erin McLeod

Erin McLeod

Imagine that 2015 is upon us. We’re coming up to the Women’s World Cup.

If you were asked which of the elite countries we matches up best against, the country our women’s national team would be most likely to upset, chances are the answer would be United States. The U.S. overwhelms you with passion and athleticism, but the rivalry brings out the best in Canada — and John Herdman’s young Canadians have shown that they can handle the athleticism.

And that’s what made Germany’s visit so important. As much as the Americans offer Canada the best possible chance for an upset in 2015, our women’s national team doesn’t match up all that well with sides that are very technical in nature. Our defenders are young and can handle the physical challenges that Abby Wambach and Sydney Leroux might present in 2015; but we’re not so sure if they can handle sides that can pick you apart with a series of precise passes or a clever change of play.

Canada had that very challenge on Wednesday night at BC Place; a high-profile Women’s World Cup tuneup against the Germans. And, even though the scoreline was a respectable 2-1 for the visitors, you’d have a hard time feeling good about this match if you were a Canadian supporter.
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14

Montagliani’s vision: A Canadian Division 1A that “coexists” with MLS, NASL

Victor Montagliani

Victor Montagliani

The second issue of Plastic Pitch, released today, features a 16-page section on Canada’s bid for the 2026 World Cup, with stories from five different writers.

(For those new to us, Plastic Pitch is our dedicated magazine for iPad, smartphones and Android readers — you can get either issue 1 or 2 or subscribe through iTunes, Newsstand, Google Play or Amazon, links at the bottom of the article)

But, there’s one part of that World Cup section that’s sure to get a lot of attention. And that’s the stated Canadian Soccer Association goal of an all-Canadian Division One — or “1A,” as CSA President Victor Montagliani called it in our interview.

Say it with me. An all-Canadian league. Division one, not two or three or four.

Over the last year, I’d heard whispers about the possibility of an all-Canadian Division One. But getting anyone to confirm that… well, that was the thing. It was like the Great White Whale. Now, it’s out there. Officially. The recognition that Canada needs its own league; that we can’t redefine our developmental pyramid unless a Canadian Division One — which puts the interest of Canadian soccer at the forefront — is at the top.
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The anticlimactic final: Montreal wins Canadian title

trophyIf you were to review the finale of the 2014 Amway Canadian Championship, you might liken it to the final season of Dexter. The bizarre final episode of Seinfeld.

Like so many TV series that don’t really know how to end on a high note, the final impression of this year’s tournament to determine Canada’s soccer champion will be remembered as the denouement, not the climax.

Montreal won Wednesday’s second leg of the final 1-0 at home, giving itself a 2-1 aggregate triumph over Toronto FC. The goal, from Felipe, came off a rebound from a Marco Di Vaio shot that had crashed off the crossbar. The goal came at the death, as TFC was pushing men forward, playing four natural attackers, in hopes of erasing that Impact away goal from the first leg.

But, despite TFC’s heavy artillery up front, finishing the game with Jermaine Defoe, Luke Moore, Gilberto and Dwayne De Rosario looking to score, the Reds rarely looked like they wanted to score. The real story was that it took 82 minutes for the match to come to life. TFC’s Jonathan Osorio cut across Impact defender Karl Ouimette, and lashed a low shot across keeper Evan Bush. The ball came off the post.
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2

Jekyll-and-Hyde Impact gets vital away goal in Toronto

Justin Mapp

Justin Mapp

If there’s one thing that this year’s Amway Canadian Championship has taught us — it’s that you can’t possibly figure out the Montreal Impact.

This teams goes from “off” to “on” so often, it’s like the soccer version of a strobe light. It’s not as if this team goes from good to bad from game to game; you see the Jekyll-and-Hyde transformations at least a few times per game.

The Impact got a positive result, a 1-1 draw against Toronto at BMO Field, in Wednesday’s first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final. But how the Impact got there was anything but straightforward.

For the entire first half, the Impact looked as if it was doing it’s best not to threaten Toronto’s goal. Yes, it was a bit of a shock to have Nelson Rivas come back from a lengthy injury spell, make his first touch in the second minute, shake his head, and then leave the field. But professionals need to recover and focus.
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Canada scores again in draw with Moldova, while RBC ad burned into brains of supporters

The stream: It was a nice idea, but the execution... not so much.

The stream: It was a nice idea, but the execution… not so much.

I woke up bright and early this morning (had a TV appearance, so I was up and at ‘em at 6 a.m.) and, before heading out the door, checked to see if the Canada-Moldova friendly would be available anywhere online.

I always check the opposing nation’s official site first; it can often give you some leads on whether or not the game will be broadcast in that country. And, lo and behold, the Moldovan Football Federation had this message for all to see — that the Canada-Moldova game would be webcast live via UStream, through the MFF site. I Tweeted it out and was surprised by the amount of retweets, especially by my followers in the West. Like, what time do you people get up?

Oh, the excitement of not having to find a feed on a site where the game is consistently interrupted by requests to chat with potential Russian wives or anime porn!

The stream, coming from what appeared to be a secret Austrian location, fired up right before the national anthems. I was treated to an RBC ad in French. Then, a bit of “O Canada.” Then, the Blue Spinning Wheel of Death. The feed reloaded. The RBC ad again. The blue wheel. Wheel. RBC. Wheel. RBC. Occasionally, the feed would get to point where it would play the whole ad, and I’d see shot from the game, and background chatter that sounded like the kitchen at a really good party. Then, the blue wheel again.

But, thanks to Twitter, we learned that Moldova had gone up a goal just six minutes in thanks to Eugen Sidorenco, who plays his club football in the Russian second division.

Then, came the Twitter chatter of a Canadian goal. There was discussion on whether it came from open play. Then came the confirmation: Tosaint Ricketts had scored after a corner. Andre Hainault headed the ball into the danger area and Ricketts finished.
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De Guzman says that when he’s replaced by a young Canadian, it will be a sign of national-team progress

Julian de Guzman

Julian de Guzman

The world of sports is filled with stories of veterans trying to hang onto their starting jobs, trying to hold off the hungry young pups from taking their spots.

For Canadian national team midfielder Julian de Guzman, nothing will tell him that Canada’s on the road to soccer recovery than when coach Benito Floro tells him that it’s time to let a kid take his spot in the centre of midfield.

It’s not that de Guzman wants to leave the Canadian program; anything but. He says it is still an honour and a pleasure to represent the country. He says that he would love to keep playing, “as long as my legs hold up.”

But, at 33, he understands that he shouldn’t be the surefire first choice to start for Canada in the middle of the park. And he won’t be disappointed when Floro says that a young gun like Bryce Alderson, Kyle Bekker or Samuel Piette will be taking his place.

“I would rather have a young Canadian take my spot,” de Guzman said Monday on a conference call with the media. “It’s the goal of having a better national team.”
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A goal! A goal! Canada scored a goal!

Atiba Hutchinson

Atiba Hutchinson

Canada didn’t win the game, but the men’s national side earned a moral victory.

For the first time in 14 long months, Canadian soccer supporters could celebrate a goal scored by the men’s national side. An actual goal.

In case you’ve forgotten what a goal is — and how could we blame you — that’s when the whole of the ball crosses the opponent’s goal line, in between the goalposts and under the crossbar.

That goal allowed Canada to earn a 1-1 draw with Bulgaria in a friendly played on Austrian soil. Judging by the empty seats, most of the locals didn’t take advantage of the fact that tickets for the game were going for the bargain-basement price of six Euros each.

The goal came off the foot of veteran Atiba Hutchinson, who put his penalty kick just inside the post after teammate Tosaint Ricketts was kicked in the face by a Bulgarian defender.
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Derby County’s Calgary partner is confident his team will move to the Premiership

Brett Wilson

Brett Wilson

Brett Wilson will jet from Calgary to London on Wednesday night. On Saturday, he’ll be at Wembley Stadium to watch Derby County and Queens Park Rangers fight for the right to get the final ticket to the Premiership.

Wilson made his fortune in the energy sector, is a former member of the Dragons’ Den cast and a prominent angel investor. But he sounds anything but angelic when he talks about this weekend’s match. He is confident that the Rams will book their tickets to the Premiership by beating QPR on Saturday.

“I’ve been going to sleep and waking up with increasing levels of confidence,” Wilson said before getting on a plane. “It’s not corny, as someone who doesn’t observe one single faith, it’s not prayer. But I have a very good feeling about the game. We are going into the game with a high level of confidence. I’d rather be going in with a 6-2 aggregate win, which is how we beat Brighton, than coming in on a 2-1 score after extra time that you had to claw and scratch to win, like they did over Wigan. They are going to have the mindset that they’re happy to be there, while we feel that we have shown we deserve to be in the Premiership.”

Wilson owns a quarter of Derby County; he’s part of a U.S.-Canadian consortium that also includes North Vancouver-born Jeff Mallett, a Whitecaps’ investor and principal owner of the San Francisco Giants. This trip will mark the fourth time this year he’s headed to England to watch the club.

Derby County finished third in the Championship table, which put the Rams into the playoffs for a spot in the Premiership. In England, the top two teams in the Championship each earn automatic promotions to the Premier League, while teams three through six play in a bracketed playoff system, with the winners of the first round going on to play the sudden-death match at Wembley.
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10

How FC Edmonton could turn its cursed luck into the marketing campaign it badly needs

FCE's Daryl Fordyce tries to escape Montreal's Calum Mallace in front of the Edmonton Supporters Group last week. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS

FCE’s Daryl Fordyce tries to escape Montreal’s Calum Mallace in front of the Edmonton Supporters Group last week. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS

Chances are, if you saw the soccer headline “Cup semifinal: Officials add six minutes, home team awarded game-winning penalty near end of stoppage time,” you’d roll your eyes and think to yourself about the corruption that plagues matches in Central America or Eastern Europe or Asia. Steaua Edmonton vs. Partizan Montreal.

Now, judging by the reaction on Twitter and message boards — FC Edmonton fans are incensed that, well, the six-minutes-plus-penalty story originated in Canada. And the conspiracy theories abound, as is the nature of any fan of any underdog who feels his or her team of choice was done in by a dubious call.

Last night, referee Drew Fischer ruled that FCE defender Mallan Roberts handled the ball in the penalty area off a 96th-minute free kick, even though the defenders hands were held behind his back. Today, FCE picks up the pieces and wonders how what would have been a franchise-defining Amway Canadian Championship semifinal win over the Montreal Impact turned into a 96th-minute nightmare.

To be fair to Fischer, no one should be talking conspiracy. It’s unfair to call refs cheats unless you have a smoking gun. He made a mistake. He’s human. And, as many Impact fans would argue, he may have missed a penalty call a few minutes before the end of the match, when FCE defender Albert Watson and defender Sanna Nyassi got tangled at the edge of the area and contact continued into the area.

In this case, it’s unfair that a referee can’t speak to the media. Because it’s a lot easier for Fischer to hear or talk about the fact he made a mistake than be accused of being corrupt. They are two entirely different things. And Fischer doesn’t determine how much time added on goes on the board, either.

This is much more a case of what happens when part-time referees are assigned to big games. Referees at this level need to be full-time professionals. Same for any major league or competition in the world. In Europe, we shouldn’t hear about top-tier match officials’ day jobs. Nor should that be the case in North America. But, because we don’t invest in officiating like we should… well, we sorta get what we deserve.
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V-Cup: FCE “devastated” over controversial call, six minutes of added time in Montreal

For 95 minutes, the Montreal Impact and FC Edmonton staged a thrilling Amway Canadian Championship match, one that showed those cynical about cup competitions that there is indeed some magic to these midweek games.

Drew Fischer

Drew Fischer

But, in the end, no one will be talking about the 95-plus minutes. They’ll be talking what happened in the last minute of stoppage time. They’ll be talking about referee Drew Fischer. Because, in the end, he was the story.

The situation: The Impact led the Eddies 3-2 in the second leg of their semi-final matchup. But, the aggregate was at 4-4, with the Eddies ahead on the away-goal rule. Six minutes of time were added on, as the Eddies were certainly milking a few, ahem, injuries down the final 20 minutes.

A free kick was played into the Eddies’ box, it was deflected by Impact defender Heath Pearce, about a couple of feet away from FCE centre back Mallan Roberts. Fearing a handball call, Roberts had his hands behind his back. The ball hit Roberts on the shoulder/upper arm, and Fischer decided to point to the spot. Did Roberts try to play the ball with his arm? He had his hands behind his back. Could he had avoided a ball that was deflected by Pearce a couple of feet away.

Patrice Bernier buried the penalty kick. And, the cameras showed a full Eddies team accosting the refs after the game in a way that reminded you of that time after the 2007 Gold Cup, when the Canadians had a winning goal at the death waved off for a phantom offside call — and the Americans got through. Finally, we saw FCE coach Colin Miller and Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo trading heated words. After the game, Miller joked that he wished Saputo a ”Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

“The guys in the dressing room are broken-hearted,” Miller said over the phone after the match. “We knew we deserved better from the game. We are devastated. The players are devastated and the technical staff are devastated. I feel so bad for our fans and our owner.
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