CONCACAF Archive

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NASL commissioner to meet with CSA execs: To discuss how NASL “can be a better partner” to Canada

Bill Peterson PHOTO: NASL

Bill Peterson PHOTO: NASL

NASL commissioner Bill Peterson will be in the nation’s capital on April 19, when the Ottawa Fury plays its first regular-season match on the Carleton University turf against Minnesota United.

As part of the trip to Ottawa, Peterson will meet with the Canadian Soccer Association officials. His stated goal? To find ways that NASL “can be a better partner” to the CSA. He said that, now that he’s settled in as the league commissioner, he wants to create a closer working relationship with the CSA.

Peterson said the league “will explore options on how we can better align ourselves with the CSA’s professional goals.”

What that means is unclear. The Canadian Soccer Association has a mandate to create a series of regional Division-3 leagues, but the NASL’s role as a recognized Division-2 league in Canada is untouched. But, as the NASL fights for relevance, the optics of going to the CSA with a “how can we help you?” stance definitely scores PR points for Peterson and his crew. Remember that the Canadian Soccer Association’s continuing plea to have Canadians recognized as domestics in Division-1 MLS has consistently fallen on deaf ears. In 2009, Canadians saw an average of 1404.1 minutes per team in MLS; in 2013, that number had plummeted to 1025.2 minutes allocated per team to Canadians, despite the fact that the number of Canadian franchises had gone from one to three in that time.
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New Voyageurs’ Cup sked: For NASL teams, short-term pain for long-term gain

PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER/Bob Frid

PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER/Bob Frid

If you’re a fan of FC Edmonton or Ottawa Fury, the Canadian Soccer Association’s announcement of the coming scheduling changes to the Voyageurs’ Cup may have you slightly perturbed. Or angry. Or furious.

That’s because, to accommodate the change to a new summer schedule for the Voyageurs’ Cup, no NASL team will be able to try and qualify for the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League.

But you shouldn’t be angry. Anything but. Really, the new scenario is the best thing the NASL teams could have asked for.

OK, let’s backtrack to the announcement made earlier Friday. To try and make more the Amway Canadian Championship — which has been plagued by poor ratings and terrible gates as it went head-to-head with the NHL playoffs — more fan-friendly, the CSA is moving the tournament to the summer, starting next year.

This year’s tournament, which begins April 23 with the first of a play-in two-game series between FC Edmonton and Ottawa, will go ahead as normal. The winner of the five-team tourney gets the Canadian spot in the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League.
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Canada loses U-17 Women’s CONCACAF final in penalties

Marie Mychele Metivier

Marie Mychele Metivier

Because both Canada and Mexico had already qualified for the U-17 Women’s World Cup by winning their semifinal matches, the CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship final had the feel of a friendly.

After both teams played to a 0-0 draw in Jamaica Saturday, they went right to penalty kicks. No extra time (which is common practice at the U-17 level, as you don’t want teens playing 120 minutes). And the Mexicans triumphed in the shootout, 4-2 — as El Tri and the Canadian women shared in the schadenfreude of knowing that their American neighbours weren’t going to the World Cup.

“I’m really, really proud of the girls. If you look at what this team’s about, it’s about future national team players,” said Canadian Head Coach Bev Priestman on the Canada Soccer website. “I think losing on penalties it’s hard for the girls but ultimately, there have been some girls who stepped up in this tournament and are knocking on the door.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Canada qualifies for the Women’s U-17 World Cup with win over host Jamaicans

Marie Mychele Metivier

Marie Mychele Metivier

Canada will join Mexico and Costa Rica as CONCACAF representatives at the U17 Women’s World Cup.

As winners of the CONCACAF semifinals, held Thursday in Jamaica, Canada and Mexico earned their World Cup invites. Costa Rica qualifies automatically as the host nation.

The Jamaican supporters packed the stadium in Montego Bay for the semifinal against Canada. To rally the home nation, there was no charge to watch the game.

But the Canadian scored within three minutes to give the hosts a sober reality check, and went on to a comfortable 5-0 win.

And, in the irony of ironies, the Americans, who beat Canada in their final-group stage game to earn the right to play lower-ranked Mexico in the other semifinal, suffered a major upset. Instead of taking advantage of Mexico, the Americans lost in penalties after a 1-1 draw.
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Canadian loss to Americans made all the worse because of Richards injury

Mika Richards

Mika Richards

It’s one thing to see a professional player down on the turf for a long period of time, and then stretchered off the field. But at least you can say to yourself that hey, that’s a pro on the field, (s)he knows the risks of playing the game. That’s why that person gets a paycheque.

But, when a teenage amateur player — on the field because of national pride and the chance to develop her young career — lays on the ground, it’s a lot harder to watch.

Canadian defender Mika Richards was on the turf for several minutes. And it put Canada’s 2-0 loss to the United States in a different light. Yes, Canadian keeper Rylee Foster made an outstanding double save on the ensuing American penalty kick but, with the game already lost, and Canada down to 10 players, it didn’t feel all that glorious. After all, these two teams’ final U-17 Women’s CONCACAF Championship group-stage game wasn’t a do-or-die affair; both had already qualified to move on.

Late in the match, after losing the ball to U.S. forward Mallory Pugh, Richards chased down her quarry from behind and tugged on the American’s jersey. Pugh went down, and in the process of going to the turf, her elbow looked to inadvertently crash against Richards’ face. But, replays showed that Richards was actually going down in pain before the contact was made. After the incident, Richards was motionless on the pitch for several minutes, being attended to by medical teams. Meanwhile, the referee placed the ball on the spot — after all, Richards did foul Pugh in the penalty area — and waited for the Jamaican hosts’ volunteer crews to take the injured player off the pitch. And, as Richards was strapped to the stretcher, she was sheepishly shown a yellow card for that initial shirt-tug.
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Impact gets bittersweet, hollow victory over Heredia as CCL campaign comes to a halt

Andrew Wenger: Scored once, could have had more

Andrew Wenger: Scored once, could have had more

The Montreal Impact’s CONCACAF Champions League hopes came to an end at Saputo Stadium Tuesday evening. Despite the fact that Marco Schallibaum’s men won the match, defeating the visiting CD Heredia side by a 2-0 score, the group portion of the competition will be decided when the Guatemalan side meets San Jose at Buck Shaw Stadium on Oct. 23.

Dominating every facet of the game, Montreal was superior both technically and tactically but the gritty, physical Heredia squad never gave up, its energy and determination providing the 13,703 fans, several hundred of whom were supporting the visiting XI, with one of the more entertaining games to which Montrealers have been treated so far this season.

“We took it seriously this evening,” said Impact gaffer Schallibaum. “They played aggressively with a lot of will. With a little luck we could have scored five or six. We fought through to the end.

“We had players playing for pride too. I’m very happy with my team,” he continued. “They played a very good match with a lot of character.”

The home side got on the score sheet early in the opening half. Four minutes in, Daniele Paponi scored, his goal coming after a flurry of passes between he, Felipe and Andrea Pisanu, the successful play being put in motion by a corner kick.
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Impact’s CCL hopes now hang by a thread after humbling loss to San Jose

Chris Wondolowski

Chris Wondolowski

The fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but the Montreal Impact might be hearing someone practising scales backstage after dropping a 3-0 decision to the San Jose Earthquakes in CONCACAF Group 5 play in front of a sparse crowd at Buck Shaw Stadium.

The Impact has just three points from three Group 5 matches, with a home game left to Heredia, which will be played next week. The Guatemalan side is already at six points after just two games. The Impact needs to beat Heredia by a handful of goals and hope the Earthquakes, sitting at three points, also beat Heredia, but only do it by the skin of their teeth. Heredia is currently five goals ahead of the Impact on goal difference, the Earthquakes are four goals up.

To advance the Impact needs all the teams in the group to finish with six points each — and a massive shift in goal difference.

Head coach Marco Schallibaum put out a somewhat re-jigged starting XI with Evan Bush in goal and Daniele Paponi and Andrew Wenger up top while Felipe and leading MLS scorer, Marco Di Vaio, watched from the sidelines for the first hour of play while his opposite number, Mark Watson, went with his best XI from the outset.

The game began with both teams opening the throttle as play went end to end and each side had opportunities in the early going. Paponi had the first kick at the can in the opening minute, his try missing the mark.

Andres Romero had the ball at his feet and the time to set himself for a shot but passed instead only to have Wenger’s attempt blocked by a San Jose defender, the beginning of a difficult night for the rarely used Impact forward.
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Impact’s 10 men fall 1-0 in Guatemala

Piscu: Saw red

Piscu: Saw red

Montreal Impact head coach Marco Schallibaum decided to leave five veteran starters back home rather than risk playing them on a synthetic surface. So, he let the younger players on the roster carry the baton for the team’s CONCACAF Champions League game against CD Heredia in Guatemala City. The kids came within a couple minutes of a result, ultimately allowing the match’s only goal in the 88th minute, a respectable outing since Montreal played the second half a man down.

Jeb Brovsky was the only familiar face on the back line, playing alongside homegrown Wandrille Lefevre and Maxim Tissot while Adrian Lopez made his first appearance for the Impact, listed under the nom de pitch, Piscu.

Heredia, home side despite playing some 250 km from its stadium, took control of the game after an opening quarter-hour that saw both teams start tentatively with each benefiting from some good fortune in the early going

In the 19th, Lefevre was called for tripping up CD Heredia froward, Enrique Miranda, in the box, sending Charles Cordoba to the spot. His rising drive was bounced back into play by the horizontal bar as Evan Bush, anticipating a low shot, dove towards the corner of his goal.
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Schallibaum’s decision to play Impact regulars in CCL surprises San Jose

Montreal Impact supporters were signing in the rain. PHOTO: MIKE WYMAN

Montreal Impact supporters were signing in the rain. PHOTO: MIKE WYMAN

The Montreal Impact got its CONCACAF Champions League campaign of to a positive start, capturing the opening group-stage match against San Jose by a 1-0 score in front of just over 15,000 somewhat soggy fans at Saputo Stadium.

Playing a first half under rains that ranged from slight showers to monsoon-like, the home side scored early, survived a dangerous penalty kick and, while not holding the advantage in terms of ball possession, did manage to reach the interval holding a lead that stood up for the rest of the match.

Showing particularly well for the Impact was recently acquired midfielder, Hernan Bernardello, who started the game, getting his first minutes in his new uniform.

The 26-year-old Argentine midfielder, who earned his first applause of the evening for heading away an Earthquakes shot in the seventh minute of play, worked from box-to-box in this evening’s game, stopping enemy forays effectively and turning the ball up the field on the counterattack. His passes invariably found their desired target time after time with 50 minutes elapsing before a first one went astray.
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The force is strong in these ones: Brovsky inspires Impact teammates and Jebi Knights to aid orphans

Impact vice-president Richard Legendre, top left, poses with Jebi Knight Benoit Labonte and his family.

Impact vice-president Richard Legendre, top left, poses with Jebi Knight Benoit Labonte and his family.

Montreal Impact fans are known for turning up, sometimes in great numbers, to support their boys on the road.

But, the bulk of the Impact supporters in the stands when the team goes on the road Aug. 21 to face CD Heredia will likely be from a little closer to Guatemala City than to La Belle Province.

If things pan out, some 300 of Jeb Brovsky’s friends and acquaintances, most of them orphans, will be attending. The popular and socially concerned defender met the youngsters through the work of his non-profit organization, Peace Pandemic, which he founded during his college days and has used since as an instrument to promote peace and human rights, particularly for children and women. He’s traveled to India and Guatemala during the last two off-seasons to put his opinions into action.

Capturing the Amway Canadian Championship meant a CONCACAF Champions League berth for the Impact. When the Guatemala City side was announced as an opening round opponent, a light went above the Colorado-born defender’s head.

“When Jeb learned that the Impact were going to play in Guatemala he tweeted, ‘Why don’t we invite the 600 youngsters I met?’” said Benoit Labonte, a ranking member of The Jebi Knights, an organization with the motto “Go Impact The World.” On its website, the group describes itself as “Peaceful hooligans becoming Guardians of Peace and Justice.”

Brovsky’s tweet became the impetus for Operacion Quetzel.
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