Eric Hassli Archive

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FCE dominates NASL-leading Scorpions

Horace James scores the opening goal after a howler from Scorpions' keeper Josh Saunders.

Horace James scores the opening goal after a howler from Scorpions’ keeper Josh Saunders. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS

The San Antonio Scorpions came into Sunday’s game with FC Edmonton sporting a 6-0-0 road record in 2014. The Scorpions had a perfect 4-0-0 record in the NASL fall season. The Eddies had just one home win all season, and were winless and goalless in three previous NASL fall-season matches.

Of course, the Eddies would win handily, beating the Scorpions 3-1 and allowing only one shot on goal all game long — a first-half penalty-kick from Eric Hassli. From open play, the Scorpions didn’t generate a single shot on goal.

Funny game, this soccer.

“They are the best team in the league, record wise, but we matched them,” said FCE winger Lance Laing, who set up two goals.

And Laing said the goals and the victory helped ease what has been a frustrating start to the fall season. The Eddies now have four points from four matches, and now clear out of town as Edmonton is one of the host cities for U-20 Women’s World Cup.

“We love it here,” said Laing. “We hope we can give the fans what they deserve.”
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Saiko, Cann and Marcina: San Antonio Scorpions have a very Canadian feel

Shaun Saiko, in green, trains with the Scorpions, Saturday.

Shaun Saiko, in green, trains with the Scorpions, Saturday.

The San Antonio Scorpions media guide doesn’t use -our in words like colour. They don’t use the metric system in that part of Texas.

But, there’s no mistaking the Canadian content on this team, which sits at the top of the NASL fall-season table and boasts the best overall spring-fall record in the league. If the season ended today, the Scorpions would have home field advantage throughout the NASL playoffs, er. championship tournament. (Remember, we’re not supposed to call them “playoffs.”)

Coach Alen Marcina is a former Whitecap who hails from Surrey, B.C. Former Toronto FC player of the year Adrian Cann is on the roster. And, of course, Shaun Saiko, FC Edmonton’s all-time leading scorer, is also with the team. All three were in suburban Spruce Grove Saturday evening, as the Scorpions prepared to take on the Eddies. That game goes Sunday at Clarke Stadium.

Saiko has not started a game for the Scorpions since returning to the lineup after he underwent surgery for a double hernia. For six weeks, he was feeling pain and pressure before getting the double-hernia diagnosis. He doesn’t know if he’ll get a chance to play on Sunday, though we all know he’s dying to get a shot to play in front of his friends and family.

“It’s exciting times to get to play in front of the fans I played in front of for four years, almost. It’s fun to see them and play in front of them,” said Saiko.
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10

Will Shaun Saiko return to Edmonton this weekend? Colin Miller says “I couldn’t care less”

Shaun Saiko

Shaun Saiko

After an injury-filled spring NASL season, Canadian midfielder Shaun Saiko is healthy again.

Now, the question: Will he be with the San Antonio Scorpions when the team travels to Edmonton for this Sunday’s date with FC Edmonton? Will FC Edmonton’s all-time leading scorer, now a member of the Scorpions, get the chance to return home and play against his former team?

If there is any Saiko-mania this weekend, FCE coach Colin Miller won’t hear of it.

“I couldn’t care less about Shaun Saiko anymore. We don’t pay his wages anymore. He left our club and it’s history. I have no interest in San Antonio or Shaun Saiko. I’m interested in the guys that are here. This is how I feel. These are our players, the club has moved on, the club is evolving and we’re in a good place. Unfortunately, we’re where we are in the league, but progress is being made.”

FCE hasn’t scored yet this fall season, and has one point from three games. The Scorpions have played four times, and won all of those matches. They are already 11 points ahead of the Eddies in the standings.
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10-man Eddies fight fatigue, heat and hang on for draw in San Antonio

San Antonio's Jonathan Borrajo slides to keep the ball away from FCE's Frank Jonke.

San Antonio’s Jonathan Borrajo slides to keep the ball away from FCE’s Frank Jonke.

It wasn’t FC Edmonton’s prettiest match of the season, but it might have been the club’s best effort of the season.

Down a man for more than an hour in the Texas heat. Playing its ninth match in just a hair over four weeks. Still recovering from the emotional shock of Wednesday’s ouster from the Voyageurs Cup thanks to a last-gasp controversial penalty awarded to the Montreal Impact.

But the Eddies held on for a 0-0 draw in San Antonio. The tie means that the Eddies fall to 10 points behind first-place Minnesota and are now mathematically eliminated from the spring season title race. But every FCE supporter had accepted that the Eddies weren’t going to win the spring season weeks ago. The goal is for the Eddies to try and collect as many points as they can — remember that four teams make the NASL championship rounds, and seeds three and four will be awarded to the teams with the best overall records in the league who weren’t spring or fall season champs. So, every point that can be picked up in the spring is important. And, ironically, all five points the Eddies have earned this season have come on there road.

“My goodness me, the character of the guys was fantastic,” said FCE coach Colin Miller. “I am so proud of them. To lose the way we did Wednesday in Montreal, to be absolutely robbed, and then to come back and play and show this kind of character.”
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Impact satisfied with effort, but disappointed with draw against FC Dallas

Patrice Bernier

Patrice Bernier

Neither the Montreal Impact nor FC Dallas could point to a recent victory going into Saturday’s Saputo Stadium match-up. After playing to a scoreless draw, the local side is now winless in its last five outings and the visitors have to go back eight games to find their most recent positive result.

Playing in front of 20,801 fans, the first sell-out crowd of the 2013 schedule, the Impact did everything but score as it outpaced the Texas side all evening long, denying the Hoops all but the most meagre of opportunities while directing 15 shots at the goal defended by Raul Fernandez, seven in the opening half and eight in the second 45 minutes of play, and tightening up the defence that had allowed far too many goals in recent outings.

With Marco Di Vaio overseas at the moment, the Impact went with Daniele Paponi up top and used wingers Justin Mapp and Sanna Nyassi to support him, the three players linking up repeatedly in assaults on the Dallas goal, as the back line showed the shape and determination that was the cornerstone of Montreal’s early season success.

Also significant in his efforts was midfielder Felipe, at the origin of several plays that finished with shots towards the visitors’ goal.
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The Super-Duper MLS preview, 2013 edition

Philip F. Anschutz Trophy, the big prize at the end of the season

Philip F. Anschutz Trophy, the big prize at the end of the season

With the MLS season moved up to its earliest start ever, forgive us if we don’t feel 100 per cent totally prepared for First Kick. Judging by the way many MLS teams finished preseason, with tentative matches and still looking at trialists with a week to go before the games count in the standings, a lot of coaches aren’t quite ready for the early start, either.

And that could be telling. The teams that got the jump and have their ducks in a row could have a real advantage in these March matchups; and they could find some bonus points that could help them in the fall.

Steven Sandor, Editor of The 11 and contributors Randy Davis, Aman Dhanoa, Mark Polishuk and Gavin Day all submitted their picks. We tallied the scores and we present our picks below.
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Payne does best he can with deal to unload TFC’s panic buy of Hassli

Panic buys very rarely work out in the world of soccer. And Toronto FC president and GM Kevin Payne made the best of a bad situation by dealing Designated Player Eric Hassli to FC Dallas for a conditional second-round pick in the 2014 SuperDraft.

“Eric requested a move for family-related reasons and we committed to him we would make every effort to do so, providing the deal was favourable for the team,” said Payne in a release issued by the club Monday. “We are satisfied with the terms of the trade. If Eric has a productive year for Dallas the consideration paid to us will be greater.

“The most important aspect of this deal is creating salary cap room and a Designated Player spot. We’d like to thank Eric for his contributions to our club and wish him all the best with his new team.”
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Cesar signing: TFC’s rebuilding process includes bringing a 34-year-old to the dance

Julio Cesar

Toronto FC confirmed Tuesday morning that it has signed veteran Brazilian defensive midfielder Julio Cesar.

Cesar continues his much-traveled career. He has played for more than 15 professional clubs in his career, and hasn’t played more than 90 matches for any of hem. He’s best known for his time at Olympiacos and Real Valladolid, but he played 21 times for Real Madrid and four times for AC Milan.

He made 54 appearances for Sporting Kansas City since 2011.

“It’s important that Toronto FC becomes a more difficult team to play against this year. Julio Cesar will be an important part of the backbone of our team in the middle of the field,” said Toronto FC President and General Manager Kevin Payne in a release issued by the club. Read the rest of this entry »

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3

Breaking down TFC’s 2012 season, player by player

Reggie Lambe: TFC winless when he plays the full 90; was a -20 on the season

We broke down the Whitecaps, now we break down Toronto FC.

We looked back at Toronto FC’s disastrous 2012 campaign, but we broke down the games minute by minute. From that, we came up with a goal difference for every player on the Reds, similar to a plus-minus in hockey. And, we also looked at the Reds’ record when each player on the team was utilized as either a starter or a sub.

(For more on our methodology, check out the Vancouver Whitecaps recap. Click HERE)

We did not include the CONCACAF Champions League or Amway Canadian Championship in this statistical snapshot. This only includes MLS regular-season matches.
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Braun offers an insurance policy for Toronto FC

Justin Braun

Like a good neighbour, Justin Braun is there.

Yes, we’ve taken some liberty with State Farm’s famous advertising jingle. But, for Toronto FC, that’s what the newly acquired American striker offers — some insurance. He’ll play behind Designated Player-strikers Danny Koevermans and Eric Hassli, whose thirtysomething bones and joints promise increased injury risks. So, in making this deal, Toronto FC has increased its depth at striker and felt it was worth the sacrifice of defender Aaron Maund.

Maund, a first-round selection in the 2012 SuperDraft, was sent to Real Salt Lake in exchange for Braun.

Braun has enjoyed some Jekyll-and-Hyde games against TFC in the past. He scored against the Reds as a member of Chivas USA back in 2011; but he had games in 2010 and 2011 at BMO Field where he found himself open for numerous chances in front of goal but couldn’t convert.
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