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After being cut by Impact, Jordan Ongaro returns home to try and crack the FC Edmonton squad

Jordan Ongaro

Jordan Ongaro

He was released by the Montreal Impact only weeks after being taken in the fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft.

Now, Jordan Ongaro will try and crack the lineup of his hometown pro team.

Ongaro is now on trial with FC Edmonton, and was at the Commonwealth Fieldhouse Tuesday as the Eddies began their preparations for the 2014 NASL season.

Ongaro wasn’t the only trialist on hand; former United States U-20 midfielder Brandon Manzonelli, who played his youth soccer with Spanish side Villarreal, is also with the Eddies, trying to impress coach Colin Miller enough to earn a contract.

Ongaro would be a massive feel-good story for the Eddies; his uncle, Ross, played with the Edmonton Drillers of NASL 1.0. Ross Ongaro also coached the Edmonton Aviators, the Edmonton Drillers of the National Professional Soccer League and is currently the head coach of the Chinese national beach soccer team. Jordan Ongaro represented Canada at the 2012 CONCACAF Futsal championship (CLICK HERE), and that team was coached by former Driller Sipho Sibiya. And, Sibiya played under Ross Ongaro.
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Canada announces roster for Czech Republic and Slovenia friendlies

Karl Ouimette

Karl Ouimette

Karl Ouimette will have the chance to earn his first national-team cap.

The inclusion of the Montreal Impact defender was the most notable item on national team coach Benito Floro’s roster for friendlies against the Czech Republic (Nov. 15) and Slovenia (Nov. 19).

The roster, announced Friday, also features three unattached players — all-time Canadian leading scorer Dwayne De Rosario, who had his contract option declined by D.C. United last week, Issey Nakajima-Farran and Stefan Cebara.

“From here to the first official games [qualifying matches], it’s important to focus on our level of play,” said Floro in a release issued by the Canadian Soccer Association. “It is necessary to pay attention in how we defend and attack so for me the best result is to take it step by step to improve our level.”
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Impact coach Schallibaum: “Season as a whole was a good one”

Marco Schallibaum

Marco Schallibaum

Following Tuesday’s team postmortem with President Joey Saputo and Sporting Director Nick De Santis, on Wednesday it was the Impact players as well as head coach, Marco Schallibaum, who shared their impressions of the 2013 season with the media.

Team President Saputo made a brief appearance to award the Giuseppe Saputo Cup to Marco Di Vaio, voted the Player of the Year by the club’s season ticket holders and then gave way to Schallibaum who, as he has done all year, took questions rather than make an opening statement.

As was the case yesterday the queries concerned his uncertain future with the Montreal organization.

“I think it’s perfectly normal,” he replied. “When you have a season that stats well and finishes as poorly as ours did, there are questions that arise. Nick and Joey have questions and they need answers. I’m not worried, I have questions too.

“You have to say that the season as a whole was a good one. We may not have achieved everything we wanted but it’s normal. We’re going to have some serious discussions. It’s important for the future that the club move forward and that everyone is going in the same direction.”
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Saputo: Impact has not made a final decision on Schallibaum’s future with the club

Joey Saputo, left, and Nick De Santis PHOTO: MIKE WYMAN

Joey Saputo, left, and Nick De Santis PHOTO: MIKE WYMAN

In what was billed as a postmortem to the Montreal Impact’s 2013 season, club President Joey Saputo and team technical director Nick De Santis spoke to and with the media for about 45 minutes this afternoon. Given Friday’s Sports Illustrated assertion that recently retired defender Alessandro Nesta had been handed the reins for next season, the bulk of the conversation centred on the matter of head coaches.

“I’m happy to tell you that we achieved our prime objective, namely to take part in the playoffs, and as a bonus, to take part in the CONCACAF Champions League thanks to winning the Canadian Championship. But after a first half of the season that was exceptional, the second half of the 2013 campaign was less than acceptable,” said Saputo in his opening remarks.

“Even if we did reach our goal, I’m disappointed in the way we got into the playoffs. Since we were in the chase for the first place in our conference until the month of August I didn’t think I’d have to watch to see if three other teams would lose after we were defeated in Toronto to find out if we would qualify or not. While we had our fate in our hands we were not dominant late in the season, particularly at home,” he continued before apologizing for the Impact’s final game.

“And our performance in Houston last Thursday, especially our behaviour at the end of the match, was not worthy of the Montreal Impact,” he said, referring to the mass confrontation and multiple expulsions that ended the Impact’s playoff participation.

“On behalf of the team I would like to say I’m sorry to our supporters following our conduct in Houston. A particular apology on my behalf to the MLS family for the way we conducted ourselves in Houston last Thursday night. This is not the image we want to project. There was a lot of frustration but that does not excuse such behaviour.“
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Suspensions for Impact playoff meltdown have a familiar ring to them

Marco Schallibaum

Marco Schallibaum

The Montreal Impact’s flameout in Houston will have lasting repercussions.

The Impact lost its MLS Eastern Conference play-in game by a 3-0 count Thursday, but also endured the embarrassment of finishing the game with just eight men. Nelson Rivas saw two yellows, while both Andres Romero and star Designated Player Marco Di Vaio were sent off for an 89th-minute incident, instigated by Romero kicking at the Dynamo’s Corey Ashe, who was down on the field.

The league’s disciplinary committee has decided that both Romero and Di Vaio will serve another two games each on top of the automatic one-game bans. So, each player will be banned for the first three games of the 2014 regular season.

The Impact have been fined $25,000 and Impact coach Marco Schallibaum is out another $2,500. Di Vaio got dinged $1,000, while Romero got a $250 fine.

Houston coach Dominic Kinnear was banned for one game because he came onto the field of play. He will serve that in the Dynamo’s playoff match this weekend against New York.
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Impact sees red as Dynamo runs riot in Eastern Conference playoff

Nelson Rivas: First start of season, first ejection of season, season comes to an end.

Nelson Rivas: First start of season, first ejection of season, season comes to an end.

The Houston Dynamo, with a 3-0 win over the visiting Montreal Impact, will play the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinal on Sunday. The Impact players return home having reached the objective they set for themselves at this point last year, but nonetheless ended the 2013 season as somewhat of a disappointment given their early successes.

Head coach Marco Schallibaum rolled the dice and started Nelson Rivas on the back line.

“I’ve seen him for the last two weeks,” said Schallibaum on RDS before the game got underway. “He’s got experience and he may not be 100 per cent, but even at 80 per cent, he’ll help the team.”

Making his first start of the year following knee surgery late in the 2012 season and an extended recovery period that had the Colombian defender the subject of so many Tour de France jokes that the club asked local media to tone it down, the rugged Rivas gave a good accounting of himself but left at he behest of referee Mark Geiger in the 70th minute.

He would not be the only Impact player sent off. Montreal would have only eight men left when the final whistle blew.
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Camilo wins final Player of the Month award for 2013

Camilo

Camilo

Even after the Whitecaps have wrapped up their playoff-less season, Camilo continues to earn the accolades.

On Thursday, Camilo won his second Player of the Month honour of the MLS season. He got the most first-place votes out of the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters.

Camilo’s been player of the week four times, player of the month twice, and he’s won the Golden Boot as the top scorer in MLS. Had the Whitecaps made the playoffs, even the play-in game, we’d be talking about the Brazilian as the leading MVP candidate. Instead, that vote is wide open.

Camilo scored six times in October, including a hat trick in the final regular-season match of the season after the Whitecaps had already been eliminated from the playoffs.
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Yallop’s return to MLS boosts Canadian content: We now have two coaches in MLS, three in NASL

Frank Yallop

Frank Yallop

Of course, a lot of the talk in Canadian soccer circles will go along the lines of “what will the Vancouver Whitecaps do now?” Until news broke Wednesday that Frank Yallop was taking the Chicago Fire job, there was an MLS-wide assumption that the former Canadian national teamer was going to come home and take over the Whitecaps.

Of course, we all know how the word “assume” breaks down, don’t we?

But, lets put aside the question of what will the Whitecaps do, and see what Yallop’s return to the MLS coaching fraternity means for Canadian soccer. We’re going to put country over club, here.

Now that Yallop is back in the realm of the employed (confirmed Thursday), he join San Jose coach Mark Watson (and Yallop’s former assistant) as Canadian coaches in MLS.

Now add to that the fact there are three Canadian coaches currently employed in NASL: FC Edmonton’s Colin Miller, San Antonio Scorpions interim boss Alen Marcina and Ottawa Fury head man Marc Dos Santos. Yes, we include Dos Santos because, even though the Fury won’t begin NASL play till 2014, Dos Santos is already working to identify players and hire his staff.

That’s five Canadian coaches in North America’s top two leagues.
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Lenarduzzi: Rennie’s dismissal reflects “fine line” between success and failure

Martin Rennie

Martin Rennie

Martin Rennie is out as head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

On Tuesday, the club announced that it would not renew the 38-year-old’s contract.

This after Rennie’s side posted a 13-12-9 record in MLS play this season and lifted the Cascadia Cup, awarded to the team with the best head-to-head record among Pacific Northwest clubs.

Ultimately it was the Scotsman’s failure to lead the Whitecaps to the MLS Cup playoffs for a second consecutive season, and the team’s inability to win the Canadian Championship and the coveted CONCACAF Champions League spot that comes with it, that cost him the job.

The second consecutive end-of-season meltdown will surely not have helped his case, either, as the side went through a rough 1-7-2 run over August and September after appearing like potential Supporters’ Shield contenders in midseason.

“From our point of view, it’s not just this season, it’s also last season as well,” club president Bob Lenarduzzi told reporters at a press conference at BC Place Tuesday. “In both of those years, we started well, and we tailed off toward the end…there’s no doubt there’s a fine line between success and what we would deem to be failure.
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Camilo wins Player of the Week award for fourth time in 2013

Camilo

Camilo

Had the Vancouver Whitecaps made the playoffs, Camilo would be at the leading edge of the who-is-MVP discussion.

He’ll still get some consideration. After all, he’s been the Player of the Week enough times, hasn’t he? For the fourth time this year, Camilo got the weekly honour from the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters.

The Brazilian forward scored three times in a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids Sunday. And while the game held no post-season meaning for the Whitecaps, it did allow Camilo to usurp Mike Magee for the Golden Boot as the league’s top scorer.

Camilo scored on a penalty, then got two more in the second half to take the scoring title.
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