Nutrilite Canadian Championship Archive

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Miller: Seven points the target for FCE’s three-game road trip

Colin Miller

Colin Miller

FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller was happy to get a point on the road in the club’s NASL opener. But he wants more — a lot more — out of the team’s three-game road trip to start the season.

“Seven points, that’s the target I had set for myself,” said Miller Wednsday after the team’s training session in Sunrise, Fla. “That means we have little margin for error.”

The fact that Miller went into this road trip — which continues Saturday with a match against the Carolina RailHawks and concludes in two weekends with a date at the Metrodome with Minnesota United FC — wanting two wins and a draw shows just how much confidence he has in a team that’s lineup has been rebuilt from last year’s last-place finish.

After the 1-1 draw in Fort Lauderdale, the team remained in Florida, training at the same facility in Sunrise that’s often used by various Canadian national teams. Read the rest of this entry »

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Toronto FC parts ways with Belgian midfielder Yourassowsky

Mikael Yourassowsky

Mikael Yourassowsky’s short stay with Toronto FC will be remembered for one shining moment; the goal that gave the Reds the 2011 Nutrilite Canadian Championship title. His inspired far-post run resulted in the marker that allowed the Reds to defeat the Vancouver Whitecaps in the final.

Unfortunately, that might just be the high-water mark for the Belgian’s North American soccer career. Toronto FC announced Wednesday that the club has waived the 28-year-old midfielder.

Yourassowsky was pushed to the fringes of the team as the squad improved in the second half of the season. And, really, a 28-year-old is too old to be a depth player on an MLS squad. With so many Academy and youth prospects to develop, there is better ways for the club to use its bench space.
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The 11′s top 11 stories of 2011

The editor of this site is a self-professed geek. And, unlike almost every other writer I know, I enjoy crunching numbers.

So, when it comes to picking the year’s best stories, I let the numbers speak for themselves. I went back through Google Analytics and looked at the 11 stories you, the readers, kept reading and re-reading.

You can argue that a story put up in January has had more time to accumulate hits than a story slapped up just a couple of weeks ago. But, in truth, most of the traffic generated by stories happens in the first week after they go up.
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Does Canadian Championship need a Can-con rule?

Last January, the Canadian Soccer Association “sold the farm” when it and MLS agreed to new domestic-player quotas. As of January, 2011, Canadian MLS teams needed to carry just three Canadians on their rosters.

“Sold the farm” is in quotes for a reason. Many times, I have heard these words uttered by people in the Canadian soccer establishment over the last 11 months to describe the deal.

At the time the deal was struck, the notion behind it seemed fair enough. Surely, there would be plenty of chance for the academies of the Canadian teams to fill many of these slots, creating a network of homegrown players that graduate to the senior clubs.

But, at the moment, it’s a mess. Vancouver has three young Canadians on its roster at the moment. But it would be hard to see any being regulars. And for most of the second half of the season, the only “Canadian” making regular starts was Alain Rochat, who was born in Quebec, but grew up in and represents Switzerland.
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Chance for revenge: FC Edmonton to open season against Fort Lauderdale

FC Edmonton will get its chance for revenge when the NASL season opens April 7.

For the second year in a row, the Eddies will open the NASL season in Fort Lauderdale. NASL announced the dates and opponents for the home openers of all eight member teams on Monday.

The Eddies came back to beat Fort Lauderdale 2-1 in the 2011 season opener, thanks to a highlight-reel rocket from Shaun Saiko and a winner from the now-departed Dan Antoniuk. But, unfortunately, more fans will remember the 5-0 shellacking the Strikers laid on the Eddies in the opening round of the playoffs. FC Edmonton picked the worst time to play its worst game of the season.

The Eddies will open at home on April 22 against the league champion NSC Minnesota Stars. The Stars beat the Strikers in the the two-legged NASL finals, capping off one of the year’s finest Cinderella stories in soccer. Minnesota entered the playoffs as the bottom seed, then upset FC Tampa Bay, the regular-season champion Carolina RailHawks and then the Strikers on the way to the title.
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TFC keeper Stefan Frei gets training stint with Liverpool

Stefan Frei

Stefan Frei can now say he has gone from the Reds to the Reds.

Toronto FC announced Sunday that the Swiss goalkeeper will train with Liverpool FC until Dec. 18.

“This is a great opportunity for Stefan and we were happy to give him permission to train with a historic club like Liverpool,” said Toronto FC Head Coach and Technical Director Aron Winter in a release issued by the club. “He has emerged as one of the top keepers in the league since the start of his career and has certainly earned this special opportunity.”
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Whitecaps announce opener against Impact, signing of Korean defender Lee

Young-Pyo Lee

The Vancouver Whitecaps will face their fiercest Canadian rival on opening day; the question is, how many Canadians will actually be on the field?

The Whitecaps announced Tuesday that they will host the Montreal Impact for the March 10 MLS First Kick at B.C. Place. And, as expected, the club also announced the signing of South Korean veteran defender Young-Pyo Lee.

The Impact and the Whitecaps have a long, bitter rivalry that runs through the Nutrilite Canadian Championship and years of Div.-2 play. But, in those games, there was always plenty of Canadian content on the field. Will it be so on March 10?
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MLS unveils new unbalanced scheduling format

Interconference games will be few and far between in the new scheduling format unveiled by Major League Soccer.

The new system ensures that the Vancouver Whitecaps will only visit the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC once each — every other season, that is.

Each of Toronto FC and the Impact will go to Vancouver only once every other year.

Under the new format, each Eastern Conference team will play each Western Conference opponent only once in a season. The home and road dates alternate from season to season.
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TFC’s success in CONCACAF will force juggling of 2012 NCC schedule

It’s a nice problem to have — but Toronto FC’s success in the CONCACAF Champions League is already throwing a wrench into the planning of next season’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship.

Why? This past year, the NCC began in the last week of April. But, the CCL final’s second leg is set for April 24-26, which would put it in direct conflict with a similar NCC start date in 2012.

And, in planning the national tournament, the CSA can’t wait until mid-March to find out if Toronto FC survives its CCL quarter-final match-up or not. TFC will begin its quarter-final in the March 6-8 window. And, as long as TFC is in the competition, the door has to be left open that the Reds could make the final. Even though it’s still unlikely TFC would navigate a minefield of Mexican and MLS sides and get to the final, you can’t make assumptions.

So, the NCC schedule will need to be tweaked.
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Whitecaps waive two defenders

Mouloud Akloul

The Vancouver Whitecaps, who have surrendered 30 goals in 21 league games this season, cut two defenders loose on Thursday.

As has been widely expected, French defender Mouloud Akloul has been set free. Akloul made eight MLS appearances, but his shining moment came in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, when he slammed home a rebound from a Terry Dunfield shot in extra time of the semifinal second leg against the Montreal Impact. The goal was the one that sent the Whitecaps to the final. Ironically, both men involved in that goal — Dunfield and Akloul — have been purged.

But, former FC Dallas defender Blake Wagner was also culled. Wagner made nine starts for the Whitecaps this season.
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