Vancouver Whitecaps Archive

1

Stats show link between number of draws and playoffs; are there lessons there for MLS?

MLS-logoAs of Thursday, 31.7 per cent of Major League Soccer’s game end in draws.

That’s not a number that falls far from the conventional soccer wisdom that says that between a quarter and 30 per cent of all games will end in ties. But, probability changes as the game evolves. And, if you look at other leagues around the world, the 30-per-cent-draw figure isn’t such an accurate reflection of how the game is being played nowadays. The rate of draws is actually closer to 20 per cent, if you look at the major Euro circuits.

In the previous English Premier League season, just 78 of 380 matches ended in draws — or a shade above 20 per cent. Major League Soccer has seen 61 draws already, in just 192 games played so far in 2014.

In the previous Bundesliga campaign, 64 of 306 matches ended in draws. Just a bit under 21 per cent, and consistent to the English trend. In Spain, 86 of 380 matches were even after full time, a rate of 22.6 per cent. A little higher than in England or Germany, but nowhere close to MLS.

In the 2013 season, MLS had a 25.4 draw percentage. Slightly higher than the elite-European-league norm, but 2014 is trending upwards, thanks to the likes of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Chicago Fire, who each have drawn more than half of the games on their schedules (and, so fitting, played to a 0-0 draw on Wednesday).
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18

Garber hints that Canadian-player rules in MLS may change: Why we need to look at minutes played, not roster spots

Don Garber

Don Garber

In a Facebook chat with fans held on Monday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber was greeted with the thorny question about Canadian players in the league.

Francis Ghanimé asked him: “Will Canadian players ever stop counting as internationals for American clubs?”

And this was the answer from the commish.

“We are working on a new approach to our international player rules as they relate to Canada. Stay tuned.”

We have asked MLS for more clarification on the issue.

But, we do know the rules as they pertain to Canadians are on the radar. We also know the Canadian Soccer Association has lobbied MLS to changes the rules so Canadians are seen as domestic players, league wide. This would then put MLS on an equal footing with USL-PRO, which allows Canadians to be domestics on U.S. clubs.

Right now, the Canadian teams are required to each carry three Canadian players on their rosters. On the U.S. teams, Canadians are counted as international players and take up roster space that many American teams would prefer to give to players from, well, sexier parts of the soccer world. Meanwhile, on Canadian teams, Americans are seen as domestics.

The timing is interesting. We know CSA has been pushing for changes for a while. But, now, the CSA has gone public with its stated goal of having Canada’s own “Division 1A” (CLICK HERE or see issue 2 of Plastic Pitch), and reports continue that NASL, CFL owners and the CSA are discussing the formation of a Canadian division — something that NASL won’t deny, but says it simply can’t comment on… at this time.

So, pressure is no doubt building on MLS.
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0

The ifs and buts of bringing a New Westminster team into USL-PRO

uslThere is one key word to take out of the Vancouver Whitecaps’ announcement that the club hopes to place a USL-PRO affiliate in New Westminster.

If.

There are still a lot of variables in play. Some should come easier than others: It’s hard to imagine USL-PRO not wanting to approve this. To be fair, the league has approved far more speculative expansion pitches over the last several years. With the backing of an MLS side and two more investors willing to put themselves out in the open, the New Westminster pitch will arguably be one of the best pitches USL-PRO will have seen since the third division’s partnership with MLS was announced ahead of the 2013 campaign.

Ian Gillespie of Westbank Projects Corp., and Gary Pooni of Brook Pooni Associates are the new partners in the New Westminster proposal.

The promise is to have Queen’s Park Stadium refurbished for the new USL-PRO if the franchise is granted. So, there shouldn’t be a venue issue.

The Whitecaps hope to have their USL-PRO affiliate in New Westminster for the 2015 season — which would be far more convenient for the club than to ship prospects to the Carolinas for their professional seasoning. The proximity of the USL-PRO affiliate to Vancouver would, logically, allow for the team to better supervise and manage its young players.

The biggest “if” might come from the Canadian Soccer Association; though, the national sanctioning body for the game in this country has softened what had been a hardline stance towards USL-PRO.
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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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7

Aird’s Canadian repatriation the highlight of the U-20 roster

Fraser Aird

Fraser Aird

The Canadian Soccer Association released the names of the U-20 players who have are currently in Sunrise, Fla. for a week-long camp.

And one name jumps right out at the Canadian soccer supporter. Fraser Aird.

Aird has been the subject of will-he-or-won’t-he talk regarding his international future. Would he play for Canada or would he play for Scotland? And his appearance at Canada’s U-20 camp is helping confirm recent speculation that he’s ready to don Canada’s colours at both the junior and senior levels.

The teen, who is with Rangers, was placed on Canada’s 35-player long list ahead of last year’s Gold Cup. Then-Canada coach Colin Miller had tried to use his longstanding connections with Rangers to try and convince the teen to come play for his birth nation. Miller spoke with Rangers’ manager Ally McCoist last year to try and sell the parties in Scotland on the benefit of having Aird play for Canada. (CLICK HERE)

As a former Rangers player who represented Canada, Miller was hoping the connections would go a long way. But Aird didn’t play for Canada at the Gold Cup, so many of us pessimistic Canadians had pretty well assumed that the teen had committed to Scotland. After all, Aird had previously played for Scotland’s U-17 and U-19 sides.
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4

PLASTIC PITCH has launched! Canadian Soccer. Canadian Stories.

PpitchPLASTIC PITCH is ready for download! The app has been approved and the first issue is set to be enjoyed on your smartphone, tablet or device of your choosing. (OK, not totally of your choosing; you couldn’t use an old Commodore PET.)

Right now, the app is available for all Android-ready devices. You can find it Amazon’s app store. You can find it in Google Play. It should launch on Apple in the coming days. The app download is free, issues are $4.99 (five bucks in Canada, we got rid of the penny, didn’t we?) each or a one-year sub (for issues) is $14.99 ($15).

For those who supported this new and unique Canadian soccer magazine through our Kickstarter campaign or other advance subscriptions, the e-mail address you provided is the key. When you download the app, your subscription will be unlocked by that address.

If there are any issues, please contact teamworkpress@rogers.com as soon as possible, and we’ll work to resolve them. As this is the launch of the app and the first issue, we can’t possibly expect to everything go 100 per cent smoothly.

For those who haven’t subscribed, we invite you to download the app and try the first issue. We think you’ll find it filled with fresh voices, interesting art and, most importantly, no cheerleading. Magazine quality hasn’t been sacrificed. You can still subscribe for as little as $15 for a year (four issues). That’s about the price of a beer and a snack at the stadium.
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0

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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5

FC Edmonton turns down a couple of loan offers from the Whitecaps

Whitecaps-FC-big-e1329410722765-116x150The Vancouver Whitecaps have an affiliation deal with the USL-PRO’s Charleston Battery in place, but that hasn’t dimmed their close relationship with NASL’s FC Edmonton.

On Monday, FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller confirmed that his club has already turned down two potential loan offers from the Whitecaps for the 2014 season. The reasons? FC Edmonton is already very deep in one of the positions played by one of the players who was offered. And, the other simply didn’t fit with the club.

“Bob (Whitecaps’ president Bob Lenarduzzi) and his staff know that their players need to be on the first team or on the fringes of the first team for us to consider them at the moment,” said Miller. “That’s how strongly I feel about the quality of our squad.”

Last season, the Whitecaps loaned defender Carlyle Mitchell to the Eddies; he was a standout performer in NASL, but was recalled to Vancouver just before the end of the spring season. A Whitecaps’ injury crisis forced his recall, and then he played so well, he wasn’t sent back.

Mitchell is still a major booster of the Eddies; his recommendation was key in central defender Kareem Moses coming to the team in 2014 — along with a personal endorsement made to Miller by current Trinidad and Tobago national-team coach (and former Canadian national-team coach) Stephen Hart.
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2

FC Edmonton updates its roster, opens up international roster slots

Lance Parker, foreground, and John Smits at an FCE training session.

Lance Parker, foreground, and John Smits at an FCE training session.

On Monday, FC Edmonton’s brass brought in each of its players for face-to-face end-of-season meetings. And, on Tuesday, the club announced the status of all its players who were under contract at the end of the 2013 season.

Before the meetings, we knew this: Midfielder Chris Nurse had turned down the club’s contract offer and will explore free agency (CLICK HERE). He already said his goodbyes to the club and the supporters. All-time leading scorer Shaun Saiko, after being sent to train with the reserves through the final stretch of the season, is now a free agent. And striker Michael Cox, out since September with an MCL injury, turned down a contract offer and he and his new agent will explore options in Europe.

And, the rest of the squad:

GOALKEEPERS:
Lance Parker: FC Edmonton’s No. 1 and the club continue their contract negotiations.

John Smits: The option on his contract was exercised and he’ll be back in 2014.

Norbert Janas: Brought up from the reserve team midway through the year, the young Canadian keeper won’t be back with the Eddies in 2014. He’s now a free agent.
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0

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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