Introducing our new quintessentially Canadian MLS power rankings By Steven Sandor Posted on March 9, 2015 13 0 557 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Long-time Canadian international Iain Hume had an interesting take on Saturday’s “Canadian” MLS season-opener at BC Place between the Whitecaps and Toronto FC. In a tweet delivered just as the game kicked off, Hume used the #farce hashtag to sum up his feelings about the game. With each team starting just one Canadian — Russell Teibert for the Whitecaps and Jonathan Osorio in TFC red — Hume wanted his followers to know he wasn’t happy. But, looking at the rosters throughout MLS, you can’t help escape the feeling that Hume could tweet out #farce week after week. And, in the spring issue (#5) of Plastic Pitch, we’re going to take a cold, hard look at the leagues we share at the United States and how we’re treated. The issue, which will be out later in March, will ask the hard question: Does being in MLS or NASL or NWSL really benefit Canadian soccer? And, in keeping with that theme, we’re going to launch a new sorta power-rankings system. Sure, most power rankings are just throwaway click-bait; the kinda of mind-numbing stuff we promise ourselves we’ll never have to write again each time we bang one out. But this one is different. Throughout the year, we’re going to rank MLS teams (and NASL, too, once the season starts in April) on how many minutes they give to Canadians. We’re not going to wax poetic about U-23 teams or developmental sides; for Canadian soccer to move forward, we need to see players regularly moving from developmental squad to first team, not just more and more Bryce Aldersons (and, look for our interview with Alderson in issue 5 of Plastic Pitch). We also don’t really care that some teams might have a Canadian warming the bench. To benefit our national program, we need our players getting first-team minutes. So, let’s look at the rankings after week 1 of MLS action. The number on the right is the total number of minutes played by Canadians this season. So far, no MLS team has played more than one Canadian per game. FC Dallas 90 Philadelphia Union 90 Toronto FC 90 Vancouver Whitecaps 64 All other teams tied at 0 Important notes: Ethan Finlay did play 90 minutes for Columbus; but, despite interest from our national side, he has not indicated that he will play for Canada. If this changes, the minutes played ranking will be changed to reflect that. Tesho Akindele has gone to a U.S. camp, but the Calgary-born forward has said he hasn’t ruled out Canada. Since there are still overtures being made, he is counted, for now. But, again, the minutes will be adjusted if Akindele commits to the U.S. program. I’ve also counted Steven Vitoria, who was born in Toronto but represented Portugal as a youth. But there have still been overtures about him playing for Canada. PLAYER RANKINGS: T1. Tesho Akindele 90 T1. Jonathan Osorio 90 T1. Steven Vitoria 90 4. Russell Teibert 64 SPECIAL MENTION: This has to go to the Montreal Impact, which has now gone through two CONCACAF Champions League legs and one MLS match in 2015 without giving one solitary minute of action to a Canadian. Patrice Bernier has been on the bench, but hasn’t seen action. Well done to the Impact. RANKING: Wow, just four Canadians saw action this week (and only two — Teibert and Osorio — who are right now in the national-team picture). And, with Canadian teams, we’re already averaging less than one Canadian starting per roster (two Canadians saw action out of the three teams). I don’t know if you can grade a league worse than an F. But, heck, F stands for #farce. Maybe Iain Hume was onto something.