Archive for CONCACAF

Canada’s women: Winning one for all of us

Posted in Canada, World Cup with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2010 by squizz

There have only been two instances in which I’ve been able to see Jack Warner‘s face without feeling the bile rising up in the back of my throat. On both occasions, he’s handing a Gold Cup trophy to the captain of a Canadian national team.

Ten years ago, it was Jason de Vos. And last night, it was Christine Sinclair.

Ten years ago, it was a fortuitous coin flip that allowed the men to progress into the knockout stages of the tournament. Last week, the biggest upset in women’s soccer history (the Mexicans’ semi-final defeat of the #1-ranked USA) gave Big Red an easier path to the trophy than they were anticipating.

Ten years ago, the men’s national team had high expectations after the recent appointment of a well-regarded international manager (Holger Osieck). Today, the women have Carolina Morace.

But that’s where the similarities end. Whereas the men’s Gold Cup success never translated over into World Cup qualifying, and dissension within the dressing room helped contribute to Osieck’s departure, I can’t help but think that this women’s side may be at the precipice of a defining moment in Canadian soccer. Continue reading

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Big Red comes up big on Halloween

Posted in Canada, Women's with tags , , , , , , , on October 31, 2010 by squizz

Well, that was nice.

After leaving us a bit on edge by only defeating Trinidad & Tobago 1-0 (Melissa Tancredi’s two disallowed legit goals notwithstanding), the Canadian women’s team came out in full force tonight, hammering the minnows from Guyana 8-0. Captain Christine Sinclair potted four goals, bringing her career total to, I think, six thousand and forty-three (give or take a few) — though that good news was tempered by rumblings (credit to Beau Dure) that her club team, Gold Pride FC, may fold as early as Monday. Hell, it may have already happened by the time you’re reading this.

But ignoring the negatives for a moment (because they’ll preoccupy every other waking thought of mine), suffice to say the ladies played well tonight (yeah, an eight-goal margin of victory would suggest as much), though it’s difficult to effectively evaluate their play when the level of opposition was so low. Both Kara Lang and Jonelle Filigno did well pressuring the Guyanese defenders, often forcing them into poor decisions (and both were rewarded with goals, for their efforts).

The big game is Tuesday against Mexico, to decide the winner of Group A. Since T&T held the Mexicans to 2-0 tonight, Canada has the upper hand. A draw would clinch the group, and (most likely) line Canada up against Costa Rica in the semi-finals, rather than the #1-ranked Americans.

Maribel Dominguez looks to be the Mexicans’ most dangerous offensive threat, a statement I’m basing solely on having seen her thread some terrific passes into her teammates against T&T tonight.The Canadian defence, who’ve had the luxury of sleepwalking through the first two games, will definitely need to ratchet themselves into first gear in time for the showdown against the host nation.

Canada’s match against Mexico, like the rest of them, will be on CBC Bold and CBCsports.ca, Tuesday at 6:30 PST/9:30 EST/11:00 NST.

Concacaf Jack going for reelection!

Posted in CONCACAF with tags , on September 25, 2010 by Grant

It’s kind of old news by now, but for those of you that didn’t catch this week’s CONCACAF Extraordinary Wankfest Congress, here are the highlights.

  • Everyone’s favourite football administrator, the honorable and principled Jack “ask your mother” Warner will seek reelection for another term as Concacaf president. A position he’s held since 1990.
  • Concacaf is definitely going to request a fourth spot at the 2014 World Cup. The federation currently gets 3 and a half – three teams go through automatically while the fourth has to qualify via a playoff. I’m sure the South Americas would be thrilled about four spots for their northern neighbours. Especially since — with Brazil getting a free ticket as host — CONMEBOL could possibly be left with just four guaranteed spots too.
  • Concacaf Jack reassured his buddy, FIFA presidend Sepp Blatter, that the Swill will continue to have “the complete support of CONCACAF and its member as he seeks reelection to FIFA’s highest office.”
  • And Jack also declared his personal commitment (personal commitment!) to help the United States host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

It wasn’t pretty… but it worked

Posted in CONCACAF Champions League, TFC with tags , , , on September 22, 2010 by squizz

If you ever played in competitive tournaments, you probably had a teammate who obsessively tabulated exactly what results were needed in upcoming games in order for your team to advance. Well, on my team, that was me. So trust me that beyond the symbolism involved, last night’s unexpected draw with Cruz Azul was very big. I’ll get to the numbers in a moment.

But first, a question… seriously, Toronto FC, can you make up your damned minds, already? Can you decide whether we’re supposed to hate you or love you? (Or, at least, can you stick with the decision for more than a few days at a time?)

The disastrous 1-0 defeat to DC United… the long-awaited firing of Mo Johnston… the 4-1 shellacking at Salt Lake… the last-second 2-1 victory at Houston… the not-unexpected rise in ticket prices… a historic 0-0 result at Cruz Azul… and this is in a week and a half.

No wonder the average sports fan is ambivalent towards the team — they just don’t have the time to wrap their heads around what the hell is going on. Continue reading

When a win feels like a loss

Posted in CONCACAF Champions League, TFC with tags , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by squizz

Montreal giveth, and Montreal taketh away.

When they loaded 55,000 people into Olympic Stadium for their CONCACAF Champions League showdown with Santos last February, the Impact gave us all big dreams about what was possible… especially after they won 2-0.

Then, a week later, when they suffered one of the most catastrophic and agonizing meltdowns in soccer history in the return leg, they reminded us of how devastatingly bad MLS/USL teams can be when playing outside of Canada or the U.S.

Montreal blew a four-goal aggregate lead down in Mexico last spring, remember. So excuse me if I’m not jumping with joy at the slim one-goal advantage that Toronto FC will be taking down to Honduras next week. Continue reading

Supporting “Club Canada”

Posted in Canada, CONCACAF with tags , , on May 11, 2010 by Grant

Ok, so it may not exactly be the same as Jose Mourinho’s once-rumoured Club England revolution, but if the Canadian Mens’ National Team really were to compete in a 12-team, 22-game loop to determine World Cup qualification it would certainly make following the squad more desirable.

Continue reading

The Reserve Squad: Blatter guarantees 2022 World Cup to North America

Posted in The Reserve Squad with tags , , , , , , , on January 26, 2010 by squizz

A day after indicating that the 2018 World Cup will likely be awarded to one of the European bidders — either England, Russia or one of the joint bids of Holland/Belgium or Spain/Portugal — FIFA President Sepp Blatter made the surprising announcement today that the 2022 World Cup will be awarded to a country from the CONCACAF region.

“This is outstanding news,” said Sunil Gulati, president of the United States Soccer Federation, who are one of the bidding countries. “For the World Cup to return to the USA is a sure sign of soccer’s overwhelming popularity, and is the culmination of some very hard work by all of us on the bid committee.”

But Gulati’s excitement was tempered by a subsequent press release from FIFA clarifying its president’s remarks.

“As it relates to the 2022 tournament,” the release said, “while the United States has submitted the only bid from this region thus far, we are open to considering all qualified bids.

“We are, as always, open to joint bids, following the success of the Korea/Japan World Cup in 2002 and Euro 2008, split between Austria and Switzerland. In 2022, we would consider any joint bids from this region, such as Honduras/El Salvador, Cuba/Costa Rica or Trinidad/Tobago. Many factors are still at play, and this bidding process is far from over.”

The Reserve Squad attempted to reach FIFA Vice President Jack Warner for comment, but an administrative worker at his Zurich office claimed that he was “unreachable” at the moment for undisclosed “luxury-yacht-in-the-middle-of-the-ocean reasons”.