Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Voyageurs Cup pool final standings

Laziness and holidays (but primarily laziness) kept me from getting this done in a prompt fashion, but better later than never I guess. Toronto won the whole damn thing in dramatic fashion with Will Johnson scoring a dying-moments goal and breaking his leg in the process. Less dramatically, Tirana FC (@kzknowles) kept her lead and is this year's winner.

Lanterne rouge latetedefred (@latetedefred) 'won' the right to select which team scarf she will receive as a a prize, and he selected the Ottawa Fury. Their team scarf is out of stock, so we'll have to figure something out.

Here is how it finished.

14Tirana FC
15Duncan Fletcher, Roke
17jamonty, Casual Soccer Fan, coxon
18Duane Rollins, Phil, Goes to 11, DelChuck
20Blue and White Army, Lord Bob, Barton St, IvanG, Richard

As always, check the spreadsheet for further details. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Voyageurs Cup week 5 standings

So it's all come down to this. Everyone's done a terrible job predicting this tourney, I've thought all along that the Voyageurs Cup final was on Tuesday, Britain Brexited, I spent six and a half hours at Investor's Group Field to watch a football game (and still left early), and the last person to enter my contest is in the driver's seat to win.

Here are the standings going into Wednesday's final

14Tirana FC
15Duncan Fletcher, Roke
17jamonty, Casual Soccer Fan, coxon
18Duane Rollins, Phil, Goes to 11, DelChuck
20Blue and White Army, Lord Bob, Barton St, IvanG, Richard

As always, check the spreadsheet for further details. In this case, I actually checked it too. I'm not going to fix my date error (yes, the game will be June 29th), but I looked at the final match predictions for the first 7 placings, and unless I've been reading it wrong, Tirana FC and Duncan Fletcher are the only entries with a chance to win.

In fact, if TFC outright wins the second leg, it forces a tie, in which case I'll have to dust off my tiebreaking scenarios. Any other result and Tirana takes it since most of the others further down the list picked the same 1-1 scoreline she did.

All to play for.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Voyageurs Cup week 4 standings

Here are the standings. If you are entered into the contest, look for an email Sunday night requesting your picks for the two-legged final between Toronto and Vancouver on the 21st and 28th of June. Take advantage of the next few days to mull over your strategy.

13Duncan Fletcher, Tirana FC
15Tuscan, Roke, Garrett, coxon
16Phil, jamonty
17Shermanator, Duane Rollins, Goes to 11, Casual Soccer Fan, DelChuck
18Blue and White Army, latetedefred, Barton St, IvanG
19Lord Bob, Sam, Richard

As always, check the spreadsheet for further details. Everyone is doing terribly.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Voyageurs Cup week 2

Here's a quick look at Wednesday's opening match in the Amway Canadian Championship


: Dustin Corea 26', Adam Eckersley 45'
[match stats]

Headline: Fury prevail, but make it harder than it had to be (Ottawa Citizen)

One paragraph analysis

I didn't see the match, but by all accounts, and by the scoreline, the Eddies acquitted themselves much better than they did in the opener. Two first half goals certainly left all to play for in the second half. Some might argue that this match adds more fuel to the argument that Edmonton is Canada's hard luck team in this tournament, but when the 'bad luck' this year was coming out flat and having a terrible goalkeeper, it's hard to make the case.

Attendance check: 3946 at TD Place

Canadian content report
The presence of Eddie Edward in the squad was a notable upgrade from last week. Just as in the first leg there were 6 Canadian starters, this time 4 with Ottawa.

Eddie Edward90
Nik Ledgerwood90
Total Mins180

Marcel De Bellis90
Marcel de Jong90
Carl Haworth90
Kyle Porter68
Total Mins338

Check the highlights

Dustin CoreaEdmonton1
Adam EckersleyEdmonton1
Carl HaworthOttawa1
Idan VeredOttawa1

2016.06.21: Vancouver at Ottawa, Montreal at Toronto, both 7:30 pm et

Week 2 standings and all the picks.

Nobody really had this quarter final round pegged. That's reflected in the scores, with the closest predictors off by five goals. The good news is that everyone, more or less, is still in with a chance.

5Duncan Fletcher, coxon
6Duane Rollins, Tuscan, Garrett, jamonty, Casual Soccer Fan
7Shermanator, Roke, Blue and White Army, Lord Bob, Sam, Phil, DelChuck, Tirana FC
8Spungi, latetedefred, Barton St, IvanG, Goes to 11, Richard

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Voyageurs Cup week 1

Here's a quick look at Wednesday's opening match in the Amway Canadian Championship


: Timbo 12', Carl Haworth 69', Idan Vered 74'
[match stats]

Headline: Capital club dominant in first leg (Goal.com)

One paragraph analysis

When the road team takes a 3 goal lead in a first leg, there's no way to put a positive spin on it for the home side. Edmonton hardly could have seen this result coming, especially seeing they beat the same opponent on the same field two and a half weeks earlier by two goals. The early goal by Ottawa, a Timbo header from a free kick, reflected the run of play to that point. The only decent stretch for the Eddies was 15 minutes or so from the first half where they looked like getting back into the game. A second half boner by keeper Matt van Oekel led directly to the Carl Haworth goal, at which point it was all but over. Some sort of miracle will be required in order for Edmonton to reverse the deficit next week at TD Place, as even at their best this Eddies team rarely looks likely to score.

Attendance check: 3000 at Clarke Stadium.

Canadian content report
There were 6 Canadian starters on the day, including Ottawa goal scorer Carl Haworth, and Mozzi Gyorio made a substitute appearance. Shamit Shome, and 18 year old, made the start for Edmonton. From a national team fan perspective, it was interesting to see Marcel de Jong (forward) and Nik Ledgerwood (central midfield) playing in different roles than those to which we have become accustomed.

Allan Zebie90
Nik Ledgerwood90
Shamit Shome59
Total Mins239

Marcel De Bellis90
Marcel de Jong90
Carl Haworth79
Mozzi Gyorio11
Total Mins270

Watch the full match on youtube:

Carl HaworthOttawa1
Idan VeredOttawa1

2016.05.18: Edmonton at Ottawa 7:30 pm et

Week 1 standings and everyone's picks.

3Duncan Fletcher, Sam
4Duane Rollins, Blue and White Army, Barton St, Phil, IvanG, jamonty, Casual Soccer Fan, DelChuck
5Spungi, Shermanator, Tuscan, Roke, Lord Bob, latetedefred, Garrett, Goes to 11, Richard, Tirana FC

Monday, April 25, 2016

Voyageurs Cup pool: 2016 edition

For the 8th year, I'm running a contest to predict the outcomes in the matches of the Voyageurs Cup.

The winners' list is a veritable who's who of people who love lost causes. Check it out:
  • 2015 (winner: ADH)
  • 2014 (winner: Fussball_Eh)
  • 2013 (Brenton)
  • 2012 (Tuscan and Diego R)
  • 2011 (Free Kick and Casual Soccer Fan)
  • 2010 (Lank)
  • 2009 (squizz)
The rules are the same as last year.

  • Participants will predict the final score of each of the first 6 matches over two competition stages: a) The initial two-legged play-in tie between Ottawa and Edmonton, and b) The two-leg semi final rounds between Montreal and Toronto, and Ottawa/Edmonton and Vancouver
  • At the conclusion of the semi-final round, participants will be asked to submit their picks for the two-legged final.
  • Total discrepancy from the final score of each match will be tallied. e.g.: If you predicted Ottawa 1 - 0 Edmonton for the opening fixture, and the final was 2-2, your discrepancy factor would be 3 goals (off by 1 for Ottawa, off by 2 for Edmonton). Lowest total score over all matches wins.
  • For these two-legged ties, the CSA is applying the away goals rule. If matches go to extra time, the scoreline after 120 minutes is the one that will be used for contest purposes.
  • In the case of an overall tie, a bonus will be awarded to anyone correctly predicting the tournament's high goal scorer ("golden boot").
  • Subsequent tie-breakers: First tie-breaker will be total number of exact scorelines. Second is total number of correct results (win/draw/loss). 

The lanterne rouge is a cycling term to designate the last-placed finisher in a race. The lanterne rouge will choose a team scarf from one of the tournament teams to be awarded to the winner.

Second and third paced prizes might come into play if the competition grows large enough, or if you have something you'd like to give away.


ll entries must be submitted via email in order for me to be able to solicit your final round picks in a timely fashion once the finalists are known. Any entries left in the comments will not be included; I'll try to contact you to get an emailed response.

Please include the following details in your entry
  • The exact score of each of the first 6 fixtures (in the correct order, please)
  • Your prediction for tournament leading goal scorer.
  • nickname to be displayed on the results page. If none is given, your real name will be used.
To make life easier for me, simply copy/paste the following into your email, and change the Xs into scores.


I know some email programs will garble the formatting of that table, but don't worry about it, I'll figure it out.

Once the final two teams are known, you will receive an email inviting you to submit your second round of picks which are due prior to kickoff on June 21st.

All entries must be emailed to blogdumpster@gmail.com.

CONTEST DEADLINE: All entries must be received by 8 pm central (you heard me, Central Time) on Wednesday 11 May 2016, the day of the opening encounters.

I'm shooting for maximum participation, so if you have a platform for promoting this thing (twitter, blog, semaphore, etc.), I'd appreciate the support that way.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Canada-Mexico player ratings

Canada's 3-0 loss to Mexico in this past Friday's World Cup qualifying match was more disappointing than it was surprising. Momentum did seem to be with Floro's men, with a string of acceptable, if never dominating, results, and a team being improved by players like Junior Hoilett and Scott Arfield joining the fold. I'll even admit to holding out hope; I laid down a small bet on 1-1 as the final score.

And yet, this result was always the most obvious one. Though Canada has played Mexico close over the past decade (the 3 goals they allowed in this match was the most against Mexico since 1997), El Tri are the class of CONCACAF and it showed on the pitch. In addition, Canada suffered from so many of its starters having just begun their seasons or pre-season preparation (Larin, de Guzman, Johnson, Straith, Jakovic, and de Jong among them), while the Mexicans all play in leagues that are in full swing.

The manner of the defeat was a bit more surprising, with an encouraging opening 20 minutes seeming to give the Canadians a confidence and a willingness to go forward that was ultimately the team's greatest undoing.

The entire team was part of the letdown, some more than others. Here are the ratings.

Milan Borjan - 7
He made a number of top class saves in the first half to keep it close. A second and third look at the Lozano goal shows that he had left far too much of the short side open, and he may want to have had that third goal back.

Marcel de Jong - 5.5
Was too often beaten for pace by Lozano and other Mexican wingers, but was not at fault for any of the biggest defensive letdowns.

Adam Straith - 5.5
Made some nice interceptions and even started a rush, but his lack of pace was punished on the second Mexican goal.

Dejan Jakovic - 4
Was frequently out of position, and sloppy on the ball. He was caught napping on the Chicharito goal, and seemed largely at fault for the third. If healthy, David Edgar needs to take his spot.

Doneil Henry - 5
Proved beyond a shadow of a doubt he is not a fullback, as all but one or two of his touches going forward were poor. Defended well in the second half.

Atiba Hutchinson - 7
It is hard not to grade on a curve with Atiba, as this match was not at the caliber of his typical performances. A miscue between him and Johnson led to the second goal, and he did not complete as high a percentage of his passes as he usually does. On the other hand, he was one of few players that could take on an opponent or two and keep possession. He might have benefited from one of the other midfielders also playing in a deeper lying role.

Will Johnson - 6
I'll give him credit for being involved in the rare occasions where the team got forward. A 1-2 combination with Arfield was one of the team's better chances. On the other hand he was often careless in possession and was beaten all day defensively.

Julian de Guzman - 5
He was deservedly celebrated pre-match for his Canada career and caps record, but this match showed he is no longer at the level required to be effective against an opponent like Mexico.

Junior Hoilett - 5.5
Watching the game I was hugely disappointed with the hash he made of two excellent chances to score, not even forcing a save. He deserves credit, though, for generating those chances.

Tosaint Ricketts - 4.5
I'm a big Ricketts defender, but this was not a good performance. The team directed most of their offense down the left side away from Ricketts, so I won't be critical there. But he was largely a ghost, including leaving a man unmarked on Mexico's first goal. Was justly subbed off at half.

Cyle Larin - 5
Like Hoilett, he squandered the best chance he was given. Against teams like Mexico, one needs to be more clinical. On the other hand, his hold up play was better than we have seen in the past. Lacks creativity when he does not receive the ball in a shooting position.

Scott Arfield - 6
He looked promising in the early-going of the second half, combining well with Johnson and others. His back injury, which kept him from flying to Mexico City, may have been an issue as he drifted out of the game in the last quarter hour.

Sam Piette - 5
He might have been a better choice than de Guzman as a starter, as he provides some defensive steel. He's not an effective player when the team is chasing the game. Benito may have been cutting his losses at that point.

Tesho Akindele - n/a
Too brief an appearance to leave much of an impression.

Benito - 4
For a manager who has had the team playing so defensively, even against weaker opponents, he either did not impress this enough upon his team, or they got carried away by the moment. Either way, he bears responsibility.

BC Place crowd
On TV, the split between Canadian and Mexican fans seemed to be at worse 70-30, and despite the result, they stayed in the game throughout. Full credit to the Voyageurs as always.

It seems silly to expect anything different for tomorrow's match at Azteca, but I'm hopeful (there's that word again) that Floro can iron out a few of the defensive issues, and that the team's posture on the whole will be a bit more conservative.  Mexico 2 - Canada 0