Monday, September 01, 2008

Waiting for Honduras 1: Between the pipes

The first in a series of daily posts leading up to Saturday's match vs Honduras (which will be liveblogged, natch.)

So Gerry Dobson wrote a column about Canada's keeper situation. In the words of a 6-year old version of myself, big woop. I mean, I'm glad the guy can get excited about Canadian soccer and even provide a few details that I might not otherwise know, but whenever I read something he's written, I imagine the whiny-voiced midget narrating his own article and I cringe. And I stop reading.

And is a somewhat well-reasoned column the best way to compare keepers? Hardly.

Canada has Lars Hirschfeld in camp, along with Greg Sutton and Pat Onstad, both of whom were around for the Jamaica match.


Pat Onstad

Age: 40
Caps: 56
Dislikes: those damn kids and their loud music
Last match for Canada: 1-1 draw against Jamaica 12 days ago

Youtube clip of PO screwing up:

Pros: experienced, you know what you're getting
Cons: what you are getting in World Cup qualifying, it seems, is an embarassing gaffe every few matches.

Greg Sutton

Age: 31
Caps: 11
Turn-ons: Cold December nights with the wife (see 'Cons' below)
Last match for Canada: 2-2 draw with Panama in a closed-door friendly in June

Youtube clip of Sutton committing a major-league boner:

(the first goal against isn't bad, but the second surely is)

Pros: I like to be fair to all, but I can't think of any. Familiar with the Field Turf at BMO Field, but the next match is in Montreal
Cons: Inconsistent. Not to mention that he mis-timed a romp with the wife so badly that she is due to give birth in the middle of an international window. What was he thinking?! Yup, she's preggers and there's a good chance Sutton will make the choice somewhat easier by being unavailable for the 6th and 10th.

Lars Hirschfeld

Age: 29
Caps: 22
Hair: nope!
Last match for Canada: 2-0 loss to Estonia in a blizzard this past March

Lars. Or Lex Luther?

Youtube clip of Hirsch fricking up:

OK, so we're not sure it was such a big faux pas, but anybody who yells "for frick sakes" in a moment of anger needs to stop and reconsider things for a while.

Pros: He's the best shot stopper. He is the likeliest to be a good keeper two years from now when Canada will hopefully have qualified for South Africa.
Cons: He might be rusty; he's lost the starter's job for his team in Romania. Is too much of a pussy to use profanity.

Maybe you already divined as much, but I'll spell it out for you anyway: I think Lars should start. He's the most athletic, and the best shot-stopper, and also the most likely to steal a game. He may not be as experienced as Onstad or as tall as Sutton, but he shut out Chelsea in the Champions' League last year, so I doubt he'll be intimated by a few sweaty Hondurans. I don't understand the appeal of Sutton, and Onstad must surely be on thin ice following his boner on the Jamaica goal in Toronto, not to mention similar gaffes in qualifying four years ago.

55 minutes later . . . I wrote this post intending to come off as some kind of an anti-Dobson. But now that I've finally got around to reading his article I am somewhat disillusioned to find that we think alike.

To wit:
Naming his goalkeeper for the Honduras World Cup Qualifier Saturday in Montreal has become a nightmare. Don't expect his decision anytime soon. He has called in three of them. But Pat Onstad, Greg Sutton and Lars Hirschfeld each come with some serious baggage.
Ok, that's some pretty neutral bullshit, but I said as much above: there are three keepers in camp with not much to choose between them.
It's a nightmare. But it says here that Hirschfeld is the best shot stopper of the three. I cannot remember him costing Canada a game. In the short term, he's likely the best answer.
What's with Dobson and nightmares? Rough childhood or something? Anyway, we agree, and even throw around the same over-used phrase ('shot stopper'). I can't claim to be different from this elf anymore.
Could Gerry and yours truly be one and the same?

Gerry, let's shout it together from the rooftops: "Hirschfeld for Honduras"


Colin Smith said...

Double-check the youtube link of Hirsch 'fricking' up.

I think it will be Onstad in goal on Saturday.

Gerry Dobson knows what he is talking about. He's no Graham Leggat, but no one is...

- Colin

Footie Fool said...

Gotta be Lars. The Estonia lose - he played well - it was the OG by Stalteri that sealed that one. Frig, we are our own worst enemies.

The thing I liked about him in that game was his distribution. A lot of counterattacks started from his hands.

Add in the best club website bio at CFR Cluj:

"A special goalkeeper, a football player beyond the standards of the Romanian Championship. A rafined (sic) intellectual."

Lars, even the Romainians know you are too good for them!!!!! Get a new agent and get out!!!!!

Colin Smith said...

I never said Lars shouldn't start, I just don't think he will. It definitely shouldn't be Onstad, but I think Mitchell will stick with Pat. How could Mitchell put in a keeper that isn't even getting a game at his club team? Lars would have to play like Schmeichel at training this week... And that's not going to happen

J said...


Thanks for catching me out on that Hirschfeld vid. It's too funny for me to deprive others the joy of seeing it by getting the URL wrong.

As for Hirsch v. Onstad, I think there are chinks in the armour in Mitchell's devotion to Pat, and he hinted as much after the match. It don't think it is quite cut and dried, but you are probably right that Onstad gets the call. He will be skating on thin ice, though.

- J

P.S. Nice blog there yourself.