Friday, January 02, 2009

Will Canada play a home match in 2009?

This is something to watch in the New Year. One of the few bright lights in 2008 was the growing Canadian fan support at venues across the country. It wasn't always enough to shut out or shout down opposing fans (think Hondurans in Montreal or Mexicans in Edmonton), but it is support that had some momentum. Some of that momentum would no doubt be lost if Canada doesn't play at home in 2009.

Mexico fans in Edmonton (2008.10.15)

All we have to go on is recent evidence of Canada's playing history in years where the team doesn't have any official matches (read WCQs) on the schedule that would require a few home dates. Fortunately, there are many such years in the past decade. Here's a selection:
2000: WCQ year (Canada eliminated before the Hex)
2001: No home matches
2002: No home matches
2003: No home matches
2004: WCQ year (Canada eliminated before the Hex)
2005: 02 July 2005 - Friendly match international amical
Canada 1, Honduras 2
Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, BC, Canada

2006: 04 September 2006 - Friendly match international amical
Canada 1, Jamaica 0
Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard, Montréal, QC, Canada

2007: 12 September 2007 - Friendly match international amical
Canada 1, Costa Rica 1
BMO Field, Toronto, ON, Canada

2008: WCQ year (Canada eliminated before the Hex)

2009: ??????

There's word that part of the deal for the Iceland friendly (in Reykjavik on 22 August 2007) was a return engagement in Canada sometime in 2008 or 2009. 2008 having elapsed it would seem Iceland could be a possible opponent at BMO or in Montreal in 2009, though if the ball is in the CSA's court on this matter, I wouldn't count on it.

Canadian fans often have to grasp at straws and I will do so here: Canada hasn't failed to play at home since 2003. 1 home friendly a year isn't really enough, but the fact that there have been home dates in each of the last non-competitive years (aren't they all, though?) gives me hope for '09. At the very least, a Gold Cup prep match on the same coast as Canada's first round dates would be a nice touch.

4 comments:

Duane Rollins said...

There is also the "requirement" to play X amount of national team games a year at BMO (not that they followed through on it last year).

I suspect there will be a single game played just prior to the Gold Cup in either Montreal or Toronto. Jamaica or Iceland would be my guess.

Regardless, 2009 is going to be depressing.

squizz said...

Isn't that requirement worded in such a way that "national team games" could be anything from the MNT to the U15 women's squad? Or is my brain still recovering from NYE?

In any event, yes, this year is probably going to suck.

J said...

squizz:

I believe you're right. The agreement is for national teams matches, not MNT. At least it could be interpreted as such.

I'm holding out hope for 2009. A young or marginal player to take a big career leap, or continued success for Montreal in CCL. Or Canada wins the Gold Cup. Something good needs to happen. The universe owes us.

Duane Rollins said...

Yeah, it's any level. So, I could see the women playing at BMO again (it was fairly successful last time) and a u-20 prep game as well, maybe.

If I had to lay money, I would guess the nats end up back in Montreal for the single game.

At this exact moment I just can't make myself care about the Gold Cup. Play kids (hell, that's about all that might show up anyway). I'm far more interested in the u-20s.