Thursday, May 07, 2009

Voyageurs Cup Matchday 1 Report

Just the facts:
Scoring Summary:
3' - Kevin Harmse (Dwayne De Rosario)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Jay Nolly; 2.Marco Reda (8.Wes Knight 14'), 6.Wesley Charles, 18.Mason Trafford, 27.Jeff Parke; 7.Martin Nash, 16.Ansu Toure (20.Ethan Gage 76'), 19.Justin Moose (22.Takashi Hirano 66'), 23.Vicente Arze; 9.Marlon James, 98.Charles Gbeke

Toronto FC
24.Stefan Frei; 3.Nana Attakora-Gyan, 4.Marco Velez, 11.Jim Brennan, 16.Marvell Wynne; 5.Kevin Harmse, 8.Pablo Vitti, 20.Amado Guevara; 8.Pablo Vitti (7.Fuad Ibrahim 78'), 14.Dwayne De Rosario, 19.Chad Barrett (9.Danny Dichio 73')

Stupid headline: Whitecaps can't stay out of Harmse way
To be fair, the Winnipeg Free Press doesn't just reserve stupid puns for soccer headlines. The leading headline in the sports section this morning was Sweep taste of success.

Obligatory goal celebration photo(s):

Just one this time.

One paragraph analysis
I've already read a few people complaining that this was a boring game. Some of the more myopic TFC fans are claiming their side dominated. Neither was true. Compared to this weekend's TFC - Columbus clash, this was both a more exciting and more even match, at least in the second half. I didn't see much of the first. The difference between this match and a regular TFC game is that instead of giving the ball away via useless long balls forward, both teams traded possession by missing short passes in midfield. Worst culprits were Arze and Moose for Vancouver and, no surprise, Robinson for Toronto.

One sentence thoughts
  • It was nice to see that the only goal scored was an all-Canadian connection (Harmse from De Rosario)
  • Martin Nash is clearly old and slow and left all kinds of space in midfield, but also hit a bunch of those inch perfect long balls of the kind Xavi was spraying around in yesterday's Chelsea-Barça clash.
  • Really classy of Toronto fans to boo Marco Reda for limping off the pitch after he had suffered what was pretty clearly a decent concussion. NOT.
  • The nice thing about rainy night games at BMO is that the pitch doesn't look as ugly.
  • Is it just me, or did Vancouver improve noticeably after they brought on their 17-year old wunderkind Ethan Gage?

Canadian content report

It was strange hearing Gerry Dobson mention off the top of the broadcast that Toronto would be fielding 4 Canadian starters, while Vancouver would only start 3. I thought he had to be wrong. As is so often the case, he was. I'm not sure which of Vancouver's 4 Canadian starters he was omitting (Trafford, Gbeke, Nash, or Reda). Hopefully none of the latter three because, as a MNT broadcaster, he should know that these guys are Canadian. Maybe it's an honest mistake, since none are born here.

Still, due to injuries and Cummins fielding a not-quite-first-choice lineup (Cronin was rested, not hurt) Toronto actually edged out Vancouver in Canadian minutes.

Nana Attakora 90
Jim Brennan 90
Kevin Harmse 90
Dwayne De Rosario 90
Total Mins 360

Marco Reda 14
Mason Trafford 90
Martin Nash 90
Charles Gbeke 90
Ethan Gage 14
Total Mins 298

Kevin Harmse is only the third Canadian player to score a goal in the tournament, after Eduardo Sebrango with 2 last year, and Martin Nash with 1. There still hasn't been a Canadian-born player to score in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship (though there have been many in the longer history of the Voyageurs Cup). Harmse and Nash are both born in South Africa, while Sebrango grew up in Cuba.

The pool report
Five people got the exact scoreline for last night's match: 3LionRoar, Lucky Strike, zeelew, squizz, and Yours Truly.

All the rest of the scores from the Nutrilite Canadian Championship Pool:

Difference Entries
0 3LionRoar, Lucky Strike, zeelew, squizz, J
1 M@, P, Kevin Elder, Nuvinho, Dan, Joe Ross, Elvis, Kevin Rollins, Simon B, Scott Hegedus, coxon
2 Sam, Lord Bob, Duane Rollins, Rob, dsylexic nam, Serie_AHH, Joe Soccer Fan, Headhunting Canuck, Matt John Gregg
3 PhilD, nobuzz
4 maxg

If you'd still like to enter, you can predict the remaining 5 matches, though I'd have to slot you into a tie for last place at +4. With a higher number of entries than originally expected, I may also have to develop a few new tiebreaking metrics.


Team W D L Pts
Toronto FC 1 0 0 3
Montreal Impact 0 0 0 0
Vancouver Whitecaps 0 0 1 0

Player Team Goals
Kevin Harmse Toronto FC 1

Next match: 13 May 2009: Montreal Impact @ Toronto FC


M@ said...

Oh, I SO thought I had gotten it right when that ball fell to James roundabout the 85th minute. Looked like a sure thing. Good save, Frei, damn you.

Thanks for keeping all this going, J.

P said...

Seconded on Frei's save. Also, Gerry Dobson must have been taking some strong flu medication, because he was messing of players' names all night, confusing Attakora and Wynne, Brennan and Harmse. He once even confused players from opposite teams. It was almost as bad as the USL commentators from Texas who just didn't know any of the Vancouver players' names.

Colin Smith said...

TFC fans are absolutely classless with their booing and 'dig a hole and bury him' whenever an opposing player is down. Utterly pathetic.

It was a pretty boring game.
I watched it from the pressbox, but I could sense the crowd was into though...

That WFP headline is AWESOME. But I'm a sucker for a bad pun.

The slippery pitch made it difficult for either team to pass it around.

TFC's man of the match IMO: Nana
He did a great job shutting down a massive centre forward in the form of Marlon James.

J said...


Are all newspapermen (and women, naturally) equally as enamoured with bad puns in headlines?

A selection, from today's WFP:

- Man, oh man, oh Manny

- Phoenix fight might just get Coyote ugly

I have to say I'm really into this tournament this year. Maybe it was Montreal's success in CCL, or maybe it's that there are no seriously meaningful men's national team matches to worry about for the next 3 years, but somehow this all seems really important.

It's almost enough to make a guy want to order sportsnet.

Colin Smith said...

I'm a copy editor, which included writing headlines for the National Post for a while. All headline writers love puns. Some, however, don't know when to say 'no' ... like at the WFP. Those are all stretching it a little... They still make me smile though.

My #1 headline, which didn't include a pun, was on a feature story on injuries suffered by high-level cheerleaders (like on Bring It On):

Gimme an O, Gimme a U, Gimme a C, Gimme an H.