Saturday, July 25, 2009

Into the wilds: Weekend notes

Since Canada no longer has a part to play at the Gold Cup, I don't feel as great a need to apologize for extended absences from blogging. Still, I haven't posted since Monday and will be absent from the internet from Sunday until Thursday, which will be followed by another weeklong wilderness excursion beginning the following Sunday.

I don't want my more loyal readers to worry, so I've thrown together the laziest of blogging solutions: the omnibus links, news, and notes post.

  • Dwayne De Rosario had to refuse an MLS all-star invite because of a prior engagement, but Wednesday's game will not be without Canadian content. 41-year old Pat Onstad was called in to backup Kasey Keller at age, while Salt Lake's Will Johnson has been selected to replace the injured Shalrie Joseph.
  • Apparently Canada's Gold Cup squad had not one but two unattached goalkeepers. We all knew that Greg Sutton was out of work after having been released by Toronto, but now we learn that Josh Wagenaar after rejecting a contract offer from Yeovil Town. He has spent a few days training with the Vancouver Whitecaps in preparation for a trial at Falkirk, but also with the goal of getting on the radar of that team. Not a bad move with MLS 2011 on the horizon.
  • TV viewers looking for their soccer fix this afternoon should look no further than our good friend SRC (or as English Canada likes to call it, the French CBC). The Trophée des Champions match takes place today at Stade Olympique in Montreal, and Montreal Impact vice-prez Richard Legendre is confident that they will beat the attendance record of 30 500 for the match, with 28 000 tickets sold as of Thursday for the match between Guingamp and Bordeaux. Apparently not all players have done their homework on Canada, with Bordeaux midfielder Alou Diarra spending far too much time and energy worrying about swine flu. (3 pm et / 2 pm ct / noon pt, Radio-Canada, streamed live at radio-canada.ca)
  • The Gold Cup final goes tomorrow, and I couldn't be more excited. In a surprising twist, Mexico and the United States will be battling for the honours. (Ok, sarcasm off). I'm sure the match will be on tv somewhere, but the matchup and the fact that I'll be sitting on a bus at the time are cause for profound disinterest in where it might be found on the dial.
  • The more important matchup tomorrow is between readers Kevin Elder aka Pompey Canuck of Think it all in, and P aka OOT's first contest winner. The results going into tomorrow's match:

Entry Goals
P 17
Kevin Elder 17
Andrew Bates 14
J 13
M@ 10

  • The two blogging national teamers have both weighed in in the aftermath of Canada's Gold Cup exit. Greg Sutton went the conspiracy theory direction, while the more thoughtful and erudite (and French) Patrice Bernier had a somewhat more nuanced arguments. Both are excellent reads, but I prefer the latter. From his essay:

    L'appel d'un tir de pénalité contre le Honduras en quarts de finale sanctionnait une faute inexistante. Le défenseur Paul Stalteri a été puni pour obstruction alors que le joueur hondurien aurait plutôt dû être montré du doigt pour sa manoeuvre dangereuse (une bicyclette). On connaît la suite : Walter Martinez a trouvé le fond du filet pour porter la marque à 1-0, qui allait tenir jusqu'au sifflet final.

    À mon avis, l'erreur va cependant au-delà de cet appel douteux. L'arbitre qui était d'office pour le match était d'origine latine et donc plus enclin à sanctionner un style physique à la nord-américaine, où les duels épaule à épaule sont plus courants et vigoureux. Un arbitre issu des Caraïbes aurait assuré une plus grande neutralité.

    As a strong proponent of bilingualism, I don't feel as though I should translate this for you. But the salient points are that: on the play where the penalty was called, Walter Martinez should instead have been whistled for a dangerous play (high kick); and that because of the difference in styles between North American and Latin American teams, a referee from the Caribbean, which stands in contrast to both, would have been a better choice. This is a good idea, and a principle which could be instituted for all CONCACAF matches. CONCACAF essentially has three regions (North America, Central America, Caribbean), and in a match between teams from different regions, a referee from the unrepresented region should be assigned to the match.
  • While the shit has clearly hit the fan in Montreal with the Impact, the Vancouver Whitecaps aren't letting their eastern brethren stretch their lead too far in the contest for most dysfunctional dressing room. After a blowup at practice, which involved a headbutt, St. Vincent international (and Philips Bakery customer, no doubt) Wesley Charles has been released from the squad. As always, the take from some canadian guys . . . is most entertaining.

I had worried that with the calendar for Canada's national team looking pretty barren over the next few years, I might not have the motivation to devote any time or effort to this blog. I have other interests, sporting and otherwise, that mustn't be neglected. However, I know now that I don't have to waste any time with the 2009 CFL campaign, as Winnipeg's coach makes Dale Mitchell look like Alex Ferguson.

So I'll dig deep, scrape the bottom of the barrel, and regale you with whatever Canadian tales of football I can find. I'll keep watching our pro sides, and live vicariously through the Oranje in 2010.

In other words, keep watching this space.

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