Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday cup of coffee: Christmas edition

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for people to spend time with their families and loved ones. But at times like these it is important not to forget that we live in a world full of pain, suffering and injustice.

And nothing lately seems quite so unjust as blonde-haired Natalie's Survivor win over oil tycoon Russell. Never in the history of that beloved game has a person controlled matters so utterly as did the lovable liar. The jury was stupid, no doubt, as testified to by the fact that the former Galu tribe members, despite their immense numbers advantage, ended up on the jury and not in the final three. Perhaps one day this wound will heal. But until then, let's remember Russell.

On to the good stuff, in a relatively newsy week for late December.

Simeon Jackson named POTY

This CSA award, voted by media and coaches, has been won in the past by Dwayne de Rosario (2005-2007) and Julian de Guzman (2008). Jackson was announced as the winner, narrowly beating out De Rosario. The full results:
1. Simeon Jackson (18.2)
2. Dwayne De Rosario (17.6)
3. Julian de Guzman (17.4)
4. Mike Klukowski (10.9)
5. Will Johnson (10.7)
6. Atiba Hutchinson (8.2)
7. Nevio Pizzolitto (7.5)
8. Ali Gerba (3.9)
9. Kevin McKenna (2.3)
10. Ethan Gage (0.6)
10. Charles Gbeke (0.6)
10. Tomasz Radzinski (0.6)
Allow me to discredit the intelligence of the assembled voters. Ethan Gage, who only played about half of the games for the Whitecaps, is a clear homer pick. Gbeke had a monster goal scoring season but does not belong in the same league as most of the other players. Clear homer picks.

Nevio Pizzolitto probably earned a few Montreal-based votes too, but has a better case to be on the list. He was probably included in the short list because of his excellent career, and as the preeminent Canadian player on a USL-1 champion team.

But how did De Rosario score so high? Sure, he was the most productive player on Toronto FC, but this is a team that missed the playoffs. Again. And he didn't play a minute for Canada.

I'm not so crazy about the Jackson selection either. He scored a bundle of goals in 2009, but more than half of those were in the first half of the year when he was playing for a League Two outfit. To his credit he showed up for Canada, but apart from his single goal against Cyprus he appeared not quite up to the challenge of international play.

To my mind, the most deserving players are those who won something (UEFA qualification for Klukowski and Hutchinson, an MLS title for Will Johnson). You also see the usual offensive player bias in this list as well: Andre Hainault (Houston), Dejan Jakovic (DC United) and Pat Onstad (Houston) all had better MLS campaigns than Gerba or even de Guzman (admittedly abbreviated).

Speaking of de Guzman, how does a guy who played maybe 20 games total in the entire year get on the list? From 2005 to 2007 he had a hard time getting his name to the top of the list, despite being Canada's best talent by far, but now that he's switched shirts, he almost wins without playing. Coincidence?

The Voyageurs' 2009 POTY as well as the CSA Fans' Choice are both awards I give more credence to, and I suspect we'll see a more thoughtful selection of players.

Canada to play Jamaica

As is its custom, the CSA doesn't spill the beans until all the details have been ironed out, but Canada will be playing Jamaica in Kingston (Jamaica, not Ontario) on January 31st. The Jamaican press have been all over this, and it is listed on Canada's FIFA page, suggest it is more or less a done deal.

From the linked article (Jamaica observer):
Burrell, also a member of the Jack Warner-led CONCACAF Executive Committee, explained that the deal with the Canadians has a reciprocal element where the Boyz are due to travel to Canada for a return match in 2010 or 2011, whichever is more convenient for both associations.
This I like. The Canadian association has promised two home friendlies for the men's team in 2010, and while not without skepticism, I am hopeful this promise will be fulfilled. Getting Jamaica into BMO should sell tickets, and frankly, I could care less about the ratio of Jamaican to Canadian support, as long as its money in the bank for the CSA.

The article also confirms a week long camp in Ft Lauderdale for Canada, which I'd imagine would also include some sort of kickabout, such as a closed door friendly or match against some Euro team on a tropical winter break.

Canada's all time record (W-D-L) against Jamaica is a healthy 7-3-6.

Canadian soccer blog post of the week: Read a great collection of soccer writers and commentators, and one total hack, in the SCGTAS roundtable (pt 1 / 2 / 3)

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