Monday, August 30, 2010
If Canadians enjoy their time in Germany, it seems the fans love them right back. Stalteri was a fan favourite in Bremen. Rob Friend quickly made an impression in his first year with Moenchengladbach, scoring 18 times in 30 matches and securing promotion for his new team. He was rewarded by the adoration of the club's fans, and this tribute video (watch the whole thing: whilte the goals are nice, the captions are even better. There's one that is my obvious favourite -- post it in the comments). Friend, by the way, is fast on his way to becoming a favourite in Germany's capital as today he scored his first league goal in the first half of his first match for Hertha Berlin.
But the reason for this entire post is Olivier Occean. He has made a dream start with his new team, Kickers Offenbach, in the 3.Bundesliga. Scoff if you will at third tier soccer, but I'd argue that this is also probably the best third division in the world. (I'm anti-English soccer. Sue me.) Occean has contributed 6 goals in only 5 matches to date, and I was scouring youtube for highlights of these goals. Instead I found the following tribute from the terraces. It warms my heart:
To be honest I don't even know if they've pronounced his name correctly, but it is great to see Canadians making such an impression. Let's hope the man is given a chance to make an impression on Stephen Hart in the near future.
(And don't worry Ali G, I haven't forgotten about you).
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
|2||Nana Attakora||D||Toronto FC||MLS|
|3||Marcel de Jong||D/M||FC Augsburg||Germany|
|4||Dejan Jakovic||D||DC United||MLS|
|5||Kevin McKenna||D/F||1. FC Köln||Germany|
|6||Julian De Guzman||M||Toronto FC||MLS|
|7||Paul Stalteri||D||Borussia Mönchengladbach||Germany|
|8||Will Johnson||M||Real Salt Lake||MLS|
|9||Rob Friend||F||Hertha Berlin||Germany|
|10||Simeon Jackson||F||Norwich City||England|
|11||Issey Nakajima-Farran||M||AC Horsens||Denmark|
|12||Jaime Peters||D/M||Ipswich Town FC||England|
|13||Atiba Hutchinson||D/M||PSV Eindhoven||Netherlands|
|14||Dwayne De Rosario||M/F||Toronto FC||MLS|
|16||Gianluca Zavarise||M||Iraklis FC||Greece|
|17||Iain Hume||M/F||Barnsley FC||England|
|18||Adam Straith||D||Energie Cottbus||Germany|
|20||Patrice Bernier||M||FC Nordsjælland||Denmark|
|22||Haidar Al-Shaïbani||GK||Nimes Olympique||France|
|14||Dwayne De Rosario||54|
|6||Julian De Guzman||43|
|3||Marcel de Jong||13|
|14||Dwayne De Rosario||15|
|6||Julian De Guzman||4|
|3||Marcel de Jong||1|
Sunday, August 22, 2010
- Canada's active leading goal-getter finally opened his season account for Montreal yesterday, and then added two more, earning him the first hat trick in team history. All in the first half no less. You could watch the highlights, but I should warn you that there is no sound and the video features hideous football lines on a plastic pitch. View at your peril.
- Speaking of goals coming in bunches, Dutch striker Johan Voskamp had quite the debut for his new team, Sparta Rotterdam in the Dutch second division. In a 12-1 (!) win over newly promoted Almere City, Voskamp banged in 8 (!!) goals, more than he scored all of last season with RKC Waalwijk.
- Moving up one tier in Holland, the Eredivisie yesterday saw the 50,000th goal of its history scored, by Ajax (who else?!). The goal was scored by Mounir el Hamdaoui, his second of the match. The two goals, along with another by Luis Suarez, gave Ajax a 3-0 win over Roda JC.
Friday, August 20, 2010
1. Noel Valladares (Olimpia)
2. Ricardo Canales (Victoria)
3. Marlon Licona (Motagua)
4. Sergio Mendoza (Motagua)
5. Erick Norales (Marathón)
6. Jorgue Carlos (Olimpia)
7. Quiarol Arzú (Platense)
8. Bryan Beckeles (Vida)
9. Crisanto Norales (Victoria)
10. Bonieck García (Olimpia)
11. Jonny Palacios (Olimpia)
12. Mario Martínez (Real España)
13. Eder Delgado (Real España)
14. Walter Hernández (Olimpia)
15. Jorge Claros (Motagua)
16. Irvin Reina (Necaxa)
17. Rony Flores (Marathón)
18. Jerry Bengston (Vida)
19. Roger Rojas (Olimpia)
20. Luis Lobo (Real España)
21. Alexander López (Olimpia
22. Rubén Rivera (Motagua)
23. Cristian Martínez (Real España)
Claudio Pizarro, Jefferson Farfán y Santiago Acasiete, jugarán el próximo 4 y 7 de setiembre ante Canadá y Jamaica respectivamente.
El resto de convocados son: Juan Vargas (Fiorentina), Carlos Zambrano (Saint Pauli), Alberto Rodríguez (Sporting Braga), Wilmer Aguirre (San Luis de Potosí), José Carlos Fernández (Deportivo Quito), Josepmir Ballón (River Plate) y Roberto Guizasola (Rosario Central) y Hernán Rengifo (Ominia Nicosia).
A few big names in the list, in particular Farfan and Pizarro. Still, I don't quite know what to make of the roster, since it only has 11 names. Help? If you can read Spanish, here's a link.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Or if French is more you bag (or should I say sac?), try the language-of-love version.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Last year marked the debut of the Out of touch Eredivisie contest, my attempt to turn my singular obsession with Dutch football (which I come by honestly, I promise) into something with a broader following among the rather narrow readership of this blog. For 2010-11, there is already added interest, with arguably Canada's best midfielder, Atiba Hutchinson, signing with PSV Eindhoven, one of Holland's top teams.
I wouldn't say last year's contest was a smashing success (there were only 4 entries), but it did cause some to pay attention to a league they wouldn't have given a second glance. In the end, I claimed a narrow win.
To my mind, at least, that gives the contest enough momentum to try it again. It's really quite simple:
- You select 2 teams and 2 top goal scorers.
- You collect 1 point for each point gained by your teams in the league table
- You collect 2 points for each goal scored by your selected scorer.
The deadline will be Labour Day, which falls on September 6th, which gives you some time to do your research and examine the early returns from the first month of league play.
I am prepared, though, to offer some help.
For picking teams, the bookmakers usually have a pretty good idea of things. This table gives a pretty good idea of which teams are expected to finish near the top. With few exceptions, the order of the top 5 is given as 1) Ajax; 2) PSV; 3) FC Twente; 4) AZ; 5) Feyenoord.
I haven't yet found odds for Eredivisie top scorers (let me know if you've seen this anywhere), but you could do worse than to look at last year's top strikers:
|3||Mads Junker||Roda JC||21|
|4||Mounir El Hamdaoui||AZ||20|
A few notes on the players in this list, starting from the top:
- Luis Suarez, who you might now have heard of after a certain high-profile incident, may not remain with Ajax for long. He is the rumoured target of several different EPL teams, and could move in winter if he doesn't in August.
- Costa Rican Bryan Ruiz will remain at Twente, and is a good bet to have a good year.
- There's nothing sexy about Mads Junker, but he will be staying put.
- Mounir el Hamdaoui has made the move to Ajax, a team that scored over 100 goals last season. He'll get his share, especially if Suarez moves on to greener pastures.
- Marko Pantelic is currently un-signed by any team.
- Bas Dost is only 21, which makes his 16-goal performance of last season remarkable. We'll see if he can repeat that performance.
- Everton is one of those relatively anonymous Brazilians you see in 2nd tier leagues around the world, but last season was his best ever for Heracles.
- Balázs Dzsudzsák is hard to spell, but if PSV have a strong season, he and Toivonen will be responsible for much of the scoring load (with support from our man Hutch?)
- Tim Matavž is a 21-year old Slovenian who plays for Groningen and despite the fact he finished in the top 10 scorers last season I don't remember seeing his name before.
Choose wisely, my friends.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Joe Public wins tonight to advance 6-2 on aggregate over Brujas of Costa Rica (CR makes MLS results look good in #CCL)These are the comments people make in order to underline a particular point. But this one struck me as odd: I know Costa Rica (or any other country other than Mexico) hasn't done well in CONCACAF Champions League. But the record of American teams has been pretty abject in this tournament.
Is it possible that Duane's one-off parenthetical had a seed of truth to it?
Luckily, back in March I prepared a table of the records of all countries in CONCACAF Champions League. With time on my hands, yesterday I updated it to reflect all CCL results to date, up to the end of this year's knock out round.
What do we find?
|CONCACAF Champions League Record by Country|
First, let's study Duane's claim. If we focus on results (wins/draws/losses) only, Costa Rica has USA beat, as their points per game (3 for a win, 1 for a draw) are a notch higher. The next best measure of quality, goal difference, has USA one rung ahead on the ladder.
Really, not enough evidence to make the claim that one is better than the other, and closer than I thought it would be.
Are there problems with this simplistic measuring of teams? Sure. Let me count the ways:
- Small sample size!
- Knockout round byes: Teams like Canada's entry, who play the knockout round every year, in theory have extra matches against easier teams.
- Mexico vs Mexico: Mexican teams have frequently played each other, and are responsible for many of the losses Mexican teams have experienced. If I only counted Mexican teams vs non-Mexican, their dominance would be even more clear.
This, in short, is why I want Toronto to do well in this year's tournament. Canada's high placing in this table is almost entirely attributable to 10 mostly excellent results that Montreal produced during the tournament's inaugural edition two years ago. There is a reputation to uphold.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
I'll spare you a detailed analysis, since that is not one of my skills, and better versions exist elsewhere. I'll do without some sycophantic fanboy stuff about what such an important win means for TFC, since I'm not much of a TFC guy myself.
But I do follow and support Canada's national team, and there is much to be taken from the match that should be heartening for Canadians of all stripes:
- A Canadian got the necessary result in a hostile environment. Sure, I doubt the crowd was as amped up as they would be for a World Cup qualifier, and I didn't see any bags of piss raining from the stands, but for NTers like de Guzman and De Rosario and possibly Attakora in the future, this should give them confidence that they can get the job done next time they travel to San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa or Guatemala City or Kingston.
- Speaking of de Guzman . . . fans have been critical of his play this season, but for those stretches of the match when TFC was in control, he was the one pulling the strings. He bossed the midfield for stretches and seemed able to settle his team down at times.
- And of De Rosario: He has never really scored any clutch goals for Canada, but he did in this match. Could this be a sign of things to come?
- And respect for Canadian teams? Toronto's exit last year to Puerto Rico was bad for Canadian soccer and was rightly seen as an embarrassment. (That Los Angeles failed to take the competition seriously this year and exited just as disgracefully is no justification). So it is good to see Toronto advance. Hopefully they can build on Montreal's successful tournament two years ago, and position Canadian teams in such a way so that when there are enough pro sides to justify it, we get another spot. Or at the very least, an automatic entry to the group stage. (Stay tuned for a post on performance by country in CCL).
At the very least, they showed that the competition meant something and they got the job done, and I guess you can't say any fairer than that.
Monday, August 02, 2010
So it took some considerable work to catch up with my Canadian content spreadsheet for Canada's three professional teams. Since all three teams have hurtled pass the midpoint of their respective seasons, it seems time to share the data with a wider audience than the few who bother to click the link that I keep hidden on the sidebar.
The briefest possible summary of the teams' Canadian participation yields the following data, current as of 1 August 2010:
|2010 Canadian Content Summary|
|Team||Matches||Cdn Mins||Total Mins||Percent|
The numbers are down across the board from last year, when Vancouver could claim the title of most Canadian. A small part of this drop can be attributed to the fact that I stopped counting the disputably Canadian forwards O'Brian White and Eddy Sebrango, though both players have played relatively minor roles with their clubs this season. Most curious is Vancouver's drop, as they prepare for their entry into MLS next season.
Montreal's position atop the rankings is due in large part to the fact that they've been the only team to field a Canadian 'keeper in any games this season (Srdjan Djekanovic filling in for the injured Matt Jordan).
I already noted that TFC were the most Canadian squad in this year's edition of the Voyageurs Cup, but here's how the numbers break down by competition for all of the teams:
|NASL Regular Season||6956||19725||35.3%|
|MLS Regular Season||5282||16739||31.6%|
|CONCACAF Champions League||360||990||36.4%|
|NASL Regular Season||6369||20755||30.7%|
It's a close race, and at this point it's anybody's guess as to who will be leading this table by the end of the season.