Thursday, April 28, 2011

Voyageurs Cup Pool: Week 1 report

Let me begin by thanking all who took the time to enter my Nutrilite Canadian Championship prediction pool contest. Running this contest the past two years, and again this year, is one of the things I enjoy most about this blog.

I received 73 entries this year, by far my highest total. Thanks to squizz (a past champion!) of some canadian guys at Canadian Soccer News for getting the word out, which gave a significant boost to participation over the last two days. I believe, according to what I originally posted, that having exceeded 50 entries, I'm supposed to give out two prizes. There's plenty of time to figure that out.

Before we get to the results after week 1, it's worthwhile seeing what the collective wisdom of 73 Canadian soccer fans can come up with together. Here is the count for different finals pairings:

Vancouver – Toronto 56
Montreal – Toronto 10
Vancouver – Edmonton 6
draw** – Toronto 1

** "Draw" indicates an entry that predicted a tie over the 2 legs, even on away goals. Such a match would be decided by penalties

Not surprisingly, the results predicted for the 4 matches overwhelming favoured an all-MLS matchup. 63 of 73 entries placed Vancouver in the final, and 66 of 73 had Toronto advancing.

The selections for golden boot were quite interesting:

Eric Hassli 27
Camilo 9
Javier Martina 9
Alan Gordon 8
Maicon Santos 7
Ali Gerba 4
Atiba Harris 3
Omar Salgado 3
Joao Plata 2
Davide Chiumiento 1

Eric Hassli was the runaway leader of this category, though Maicon Santos (my pick!) has the early edge. Atiba Harris just had knee surgery. Nobody selected week 1 goal scorer Terry Dunfield.

On to this week's results. I was surprised, given that most people had Vancouver winning the first leg against Montreal, that only 4 had them winning by soccer's most common winning scoreline, 1-0.

The 4 to pick the Vancouver-Montreal match correctly were Duncan Fletcher, thesecondyellow, Cheeta, and Ed. Special congratulations should also go to Russell Berrisford who was the only entrant to nail the 3-0 TFC victory.

The week 1 table is led by Voyageurs veteran and fellow Winnipegger, Cheeta.

Difference Entries
1 Cheeta
2 Will C, Russell Berrisford, Ryan, kodiaktfc, zooko62000, thesecondyellow, Ed
3 J, Theo, Lord Bob, MM2, downsouth, Free Kick, Bill Ault, Tuscan, Mr Impact, Triple A, soka, M@, Ivan Garcia, fil, LWO04, Austin da Silveira, Bluesman, Massimo, mattz, KuBo, Casual Soccer Fan, Duncan Fletcher, Flemings, Chew, Diego, Heavy Red Flow
4 CapsFan79, nazzer, dyslexic nam, seathanaich, Daniel, ThiKu, f10, mulliganl, Keano, Mosho, rmacvicar, RKR, lamycnd, Branden, Medic1849, Aird, saviola7, tarnado
5 Pompey Canuck, ESG Shawn, JeremyMTL, pejnam, Mr. Caca, Sam, Rudi, Grant, nicotine, squizz
6 Gareth, Jamonty, Soccerpro, StartingEleven, Juby, Jay, gizmo fan 2
7 Scottie, Sasha
8 Redcoatsforever, Old Style Pilsner

You can view your own picks as well as everybody else's selections here.

Voyageurs Cup Week 1 report

Let me preface my remarks this week by saying that I did not watch either of the games in their entirety. A good friend, who leads an existence in a home sans television, imposed upon me to come and watch Habs-Bruins game 7. While the end result was disappointing, the epic action was not.

If the Canadian Championship matches become available for download, I'll have a look.

On to the reports


: Maicon Santos 35', Alan Gordon 47', Maicon Santos 61'
Sendings off: Shaun Saiko 23'
[CSA match stats]

Stupid headline: Santos double downs FC Edmonton (iNews880)
Not a stupid headline, exactly, but rather one where the pun insertion is somewhat more subtle than usual.

Story in pictures
Would it be a Canadian tournament without snow in the background?

One paragraph analysis

As I said, I didn't watch the match. To be more precise, I only caught a few minutes here and there during the course of intermissions and commercial breaks of the hockey. But the one moment I did see in the Edmonton-Toronto clash was the red card handed out to Shaun Saiko for his challenge on Oscar Cordon in the 23rd minute. At the time the match was 0-0, so clearly playing a man down must have affected play. But the card should not have been red. Both players went into the challenge recklessly and Saiko got the ball. Perhaps the fact that one of the players (Cordon) was a wispy teenager weighed heavily on the mind of referee Paul Ward.

Officiating decisions aside, a 3-0 win by a veteran MLS squad against an NASL expansion team fielding an all-local side is about what you'd expect.

Attendance check: 5,781 spectators for a 6 pm start in a cavernous stadium. Not too shabby

Canadian content report
As stated above, FC Edmonton was heavy on the (local) Canadian talent. Toronto FC was not, with the omissions of regulars Adrian Cann and Julian de Guzman leaving Oscar Cordon as the only Canadian rep.

Oscar Cordon 90
Total Mins 90

Alex Surprenant 90
Paul Hamilton 90
Dominic Oppong 90
Chris Kooy 90
Kyle Porter 90
Antonio Rago 75
Kyle Yamada 45
Shaun Saiko 23
Chris Lemire 64
Eddy Sidra 45
Andre Duberry 15
Sam Lam 26
Total Mins 743


Terry Dunfield 67'
[CSA match stats]

Stupid headline: Dunfield makes splash for Caps over Montreal (Vancouver Sun)
The usual hastily chosen headline for any match involving Montreal typically includes 'makes an Impact' or some variant. This headline writer chose a pun that is vaguely nautical in nature.

Story in pictures:

This photo is chosen for 3 reasons
  1. The backdrop of a largely empty stand. The attendance wasn't actually that bad (see below) given the Habs game the same night. I made the same choice from 2000 miles away.
  2. You will never again see Ali Gerba so far above terra firma.
  3. To point out how terrible those pink Impact jerseys are.
One paragraph analysis
I saw even less of this match than the Toronto-Edmonton clash. But I did manage to check out the video of Terry Dunfield's diving header on an all-Canadian connection from a Russell Teibert cross. You should check it out too. Apparently Stephen Hart was at the match to scout Ali Gerba, among others, but Dunfield and Teibert should not be far from his mind when he ponders his squad for this summer's Gold Cup and this fall's World Cup qualifiers. Montreal's offensive woes, fully in evidence over the first 3 NASL matches, seem to have continued and it will be a big ask for them to win outright next Wednesday at Empire.

Attendance check: 8,412 on the night of a Habs game 7. Again, not bad under the circumstances.

Canadian content report
The 180 minutes combined between Russell Teibert and Terry Dunfield is the most Canadian content of any Whitecaps match this season. Montreal played the same Canadians in the same situations as their last NASL match.

Terry Dunfield 90
Russell Teibert 90
Total Mins 180

Nevio Pizzolitto 90
Ali Gerba 90
Pierre-Rudolph Mayard 15
Antonio Ribeiro 15
Total Mins 210


Player Team Goals
Maicon Santos Toronto 2
Alan Gordon Toronto 1
Terry Dunfield Vancouver 1

All 3 of week 1's goal scorers were making their Canadian Championship debuts.

2011.05.04: Edmonton (0) at Toronto (3) - 8 pm et / 6 pm mt
2011.05.04: Montreal (0) at Vancouver (1) - 8 pm pt / 11 pm et

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Canadian content report: April 24th

It's been rather a poor week or two for the Canadian professional teams. None of the 4 Canadian sides managed a win this week. FC Edmonton lost 2-0 in a midweek encounter at Carolina, Montreal played to a drab 0-0 draw with Tampa Bay in their home opener at a windy Saputo Stadium, 10-man Toronto FC could only manage a 1-1 draw with Columbus, and Vancouver lost 2-1 on a late goal by FC Dallas.

In all likelihood we should be seeing some wins from some of these teams this week as the 4 lock horns (Edmonton-Toronto and Vancouver-Montreal) in Nutrilite Canadian Championship play.

The Canadian numbers for the week ending April 24th:

EDMONTON (at Carolina): Alex Surprenant (75), Shaun Saiko (90), Chris Lemire (90), Paul Hamilton (90), Chris Kooy (90), Dominic Oppong (90), Antonio Rago (79), Sam Lam (90), Andre Duberry (15), Kyle Yamada (11)
Total: 720 of 990 minutes

For the first time this season Edmonton fielded a starting lineup of only 8 Canadians, instead of 9 as they did in the first two matches. Forward Alex Semenets was injured in the match with Atlanta and, according to fans who watched the game, was sorely missed. Sam Lam made his first start of the year while Andre Duberry made his season debut.

MONTREAL (vs Tampa Bay): Nevio Pizzolitto (90), Ali Gerba (90), Pierre-Rudolph Mayard (15), Antonio Ribeiro (15)
Total: 210 of 990 minutes

I watched some of this match and it was even drearier than the 0-0 scoreline. Poor weather and some poor players conspired to produce some ugly football. I'm not sure where some of Montreal's other Canadians, like Simon Gatti, were in this match, but they started with only two domestics on the pitch and ended with 4.

TORONTO (vs Columbus): Adrian Cann (90), Julian de Guzman (90)
Total: 180 of 942 minutes

Only 2 Canadians saw action this week for Toronto FC. Out-of-favour Nana Attakora missed the game due to injury (which is strange because I thought Cann was the one that got hurt last week) while the peripheral Canadians like Zava (I'm hoping this abbrev. will catch on) and Cordon didn't get in the match. Hockey fans who measure the worth of a player by how many goals or "points" a guy gets might well have been appeased by Julian de Guzman's dandy "assist" on Tchani's goal, which was a prelude to Tchani's idiocy and sending-off.

VANCOUVER (vs DALLAS): Terry Dunfield (90), Kevin Harmse (13)
Total: 103 of 990 minutes

It was good to see Terry Dunfield return from injury with a full 90 minutes, instead of DeMereting himself (to borrow a phrase). Kevin Harmse also made an appearance of an appropriate length for a man of his talents. This Whitecaps team has problems of course, and lack of Canadian depth is not even high on the list. An expansion team ravaged by injuries can not be expected to perform much better than they have been.

Year-to-date numbers: Edmonton - 76%, Montreal - 34%, Toronto - 24%, Vancouver - 10%

Also, this is your last weekly reminder to enter the Nutrilite Canadian Championship pool. I'll accept any entries I get before 8 pm et on Wednesday. Nearly 40 entries are in so far.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

NCC stat of the week #7: Fastest goal

In a bid to keep this blog active, but with precious little in the way of time and inspiration to to generate original thoughts and analysis, I have decided to provide weekly some bite-size informational chunks. Every Saturday up until the kick off of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship on April 27th, I will provide a numbers-based look at the first three years of the competition.

Week #1: All-time table
Week #2: Attendance
Week #4: Bad boys
Week #6: week off?

Is anybody really surprised that I wasn't able to follow through on my commitment to make one post per weekend about the Nutrilite Canadian Championship?

There was no way, however, that I would neglect the opportunity to get in a post on the last weekend before the tournament starts. It's a quick one, surely, but it counts.

This week we're looking at the fastest goal from scrimmage in Nutrilite history.

The runners up:

Ty Harden - Toronto FC
12th minute
April 28, 2010 vs Montreal (2-0 win)

Ty Harden will remember this goal. Likely not because it was a particularly memorable match, or because the goal was so critical, but rather because he was seriously injured on the scoring play, getting cleated by teammate Dwayne De Rosario. At the time it appeared this ignominy would be compounded as the goal was initially awarded to De Rosario but days later, upon further review, Harden was rightly credited.

Kevin Harmse - Toronto FC
3rd minute
May 6, 2009 vs Vancouver (1-0 win)

Current Whitecaps midfielder and BC boy Kevin Harmse owns the second fastest goal in Nutrilite history, getting the winner in the 3rd minute in the opener of the 2009 tournament. It should be noted that this is Toronto FC's only competitive victory against Vancouver in the history of the two clubs.

Could anybody have come up with an unlikelier scoring pair than Ty Harden and Kevin Harmse?

And the winner ...

Marcus Haber - Vancouver Whitecaps
1st minute
May 20, 2009 at Montreal (2-0 win)

Current West Bromwich Albion and former Whitecaps striker Marcus Haber, presently recovering from a serious injury, holds the first-place honours. From a statistical point of view, he'll be tough to beat scoring in the 1st minute. I wouldn't be surprised if this is a record that lasts a few years. According to a match report, Haber in fact did the damage at 30 seconds, for those who care to be precise. The same match report includes the following memorable quote:
After a topless woman tried to interrupt the game by running onto the pitch, the Impact turned it on for the final 15 minutes of the first half, hitting the crossbar three times.
I obviously didn't watch the match as this seems like something I would have remembered. Good to see that the Impact were turned on by that turn of events.

So tune into the Nutrilite matches early on Wednesday (both kick off at 8 pm et live on one of th Sportsnet channels) in order not to miss the early scoring. And stay tuned throughout, in case it turns out to be a bouncy, perky affair.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Canadian content report: April 18th

For the second week running, our 4 Canadian pro teams combined to play 5 matches, including a busy Saturday with all the teams in action.

Toronto FC got things kicked off in the week's marquee match on Wednesday, a 0-0 draw with the haircut and his Los Angeles Galaxy. Things did not go so well on Saturday, a 3-0 home loss to DC United, in which Toronto was down 2 goals before most BMO Field patrons had made it to their seats. Vancouver, minus basically the entire starting midfield, earned their first clean sheet of the season but failed to score, picking up a point in a 0-0 draw with Chivas at Empire.

According to a poster on the Voyageurs forums the Montreal Impact are notorious slow starters. They continued to prove it Saturday with their second consecutive road loss to open the season, going down 2-1 in Carolina. Meanwhile, newcomers FC Edmonton already have amassed as many wins as Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto combined, winning 1-0 in Atlanta on a long-range strike from ex-Impact man Alex Surprenant.

FC Edmonton continue to operate under a fog-of-war (of information). I have their starting lineup (again from their opponent's twitter feed) and a vague idea of substitutions, but no hard numbers.

The Canadian content for the week of April 11th to 17th:

Adrian Cann (90), Gianluca Zavarise (79), Julian de Guzman (65), Oscar Cordon (11)
vs DC United: Adrian Cann (12), Nana Attakora (78), Julian de Guzman (90), Oscar Cordon (54), Gianluca Zavarise (24)
Total: 503 of 1939 minutes

On the pitch, Toronto FC followed up a somewhat encouraging 0-0 draw with LA with what most are calling their worst performance of the year in the 3-0 loss to DC United. The Canadian storylines are interesting: Nana Attakora seemed to have played himself out of the first choice XI until he was pressed into action with Adrian Cann's injury Saturday. Julian de Guzman made his first start of the year Wednesday and played his first full 90 Saturday as he looks to become a fixture for the rest of the season. Gianluca Zavarise did not look out of place starting on Wednesday. And Oscar Cordon is beginning to look the most promising of the U20 crew, not looking out of place in his two appearances.

VANCOUVER (vs CHIVAS): Kevin Harmse (90)
Total: 90 of 990 minutes

With Terry Dunfield and Russell Teibert nursing injuries, Kevin Harmse was the lone Canadian on the Whitecaps side in the 0-0 draw Saturday. He acquitted himself well enough, though the man some call soccer's Seth Rogen did seem to run out of steam near the end. Canadian international and former King of Donair man Ante Jazic put in a fine 90 minutes at left back for Chivas.

MONTREAL (at TAMPA BAY): Nevio Pizzolitto (90), Pierre-Rudolph Mayard (90), Ali Gerba (90), Simon Gatti, Antonio Ribeiro
Total: 360 of 990 minutes

According to reports, Antonio Ribeiro did not have a good match in the year opener. So he was relegated to the bench to start this past weekend, only appearing for 19 minutes after spelling Simon Gatti.

EDMONTON (at FORT LAUDERDALE): Alex Surprenant (90), Dominic Oppong (90), Paul Hamilton (90), Antonio Rago (90), Shaun Saiko (90), Kyle Yamada (60), Chris Kooy (90), Alex Semenets (5), Chris Lemire (89), Sam Lam (30)
Total: 724 of 990 minutes

Surely the early-game injury to striker Alex Semenets is disppointing, but for a second week in a row Edmonton fielded 9 Canadian starters. No Eddy Sidra this week, but striker Sam Lam did get a longer run out. Edmonton will continue to lead the Canadian content standings by a wide margin.

April 20th: Edmonton at Carolina, 7 pm et
April 23rd: Montreal vs Tampa Bay, 2:30 pm et
April 23rd: Toronto vs Columbus, 4 pm et
April 23rd: Vancouver vs Dallas, 7 pm et

Don't forget to enter the Nutrilite Canadian Championship pool. 32 entries are in, with 9 days until tournament kick off on April 27th.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

FIFA rankings: April

The new FIFA rankings are out and, for Canada, there's good news and bad news.

The good: Canada is up 9 spots to 75th overall and now sits 7th among CONCACAF teams.

The bad: According to this guy, who is some kind of rankings savant, Canada is projected to be ranked 12th in CONCACAF when the July rankings come out. These rankings are expected to be used for the seeding of World Cup Qualifying draw.

Canada's big drop is because the mostly favourable results of the 2007 Gold Cup will be coming off the books in July. The 12th placed seeding is based on projected results in the remaining matches for CONCACAF teams, so it is imperative that Canada exceed expectations at the Gold Cup if they wish to reach the top 6, which would pave the way for a less complicated qualification. Particularly since one of Canada's group stage matches is against non-FIFA sanctioned Guadeloupe, which will provide no rankings points.

If you're like me, you're not too wrapped up in all of this since Canada will eventually need to beat the likes of Costa Rica, Panama, and Jamaica (the current #4-6 in CONCACAF) to qualify, and which round it takes place is of little import.

But if you like to obsess, it's time to start worrying.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Canadian content report: April 11th

For the first time this season, we had a weekend with all 4 Canadian pro teams in action. Montreal (a 1-0 loss) and Edmonton (a 2-1 win) made their NASL season debuts, while Toronto FC battled to a 1-1 draw Saturday night in San Jose. Vancouver has had two matches since our last report: a 9-man 1-1 draw against New England, and a depressing 3-1 loss in Houston.

FC Edmonton have so far failed provide a detailed match report listing players and substitutions, but I'm tired of waiting and have cobbled together some details of their Canadian content from other sources and will update once official info becomes available. [Edit: more details now available]

The Canadian content for the week of April 4th to 10th:

Terry Dunfield (38), Kevin Harmse (23)
at HOUSTON: Russell Teibert (45)
Total: 106 of 1900 minutes

Like the team's showing in Houston, Vancouver's on-pitch Canadian content over this past week was dismal. Terry Dunfield's injury does not bode well for improving this stat over the short- to medium-term. The injury had the faintest of silver linings, which was to open the door a crack for Kevin Harmse's 2011 MLS debut, but he must not have impressed as Teitur Thordarson opted Sunday for a starting midfield of left back Alain Rochat and the clearly terrible Jeb Brovsky. Russell Teibert got 45 minutes on Sunday after returning from a failed U20 qualification effort for Canada, and looked decent enough.

TORONTO (at SAN JOSE): Adrian Cann (90), Nana Attakora (45), Julian de Guzman (45), Gianluca Zavarise (27)
Total: 207 of 990 minutes

This stat line for Canadian players revealed two trends: one encouraging and one disquieting. Let's start with the good news: for the second straight week, Julian de Guzman, returning from off-season surgery, played the entire 2nd half and by all accounts stabilized what had been a shaky midfield in the first 45 minutes. The bad news? Aron Winter clearly lacks faith in young Nana Attakora, removing him in a tactical substitution for the second straight week, this week even earlier than last. Lastly, it is good to see Gianluca Zavarise emerging as a key bench player.

MONTREAL (at TAMPA BAY): Nevio Pizzolitto (90), Simon Gatti (90), Pierre-Rudolph Mayard (90), Ali Gerba (90), Antonio Ribeiro (70), Mircea Ilcu (1)
Total: 431 of 990 minutes

Montreal lacks a bit in Canadian depth this season, with only 7 Canadian players on the roster listed on their website. However, most of these figure to be key components of the squad this year and should receive a good chunk of minutes. I'd expect all of the players above except Ilcu and possibly Mayard to start the majority of matches. Speaking of Ilcu, he is not on the team's roster page, but what little information I can find suggests he holds dual Canadian/Romanian citizenship. Do correct me if I'm wrong on this front.

Alex Surprenant (70***), Paul Hamilton (90), Dominic Oppong (90), Antonio Rago (90), Shaun Saiko (90), Kyle Yamada (90) , Chris Kooy (90), Alex Semenets (90), Chris Lemire (89)
subs: Eddy Sidra (20***), Sam Lam (1)
Total: 810 of 990 minutes

As mentioned above, I haven't yet been able to find official data about this match. The best I could do was a tweet from the Fort Lauderdale Strikers account that listed the starting lineup for Edmonton. As much as the 2-1 result was encouraging, what was most encouraging to me as a neutral (especially since I didn't see the match) was that 9 of 11 starters were Canadian, while at least one Canadian, Eddy Sidra, made an appearance off the bench.

EDIT: The team has now posted a more detailed match report providing most of the necessary information except the exact timing of the subs.

*** I've estimated the timing of the Eddy Sidra for Alex Surprenant substitution. Since both players are Canadian, the total Canadian minutes on the day is correct.

As always, you can view the details of the Canadian content data here.

April 13th: Toronto vs Los Angeles, 8 pm et
April 16th: Vancouver vs Chivas, 6 pm et
April 16th: Toronto vs DC United, 7 pm et
April 16th: Montreal at Carolina, 7 pm et
April 16th: Edmonton at Atlanta, 7:30 pm et

Saturday, April 09, 2011

NCC stat of the week #5: Most Canadians on the pitch

In a bid to keep this blog active, but with precious little in the way of time and inspiration to to generate original thoughts and analysis, I have decided to provide weekly some bite-size informational chunks. Every Saturday up until the kick off of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship on April 27th, I will provide a numbers-based look at the first three years of the competition.

Week #1: All-time table
Week #2: Attendance
Week #4: Bad boys

Given my obsession with tracking Canadian content, and this thematic series on Nutrilite Canadian championship stats, it should come as no surprise that I'd eventually come around to providing a stat that combined both.

But I didn't run the numbers on the history of the competition, by team, or year-by-year. Instead, I picked a single moment when the Canadian content on the pitch was maximized.

That moment came in the first year of the competition when Montreal visited Swangard Stadium to take on the Whitecaps on June 25th, 2008. Montreal went on to win the match, 2-0, but we're most concerned with a moment, or rather a period, of 15 minutes of play, when there were 13 Canadian players on the pitch.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS GK 1 United States Jay Nolly DF 2 Canada Jeff Clarke DF 4 Canada Adrian Cann Booked in the 40th minute 40' DF 19 Canada Chris Pozniak Substituted off in the 46th minute 46' DF 24 United States Lyle Martin MF 7 Canada Martin Nash MF 8 Canada Steve Kindel MF 22 Japan Takashi Hirano MF 25 United States Justin Moose Substituted off in the 75th minute 75' FW 11 Jamaica Nicholas Addlery Substituted off in the 75th minute 75' FW 16 Cuba Eduardo Sebrango
Substitutes DF 28 Canada Diaz Kambere Substituted on in the 45th minute 45' MF 9 Canada Alfredo Valente Substituted on in the 75th minute 75' FW 26 Canada Jason Jordan Substituted on in the 75th minute 75'

MONTREAL IMPACT GK 1 United States Matt Jordan DF 5 Canada Nevio Pizzolitto DF 16 Italy Stefano Pesoli DF 24 Canada Simon Gatti DF 33 Canada Adam Braz MF 7 United States David Testo Booked in the 38th minute 38' MF 9 Canada Rocco Placentino Substituted off in the 83rd minute 83' MF 15 Canada Patrick Leduc Booked in the 58th minute 58' MF 18 Argentina Leonardo Di Lorenzo Booked in the 33rd minute 33' FW 10 Panama Roberto Brown Booked in the 54th minute 54' Substituted off in the 67th minute 67' FW 11 Brazil Severino Jefferson Substituted off in the 55th minute 55'
Substitutes DF 17 United States Joey Gjertsen Substituted on in the 55th minute 55' MF 8 Canada Gabriel Gervais Substituted on in the 67th minute 67' FW 14 Canada Sita-Taty Matondo Substituted on in the 83rd minute 83'
It may be difficult to confirm from this sloppy wikipedia cut-and-paste job, but both teams started the match with 5 Canadians: Jeff Clarke, Adrian Cann, Chris Pozniak, Martin Nash and Steve Kindel for Vancouver and Nevio Pizzolitto, Simon Gatti, Adam Braz, Rocco Placentino and Patrick Leduc for Montreal. Those 10 all finished the first half.

At half-time, the immortal Diaz Kambere (remember him, TFC fans?) entered for Pozniak, keeping a total of 10 Canucks on the field. At 67 minutes, Gabriel Gervais replaced Roberto Brown for Montreal, moving the number up to 11. At 75 minutes, Vancouver pulled a substitution, bringing on Canadians Alfredo Valente and Jason Jordan for Jamaican Nicholas Addlery and American Justin Moose. 13! The most Canadians in the history of the competition on the same pitch.

At 83 minutes Montreal pulled a like-for-like swap, brining on the impressively named Sita-Taty Matondo to replace Placentino, keeping the Canadian content at 13 players, but bringing the total number of Canadians to see the pitch that day to 15.

If this record is to be beaten this year, it will likely be in the second match of the Toronto-Edmonton series. Toronto should have a comfortable lead and may elect to give an opportunity to a number of its younger Canadian players, while Edmonton has a largely Canadian lineup (17 of its 24 man roster are Canadian according to wikipedia)

It is an impossibility in the other series, as Vancouver (4) and Montreal (7) have only a combined 11 Canadians on their rosters this season (Vancouver's 61 minutes of Canadian content Wednesday was the lowest for any team since I began tracking the stat).

* * * * *

Let me take this moment to remind you that all 4 Canadian teams are in action this weekend.

MONTREAL: Saturday 7 pm et @ Tampa Bay
EDMONTON: Saturday 7:30 pm et @ Ft Lauderdale
TORONTO: Saturday 10:30 pm et @ San Jose
VANCOUVER: Sunday 7 pm et @ Houston

Monday, April 04, 2011

Nutrilite Canadian Championship Pool: 2011 edition

*** 72 ENTRIES TO DATE ***

It's a new year, the Nutrilite Canadian Championship for the Voyageurs Cup now includes a new team, and will have a new format. Time, then, for a new edition of this blog's Nutrilite Championship contest.

The contest, of course, is a prediction league, sorts. The first edition of which received upwards of 30 entries, and was won in a close finish by some canadian guy squizz, while last year's title (and prize) was won by a guy going by the name of Lank, who beat out nearly 40 other entries.

For this year's third edition of the contest, I'm shooting for at least 50 entries. So do your part and enter.

Because of the new format, I've had to make a few changes to the contest format as well, but past participants will find the basic principles highly familiar.

Here's the important information:

  • Participants will predict the final score of each of the 6 NCC matches in two stages: a) The initial entry must include predictions for the first 4 matches (both legs of each of the two legged ties, then b) Once the finalists are known, an emailed prediction for both legs of the final
  • Total discrepancy from the final score of each match will be tallied. e.g.: If you predicted Montreal 1 - 0 Vancouver for the opening fixture, and the final was 2-2, your discrepancy factor would be 3 goals (off by 1 for Montreal, off by 2 for Vancouver). Low score wins.
  • For these two-legged ties, the CSA is applying the away goals rule. If matches go to extra time, the scoreline after 120 minutes is the one that will be used for contest purposes.
  • First tie-breaker will be total number of exact scorelines. Second is total number of correct results (win/draw/loss). Third will be correctly predicting the tournament's high goal scorer.

It's simple: win the whole thing, get a prize. The prize will be a team scarf of one of the participating teams.

In order to maintain interest at the bottom of the table, the lanterne rouge (overall loser of the pool) will get to choose the scarf that is awarded to the winner.

Here's where it gets interesting. If we get over 50 entries, I'll be awarding a prize to the top two. Over 75, 3 prizes. You get the picture. So tell your friends and improve your odds.


Because this year's contest will include predictions in two stages (semifinals and finals) all entries must be submitted via email in order for me to be able to solicit your final round picks in a timely fashion once the finalists are known. Any entries left in the comments will not be included; I'll try to contact you to get an emailed response.

Please include the following details in your entry
  • The exact score of each of the first 4 fixtures (in the correct order, please)
  • Your prediction for tournament leading goal scorer.
  • A nickname to be displayed on the results page. If none is given, your real name will be used.
To make life easier for me, simply copy/paste the following into your email, and change the XXs into scores.


Golden boot: John Doe

I know some email programs will garble the formatting of that table, but don't worry about it, I'll figure it out.

Once the finalists are known, you will receive an email to submit your second round of picks.

All entries must be emailed to

CONTEST DEADLINE: All entries must be received by 8 pm eastern (kickoff time) on Wednesday 27 April 2011, the day of the opening encounter.

I know this might seem like a long way out, and you may want to learn a little bit more about what the Montreal and Edmonton rosters are going to look like when the season starts this weekend, so I'll continue to pimp this contest over the next three weeks.

I'm shooting for maximum participation, so if you have a platform for promoting this thing, I'd appreciate the support that way as well.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Canadian content report: April 3rd

The third weekend of MLS action saw both Toronto and Vancouver earn a point by playing to draws at home. That is where the similarities end. Toronto FC stumbled to an uninspiring 1-1 draw with a terrible Chivas team, while Vancouver fell behind 3-0, only to mount a stirring three-goal comeback to tie the game in the dying seconds.

The following Canadian players saw action:

TORONTO: Adrian Cann (90), Nana Attakora (90), Julian de Guzman (45)
Total: 225 of 990 team minutes

Dwayne De Rosario's exit from the Toronto scene will likely hurt Toronto's Canadian numbers for this year. Julian de Guzman's second half appearance was a surprise for most observers who expected his return in a few weeks.

VANCOUVER: Terry Dunfield (90)
Total: 90 of 990 minutes

With Russell Teibert competing with the under 20s in Guatemala, Terry Dunfield was the only one flying his freak flag (the Maple Leaf) for the Whitecaps. No matter the result of Canada's U20 match Tuesday vs Mexico, it seems extremely unlikely that he'll be back for Vancouver's Wednesday clash with New England.

As of April 3rd, the overall Canadian percentages are:
Toronto: 25.0% and Vancouver: 13.8% [details]

Next week's report should also feature data from the NASL openers for Montreal and Edmonton.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

NCC stat of the week #4: Bad boys

In a bid to keep this blog active, but with precious little in the way of time and inspiration to to generate original thoughts and analysis, I have decided to provide weekly some bite-size informational chunks. Every Saturday up until the kick off of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship on April 27th, I will provide a numbers-based look at the first three years of the competition.

Week #1: All-time table
Week #2: Attendance
Week #3: All-time scorers

The statistics below require some brief explanation. I've ranked the players' and teams' discipline records by total of discipline points, rather than total cards. The reason for doing so is because a red card, obviously is more significant than a yellow.

The scoring system is: 1st yellow - 1 point; 2nd yellow - 2 points; straight red - 3 points.

Conveniently enough, two yellows in a single match will work to 3 points, which is the same as for a straight red.

The worst offenders over three years of competition:

Player Team yellow 2nd yellow red pts
Roberto Brown MTL 3
1 6
Adam Braz MTL 4 1
David Testo MTL 3 1
Stefano Pesoli MTL 2 1
Reda Agourram MTL

1 3
Maxim Usanov TOR

1 3
Nevio Pizzolitto MTL 3

Jim Brennan TOR 3

Kevin Harmse TOR 3

Martin Nash VAN 3


Is anybody surprised by the likes or Brown, Braz, and Harmse appearing on this list?

And by team:

Team yellow 2nd yellow red pts
Montreal 28 3 2 40
Toronto 23 0 1 26
Vancouver 19 0 0 19

The Impact are the runaway leaders of this table.

I was curious how the frequency of cards handed out in the Voyageurs Cup compared to other competitions. So I had a look. The totals for all other leagues use data from the most recently completed seasons:

Competition per game
La Liga 4.67
NCC 4.22
Serie A 3.81
MLS 3.56
EPL 3.4
Bundesliga 3.24

I don't view La Liga matches as being particularly nasty, so perhaps someone else can explain why Spanish refs are handing out cards as if they're going out of style. On the whole, though, it seems our Canadian clashes are intense, physical affairs.

Only three and a half weeks until real matches are played, and I'm starting to get excited. Expect contest details for my 2011 Nutrilite Canadian Championship Pool sometime within the next week.