Sunday, December 08, 2013

Canadian content on Canadian teams in 2013

As you might have notice if you've been watching this space, blogging activity has slowed to a standstill. I've made nary a comment on the Benito Floro hiring, Canada's winless year, Montreal's meltdown in Houston, or anything else really, since summer.

I could introduce a litany of excuses including a busy start to the work year, moving into a new house, a tortured week spent with no internet, but the truth is it was a hard time to be excited about Canadian soccer.

I'm not sure anything has changed, but you can nevertheless expect some end-of-year housekeeping posts in the coming weeks. This is one of them.

I've tracked the percentage of minutes played by Canadian players for Canada's pro teams since 2009. The purpose of this exercise, at the beginning, was to test the notion that bringing professional soccer to this country will bring along with it more professional opportunities for Canadian players.

I can't say I've come up with a conclusive answer to the question. At first glance, the 2013 numbers are not encouraging. None of the MLS sides played Canadians for even 20% of the available minutes. Edmonton, playing in the NASL where next year they will be joined by Ottawa, managed a final number of 37.3%, a proportion that declined over the course of the season under Canadian manager Colin Miller.

And yet there are encouraging signs. In MLS, after Patrice Bernier, the next busiest Canadian players were the Toronto FC trio of Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry, and breakout man Jonathan Osorio. Rusell Teibert, 20 years old, also played a big part in Vancouver's season, especially in the early going, and led the team in assists (tied for 5th in MLS).

Regular watchers of FC Edmonton will be discouraged by the defenestration of Shaun Saiko, and the dwindling Canadian presence in their team over the course of the season, but some young players emerged including 17-year old Hanson Boakai.

As always, determining which players qualify as Canadian is not always easy. For example, I have counted Mallan Roberts (Edmonton) as Canadian all season, after hearing he was on course to earn his citizenship, but did not do so for Montreal's Wandrille Lefevre, who finds himself in a similar situation. Neither were year-long starters which won't greatly affect the numbers, but with further news regarding their allegiances I may have to go back and tweak a little.

Without further ado, here is the data. The full game-by-game breakdown can be found here.

NASL Regular Season88732461736.04%
Canadian Championship1027194152.91%

MLS Regular Season58043356017.3%
Canadian Championship731198036.9%

MLS Regular Season3324336449.9%
Canadian Championship630396015.9%
Champions League36939149.4%
MLS Playoffs0978.0%

MLS Regular Season1867335785.6%
Canadian Championship36039609.1%

The numbers for the MLS sides are the lowest, cumulatively, they have ever been. This may speak to the improved quality of the league but, if so, also signals that Canadian players are falling behind. Or it might not. Small sample sizes, and all that.

For comparison's sake, here are the end-of-year reports going back to 2009.
  • 2012 (Edmonton 59.8%, Toronto 25.5%, Montreal 6.5%, Vancouver 0.3%)
  • 2011 (Edmonton 77.3%, Montreal (NASL) 21.4%, Toronto 19.1%, Vancouver 5.8%)
  • 2010 (Montreal 35.4%, Vancouver (NASL) 34.0%, Toronto 32.8%)
  • 2009 (Vancouver 42.1%, Montreal 39.2%, Toronto 37.6%)
  • 2008 (Vancouver 56.4%, Montreal 44.8%, Toronto 22.1%)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Floro to run NT camp in Spain; two friendlies vs Mauritania

If you come to this space often, you'll have noticed there hasn't been much for content in the last 4 months. This despite a fairly busy summer of Canadian soccer happenings including:
  • a most unsuccessful Gold Cup campaign
  • the hiring of Benito Floro as Canada's full-time national team manager
  • Montreal and Vancouver making a run at the MLS playoffs, and Toronto again being dramatically poor
  • speculation about naturalization for Whitecaps stand-outs Camilo and Gershon Koffie
So if you must know, I have a job where my holidays fall, without fail, in the summer months (take a guess). I spend much of this time in Canada's wilderness, reading these things on the back porch, or hate-watching the Blue Jays. Blogging is something I do instead of doing actual work when actual work is going full bore.

Anyway, work is starting up in earnest again shortly, conveniently timed to coincide with Floro's first big decisions as national team manager: who to call for a national team camp in Spain which will conclude with a pair of friendlies against Mauritania (population 3.4m, FIFA rank 151).

The camp is slated for September 1st to 11th and is rumoured to include ("more than") 30 players, which seems a lot. On the other hand the two friendlies are scheduled on the 8th and 10th, so it is likely that, with the short rest, Floro might trot out two separate squads for the two matches.

Despite the fact that September 1st is a mere 10 days away (and don't I know it), no names have trickled out, although an intrepid Voyageur found the following ambiguous quote from Lewes FC manager Garry Wilson:
Of Jon Dollery, Bloor, said: “He’s going with Canada Under 21s so he’s just around for the time being. We’ll talk to him in the middle of September when he gets back.”
You can be forgiven for never having heard of Dollery, Lewes FC, or manager Garry Wilson, or especially a Canada U21 side, since such a team has, to my knowledge, never been assembled.  On the other hand, if Dollery has been selected for a Canada camp (he plays with Lewes in the English 7th tier), Floro could well be calling up nearly every Euro-based player with a Canada passport. 

Speaking of passports, the Vancouver Province's Marc Weber reports that Floro, along with CSA boss Victor Montagliani, hopes to take another crack at bringing erstwhile Canadians David Hoilett and Steven Vitoria back into the fold, in addition to making longer-term plays for Koffie and Camilo.

As per usual, if any squad selections emerge from other sources before the full roster is announced, I will keep track of these below. For now, the word on Dollery is too uncertain to include.


MRussell TeibertVancouver Whitecaps2040source
DAndres FresengaRacing Club de Montevideo2000source

Monday, August 19, 2013

The most Canadian team in MLS is ...

... DC United.

In what is the surest possible sign that you can't win playing Canadians**, DC United, the league's worst team, have piled up more minutes played by Canadian players than the Eastern Conference's second-worst side, and the most-Canadian Canadian team, Toronto FC.

Here's a quick snapshot (league matches only):

Player Mins
Kyle Porter 1385
Dejan Jakovic 1215
Dwayne De Rosario 1119
Total 3719

Player Mins
Jonathan Osorio 1123
Ashtone Morgan 995
Doneil Henry 931
Terry Dunfield 311
Kyle Bekker 146
Total 3506
Surprisingly, Kyle Porter has the most minutes of any Canadian in MLS apart from Patrice Bernier (1824) and Will Johnson (1800).

As mentioned above, Toronto has allotted a greater portion of its minutes to Canadian players (16.1%)  than both Montreal (10.3%) and Vancouver (6.1%). Of which, more here.

Keep on enjoying your summer.

** Am I being facetious? Probably.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Voyageurs Cup contest: Final Standings

Montreal put their names on the Voyageurs Cup for the first time in 5 years in the most dramatic finale of the current Canadian Championship format. In the prediction contest, it was Brenton, aka @CapsOffside and one of @2FatBastards.

Here's how it all turned out.

Difference Entries
10 Brenton
11 Lord Bob, Seth Greenan, Nos, Latetedefred, Imma Gonna Ween
12 Soka, Duane Rollins
13 coxon, Mike McGuire, squadplayer, Ivan Drago, kodiaktfc
14 mowe, Casual Soccer Fan, Seathanaich, Havelock Howel, Cormac, Philip, shermanator, Grossi, M@, TheKottonMouthed
15 Mr. Impact, Abou Sky, Pej, Jake Vendramin, StartingEleven, PSoNumber9, GoF
16 MulliganL, shawn_strat, Kirk Dobbs, adrenaline11, Sir Alphonso Applegate
17 Marauder, Stouffvillain, Beat the Limpact, Pompey Canuck, Duncan Fletcher, rob.notenboom
18 TFCMike P
20 Ditty, DelChuck
22 mimglow

It was a close race at the top but not so at the bottom, where mimglow distanced himself from the pack as the lanterne rouge. He will have the honor of selecting which team scarf is awarded to our winner.

Thanks again to all who entered.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Voyageurs Cup matchday 3 report


: none
[match stats]

Headline: Nothing settled after opening leg of Voyageurs Cup (News 1130)
Good to see some media outlets catching on to the preferred nomenclature

A story in pictures

Jeb Brovsky had his face re-arranged by the Whitecaps' Jordan Harvey, undoubtedly the most interesting happening of the match.

One paragraph analysis

While Montreal fielded close to a first-choice lineup, Martin Rennie clearly set up his Vancouver side in an effort to keep a clean sheet. Evidence of such a plan included starting centre back Brad Rusin, a man without a creative bone in his body, in midfield, and moving the team's best player, Nigel Reo-Coker, to right back. It appeared to work as Vancouver looked under-manned going forward, while Montreal's forward thrusts were too easily broken up.

In the second half I went for a run. Not much seemed to have happened upon my return.

Attendance check: 12,016 at a rainy Stade Saputo

Canadian content report
With Montreal's defensive corps returning to health, there was no room in the squad for Karl Ouimette or Maxim Tissot. Patrice Bernier carried the flag for Montreal, as did Russell Teibert for Vancouver.

Both Teibert and Bernier should feature in the finale, as interim national team boss Colin Miller has announced he will not be selecting either play for the Costa Rica friendly the previous night in Edmonton.

Patrice Bernier90
Total Mins90

Russell Teibert90
Total Mins90


Marco di VaioMontreal2
Michael CoxEdmonton1
Chris NurseEdmonton1
Justin MappMontreal1
Andres RomeroMontreal1
Andrew WengerMontreal1
Daniele PaponiMontreal1
Doneil HenryToronto1
Andrew WiedemanToronto1
Tommy HeinemannVancouver1
Corey HertzogVancouver1

2013.05.29: Montreal at Vancouver

The contest standings have been updated.

Voyageurs Cup contest standings, matchday 3

Wednesday's 0-0 draw between Montreal and Vancouver in the first leg of the Canadian Championship was a dire affair (stay tuned for the report, 5 days late). It seems everyone was expecting more action as nobody had the correct score. The closest was a prediction of 1-0 by Brenton, which has catapulted him into the lead heading the May 29th final.

Mimglow and Ditty have separated themselves from the pack in the race for the lanterne rouge.

Spreadsheet: All prediction entries

Difference Entries
9 Brenton
10 Seth Greenan, Nos, Latetedefred, Duane Rollins, Imma Gonna Ween
11 Lord Bob, coxon, squadplayer, Ivan Drago, shermanator, kodiaktfc
12 Soka, mowe, Pej, Mike McGuire, Cormac, Grossi, M@, TheKottonMouthed
13 Casual Soccer Fan, Jake Vendramin, StartingEleven, Havelock Howel, PSoNumber9, Philip, GoF
14 Mr. Impact, MulliganL, Abou Sky, shawn_strat, Kirk Dobbs, Seathanaich, adrenaline11
15 Marauder, Beat the Limpact, TFCMike P, Pompey Canuck, Duncan Fletcher, Sir Alphonso Applegate, rob.notenboom
16 Stouffvillain, DelChuck
18 Ditty
19 mimglow

Friday, May 03, 2013

Voyageurs Cup matchday 2 report

Montreal and Vancouver are into the final. There are some things to discuss.


: Justin Mapp 24', Daniele Paponi 33', Marco di Vaio 44', Andres Romero 61', Marco di Vaio 90', Andrew Wenger 90+
[match stats]

Headline: L'Impact écrase le TFC (Le Devoir)
We're a bilingual country. And because the French verb, écraser, is way more evocative than to crush.

A story in pictures

The real story was told this past Saturday, with demands from the hardcore supporters to take the competition seriously. I think they will have found their club to be in compliance with those demands.

One (okay, two) paragraph analysis

Montreal's supporters groups were not happy about the tepid effort their team put in last Wednesday at BMO Field. Marco Schallibaum fielded a less-than-full-strength squad, and those players who did see action did not seem interested in making a match of it. Some observers will look at this 6-0 scoreline and, with the benefit of hindsight, suggest that the teams' respective squad choices this week made a Montreal comeback all-but inevitable. That's bullshit. Toronto started Robert Earnshaw, and had exactly the same number of first-choice starters in defense that Montreal had (1 each). Perhaps the most important addition for Montreal was Andres Romero who had a goal and was, on the whole, excellent. But it was the Impact's other winger, Justin Mapp, that was the man of the match.

I was glad to see Montreal win. For maybe the first time since they won the cup in '08, the team appeared to give a shit. The message sent by the supporters was clearly received, no doubt reinforced by a tongue lashing from owner Joey Saputo. On the other hand, I was disappointed that Toronto's Canadian contingent put in such a poor showing. Like the week previous, the midfield pairing of Jonathan Osorio and Kyle Bekker had a slow start, but unlike last time they never were able to work themselves into the match. They were outclassed by Patrice Bernier and Davy Arnaud, but then so were Luis Silva and Jeremy Hall who entered as replacements. Doneil Henry earned a yellow and could easily have seen a second. And if you watch the video highlights of the six goals, you will see Ashtone Morgan making a critical mistake on nearly every one. For a team that entered the match clearly in the driver's seat, TFC seemed to give up ever so easily. Have they squandered any gains made in the early going under Nelsen?

Attendance check: 14,931 jubilant fans at Stade Saputo. From the very beginning, they were bringing it.

Canadian content report
There were six Canadians that featured on the day, and another, Wandrille Lefevre, who could well be on the path to citizenship. Lefevre, Maxim Tissot, and particularly Patrice Bernier were good for Montreal. No Toronto player can claim to have played well.

Maxim Tissot90
Patrice Bernier90
Total Mins180

Doneil Henry90
Ashtone Morgan90
Jonathan Osorio74
Kyle Bekker45
Total Mins299


Corey Hertzog 58', Shaun Saiko (o.g.) 67'
Ejections: Adrian LeRoy 51'
[match stats]

Headline: Whitecaps' rally and 3-2 win prevents embarrassing night in Edmonton (Vancouver Sun)
Headline selected only because, despite the 3-2 win, it ought to have been considered an embarassing night for one particular 2-goal Whitecaps forward.

One paragraph analysis
In many ways, this match went much the same way as the previous encounter at Commonwealth. Edmonton defended well, were in the match, and then were undone by poor refereeing combined with a fitter and more talented opponent. Don't get me wrong: on the balance of play over two legs Vancouver were the better team and deserved to win. But Edmonton conceded two questionable goals in the first leg (a curious interpretation of the offside rule on one, an egregious Camilo dive for a penalty on another). In this match, the score was 0-0 until an incidental tangling of feet was adjudged to be a red-card offense by Edmonton defender Adrian LeRoy. Edmonton ought to take encouragement from their performance. After a slow start in the league they have delivered three straight creditable efforts, including their first NASL win of the season. Vancouver will be glad to advance to the final round without having to call upon too many of their starting players. The 5:2 aggregate close to what many had expected, but the manner of the victories tells a more complicated story.

Attendance check: 14,892 at BC Place

Canadian content report
Russell Teibert was man of the match for Vancouver, while Edmonton produced a total of  9 Canadian starters and subs.

Russell Teibert90
Total Mins90

Mallan Roberts90
Edson Edward90
Adrian LeRoy51
Antonio Rago90
Massimo Mirabelli59
Michael Nonni45
Michael Cox72
Shaun Saiko31
Sadi Jalali18
Total Mins546


Team Goals
Marco di Vaio Montreal 2
Camilo Vancouver 2
Michael Cox Edmonton 1
Chris Nurse Edmonton 1
Justin Mapp Montreal 1
Andres Romero Montreal 1
Andrew Wenger Montreal 1
Daniele Paponi Montreal 1
Doneil Henry Toronto 1
Andrew Wiedeman Toronto 1
Tommy Heinemann Vancouver 1
Corey Hertzog Vancouver 1

2013.05.15: Vancouer at Montreal 7:45 pm et / 4:45 pm pt

There is a week off before the first leg of the final at Stade Saputo.

The contest standings have been updated.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

VCup contest standings, matchday 2

Nobody called Montreal beating Toronto 6-0. Don't believe anyone who tells you they did. Closest was Duane Rollins who said 3-0. There were plenty predicting a 2-0 Vancouver win.

Spreadsheet: All prediction entries

7Seth Greenan, shermanator
8Lord Bob, Nos, Walms, Latetedefred, Mike McGuire, Brenton, Duane Rollins, Imma Gonna Ween, Cormac
9Soka, coxon, mowe, Andrew Bates, squadplayer, Ivan Drago, Grossi, Wince, M@, GoF, kodiaktfc
10MulliganL, Abou Sky, Pej, Casual Soccer Fan, Wet Coast,  Wanderers, Jonesy, StartingEleven, adrenaline11, Havelock Howel, PSoNumber9, Philip, TheKottonmouthed
11Mr. Impact, Tuscan, Beat the Limpact, TFCMike P, Jake Vendramin, Kirk Dobbs, rob.notenboom
12Marauder, shawn_strat, Seathanaich, DelChuck
13Stouffvillain, Pompey Canuck, Duncan Fletcher, Sir Alphonso Applegate

Watch your inbox for an email requesting your picks for the two final round matches in the next day or so

Friday, April 26, 2013

Voyageurs Cup matchday 1 report

A day late, here's a look at Wednesday's opening matches in the Amway Canadian Championship


: Doneil Henry 49', Andrew Wiedeman 81'
[match stats]

Headline: Toronto continues dominance over Montreal (Soccer America)

One paragraph analysis

A sloppy first half could have been expected. The two teams combined to field perhaps a half-dozen regular starters. An experience and talent gap between the two central midfield duos -- Patrice Bernier, shouldering most of the load for Montreal, and Kyle Bekker and Jonathan Osorio for Montreal -- was evident in the early-going, but the young Toronto pair managed to work their way into the match by the end of the first half. The second half was a different story, as an inexperienced Montreal defense (Hassoun Camara should never play in the middle) couldn't clear a corner and were punished by Doneil Henry's strike. A later, rather needless, giveaway by Karl Ouimette set the table for Toronto, as Luis Silva and Andrew Wiedeman (or, as Gerry Dobson kept calling him, "Wiederman") didn't have much work to do to get it to the back of the net. Post-game Marco Schallibaum was making the right noises about getting the goals back in Montreal, but it was clear Toronto cares more about winning this competition.

Attendance check: 11,043 at a rainy and cold BMO Field

Canadian content report
There were 8 Canadian starters on the day. It was good to see two young Canadian defenders, Ouimette and Maxim Tissot for Montreal, but in the end it was inexperience by those two that was at fault for both goals against. Bekker and Osorio were poor in the first half, but got better.

Karl Ouimette90
Maxim Tissot90
Patrice Bernier90
Total Mins270

Doneil Henry90
Ashtone Morgan90
Jonathan Osorio90
Emery Welshman90
Kyle Bekker72
Total Mins432


Camilo 5', 83' (PK), Michael Cox 8', Chris Nurse 28', Tommy Heinemann 89'
[match stats]

Headline: Whitecaps' rally and 3-2 win prevents embarrassing night in Edmonton (Vancouver Sun)
Headline selected only because, despite the 3-2 win, it ought to have been considered an embarassing night for one particular 2-goal Whitecaps forward.

One paragraph analysis
There can't be many observers of this match that felt good by the end. Neutrals would surely be won over by Edmonton's first half tenacity, a bit of ball luck on their first goal, and the romantic notion of a plucky D2 side knocking off their supposed betters. And make no mistake: Edmonton was running things in the first half and could easily have made it 3-1 at points, though at the cost of a great effort that could not be sustained. Things were different in the second half, as Edmonton boss Colin Miller seemed to have instructed his charges to adopt a more energy efficient and defensive posture. They were bunkering successfully enough until the 80th minute, when Camilo made exactly the sort of reprehensible dive that he has become known for, and that referee Silviu Petrescu bought hook, line, and sinker. Even with the 2-1 lead, Edmonton was never likely to win over two legs. The Camilo penalty took all the wind out of their sails, produced a well-earned tirade and ejection of Miller, and the inevitable late winner but Vancouver caveman Tommy Heinemann. To all but the most blind Vancouver partisan, this was football injustice.

Attendance check: 2,836 at Commonwealth Stadium.

Canadian content report
Russell Teibert carried the flag for Vancouver, while Edmonton produced a total of 7 Canadian starters and subs, including a debut for newly-minted Canadian Mallan Roberts.

Russell Teibert90
Total Mins90

Mallan Roberts90
Edson Edward90
Adrian LeRoy90
Shaun Saiko90
Michael Cox85
Edem Mortotsi31
Sadi Jalali5
Total Mins716

Tommy HeinemannVancouver1
Michael CoxEdmonton1
Chris NurseEdmonton1
Doneil HenryToronto1
Andrew WiedemanToronto1

2013.05.01: Toronto at Montreal 7:45 pm et / 4:45 pm pt
2013.05.01: Edmonton at Vancouver 10:15 pm et / 7:15 pm pt

The contest standings have been updated.