Two very different matches produced the same outcome: a 2-1 win for the home team. Toronto fielded a near full-strength lineup (Joe Bendik in for Julio Cesar was the only switch not forced by injury, and DPs Gilberto, Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe all started) while Vancouver dressed a squad including youngsters Bryce Alderson, Manitobans Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese, and Marco Carducci in goal. Toronto went up 2-0 on a Bradley end-to-end rush, a result that, had it held, probably would have been enough to suck most of the drama out of the return leg in Vancouver. Instead, Kekuta Manneh's late strike gave Vancouver the vital away goal and leaves the final outcome very much in question.
In Edmonton, a Montreal squad missing a few regulars took on the Eddies, who haven't produced a home win in NASL play. This game I actually watched. Or at least the second half. Until he was subbed off, Hanson Boakai was a force of nature, and his mazy run to set it up on a platter for Tomi Ameobi was nearly equaled by a Boakai cross that the same Ameobi failed to convert. Montreal's Canadians acquitted themselves nicely right up until Karl Ouimette's misplayed header allowed another Canadian, Michael Nonni, to grab the winner.
With all the youth on display in both matches, it was an encouraging night for Canadian soccer.
In the pool, a 2-1 Toronto win was a popular selection, with a quarter of entrants getting it exactly right. One of the few brave enough to pick an Edmonton win, Roke, nailed the scoreline in the other match.
Fussball_eh joins Sam at the top of the proceedings. After next Wednesday's games determine the finalists, an email will be sent out to solicit your final round picks. Only final round entrants will be eligible to win the bonus prize (for having 10+ new entries on the final day): a 2" Radzinski doll.
|5||Brenton, shermanator, kodiaktfc, Seth Greenan, Duncan Fletcher, Duane Rollins|
|6||Pompey Canuck, Roke, fil, coxon, Madmonte, tmcmurph|
|7||Dave Hall, Latetedefred, Cas87, Ben D.O.W., B-ri, Rex|
|8||@B_Like_Fonz, YQQ Caps Fan, Tuscan, Striped Sauber, Rituro, Ben Massey, Pej, woodbridgefc, N3WT, Matt Pretty|
|9||Diego R, Cam Millar|
You can view all scores and selections here.
And, for what it's worth, the Golden Boot table after this week's games: