Thursday, May 15, 2014

Voyageurs Cup week 4

This was the week shit got real.

MONTREAL 4:2 EDMONTON (5:4 on aggregate)

I was sneaking glances at Habs-Bruins, but last night were the largest doses I've seen of both the Impact and the Eddies this year. The result came down to some late-match officiating insanity, but the rest of the match largely confirmed what we thought we already knew.

  1. MLS teams are better than NASL teams. Edmonton and Montreal are among the worst teams in their respective leagues, and the gulf in talent was apparent as the Impact went ahead 3-0 with Justin Mapp bossing the game. Enough said.
  2. The Impact are a mental case. There was clearly an on-off switch, and Montreal switched off hard at about 60 minutes. No interest, heads not at all in the game.
  3. Hanson Boakai is great, not good, and Frank Jonke is a fucking tank.
  4. Canadian officials are mostly not good. You will not see a worse handball call ever, while Edmonton's penalty was at best a 60-40 shout, and Montreal may have had an earlier penalty denied.
  5. Joey Saputo is insane. I love this photo.

VANCOUVER 2:1 TORONTO (3:3 on aggregate, TFC advance 5-3 on penalties)

I should have gone to bed instead of having to endure a classic match being decided by penalties.

Toronto scored a goal that shouldn't have counted (Hagglund foul, goal scorer Doneil Henry offside), then sat back and largely absorbed pressure, despite an Eric Hurtado goal on a sublime lob from Pedro Morales. Then another penalty decision, but this time a stone cold PK awarded against Henry on a reckless challenge, and Pedro Morales ties it.

The game was one-way traffic, perhaps not to be unexpected given the early Toronto goal and a stronger Vancouver lineup. Still, some surprises:

  1. Michael Bradley did not give a shit. He wants to make it healthy to the World Cup. Can't blame him. An extremely generous analysis might suggest the Toronto midfield of Bradley, Jonathan Osorio and Kyle Bekker were nearly the equal of the imperious Russell Teibert, along with PDL loanee Bryce Alderson and Morales. Once Bekker was subbed out and Mattias Laba came on for Alderson, Vancouver worked Toronto like a speed bag.
  2. Kekuta Manneh had an awful game. Squandered two golden chances with a heavy touch, allowing Joe Bendik to make relatively routine saves, and then a terrible penalty attempt in the shootout. He is also super young.
  3. Marco Carducci. Shot stopper, yes. Goalkeeper, not yet.
It will be interesting to watch a final that clearly neither team particularly will want to win. I will, grudgingly, be rooting for the Impact.

Here are the pool standings.

8Duane Rollins
9Brenton, Sam
10shermanator, kodiaktfc, Seth Greenan, Duncan Fletcher, coxon, Madmonte, tmcmurph, Matt Pretty
11@B_Like_Fonz, Tuscan, Rituro, Dave Hall, fil, N3WT, Rex
12YQQ Caps Fan, Striped Sauber, Latetedefred, Pompey Canuck, B-ri, woodbridgefc
13Cas87, Ben D.O.W., Pej
14Ben Massey, Trillium
15Diego R, Cam Millar
16RedcoatsForever, Fouge, Roke

You can view all scores and selections here

Perhaps not surprisingly, nobody predicted a 4-2 Montreal win. Many had Vancouver winning 2-1. All entrants will receive an email in the next day or two asking for your final round picks.

And finally, here's something I like:

MLS Regular Season976882311.1%
Canadian Championship455198023.0%
MLS Regular Season1564693022.6%
Canadian Championship810231035.1%
MLS Regular Season54198875.5%
Canadian Championship731231031.6%
MLS Regular Season1891493838.3%
Canadian Championship1676396042.3%
MLS Regular Season1813495036.6%
Canadian Championship844198042.6%

Every team has played a more Canadian lineup in the Voyageurs Cup matches than in their regular season fixtures. Despite the fact these are often younger or marginal players, this is still a Very Good Thing.

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