Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New poll, not the same as the old poll

To avoid descending into irrelevance (I'm listening to Coldplay right now, so I'm pretty close already) I've updated the poll -- look in the sidebar to the right.

The old question asked who Canada's leading goal scorer would be in the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying. 20 out of 25 voters (myself included) were way off track by going with De Rosario and Friend (a whopping 0 goals between the two). 4 correctly picked Ali Gerba who paced the team with 2 goals.

The new question (results so far) is simple: When will Canada play its next match? With nothing important to play for until the Gold Cup in 2009, and a murky coaching situation, I doubt booking friendlies will be a high priority for the big thinkers at the CSA.


If you're looking for something thoughtful to read about the MNT and the recent qualifying failure, look no further than Unto the Dog's cogent analysis.

Other news:
  • The Seattle MLS expansion entry had their pick of the runts of other teams' litters, and selected Jarrod Smith from TFC. I was rooting for them to pick one of TFC's unprotected Canadians, which would force Mo Johnston to find some talentless bum Canadian somewhere else to sign. But getting rid of the Kiwi Lombardo (credit to a poster on the Voyageurs forum for this hilarious and seemingly delicious moniker) is probably the best they could have hoped for from the draft.
  • Iain Hume is back in hospital, which is anything but good news. The Footie Fool (the 'ie' ending always makes me want to write "footsie") and the Footy Blog have the details.
  • Canada has a high-stakes showdown with Germany at the U-20 World Cup tomorrow afternoon. CBCSports.ca has the action beginning at 4:50 pm ET Thursday, which is good because most workplaces won't filter out CBC content. Winner advances to the knockout stages; a draw and Germany goes through, I think.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Minutes under Mitchell: FINAL EDITION . . . of 2008!

Who am I to say whether Dale Mitchell is still at the helm to award minutes to players when Canada next plays, likely in March or April (how depressing!).

In Dale's 15 matches at the helm, these are the players that have worn the red and white:

Player Starter Sub Minutes
Stalteri, Paul 14
1199
Klukowski, Mike 12
1035
Hutchinson, Atiba 11
920
Serioux, Adrian 10
855
de Guzman, Julian 10
845
Radzinski, Tomasz 12
826
De Rosario, Dwayne 9
800
Nakajima-Farran, Issey 9 1 753
Hirschfeld, Lars 8
720
Hastings, Richard 9 1 678
Bernier, Patrice 8 4 667
Gerba, Ali 7 4 645
Hainault, Andre 6 1 569
Onstad, Pat 6
540
Friend, Rob 5 4 446
Harmse, Kevin 4
360
Cann, Adrian 3 1 315
Hume, Iain 2 5 311
De Jong, Marcel 4 3 280
Brennan, Jim 2 4 270
Pozniak, Chris 2 1 206
McKenna, Kevin 2
180
Gbeke, Charles 2 1 171
Imhof, Daniel 1 2 152
Williams, Chris 1 1 112
Ledgerwood, Nik 1 1 108
Johnson, Will 1 1 107
Peters, Jaime
2 91
Nash, Martin 1
90
Reda, Marco 1
90
Sutton, Greg 1
90
Occean, Olivier
4 84
Simpson, Josh 1 1 62
Jazic, Ante
1 45
Nsaliwa, Tam
2 37
Jakovic, Dejan
1 25
Ornoch, Andrzej
1 25
Simpson, Dave
1 10
Ribeiro, Antonio
1 5
Totals 165 49 14724




* Totals include non-FIFA sanctioned friendly vs Martinique, but not friendly against Danish club side Vejle BK

These spreadsheet posts may seem a sure sign that I've run out of things to write about, but rest assured there is enough WCQ-disaster related detritus for me to put together one or two posts a week at least until the new year. Topics worth consideration include:
  • most impressive player of the campaign (I'm thinking Gerba, sorry Mike), and most disappointing
  • whither Mitchell, and whether it makes sense to do hiring and firing right now
  • players who won't be around for the next set of WCQs
  • players who will have to step up for Canada to have a chance in qualifying for 2014
In other words, don't unsubscribe or delete your bookmarks just yet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

WCQ 2010 by the numbers: FINAL edition


A total of 28 players over 8 matches took part in this symphony of crap.

Player Start Sub Mins Goals Yellow Red
Paul Stalteri 8
695
1
Mike Klukowski 7
565
2
Adrian Serioux 6
540 1 2
Atiba Hutchinson 6
540
1
Tomasz Radzinski 6
457 1 2
Dwayne De Rosario 5
450 2 2
Lars Hirschfeld 5
450


Julian de Guzman 5
407 1 1
Ali Gerba 4 3 404 6

Richard Hastings 5 1 363


Patrice Bernier 4 2 316
2 1
Issey Nakajima-Farran 4
308 1

Andre Hainault 3
270 1

Kevin Harmse 3
270
1
Pat Onstad 3
270


Rob Friend 3 2 237


Marcel de Jong 3 1 213


Adrian Cann 2
180


Iain Hume
4 155
1
Chris Pozniak 1 1 141


Jim Brennan 1 3 135


Charles Gbeke 1 1 91


Will Johnson 1
90


Kevin McKenna 1
90


Nikolas Ledgerwood 1
90


Andrzej Ornoch
1 25


Chris Williams
1 22


Olivier Occean
1 9



Paul Stalteri injured himself with 25 minutes remaining to avoid being the only player to take part in the entire shit festival that has been Canada's WCQ campaign.

Oh yeah, Canada lost 3-0 in a match that turned out to be meaningless for both teams because Honduras beat Mexico.


Like a little bit of dijon mustard on a turd sandwich . . . I celebrated my 200th post yesterday. This number doesn't include a few earlier efforts that ended up on the virtual scrap heap. The accomplisment is meaningless, of course, and the number is not likely to grow quickly now that Canada's men's national team is done with meaningful soccer for the next few years. Though several post-mortem pieces are sure to come.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Canada - Jamaica: How to watch, Long version


Canada's final qualifier of the 2010 cycle is tonight. It's not on TV in Canada. It is in Jamaica, and potentially elsewhere. The internet is a worldwide information network that connects people in different countries. Using this system, it is sometimes possible to share different types of information, including television broadcasts.

Consult these sites later this evening for possible internet live streaming video links:

Rojadirecta
MyP2P
Channelsurfing.net

If you're interested in poking around enemy territory, the Reggae Boyz themselves (that is, their fans) are keeping an eye on online streams. Further possibilites include:

A uStream channel for Canada - Jamaica
Bachoy.net
yourwatchingtv.com

Likely any stream that is working close to game time will be pointed out at the Voyageurs forum.

The CSA, as it does for all matches, is taking full advantage of the world of possibilities offered by the internet by allowing readers to follow the action in painstaking detail by refreshing a web page.

The starting XI: Hirschfeld, Cann, Hainault, Ledgerwood, Pozniak, Nakajima-Farran, Harmse, Johnson, Stalteri, de Jong, Gbeke.

MY PREDICTION:
Jamaica 3 - 2 Canada (Honduras and Mexico to advance)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Canada - Jamaica: How to watch, Short version

Just as useful as a functional TV for watching CAN - JAM in Canada on Wednesday.

You can't.

Sportsnet isn't showing the game.

The longer, more complicated truth, to come later.


From the Dale Mitchell-stating-the-obvious department, by way of the Jamaica Gleaner: "We want to win". Some fun with double negatives inside:
"We cannot not give of our best," declared Mitchell at their training session at Tivoli Gardens' Edward Seaga Sports Complex yesterday. "If Jamaica go out, play well and win, credit to them; but we want to win and if we can, it would be great."
Classic Dale! Who wouldn't want to go to battle for a leader like this.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Canada roster for Jamaica qualifier

On Thursday, I predicted Canada's roster for next Wednesday's final qualifying match against Jamaica. Getting 13 names right is pretty good, considering the experimental nature of the team that Dale Mitchell has assembled.

Here's a closer look at the team our fearless leader has cobbled together.

Player Pos. Team League
Asmir Begovic GK Portsmouth England
Lars Hirschfeld GK CFR Cluj Romania
Adrian Cann D Esbjerg fB Denmark
Marcel de Jong D/M Roda JC Netherlands
David Edgar D Newcastle United England
Charles Gbeke F Vancouver Whitecaps USL
Sandro Grande M Impact de Montréal USL
André Hainault D FK SIAD Most Czech Rep.
Kevin Harmse D Toronto FC MLS
Simeon Jackson M Gillingham FC England
Dejan Jakovic D Red Star Belgrade Serbia
Will Johnson M/F Real Salt Lake MLS
Nik Ledgerwood M TSV 1860 München Germany
Issey Nakajima-Farran M FC Nordsjælland Denmark
Andrzej Ornoch M/F Esbjerg fB Denmark
Chris Pozniak D/M Dundee FC Scotland
Paul Stalteri D/M Tottenham Hotspur England
Chris Williams M Charleston Battery USL

This 18-man squad includes players plying their trade in England (4 players); USL-1 (3); Denmark (3); MLS (2 if Will Johnson shows); the Netherlands, Romania, Czech Republic, Germany, Scotland, and Serbia (1 each, though the CSA for some reason insists on listing Red Star Belgrade as a Croatian team).

Will Johnson could be an important player for Wednesday and the future, but his participation depends on Real Salt Lake being eliminated tonight. I'm not sure what the better career outcome is for Johnson, but for selfish reasons I hope the New York Red Bulls prevail tonight.

Looking at caps and goals:

Player Caps Goals
Asmir Begovic 0 0
Lars Hirschfeld 27 0
Adrian Cann 3 0
Marcel de Jong 6 0
David Edgar 0 0
Charles Gbeke 2 0
Sandro Grande 12 1
André Hainault 13 1
Kevin Harmse 8 0
Simeon Jackson 0 0
Dejan Jakovic 1 0
Will Johnson 4 0
Nik Ledgerwood 1 0
Issey Nakajima-Farran 15 1
Andrzej Ornoch 1 0
Chris Pozniak 22 0
Paul Stalteri 73 7
Chris Williams 2 0
Total 190 10
Average 11.06 0.59

Evidently, this is an inexperienced side with an average of 11 caps each, or 7 each if you take Stalteri's 73 out of the equation. His 7 goals also account for most of the goal scoring these players have ever done for Canada; together, they have fewer than Ali Gerba's 11.

The MNT virgins are David Edgar (I expect him to play); Asmir Begovic (likely riding pine); and Simeon Jackson (probable 2nd half sub).

Forgive me for the positions listed beside the players. They are cribbed directly from the CSA's list without any editorializing on my part. For instance, Kevin Harmse is as much M as D, Simeon Jackson more F than M, etc. Let's hope Dale knows this.


Meanwhile, Dale says he wants to stay on. Good heavens! (Ryan Johnson at Sportsnet, on the other hand, is done with Dale. Like dinner!)


Other roster release related bloggage:

New faces aplenty in the squad for Canada Jamaica WCQ Wednesday - Footie Fool

Keepie Uppie author Colin Smith does some nice work with his day job profiling Will Johnson for the National Post. (Check out channelsurfing.net for links to live streaming video of Real Salt Lake - New York Red Bulls to see if Johnson will be playing for Canada or for the MLS Cup championship next week)

That's it really. There's a bit of spice in the comments section to James Sharman's re-post of the CSA presser, but it appears that most Canadian fans are beyond caring at this point.

We're still awaiting word about a Sportsnet broadcast of the match, but I'll be missing any live action in any case due to a professional engagement.


I haven't been doing this up until now, but in the interests of fairness, I should provide the Jamaican squad as well. It's a 22-man squad (compared to Canada's 18-man group) made up of the following players:

Goalkeepers
Donovan Ricketts (Village United)
Shawn Sawyers (Portmore United)

Defenders
Ian Goodison (Tranmere Rovers)
Ricardo Gardner (Bolton Wanderers)
Damion Stewart (Queens Park Rangers)
Claude Davis (Derby County)
Tyrone Marshall (Toronto FC)
Shavar Thomas (Chivas USA)

Midfielders
Rudolph Austin (FC Bran, Norway)
Oneil Thompson (FC Nottenden, Norway)
Demar Phillips (Stoke City)
Jermaine Johnson (Sheffield Wednesday)
Andy Williams (Real Salt Lake)
Wolry Wolfe (Joe Public, TT)
Jamal Campbell-Ryce (Barnsley FC)
Jason Morrison (FC Feerncvaros, Hungary)

Forwards
Ricardo Fuller (Stoke City)
Luton Shelton (FC Valarenga)
Marlon King (Hull City)
Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids)
Dane Richards (New York Red Bulls)
Fabian Taylor (FC Nottonden)



I don't know a lot of the players, but judging by club pedigree alone, this is a tougher team than Canada has called together.

Jamaica Gleaner News: Boyz need goals
Jamaica Football Federation: Canada arrive early for World Cup Qualifier against Jamaica

A funny line from the latter:
This matchup, the final in this round of qualifiers is crucial for both teams. While the Canadians have already lost all hope of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, they will still be playing for pride.
A little help for the Jamaican writer: "lost all hope" and "playing for pride" do not make for a match that is "crucial for both teams"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How Mitchell are you? Take the quiz!

That's right. Cosmo isn't the only place where you can take a quiz to find out all about yourself. Take the quiz, and find out how much of an inner Mitchell you really have.



Here's how it works: Since we've been waiting endlessly for the roster for next week's Jamaica WCQ (although it stretches the truth to suggest this match has anything to do with Qing for the WC for Canada), I've been cobbling together an imaginary roster for Canada in my head.

To play along, you need only do the following:
  • Conceive of a 16 or 18 man roster that could theoretically be called and announced tomorrow (we have word that we will know by Friday afternoon who the players are)
  • Compare your selections to Mitchell's. Award yourself a point for each 'match' (a player who appears on both lists)
  • Use the handy-dandy scoring guide below to find out how much like our man Mitchell you really are.

Scoring Guide:
  • 0-3 points: You have little in common with Dale Mitchell, but you also seem to have lost touch with reality. You have selected players that don't belong in a Canadian kit, or are currently feuding with DM.
  • 4-6 points: The Mitchell force is weak with you. You likely only selected the obvious candidates (Stalteri, Lars), missing out on the roster filler that will make up the bulk of this squad.
  • 7-10 points: You are Stephen Hart. Like Mitchell, only less qualified, yet somehow better.
  • 11-14: Your proclivities are frighteningly close to the manager's. Only some small force, be it reason, or unreasonable optimism, has kept you from submitting an entirely Mitchellian lineup.
  • 15+: You better look out. You are about to be fired. You are Dale.

And it wouldn't be fair if I didn't submit myself to this kind of scrutiny and intense self-analysis, so here is my hypothetical roster. Check back tomorrow for the quiz results.

Lars Hirschfeld (G)
Asmir Begovic (G)
Paul Stalteri (D)
Chris Pozniak (D/M)
David Edgar (D)
Kevin Harmse (D/M)
Dejan Jakovic (D/M)
Adrian Cann (D) - confirmed
Nikolas Ledgerwood (D/M) - confirmed
Ethan Gage (M)
Sandro Grande (M)
Marcel de Jong (M)
Andrew Ornoch (M/F) - confirmed
Ali Gerba (F)
Olivier Occean (F)
Simeon Jackson (F)


UPDATE: Check out the actual roster (and check back soon for a more extensive post on the matter). I scored a somewhat frightening 13 points.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hume hurts head, hopsitalized

Hume in hospital with head injury

Don't take the alliteration as a sign I don't take this situation seriously. Whatever I may think about Iain Hume's underwhelming performances for Canada in the past, he has always answered the call and plays with his heart on his sleeve. And he's the last player you'd want to see victimized by typical lower division thuggery.

This is old news already, and the regular suspects have already weighed in (24th minute, The Footy blog).

Youtube has removed the two videos of the incident that had been posted so I still haven't seen it. The offender was assessed a yellow on the play, but likely deserved worse.

If you find a video, post a link in the comments.

15.11.2008: Thanks to FF in the comments for posting the link to the following vid


It's rather lo-fi, but it's more than enough to expose Chris Morgan's thuggery. All the best to Iain Hume in his recovery. Hume, apparently, had received and answered Dale Mitchell's call for Wednesday's Jamaica match, and would have been an important player in that ragtag side.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Mitchell's eleven

For a variety of reasons, it is unlikely that most of Canada's biggest names will answer the call for the World Cup Qualifying wrap party on Wednesday 19 November in Kingston, Jamaica. Most of these players are probably justified in abstaining from this one, which is disappointing. Still somewhat exciting is the chance to see some new faces wearing a Canadian shirt. (But who wears a shirt on their face?!)

The roster for Jamaica isn't likely to feature such an all star cast.

The CSA will probably release their roster the usual 4 or 5 days ahead of time, but a perusal of a few club websites has resulted in a few confirmations.

CONFIRMED CALL UPS

Adrian Cann
(Esbjerg fB / 28 years old / 3 caps)

We've seen what Adrian has to offer in a few low key friendlies and the second leg of the St Vincent series. The fact that a man who is nearly 30 is still toiling for the reserves for a team in Denmark should tell you how likely he is to become a key fixture of the Canada squad in the future.

Andrew Ornoch (Esbjerg fB / 23 years old / 1 cap)

Andrew impressed relatively recently at the U23 world cup qualifying tournament, and plays for the same Esbjerg reserve squad as Cann. Ornoch, though, is a player riding an upwards career arc, and has scored 7 goals in 4 reserve games, although the club lists him as a midfielder. His one cap was a cameo appearance in Hungary where he was the most conveniently located player to fill a roster spot.

[Source: Adrian og Andrew udtaget til A-landsholdet]

Nikolas Ledgerwood (1860 Munchen / 23 years old / 1 cap)

Ledgerwood has 1 cap and has been called into the squad for a few other matches. At one point he looked a likely candidate to take over the RB spot from Stalteri, but he has lately been playing in midfield for his club. If he starts or playsat all in Kingston, I'd imagine he'll be in midfield again.

[Source: Ledgerwood in die Karibik]

Although none of these players would be popping their MNT cherry, it would be really interesting to see what Ornoch and Ledgerwood in particular have to offer.

WHO WE'D CALL

It sucks to be playing the kind of matches where it actually makes sense to play an experimental roster, but that's probably what we should get used to over the next few years. I really have no idea who Dale Mitchell will summon to fill out an 18-man roster but if (the royal) we were running the show, we'd get these people on the phone.

David Edgar (Newcastle FC / 21 years old / 0 caps)

Edgar is a player that we've all been expecting big things from, but in the chances he's been given this year with Newcastle, he hasn't been too impressive. Still, it would be nice to see what he can do for Canada. With McKenna, Brennan, Klukowski and probably Hastings out for the Jamaica match, bodies who play defense will be in demand.

Asmir Begovic (Portsmouth FC / 21 years old / 0 caps)

Begovic recently completed a successful loan spell with Yeovil Town FC. Hirschfeld is looking for games so he probably wouldn't say no to a Mitchell phone call, but Begovic would serve as well as any as a backup.

Will Johnson (Real Salt Lake / 21 years old / 4 caps)

Johnson has been getting regular work for Real Salt Lake in their push towards and into the playoffs. The problem is that yesterday they advanced to the next round, so RSL management likely won't be keen to let Will go.

Simeon Jackson (Gillingham FC / 21 years old / 0 caps)

He's young, he plays at a similar level to our man Gerba, and he has Jamaican heritage. Seems a good time to give him a start.

David Hoilett (FC St. Pauli / 19 years old / 0 caps)

See above, except there are rumours that he's not keen to represent Canada because he was cut from a provincial team as a tween.


Besides these names, expect to see a few 'older' faces, like Kevin Harmse, Chris Pozniak, Paul Stalteri, Olivier Occean . . . and even with these, I'm not so sure.

If you're digging through the club sites and have found any other confirmed invitees, let me know.