Monday Review: In a time loop, does your GAA go down?

"Do you feel like... we've done this before?" Photo illustration Andrew Bates, original photo courtesy Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star

“Do you feel like… we’ve done this before?” Photo illustration Andrew Bates, original photo courtesy Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star

As Vancouver shipped its third consecutive goal in the first five minutes of the second half on the way to its second consecutive 2-0 road loss, Toronto dropped points after conceding in the final minutes of the game for the fourth time in a row. All this repetition leads me to wonder: How would this affect a goalie’s goals-against average?

If you realize you are playing the same game over and over, are you statistically putting in multiple shifts or are you just doing over the same performance? Would you carry the memories of past goals nobody remembers to haunt/empower you, or would you be doomed to repeat it?

Either way, it won’t help TFC in the standings.

Major League Soccer

Welp, here we are again. Toronto were cruising to a 0-0 draw away to an out-of-conference opponent, and then Logan Emory fell over in the box. The man he was marking, former useless TFC striker Edson Buddle, picked it up and washed it all away. Toronto falls to 1-4-4, and ninth in the East. Six out points of a possible twelve lost in the dying minutes over the last four games.

Montreal bled late too, conceding in injury-time to draw 2-2 against San Jose. In the ever-touchy east, the dropped means Montreal is the bottom team in a four-way tie for first, all on 17 points.

Seattle also clawed back to a 2-2 draw after conceding to Philadelphia’s Danny Cruz twice in two minutes, while Portland never got started, scoreless at home against New England. Sporting Kansas City thumped Chivas 4-0 and Houston made it out of LA with a 1-0 win, which means with FC Dallas on a bye, Salt Lake and Colorado were the only teams from the West to get anything. Vancouver sits eighth, three points back of the fifth-place Rapids.

North American Soccer League

Edmonton, who nicked their first win of the season last week, are still chugging along. They conceded an early penalty kick, but turned it into a 1-1 away draw against joint league leaders Tampa Bay Rowdies. Shawn Seiko levelled it in the 35th minute and the tired Eddies managed to bring it home with them. Edmonton are 5th with five points, but the top is a log-jam on eight points, so it’s not out of reach.

National Womens Soccer League

Sophie Schmidt tried, but she couldn’t get Sky Blue FC past the Western New York Flash. Trailing 2-0, Schmidt buried it late in the first half to bring it within a goal, but they didn’t make it home. In much the same way, Diane Matheson’s penalty kick similarly got the Washington Spirit on the board against the Portland Thorns, but couldn’t stop a 2-1 loss.

Sydney Leroux, villain to Canadians (but let that be a story for another day) scored a hat trick to power the Boston Breakers 4-1 over Chicago, and Seattle has lost again, a 1-0 defeat to Kansas City for the second straight week. Boy do they need Megan Rapinoe to come back from Europe.

Amway Canadian Championship.

Hahahahaha. As Vancouver eased to a 2-0 win to usher out Edmonton, Toronto conceded again and again and again to lose 6-0, 6-2 on aggregate against Montreal. When I got to BC Place Wednesday, I eyed the score, sitting at 3-0 as I waited for the elevator. By the time I got to the top it was 4-0. So that’s how that went. It’s an off-week for the competition before the first leg of the final kicks off next weekend in Montreal.

Pacific Coast Soccer League

The Whitecaps Girls Elite team started off brightly with a 4-0 win against the NSGSC Eagles in the Womens Premier division, with Summer Clarke getting a brace.

Defending Mens Premier champions Vancouver Thunderbirds started with a 2-1 loss to the Victoria Highlanders reserves. The Highlanders then crossed the Georgia Straight the next day to fall 3-2 to Khalsa Sporting Club. Khalsa were fresh off a thumping 7-2 win against Victoria United, sporting a 3-0 hat trick from UBC star Milad Mehrabi.

Bellingham, who started last weekend with a pair of wins on Vancouver Island, weren’t so lucky at home across the border with a 2-1 loss to Estrella de Chile.

2014 Voyageurs Cup to feature NASL play-in round

The second division North American Soccer League's (NASL) FC Edmonton take on the Vancouver Whitecaps last Wednesday. Photo courtesy Lewis/Canada Soccer

The second division North American Soccer League’s (NASL) FC Edmonton take on the Vancouver Whitecaps last Wednesday. Photo courtesy Lewis/Canada Soccer

One of the coolest things about cup competitions is the chance for big-league clubs and second-division dreamers to play teams they don’t often get to see and have a chance to fight it out. But when the Ottawa NASL expansion team debuts next year, they’ll be seeing second-div colleagues Edmonton in the Voyageurs Cup before they scrap with Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto.

Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani thinks that, provisionally, a five-team Amway Canadian Championship will retain its current two-semifinal home-and-away format, according to But Ottawa and Edmonton will have to compete in a play-in round before the first round proper, where it will meet the MLS team with the best record from the previous year.

I don’t know how I feel about this. I know I like to see inter-league play, but there could be benefits: You wouldn’t see NASL teams go home from the competition without even a win to their names less often. A play-in round could also weed out weak teams, ensuring that battle-ready squads make clashes between the tiers more competitive.

Something probably has to be done about the Canadian Championship eventually; attendance numbers were bad last weekend and it’s probably not going to be better in BC Place Wednesday, as the game is head to head against Game 1 of the Canucks’ first round playoff series. The CSA is dreaming of a third tier of regional leagues and Montagliani says that those teams might get a shot in the Cup eventually, which could work.

Do you think it’s a good idea? Let’s hear it in the comments.

Monday Review: Ryan Nelsen and the Infinite Sadness

courtesy toronto fc

He just can’t. He has lost the ability to can, just like TFC has lost the ability to defend in the last ten minutes. Photo courtesy Toronto FC

Well, that was a week about getting by for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Behind 2-1 against Edmonton, they left Edmonton a goal up, and then, down 2-0, they managed a draw against Dallas. An alright haul. What else happened? Let’s review.

Major League Soccer

It’s happened to Toronto again. Despite looking like they were going to reverse a trend of late collapses when Jonathan Osorio scored an equalizer on 83 minutes, New York scored just afterwards to seal a defeat for TFC. Tim Cahill’s bruising header flattened poor Ashtone Morgan, but Morgan was really at fault for flipping the clearance right to New York’s Peguy Luyindula moments earlier, who served Henry on the wing like an expert barman. The loss makes five goals in the last fifteen minutes for TFC, and extends an 11-game home winless streak in MLS.

At Saputo Stadium, the Montreal Impact ran up a confident-looking 2-0 win against the Chicago Fire thanks to a lovely piece of work by on-loan Argentinian Andres Romero, an excellent turn-and-shot by Marco Di Vaio, and a red card for Chicago’s Jeff Larentowicz on what he likely feels was incidental contact on Andrea Pisanu, streaking right into the box. It puts the Impact up first in the east. New England leapt past Chicago and 9th-place Toronto to 7th in the standings with a 2-0 win against Philadelphia, while sorry DC United (1-1-6) stay where they are at the bottom of the league after a 3-0 thumping from Columbus.

In the slimmer, fitter Western conference, draws between Chivas (4th) and San Jose (6th) as well as Houston and Colorado (8th) mean most stay where they are. Whitecaps in 7th. Ahead of Vancouver’s visit next weekend, the LA Galaxy defense flummoxed Real Salt Lake 2-0 at Rio Tinto and Portland pulled out a 3-2 win after a shootout of a first half. The MLS recap’s lede says it spoiled both the first two goals of a promising young player’s career and SKC’s “roll-out of its new black third kit with blue argyle trim.” Good. Argyle is our thing, as is having a dumb-looking third jersey. Back off, KC.

National Women’s Soccer League

The Seattle Reign are having a tough time without U.S. national women’s team stars Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe, and they stuttered to a 2-0 loss away in Kansas City Friday. The best moment from the Blues win was a defensive clearance from Lauren Cheney, who got the ball facing the goal in her own final third and managed to get it on the carpet at centre for Renee Cuellar. Cuellar broke past her two defenders and ran right into the box for an easy one-on-one to seal the points.

The Battle of the Canadian Keepers (as I’m sure everyone referred to it) went Karina Leblanc’s way as the Portland Thorns defeated the Chicago Red Stars 2-0. Erin McCloud had a lot more to deal with in the Chicago goal, though, putting up a lot of solid saves and only conceding the first after the Red Star defense left her all alone with Alex Morgan and Danielle Foxhoven. The second goal was national team comrade Christine Sinclair paying her a visit with a stunner from the top of the box on an individual effort. The Boston Breakers beat the Western New York Flash 2-1, and Sky Blue FC got the same score on the road against the Washington Spirit. Portland still sit on top with a 2-1-0 record.

North American Soccer League

Edmonton had a nicer day than they’d been having! Shawn Seiko scored a penalty against the San Antonio Scorpions to win 1-0 in their home opener, their first win in a season that has started sour (1-1-4). It was like a Whitecaps alumni game, as the Rabbits and the Scorpions shared five or six players with ‘Caps connections, including Greg Janicki, Kevin Harmse, Blake Wagner, and loanee Carlyle Mitchell. Too bad Wes Knight popped his foot.

Amway Canadian Championship

Cup competitions are always a good time for lower division clubs (and Toronto) to try and get a plucky result against superior opposition, aren’t they? Toronto beat Montreal 2-0 and look to go through unless the Impact can produce, uh, the same result they did against Chicago on the weekend. We’ll see how far their good luck in this competition can carry them.

B.C. Provincial Cup

The Thunderbirds couldn’t make it past Surrey, sadly, going a man down and then conceding to lose 1-0. They will face West Van FC at the final in Langford, B.C., who beat Cowichan 3-1. At the Surrey game, a yell of “West Van’s going to beat you!” floated through the stands, almost certainly from the clump of West Van players at the top. Take that as you may. Surrey United FC face Castaways FC in the women’s A final.

Upstart Thunderbirds brought down to earth after red card in Provincial Cup

Vancouver Thunderbird Niall Cousens takes a walk. God my cellphone camera is awful. Photo Andrew Bates/Little Rubber Pellets

Vancouver Thunderbird Niall Cousens takes a walk. God my cellphone camera is awful. Photo Andrew Bates/Little Rubber Pellets

The Thunderbirds hadn’t seen a loss in over eight months until last night, but they hadn’t seen a red card in a year and a half either.

After punching above their weight in the BC Provincial Cup, the Vancouver Thunderbirds lost 1-0 last night to Surrey United Firefighters in the Men’s A semifinal. The Vancouver Thunderbirds, reigning Pacific Coast Soccer League (div 4) champions, are the daylight alter egos of the UBC men’s soccer team, who won the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championship last year after an undefeated season and even turned away the Whitecaps Reserves without giving them so much as a sniff.

The Thunderbirds have a powerful system based on possession and counterattack that crushed university opposition and has held fairly pat against senior players. They sunk the Reserves 3-0, held FC Edmonton’s first team to a 1-1 draw and shocked Vancouver Metro Soccer League champions Columbus FC in the quarterfinals of the Provincial Cup last weekend. The Thunderbirds are also a comparatively clean team, having gone the whole CIS season without a red card. (You’d have to go back to the 2011 Canada West semifinal to find their last red.)

When T-Bird Niall Cousens picked up a second yellow card just before the end of the first half, the system started to wilt. The Thunderbirds weren’t able to hold the ball quite as well and without counterattacks, they found themselves on the perimeter, trying to squeeze their way in. Gagandeep Dosanjh, wearing the armband, ran himself silly with a number of eyewatering runs around defenders, but never managing a final product that could beat Surrey keeper Andrew Fink.

And on offense, the defending Provincial Cup champions wore down the Thunderbirds with crosses and corners. Former Vancouver Whitecap Jeff Clarke ended up heading past Luke O’Shea early in the second half, which burst the brave faces the ten-men T-Birds were trying to present. O’Shea was excellent for the duration and kept the game close the rest of the way, but no goal came; right up to the last gasp, the Thunderbirds tried to get an equalizer and saw only efforts sail past the football uprights behind the net.

It was the Thunderbirds’ first loss since a 1-0 away defeat to Bellingham FC in the PCSL on August 24th, 2012. Surrey go on to face the winner of tomorrow’s semifinal between Cowichan and West Van.

It’s Monday! Time for the Monday Review.

Christine Sinclair must have done this to Kaylyn Kyle like, eighty times in practice. Photo courtesy Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Thorns FC

Christine Sinclair must have done this to Kaylyn Kyle like, eighty times in practice. Photo courtesy Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Thorns FC

It’s Monday! That mean’s it’s time for the Monday Review. What happened in soccer this week?


It was the historic start of the National Women’s Soccer League’s first season! (That actually started a week ago.) Portland Thorns FC defeated Seattle Reign FC 2-0 in their home opener Sunday. A posted attendance of 16,479 at Jeld-Wen eclipsed all of the games in the previous women’s pro league, WPS, as well as the crowds of all 9 MLS games except LA and New York.

The news will hearten women’s soccer fans, although certainly an MLS stadium in Portland with two of the best attacking players in the game got an attendance that teams like Chicago, satisfied with its 3,000-seating Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex, aren’t trying to hit while the game is in its growth period.

But the good news is that the teams are fairly even on the field. Though Portland has heavy talent in Canadian talisman Christine Sinclair and goalkeeper Karina Leblanc as well as the USWNT’s Alex Morgan, the Thorns were bright in attack and okay in defense, but they need to figure out how to get the ball to their attacking pair. Just like Canada! Seattle sported the CANWNT’s Kaylyn Kyle and Emily Zurrer, as well as Welsh star Jessica Fishlock, who was keen to play antagonist to the Portland fans. Should be bright.

Thorns lead the table with 4 points and a 1-1-0 record. In the other NWSL game of the weekend, Canada’s Diane Matheson scored an 86th minute penalty kick to draw the Washington Spirit even 1-1 with the Western New York Flash.


Despite really really looking like they could pull out a win against Houston, Toronto conceded at 93:30 of a 94-minute match on one of those last gasp corner attempts. TFC had a man on the far post and a man on the near post, but nobody on Houston D-Mid Warren Crevalle, who stood right in front of GK John Bendik and flicked it backwards with a seal-poke of his forehead. It erased a lead the team had been carrying since a Jeremy Hall goal in the 58th minute for a 1-1 draw.

Elsewhere, Seattle got a 1-0 away win at Colorado, Portland drew 1-1 at San Jose, the Union beat United, LA Galaxy turned away Kansas City, Salt Lake defeated Chivas, Chicago got Columbus, and New York trounced New England 4-1 at home.

Montreal, sitting third in the East, didn’t play this weekend. TFC is sitting four points out in seventh, while Vancouver is seventh in the west, because oh yeah.


FC Edmonton, whom Vancouver will visit in the Voyageurs Cup on Wednesday, lost 2-0 to Minnesota United, struggling to find space despite having lots of possession. Former Whitecaps Wes Knight left the game with a serious foot injury in the 17th minute and they conceded a penalty in the 29th. It was a bad day for Colin Miller. The winless Eddies sit joint bottom with a point after three games.

CONCACAF Men’s Under-17 Championship

The agony. The ecstasy. Terrified high-schoolers playing away in Panama City. Already qualified for the U17 World Cup after pushing past Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Jamaica, the Canadian men’s U17s tried to push for gold but lost out to Panama in the semis. They beat Honduras on penalties in the bronze medal game, so they’ll go home happy. And they should! They got some good games against international opposition, and now they have a trip to the United Arab Emirates in October to look forward to. Hopefully nobody threw urine at them.


With five players away with the Canada U17 men’s team, the Whitecaps U18 residency team managed to beat San Juan SC 2-1 despite having to haul in some younger players. The U16s, however, had all their players hauled in by the U18s, and lost 1-0. With five games left each, the U18s and U16s sit first and sixth respectively in their West Conference standings.


The Pacific Coast Soccer League schedules are out! They’re, uh, all in Excel. Working on it. Sadly missing Kelowna club Okanagan Challenge FC after it closed its doors this winter, the men’s season will kick off next weekend with the Victoria Highlanders and Victoria United both hosting and conclude July 21st before the Challenge Cup on the 27th and 28th.

The Whitecaps’ women’s team (is the PCSL squad now the senior team? Oh, woe) will get the ball rolling for the women’s Premier division May 1st at SFU. It will conclude the same time.

BC Provincial Cup

Semifinals have been set for BC Soccer’s adult cup competition. On the men’s side, Surrey United Firefighters beat Estrella de Chile and will face the PCSL champion Vancouver Thunderbirds, UBC’s summer team, who offed VMSL champs Columbus FC 3-1. West Van FC and Cowichan won their quarterfinals, and will meet on the other side of the bracket.

On the women’s side, Surrey United and Castaways FC picked up wins, as did Prospect Lake SC and the NSGSC Renegades. All semifinals will take place next weekend.