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.

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.

All you need to know about the 2013 Amway Canadian Championship

The winner of the Canadian Championship is awarded the Voyageurs Cup. Photo courtesy Jason Gemnich/CSA

The winner of the Canadian Championship is awarded the Voyageurs Cup. Photo courtesy Jason Gemnich/CSA

It’s a special time for Vancouver Whitecaps fans: the Canadian Championship. Every year, it’s an opportunity to see old friends from the second division, dream of Central America and ugly cry after the final.

Vancouver will visit FC Edmonton tomorrow in the first leg of a two-match semifinal, with Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact in the other side of the bracket. The Championship, also known as the Voyageurs Cup, is how I got into following the Whitecaps, and it’s always been the source of some lovely memories. And some really, really awful memories.

What’s at stake?

The winners of the Canadian Championship are awarded the Voyageurs Cup, named for the national team supporter’s group that bought the trophy. They are also granted a spot in the CONCACAF Champion’s League, which is like the European version except with less money and more trips to crazy loud Mexican and Central American stadiums. (MLS teams usually compete for that through the league or the U.S. Open Cup, but we are special Canadian flowers and we get our own route. It works out.)

How did it start?

It started life in 2002 as the Voyageurs Cup, a trophy founded on donations by the national team supporter’s group and completely organized by the fans. At the time, all the Canadian professional teams played in the North American second division. From 2002 to 2007, it was awarded to the team with the best results in the regular season against the other Canadian teams in the league, which was invariably the Montreal Impact. Montreal competed yearly with the Whitecaps, TFC’s predecessors the Toronto Lynx, and, for a time, a Calgary team.

But things were changing rapidly by 2008. Toronto got an MLS expansion team and CONCACAF was rearranging its eight-team knockout cup into a 24-team format more like Europe, with group stages. Since American teams had always been awarded to the top two MLS teams, Canada needed to find a way to pick their own champion. Enter the Canadian Championship, a four-game round-robin between Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Eventually, Edmonton joined the second division, and in 2011 it changed to its current form, home-and-away semifinals followed by a two-legged final.

Has it been fun?

Oh yes. Back before Vancouver and Montreal got their MLS spots, it was a fun chance to take swipes at big-league Toronto. To those who had schlepped it in the second division for years, Toronto fans seemed like plastic jerks with no sense of history, who thought they were important just because they had games on TV. (Now, of course, we’re all that way.) A 1-0 win at BMO Field in 2008 was an underdog’s triumph, and though the ‘Caps lost, taking five points off Toronto kept them from seizing the first Cup of the new era.

Vancouver really wants to win one of these, largely because it keeps evading them. Last year’s 1-0 wet-fish loss against a TFC team that had been dire in almost every other match it played was brutal. In 2011, Vancouver were leading 1-0 in the 60th minute of the final’s second leg at BMO Field before rain and lightning caused the game to be called off. It was restarted a month later from 0-0, and TFC maddeningly won 2-1.

And then there’s 2009.

What happened in 2009?

Oh, 2009.

It was an exciting time! A young nerd from the B.C. Interior who’d been watching Tottenham since 2005, I started following the exploits of the second-division Vancouver team, who’d recently been awarded an MLS franchise for 2011. On a vacation to the Lower Mainland, I poked my head in the door for my first ever pro game live, a Voyageurs Cup game against Montreal. It was wonderful, although I missed Ethan Gage’s 60th-minute goal because I was making an emergency run to the portable washrooms behind the bleachers that held the Southsiders in Swangard Stadium.

I prolonged my vacation enough to make the next V-Cup game against Toronto, and it was delirious. With all the pressure — Toronto would win the Cup on our ground if they beat us — Ansu Toure scored twice, and Vancouver turned aside those big-league jerks. Not only that, but barring an inconceivable four goal win for TFC in their final game against Montreal, Vancouver were going to win the trophy themselves. We were dreaming of Costa Rica. There was a pitch invasion. It was like this:

Two weeks later, Toronto and Montreal lined up at Stade Saputo, with a crew of Whitecaps players watching from the stands. It couldn’t go wrong, right? Montreal wouldn’t ship five. They were too good for that. Even though they’d fielded what looked like a weak side, when they scored the first goal on a penalty, that looked like it was done and dusted.

And then Dwayne DeRosario, that asshole, scored twice before halftime. Then again for a hat trick. Then Amado Guevara scored. And then Chad Barret scored. Guevara’s 90th-minute goal sealed it. Toronto had won 6-1. Each goal was like a punch to the stomach.

Writing for the 24th Minute at the time, I had absolute sorrow. From Whitecaps president Bobby Lenarduzzi down, everyone was furious at Montreal for rolling over. They maintained they were saving their energy for the league game against Vancouver on the weekend, when, to add insult to injury they trounced the Whitecaps on national TV. The Montreal supporters’ group boycotted the first half in protest. There would be no Costa Rica. Toronto lost in the first round of the Champions League.

It was sporting hurt. Vancouver fans fly banners that read Je me souviens to remember it. One of these days, we’re going to win this damn thing. Maybe this is the year.