Archive | Wrapups And Roundups RSS feed for this section

Tumultuous times for Canadian Players

16 Nov

Quite a bit has happened, or will happen this week concerning quotas/structures/pretty much anything else involving Canadian players and the development of them. Since I’m a lazy fuck, I won’t spend much time actually talking about them, instead I’ll just kinda slap them together and describe it as a portrait of this time in Canadian Soccer.

The legendary Canadian/Montreal/Quebec striker Alex Bunbury’s Canadian born son Teal Bunbury has chosen to play for the Yanks. Young Yankee Bunbury, followed the path of Asmir Begovic, in stating numerous times in the media that Canada was his country, and in no uncertain terms, his future team. Over time Yankee Bunbury went from “Canadian Player Focusing on Pro Career”, to “Canadian Player Uncertain About Team” to the increasingly more prevalent “Canadian Player Who Wants Success”. The player equivalent to a glory-hunting fan, the CPWWS is a person who wants to cash in on established success of a team, rather than working with a team to cement a future of winning. Aside from being the player equivalent of a leech, I have to say, he does not leave this situation with the more widespread hate associated with Owen and Asmir. Yankee Bunbury, is an actual immediate blood member of his team, and has never played many games under our country’s “unique snowflake” of a federation crest.

He also has spent much of his life in the land of the Hoveround Scooting obese, so in the end while sour at his decision(mostly because I, on numerous occasions, stated to friend-of-the-site-and-pair-of-shoe-winning Seb that he would play for Canada) I can not fault him for his choice, though I still hope he ends up a bust. What a paradox.

Now that the major negative has been wrote about, let’s focus on the lesser evil, the possible elimination of the Canadian quota in MLS. It has not been said for certain that it will be completely scrapped, it is definite it will be altered, and I doubt that means with the addition of Vancouver, two teams will be required to field more Canadians on their team. I find this soft treatment of Canadian teams to be pitiful. I personally wish the quota would be upped, performance of the team be damned.

Contrasting this, tomorrow there will be an announcement that “tomorrow, the face of soccer in Quebec will change drastically”. This centres around the announcement of the Gulls tomorrow of  something they’ve had in the works for a while now. Nothing concrete is available to talk about, but considering the fact they have been in talks with the Fédération de Soccer du Québec and have mentioned changes to the IMFC “Academy”, one can see where this is going.

Look for the definitive announcement tomorrow.

Tying in nicely to this little “Academy” news, MLS has upped the cap on possible “homegrown” players a team can sign, from 4, to infinity. There is now no cap on how many academy players you can sign. Let the games begin.

And in a stunning turn of events, the CSA has grown a scruncheon, to use a bit of Newfinese. No new Canadian teams will be sanctioned to play in US leagues for the coming year. A possible defensive tactic to keep USL PRO from worming into the Canadian game with their planned Canadian division, the CSA is aiming to once and for all cut US involvement in Canadian development to a minimum, hopefully leading to an actual Canadian league. Good for them, maybe now next time a player defects to another country, they’ll call them out on being cocks.

Stay tuned to D&G in the coming days to see an interview with a valuable player! And follow D&G on facebook, esti!

Advertisements

2010 Post Mortem

28 Oct

So, like I mentioned, it’s all over for this year. No more stadiums humming with the songs of the crowd(and the wail of their kids as they figure out it isn’t a Habs game). No more standing packed in the terrace, shoulder to shoulder with the same people from last week, and the faces of new friends. Not even one more Sunday afternoon game against Miami FC or NSC Minnesota.

Who would have ever thought I’d wish for even one more second of that special kind of hell, paying good money and eschewing homework/sleep/fun/anything to watch your team struggle to tie what may be some of the worst teams in the sport, in a bare standing section, just because there’s some sort of deep and at times, regrettable, connection to your city and your team.

I won’t even try to imitate a journalist this time. I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been covered by the news outlet vultures, coming for their usual once a season feast on the Impact, only to say they cover the team, and pass the clock until Anthony Calvillo gets a boo-boo, Kostistyn does something immoral or GSP farts. Anyone wishing for some decent coverage of the Gulls can look to CKAC for the soundbites of the players and staff, or 12eJoueur to see the hilarity that happens when people interview they’ve never seen before.

Instead, I’ll report on what happened during the time off the press conference, just outside and for just as long.

Many dedicated fans showed up early(hey, 9:00 am is early for me) that day, outside the stadium just for a glimpse of their beloved players. Sure, it wasn’t the best day to be standing around outside, but seeing those few privileged enough to represent the team was all it took to make the day worthwhile.

Every now and then a player would come or go from the stadium to their car(everything from VW Bugs to modified 300’s with tinted windows and vanity plates), and in between have a quick conversation that ranged from Rocco’s (ultimately and unfortunately true) “it doesn’t look good for next year” to a certain goaltender’s “dream of having the entire section filled with you guys. I dream of having the whole section on fire behind me, honest”.

That is what makes any time spent for the club worthwhile, that is a true fan experience. Not being given thundersticks or free face painting on entry, recognition we didn’t ask for, from people who don’t ask for our support. The symbiotic relationship between players of a team, and their fans, is what truly makes IMFC a real club. Through thick and thin, MLS or not, they will always be there for us, and we will always be there for them, as long as there exists one last breath in either person, they will give it their all for us, and we will likewise do the same.

That is what will make this offseason so tough, but that is also what gives us something to look forward to.

All photo credits go to Mauro.

One More Time(Semi-final)

23 Oct

Well, it’s a bit delayed but forgive me for lacking enthusiasm in writing this post. This past weekend the Gulls’ 2010 season was ended by none other than our friends the Caramilks. Once again IMFC played the first leg of the series at home and once again they left Montreal victorious.

That’s pretty much where the similarities ended. Montreal’s first leg was not nearly as dominant as what people had come to expect from the defending champions as the game only finished 1-0, on a day where it should have finished differently. Many chances were left unfulfilled for the Blue Boys during the game, so much so that it left me feeling like luck was just something that was not on their side, except for one particular event where a Carolina goal was called(perhaps rightly?) offside. Keep that in mind.

Overall the match would be what I would characterize as disappointing, interspersed with scenes of good play. One of the few bright spots on the field that night, as well as one of the bright spots one the field, was captured once again by Franck, of Ballonrond/the Offside fame:

Beautiful goal, really.

In terms of what happened off the field, one can say it was a truly special night, as well as a possible hint at things to come…

(2:00 in)

Courtesy of Ballonrondmtl and F10MTL once again.

The away leg of the series was truly a different affair.

Not watched live in a modern stadium in front of many thousands of people, but instead on a buffering internet stream showing a disinterested crowd in Cary, North Carolina. A match where, once again, offsides would play a part in the game, though this time to an even greater extent.

The match was a very lethargic affair in which the Montreal side were not as dynamic and decisive as usual. Carolina played quite a good counter, effectively neutralising Marc Dos Santos’ game plan. The Railhawks took advantage of this, implementing their own tactics, and being paid off with a goal late in the match, tying up the aggregate score at 1-1. Just as many people started to accept the possibility of extra time in Carolina, the Caramilks scored what appeared to be quite an offside goal. Ultimately, no clear decision can be reached due to the characteristic NASL/USL terrible camerawork, but see for yourself:

He may or not be offside. It is very possible that there exists a man faster than Usain Bolt, who is toiling away in the USSF D-2. Possible but very improbable, is the consensus around these parts. If you want you can see it as justice for Heinemann, who’s goal was called offsides in the first leg. Or you can call it robbery, stating either that the goal was offsides, or that Heinemann should not have even started the match, due to card accumulation, as was pointed out by Dos Santos.

Near the end of the match, Montreal’s favourite trigger to the question “Who?”, Marco Terminesi came on to bolster the Gulls attack. As he walked onto the field I said that he would be the guy to score the goal for us. Merely a few minutes later, in the 92nd minute of 94 minutes of stoppage time, Terminesi picked up a rebounded ball in front of a gaping, empty Railhawks net, putting the aggregate score at 2-2, forcing extra time between the Caramilks and seemingly re-invigorated Impact.

As the overjoyed Terminesi ran to celebrate with his team, the raised flag of the linesman was noticed, much to his(and his city’s) dismay. People are torn on whether or not he was indeed offside, but the majority of people seem to be in the “goal-was-good/can’t-tell-a-thing-from-the-video” camp than in the “wasn’t-good/can’t-tell-a-thing-from-the-video” camp.

Once again, decide for yourselves:

Further discussion/visual breakdowns of the Terminesi goal can be found here on Impactsoccer.com

Now you can go the easy route and blame the referees for the loss, whereas I personally choose to focus squarely on the team itself. You cannot leave crucial points in your season to be decided by others. You must constantly do Whatever It Takes to ensure your own success on the field. If the referee gifts a team 4 goals, you must be able to score 5, that’s how it is. For a team widely regarded as the Kings of D2 and with only one year left in the “small pond”, I am quite shocked they only have 3 stars to their name.

A team can not be a dominant force since the early 90’s, and only have 3 league successes to show for it. Even if they left their D2 era with 5 stars, thats on the low side of the acceptable expectations for a team that is the team in the league. Now it is clear that 5 stars are not possible, but at least there can still be 4.

Look for a series of irregular (and most likely bitterly written) series of posts this off season, soft scoops, as well as hopefully another two interviews conducted by everyone’s favourite negative, know-nothing Gulls blogger!

And for my many millions of fans, try to keep from filling up my inboxes on various sites, I know you love my insight, but I’m far too popular and important to bother acknowledging your existence!

Until next time!

One More Time(Quarterfinal)

10 Oct

So, a lot of people are drawing parallels to the Gulls championship season of 2009. A bad start, followed by the team beginning to work well together as well as a striker finding his form and scoring at nearly a goal a game.

Well, it’s certainly something no one would criticize people for saying around these parts because frankly it’s all true. Gone is the shakiness that characterized our early games and lacklustre offense. That’s been replaced by (mostly) calm actions on the field and yet another striker in blue hitting the net nearly every time. Gerba has 13 goals in 15 games, almost bringing him to a goal a game on average. If you count just what has happened since his coming out party in Baltimore, he has started scoring at what nears out to a goal every hour on the field.

The timing for both the good run of play of Ali (Zherba) Gerba as well as the team as a whole can certainly not be beat. It seems that gone are the days where Montreal would start hot and fizzle out. I, and I would hope many others, prefer this style of season to one that Montreal was known for merely a few years ago. Gone are the days of total defense interspersed with the odd goal or two. I haven’t watched a game afraid of no goals being scored by the Gulls.

If you have any knowledge of IMFC, you know just how strange and alien a feeling that is for us here in Montreal.

But don’t mistake my praise of our offense as taking something away from those who toil away in the back and middle of the field, making sure our goal is protected. Our defence is as solid as it’s ever been historically, the big change in Montreal was just finally having a working offense to go along with our indomitable defence.

This past quarter-final series versus the top-ranked Austin Aztex(from Texas…get it?) was what I like to see as a tale of two teams. The first leg which took place Wednesday at Saputo Stadium was a game in which the Gulls demonstrated their newfound offense built on the back of Ali (Zherba) Gerba, where he scored yet another effortless brace against yet another helpless team. In an interview that took place weeks before the game Marc Dos Santos had gone on record saying how Ali (Zherba) Gerba was not playing as good as he could be. Notably the Maestro said Ali had to work on his aerial game.

It looks like he did. An effortless header early on in the game set the tone of the match, which ended with yet another 2-0 win over the poor saps from Austin.

In the second leg of the quarter-final, there was certainly some action. There was a total 5 goals in the match that I will surprisingly label as Jordan’s game. Now at first blush you might think I’m even crazier than usual. That might be, but to anyone who had the pleasure of watching the game was treated to by an amazing individual performance by our beloved Phantom of the Pitch(NEVER FORGET) punctuated by a confident and effortless save on an iffy penalty call early in the game. This stellar play by Jordan was backed up by yet another(shocking, really) set piece goal scored by (surprise) Ali once more. Yet another header and display of passion from Gerba. In his own words, Marc Dos Santos has made the game enjoyable for him once more, something that he had apparently lost. A goal and flamboyant celebration by Eduardo “Old Man River” Sebrango was the final nail in the coffin for Austin, extending the Gulls’ aggregate lead to 5-2.

All this sets up another, sure-to-be-spirited matchup between our Gulls and Carolina’s Caramilks, which begins this Thursday night at Stade Saputo.

Now onto more interesting things. Those of you attentive enough to watch the video of King Ali’s goal may have noticed that in front of CXIV, there was not banner at all. And those of you who were too lazy to click one of my many(2) hyperlinks, can go back and click the first one.

See? Nothing there.

That’s because not even 5 minutes into the game, BEST security once again came into the section to take it down, by any means necessary.

Surely they were in the right though? Surely they had a justifiable reason and surely the banner was so obscene it should be taken down.

Well, take a look for yourself, courtesy of BallonRondMTL:

Ghastly, isn’t it?

The justification for a planned charge of the section by BEST security, overseen by our friends from the SPVM, for the removal of the banner in question was that “it’s hiding the ads”. Golly, BEST security, I’m sure Metro Grocery is glad you came into section and pushed people with handicaps and ejected members. That’s really positive publicity for them. The reason for the forcible removal of the banner? They asked and no one complied. Well, BEST, it’s kind of hard to hear a guy field level asking politely to take it down, over the din of 300 people screaming.

Those astute viewers out there might have realised that all ads in front of section 114 are legible, and that one of the two affected companies have their ads plastered all across the section.

But it’s not like it’s named after Metro or anything. Oh wait, it totally is:

If only there was some sort of small indication of the sponsor...

If only there was some sort of small indication of the sponsor...

Apparently BEST workers were under orders to uncover the ads “or else” but that hardly seems like a warrant to do whatever is necessary to whoever. Another highlight of the whole 15 minute scuffle was when one police officer was asked what she was doing in the middle of the section while shit was hitting the fan.

Her response? “I don’t know.”

I’m sure glad it was a well thought out and precisely executed idea.

Also, credit to the club for channelling MC Skat Cat and taking two steps back(sweet reference, right?) by moving the ads from a fence in front of 114, back to attaching them directly to 114 and the whole stand itself:

2009

 

2010-Le12e Joueur.ca

 

See you Thursday.

 

D Natural is back!

17 Sep

Yes I’ve been away for a while, and yes the world was briefly robbed of anglo Gulls coverage, what with Steve Beau and I both being gripped hard by the strong hands of apathy.

I was going to write up about the very well played Gulls-Raging Rhinos tilt, which saw IMFC win a very important match on the final night game of the regular season, in which Ali Gerba(Zherba) scored the fastest goal in club history, a mere 17 seconds into the game. He then potted his second later on in the game, to make his goal total over the last 2 games to a whopping 5, with two consecutive record setting games. People were certainly happy about that:

But then I was going to write about the Canada match, in which Canada won in front of a, for once, pro-Canadian crowd in Canada against their CONCACAF rivals Honduras, 2-1. The game was also characterised by the creation of an Ultras group for Canada, with the aims of fully supporting their nation in a way more familiar and comfortable to ultras all across the nation, as well as it being Paul Stalteri’s record setting game where he became Canada’s all time senior men’s cap leader:

Courtesy RedNationOnline.ca

Ultras banner, Courtesy RedNationOnline.ca

This win in Montreal broke our 427 day streak without a win. People were certainly happy about that:

http://vimeo.com/14789442

But then I was going to write about Montreal’s come from behind win over the PR Islanders, 2-1. Yet another match where Ali Gerba(Zherba) showed his brilliance when focused, with two nice goals, including a ~30 yard golazo. People were certainly happy about that:

http://www.rds.ca/zv2/?categorie=impact (click the Impact 2 Islanders 1)

But then I decided to do a small writeup about this crucial upcoming game against The Rowdies, and how a win on sunday will lock us into the playoffs, and how well that looks, considering how positive the team has been playing of late. And by team I mean Ali Gerba(Zherba), and how he’s dragging us kicking and screaming into the post season with seven goals in his last three games.

Tous au Stade!

PS: Thanks to BallonRondMTL for the Rochester video, and Zed for the Canada match.

Mountreal Roundup #4

27 Jul

So, a bit has gone on since the last match, where the Gulls quite rightly(but somehow surprisingly) beat AC St Louis 3-0. A goal from Reda in under 20minutes, and a goal from the now returned and much loved Antonio Ribeiro mere minutes after being subbed into the match were the highlights of the night.  This late goal by Ribeiro sent quite a clear message: that he is always someone who gives it his all, and he played like a man determined to show everyone that he never should have left in the first place(We’re looking at you, DeSantis!). And as his performance shows, you cannot stop a determined soul. You could see his joy after the match as he ran up to the kop, in front of  a 3-foot high banner of his likeness to celebrate his triumphant return. Welcome back, Antonio.

It was also quite a treat to have a strong contingent of supporters come over from the fledgling ESG, to take back some ideas to support their team on the prairies, FC Edmonton. Nice guys, with quite a bit of potential. I can see good things coming from Edmonton in the future, if everything is allowed to grow.

The feather in the cap for me that night was while waiting for the ESG on Crescent Street, running into parents of AC St Louis keeper Alec Dufty. They were so genuinely nice and appreciative of the atmosphere at the game, I couldn’t even manage to smack talk these kindly oldish people. Shocking behaviour for me, I know.

To bolster our hot-and-cold offense, the Gulls signed Marco Terminesi to a contract today.  A young(ish) Canadian with an unfortunate past, Marco last scored 6 goals and got 4 assists in 700 minutes with the Thunder. Hopefully he is match fit and able to make a difference right away.

Seeing as Nick is a fan of Latino Gang movies, he lives his life according to the phrase “Blood in, Blood out”(google it) Tyler Hemming, as of today, is outta here! The much maligned, often unused midfielder was the victim of a strong midfield that he could not crack. Here’s hoping he does well in Austin(with, shudder, Sakuda.)

And all this is in anticipation of one of the bigger matches we’ll play all season, a rivalry/night game, against a team we desperately need the 6point turnaround on this season versus the Whitecaps, which takes place tomorrow night. We can expect to see Jordan in the lineup(he didn’t lie to me when I asked when he’d be back. Huzzah!), as well as a possible appearance from Terminesi, as he’s been cleared to play for us. With Jordan back in nets, I feel like we should thank Srdjan Djekanovic for all his good play this season while Our LORD and Saviour, Jordan, was on the bench. You’re a good kid, Srdj, thanks a bunch.

See you all there!

Life in Marvelous Times

15 Jul

As of last night, it seems like it might finally be good to be an Impact supporter: A win over their budding Caramilk rivals with a late goal by Byers, followed by an intense celebration courtesy of Kop CXIV:

Coming on the heels of this electrifying Wednesday night were a few big media announcements.

PR Mayard is officially back from Charleston. Fresh off his impressive stint in Charleston where as far as I know, he formed the core of a competent Charleston Battery, where they eventually lost in the USOC to everyone’s favourite Crew, Columbus.

The Impact will be selling 1 dollar hotdogs!!! Too bad they don’t have them scheduled for a Rochester game, maybe the lure of cheap pigbutts in intestinal tubes could have enticed the Rochester Stamped up one last time, where they would once again lose in a hotdog eating contest.

Based on my pregame interaction with him last night, it seems pretty likely that Matt Jordan will be back to starting in nets “next week”.

There was also a guest appearance of Antonio Ribeiro on local Radio, but I missed it and have no idea what was said, so…yeah.

And the big one, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…the return of King Ali! He’s back, confirming both the widely held suspicions that he would come back, as well as the slip from trialist Jawad el-Hajri  back on Canada day that “Montreal already found their attackers”. If the King can get over his training/effort problem, expect big things from him and the Impact attack, with young up and comers in Reda and Mayard, learning from the veterans Sebrango and Gerba, hopefully alongside a newly-lit Byers.

We are alive in amazing times…with dollar hotdogs.