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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old February 1st, 2012, 19:42 Thread Starter
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Canada to face US in WC qualifier tuneup June 3

Canada to face U.S. in World Cup qualifier tuneup
Ben Rycroft February 1, 2012

It's not quite the War of 1812, but two hundred years after Canadians defended their lines against American soldiers, they'll get a chance to do it once again - this time on the soccer pitch.

CBCSports.ca has learned from CONCACAF and U.S. soccer sources that the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA), as a part of their centenary celebrations, has arranged to play the U.S. men's national team on Canadian soil ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in June.

The official date and location will be announced Thursday in Toronto when the CSA launches a new jersey to mark the occasion and confirms the host cities for men's and women's games this year.

For a soccer federation that would struggle to find much to hang its hat on from the last 100 years, this is a refreshingly well thought out decision.

Less than a year ago, Umbro Canada, an official sponsor of Canadian soccer, let it slip that the CSA was seeking out a pair of big-name friendlies to play in Canada as part of the centennial celebrations. England and France were the targets.

You can understand their thinking. Bring in the two founding nations - both guaranteed draws at the gate and hype in the media - to play high profile games that would be as rich on symbolism as they are on profit.

Problem is both England and France command hefty appearance fees, so to ensure a profit you would end up playing the games at Rogers Centre and Olympic Stadium and marketing them to the ex-patriots to ensure a sellout.

Nothing says celebrating Canadian soccer like the roar of 40,000 English soccer fans dwarfing that of the 10,000 Canadian fans in attendance, eh? It was a nice idea, but not one that would fit the goals of the modern game here.

Canadian soccer still struggles to ensure home crowds for its home teams - something that is considered crucial for countries trying to qualify for a World Cup. It's a testament to, and a detriment of, living in a multicultural community. Even the smallest of nations will draw hordes of fans to come cheer on their homeland, even against their current home.

Most Canadian soccer fans still remember a fateful September night in 2008, when 5,000 Honduran fans took over Saputo Stadium in Montreal during the 2010 World Cup qualification and lifted their team to a 2-1 defeat of the Canadians. Amid stories of bags of piss thrown, security abuses and corporate sponsors handing out Honduran-coloured thundersticks, it was widely declared a low point for the Canadian program.

Out of that though has grown awareness about the need to ensure home support for the Canadian team. It's what led to the decision to play all of opening round World Cup qualifiers in Toronto. And it's, ultimately, why the U.S. - who traditionally doesn't have a large contingent of travelling support - is the perfect choice as a send off to the next round of World Cup qualifying, which begins in June.

Canada's first, albeit unofficial, international game was against the U.S. in 1885. Canada won 1-0 over the Yanks in Newark, N.J., but the Americans of 1885 are far from the Americans of today. In fact, where the Canadian program has stagnated in the last 20 years, the American program has thrived, qualifying for successive World Cups, creating several international-calibre players and reaching as high as No. 4 in the FIFA World rankings. Canada is currently ranked 74.

It's a big gap and not likely one that will be closed any time soon. But for the CSA, and Canadian soccer, the U.S. team they face in June should be the benchmark from which they measure themselves over the next 100 years.

Last edited by Joe MacCarthy; June 3rd, 2012 at 14:51.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old June 3rd, 2012, 14:49 Thread Starter
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Canada to face USA on Sunday June 3rd
Men's National Team 2 June 2012

Canada will face USA on Sunday 3 June in a Men's International Friendly match as part of the Canadian Soccer Association's 2012 Centennial Celebrations. The match will kick off just after 19.00 local at BMO Field in Toronto, ON, with a live coast-to-coast broadcast on Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet West and Sportsnet Pacific (19.00 ET / 16.00 PT). The match is also part of Canada's preparations for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

Following a final training session on Saturday 2 June, Canada will suit up for the international match on Sunday 3 June. After the Sunday match, Canada then plays two matches in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Cuba away on 8 June in Havana and Honduras at home on 12 June in Toronto. Tickets to Canada's 2012 home matches are available via ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1.855.570.7500, with full information available on CanadaSoccer.com. Group discounts are available via [email protected] or 613.237.7678.

As part of the Centennial celebrations, Canada will wear a special Umbro retro blue kit, only to be worn on 3 June by the men's national team and then on 30 June by the women's national team (a Women's International Friendly match against USA in Sandy, UT). Limited quantities of the Centennial jersey - as well as an anthem jacket and Centennial cap from New Era - are available for sale at canadasoccer.com.

The Umbro blue kit pays tribute to the first Canada-USA match in Canada on 27 June 1925, a Men's International Friendly match at Alexandra Park in Montréal, QC. Canada won that match 1:0 with a goal by Ed MacLaine. Team captain on the day was 40-year old Geordie Campbell, who many years later was remembered as "one of the greatest fullbacks ever to play in this country."

While Canada and USA have faced each other more than 30 times, there has been only one previous meeting in Toronto, ON - Canada's first-ever FIFA World Cup Qualifiers match on 22 June 1957. Canada won that match 5:1 at Varsity Stadium, with a pair of goals by future captain Art Hughes. Ten of Canada's starting XI on the day have since become honoured members of The Soccer Hall of Fame, including Norm McLeod, Brian Philley and Gogie Stewart (who also scored on the day).

Canada and USA have faced each other 13 times in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and four times in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The most recent meeting was 7 June 2011 at last year's CONCACAF Gold Cup, a 2:0 victory for USA at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. The previous match was the contentious 21 June 2007 semi-final also at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, ending 2:1 in USA's favour after an apparent Atiba Hutchinson goal was called off by the officials.

While Canada opens its next round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Cuba and Honduras on 8 and 12 June, USA will face Antigua and Barbuda (home) and Guatemala (away) on those same dates in the CONCACAF 3rd Round for Brazil 2014. Canada's other group opponent is Panama (for a home-and-away series in September) while USA's other opponent is Jamaica (also for a home-and-away series in September).

From the three groups of four teams in the 2012 CONCACAF 3rd Round for 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the top-two teams from each group will advance to the 2013 CONCACAF Final Round. All CONCACAF 3rd Round matches are played in June (8 and 12), September (7 and 11) and October (12 and 16).

From the goal out, Canada's current squad features goalkeepers Milan Borjan, Lars Hirschfeld and Kenny Stamatopoulos, defenders David Edgar, André Hainault, Dejan Jaković, Ante Jazić, Mike Klukowski, Nik Ledgerwood, Kevin McKenna, and Ashtone Morgan, and midfielders/forwards Julian de Guzman, Dwayne De Rosario, Iain Hume, Atiba Hutchinson, Simeon Jackson, Will Johnson, Issey Nakajima-Farran, Olivier Occean, Pedro Pacheco, Samuel Piette and Tosaint Ricketts.

For full coverage of Canada's road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, fans can follow all the news at CanadaSoccer.com. Fans are also encouraged to connect with Canada's national teams via twitter.com/CanadaSoccerEN, facebook.com/CanadaSoccer, flickr.com/canadasoccer, and youtube.com/CanadaSoccerTV.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old June 4th, 2012, 03:01 Thread Starter
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Canada impressive in friendly draw with U.S.
John Molinaro Sportsnet.ca June 3, 2012

TORONTO -- If the dress rehearsal was any indication, Canada is ready for the big dance.

The Canadian national team put in a solid performance Sunday in its final tune-up before World Cup qualifying resumes, earning a well-deserved 0-0 draw against the United States.

Canada travels to Havana to take on Cuba on June 8 in its first match of the World Cup qualifiers. Four days later the Reds host Honduras in Toronto.

The optics of the final score doesn't look good when placed into historical context. Canada is now winless in 15 consecutive games against the U.S., its last victory coming on April 2, 1985 in a friendly staged in Vancouver. The U.S. leads the all-time series (12-8-10).

But the 15,247 in attendance at BMO Field Sunday evening can take solace in the fact that Canada appears ready for the gruelling and challenging qualification road ahead.

Sunday marked Canada's first competitive game since a Feb. 29 friendly against Armenia. The U.S., meanwhile, was playing its third game in eight days. You could hardly tell the two sides were at such different stages of preparedness. Canada matched their more accomplished neighbours to the south step for step.

Canadian coach Stephen Hart said beforehand he was using this game as preparation for the Cuba match and wasn't terribly interested in the final result. He must have been pleased with what he saw. Canada, ranked 75th in the current FIFA world rankings, were not played off the field by the U.S. (ranked 29th), and at times looked capable of winning the game.

Midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, the Canadian team's best player, did not play due to a nagging knee injury, as Hart did not want to risk him ahead of the Cuba match.

With Hutchinson absent, Hart fielded a somewhat defensive 4-5-1 formation, with Olivier Occean leading the line up front. Canada did well to keep its shape for most of the match, continually thwarting the Americans and hitting out on the counter-attack.

The Americans dominated possession from the opening kickoff, with the Canadians chasing shadows and barely getting a sniff of the ball. Still, for all their possession, the U.S. never really had Canada on the ropes.

The U.S. carved out a pair of scoring chances in the opening 15 minutes. After Clarence Goodson forced a shot wide of the post, Edgar Castillo nearly lobbed Lars Hirschfeld with a long-range effort, only to see the Canadian goalkeeper tip the ball over the crossbar.

Canada slowly came into the game, and threatened through Occean, Dwayne De Rosario and Toissant Rickets.

Nik Ledgerwood appeared to give Canada the lead with a sharp finish in the 34th minute, but the goal was negated by a dubious foul call on De Rosario in the buildup. Just before halftime, Landon Donovan played a quick give-and-go with Clint Dempsey, but Hirschfeld quickly rushed off his line to snuff out the chance.

The American duo linked up again just after the re-start, this time Dempsey's attempt was cleared away by Canadian defender David Edgar.

Julian de Guzman played a great ball that released substitute Simeon Jackson on goal in the 68th minute, but the Canadian forward didn't keep his composure and fired a shot over the crossbar.

Canada furiously pressed for a winner in the final 15 minutes, and Jackson spurned another scoring opportunity in injury time, pushing his shot wide of the post while inside the six-yard box.

The U.S. marched right back down the field and Hirschfeld made a stunning save on a powerful header from Goodson to preserve the tie.

NOTES: Sunday's match was a part of the Canadian Soccer Association's centennial celebration. The Canadian players wore a special retro blue jersey that paid tribute to the first Canada-U.S. match played on Canadian soil on June 27, 1925, in Montreal. Canada won that game 1-0 courtesy of a Ed MacLaine goal... A pre-game ceremony held on the field recognized past Canadian soccer legends (including Craig Forrest, Les Wilson and Alex Bunbury) and the 2012 class of the Soccer Hall of Fame... The only other match in Toronto between Canada and the U.S. was on June 22, 1957 at Varsity Stadium. Canada won the World Cup qualifier 5-1...
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