Shaky win to start WCQ

Yeah, well, my Masters thesis is finished, just in time for another WCQ cycle, so I now have time to do some blogging (as if anyone is still listening to my mindless blather after 2 years of silence).

Well, so we got 3 points tonight against St. Lucia so I guess I should feel happy about that. And I certainly feel happier after watching the second half than the first. After 45 I was thinking we would be lucky to make it out of this minnow group.

I can only think that that Hart started Jazic and Beaulieu-Bourgeault because he is saving his A game of Peters and Klukowski for the “tougher” opposition of Puerto Rico on Tuesday. Not that Jazic is out of place (I still have warm fuzzy memories of him as an integral part of the 2007 Gold Cup squad and he is a steady presence for Chivas) but JBB looked woeful, defending and going forward.

Positives for me. Josh Simpson continues to impress, and I think playing in Turkey has done his game a world of good. He was in play to go back to Germany this fall, but I’m happy he is sticking around in Turkey. Whatever is happening at Manisaspor is doing him good. Interesting to see his best goal of the night coming from the middle as opposed to the left side where I’m used to seeing him. Oh, and Sportsnet – naming DeRo the player of the game ahead of Simpson was just wrong.  The guy scored 2 goals and caused problems for St. Lucia all night, and DeRo gets the glory? Bah.

Will Johnson scoring his first goal for Canada. Good for him. I’m a big fan & nice to see him get a goal.

Toisant Ricketts came on with energy and pace. Oh the pace, killing tired St. Lucia legs. Was robbed just before Johnson scored.

Andre Hainault. Tough & made some good tackles. Another young player who is getting better with each outing. With Dejan Jakovic I think we’ll have a decent back line for the future.  And with Edgar, I’m thinking we’ll have some depth in the coming years.

Atiba Hitchinson. The real heart of our midfield. Would like to have seen Hart pull him a bit earlier considering his shaky injury status and the rash tackles St. Lucia was unleashing in the second half as they got tired and desperate.

Those were the positives. But lots of negatives.

Lars Hirschfeld. Many years ago, I was a Lars fan. But years of rotting on the bench at sub-par European teams has me reconsidering whether Hirschfeld is the second coming of Greg Sutton – always answers the call, can do a journeymans duty, but chokes at the worst possible time.

DeRo. The man we all love to hate, and tonight I hated him. WTF is he doing taking every friggin corner when every friggin corner was a duff? Do we not have a person who can deliver a ball into the box???? Ahem KLUKOWSKI? I know I shouldn’t be so hard on DeRo – I think he feels the pressure that he has to do EVERYTHING BY HIMSELF when really, if he just relaxed and let those moments come he would be so much easier to like.So many times I think he is a liability as his erratic behaviour must make it so tough to play with him. What the hell is he going to do? Who knows?

JDG. So frustrating to think that his best years were 4 years ago. Oh, how we need the JDG of 2007/08 to show up.

Simeon Jackson. Oh man, if you want to be the guy up front, you gotta finish. Gotta finish.

Iain Hume. Same thing.

How many opportunities did we waste? When we get to the Hex, those opportunities are going to happen once per game, and those are the opportunities that will make the difference between qualifying and having the 2014 campaign end like the 2010, 2006, 2002, etc.

That said, I do take a lot of positives from tonight, and from this round. I’m pretty happy that this new CONCACAF qualifying format gives us the opportunity to play extra games against these smaller clubs so we can fine tune the team and get things right for the rounds that matter later on. Getting a cohesive group of players who know each other will pay off as we move deeper into the qualifying rounds.I’m convinced that the reason we have had problems qualifying over the Hondouras of the world is because the core of our team isn’t playing together week in and week out like many Central American teams are in their domestic leagues. So the more opportunity our players have to play together only helps us even out that Central American advantage.

Okay. Onto Puerto Rico.

Canadian Players Update (tweeted by the Footie Fool the week of 2009-11-23)

Canadian Players Update (tweeted by the Footie Fool the week of 2009-11-16)

Canadian Players Update (tweeted by the Footie Fool the week of 2009-11-09)

To all who stayed, we salute you!

With a couple of upcoming Friendlies (Macedonia on Nov 14 & Poland on Nov 18), and with a break in my Masters happening right now (oh, how convenient), I finally have chance to to write a proper blog post that isn’t a summary of my Twitter stories.

Yeah a lot has happened lately. First Begovic, then Jacob Lensky (and thank you, Stephen Hart, for publicly expressing your disappointment). I am not going to bring up the point that another young prospect, David Edgar, has yet to be capped and is eligible to play for another country. Nope. Not going to mention or worry about that. Or that other David

What I do want to celebrate are the players that are staying and have accepted the call for these Friendlies. So this is a dual post – celebrating those that stayed and spewing my own uninformed opinions on the roster so far (and there are only 17 players called, so I expect to see a few more names on there before the lineup is finalized).

First, Tomasz Radzinski. It has been floated that perhaps he wasn’t done with the nats, and it appears that is the case. And, considering the crucial role he played in the last WCQ cycle (oh, if he hadn’t slipped into the board that night in Montreal), the guy still has a lot to offer. With his experience, he could play a role as a character player on the team. And the guy can still score goals and cause lots of trouble out wide.  So yeah, he may not play a role in the next WCQ cycle, but he has the chance to leave an echo for the squad that makes the run to 2014. And, as Stephen Hart correctly points out, he chose Canada. He could have played for Poland, but he chose Canada. Yeah, I have a man crush on Radz.

Second, Iain Hume (oh wait – another Canuck who chose Canada over Scotland). When Iain takes the field, I will stand up and scream the loudest “HELLL YA!” I have ever yelled. Oh, wait. I won’t know when he takes the pitch because there won’t be a feed available anywhere of this game. Welcome back. It’s really good to see you.

Third, Dejan Jakovic (Serbia) and Julian DeGuzman (Jamaica). Oh hey look! They choose Canada, too!  I was kind of expecting a fully European lineup for the Friendlies, but considering how crucial these two players are to the team (and yes, I believe Jakovic is crucial these days), I shouldn’t be surprised. Had their teams made the playoffs, things might have looked a bit different here (Andrew Hainault?).

Finally, let’s not forget Mike Klukowski (Austria), Simeon Jackson (Jamaica) and Marcel de Jong (Holland), all of who may have been tempted by other pastures. Let’s see, while I am making a list of all Canadians who might have been tempted elsewhere but choose Canada, who else can I add? Ante Jazic, Kenny Stamatopoulos, Nana Attakora (who I kinda expected to see here actually), Adrian Serioux (I may be wrong here, but I believe his family is from Trinidad?), Andrezj Ornoch, Matin Nash – heck, we could go on and on with the players who have accepted a call from Canada (and I am sure the knowledgeable readers of this blog will be able to add many more names to this list).

Sure, I hear you. The rules have changed and a lot of the players here might not have had any other options at the time they made their decisions. But when you look at who has made the call as opposed to who has left…well, the numbers look pretty good for us.

To all of you who stayed I salute you with a tip of my touque and a hearty “COOOO ROOOO KOOO KOO KO ROK KO KOOO”.

The full roster

GK- Lars Hirschfeld | GER / Energie Cottbus
GK- Josh Wagenaar | SCO / Falkirk
D/M- Mike Klukowski | BEL / Club Brugge KV
D- Kevin McKenna | GER / FC Köln
D/M- Paul Stalteri | GER / Borussia Mönchengladbach
D- Richard Hastings | SCO / Hamilton
D- Dejan Jakovic | USA / DC United
M- Julian de Guzman | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Atiba Hutchinson | DEN / F.C. København
M- Patrice Bernier | DEN / FC Nordsjælland
M- Iain Hume | ENG / Barnsley
M- Marcel de Jong | NED / Roda JC
M- Jaime Peters | ENG / Ipswich Town FC
M/F- Josh Simpson | TUR / Manisaspor
F- Simeon Jackson | ENG / Gillingham FC
F- Tomasz Radzinski | BEL / Lierse
F- Rob Friend | GER / Borussia Mönchengladbach

Canadian Players Update (tweeted by the Footie Fool the week of 2009-11-02)

Canadian Players Update (tweeted by the Footie Fool the week of 2009-10-26)

Canadian Players Update (tweeted by the Footie Fool the week of 2009-10-19)