When Arsenal played in Toronto

Arsenal don’t do North American tours. Not recently, anyway. Their rivals at the top in England have all been in the US lately, but Arsène Wenger prefers to take the club to the Austrian alps – or, at a push, southeast Asia and Japan. There hasn’t been any indication that Arsenal will spread their brand on this side of the Atlantic any time soon, but this hasn’t always been the case.

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Empty titles at BMO Field

Nelsen (L) and O'Leary

Ryan Nelsen, Toronto’s current head coach, is the club’s eighth in only seven seasons. The Reds haven’t excelled at much, but they’ve become experts at creating roles for reshuffled coaches and executives. More than one manager has been “moved upstairs” into a newly created position invented in a press release. By this point, it’s worth taking a look at just how many official-sounding titles the club have used. (updated September 20, 2013)

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The unattached XI

clockwise from (L): Jackson, Peters, Simek, Lichaj

The season is over in most of Europe, and a host of Canadian and American players are among those that have been released in the past few weeks. Along with a few MLS veterans who are still without a club in 2013, there are enough quality free agents to form an XI of players that should be on the radar of Canada’s pro teams during the business end of the season.

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Montreal is a soccer city

Saputo Stadium, Montreal

As much as it pains me to say it, Toronto can take a page from the way Montreal handles their MLS team. Both have a soccer-hungry fanbase, their own stadium and are willing to spend money, so why the widening gap between the sides? This Wednesday, the Impact could win their 8th Voyageurs Cup (update – and they did). It’s time to acknowledge Montreal as Canada’s leading soccer city.

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Thoughts from a displaced Torontonian

Robert Earnshaw in action for Wales

Last year, I moved from Toronto to Vancouver, and Saturday’s opening game between the two cities’ Major League Soccer franchises was a rare opportunity for me to see my hometown team in action.  The Whitecaps hosted Toronto FC at BC Place to kick off the 2013 MLS season with a rematch between last year’s Canadian Championship finalists.

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Indie wrestling alive and well in Vancouver: ECCW review

The idea of professional wrestling outside of the WWE, the biggest company in “sports entertainment”, is foreign to most people.  They might think of backyard wrestling, barbed wire, and the movie the Wrestler.  As it turns out, independent wrestling is alive and well (and family-friendly) in the Vancouver area.

This was grassroots wrestling at its finest.  ECCW embodies the independent wrestling ethos that harkens back to a time when local territories were the highest rung of the sport…

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Italy turn to new breed of Oriundi

Pablo Osvaldo, left, with Cesare Prandelli

Italy laboured to a 3-1 win over Armenia on Friday, moving a step closer to the World Cup.  Gianluigi Buffon will rightly take the plaudits for keeping Italy in the game at 1-1, but it was finally settled by a player born in Buenos Aires – Pablo Osvaldo, the Roma striker who moved to the country with Atalanta in 2006. 

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Colombia’s American exports: MLS XI

Fredy Montero takes on Jair Benitez

Colombia is a country known for its exports to the United States, flooding the American market with coffee, cocaine and more recently, Major League Soccer players.  The country with the most MLS players is of course the US, but in second is not Canada – home of 3 MLS teams – but Colombia.  Vancouver’s reluctance to use homegrown players may be partly to blame, but there are a variety of reasons for the amount of imported Colombian in the league.

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Exclusive: CSL comment on fixed games

The Canadian Soccer League has released a statement about the recent match-fixing revelations regarding a 2009 match between Toronto Croatia and Trois-Rivières Attak, the one-time feeder club for Montréal Impact.

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The CSA responds: official statement on match-fixing

The Canadian Soccer Association has issued a statement regarding match-fixing and the Canadian Soccer League, replying to recent calls for more attention to this kind of corruption.  I’d like to pretend I had something to do with this, having called out the CSA to take more accountability for the football being played under its banner, but really the CSA had little choice but to respond to all of the attention caused by the CBC story on match-fixing in the CSL.

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