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Canada: Climbing Out of the Abyss


Pierroth

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January 20, 2004

Report: Yallop steps down as Canada coach

TORONTO (CP) – The Frank Yallop era is dead before it even got started.

Reports state that Yallop, named head coach of the Canadian men’s national soccer team on December 16, has stepped down from the job just over a month after his appointment. An unidentified source told the Canadian Press that Yallop has accepted a management position at Ipswich Town in England, which Yallop played at for several years.

“He didn’t want to leave the Canadian team so suddenly, but this was too good an opportunity to pass up,†said the source, who also revealed that Yallop has been offered a 3-year contract at Ipswich.

The timing could not be worse for Canada, as preparations have already started for FIFA World Cup qualifying, with the national team due to start play in June. Canada has only qualified for the World Cup once in their history, in 1986.

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January 20, 2004

Report: Yallop steps down as Canada coach

TORONTO (CP) – The Frank Yallop era is dead before it even got started.

Reports state that Yallop, named head coach of the Canadian men’s national soccer team on December 16, has stepped down from the job just over a month after his appointment. An unidentified source told the Canadian Press that Yallop has accepted a management position at Ipswich Town in England, which Yallop played at for several years.

“He didn’t want to leave the Canadian team so suddenly, but this was too good an opportunity to pass up,†said the source, who also revealed that Yallop has been offered a 3-year contract at Ipswich.

The timing could not be worse for Canada, as preparations have already started for FIFA World Cup qualifying, with the national team due to start play in June. Canada has only qualified for the World Cup once in their history, in 1986.

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January 31, 2004

CSA to hold major press conference tomorrow; MacKinnon in frame

VANCOUVER (CP) – The Canadian Soccer Association has announced a “major†press conference will take place at Swangard Stadium tomorrow, where it is expected that Colin MacKinnon will be named as the new head coach of the Canadian men’s soccer team.

MacKinnon’s appointment is quite unexpected, given that the Montreal native was expected to take a back seat to Berti Vogts, who was widely considered as the top choice following his departure from the Scottish national team on December 25 of last year.

Still, it seems clear that the CSA brass have high hopes for the 29-year old, who displayed remarkable tactical skill in coaching Miramar Rangers to the New Zealand championship last June after simply answering an ad in the local newspaper while on vacation.

After hoisting the championship, MacKinnon was quickly called back to Canada by the CSA, who have apparently been grooming him for a high-level spot by having him assist in youth developmental camps for the U-23 and U-20 teams.

The CSA likely did not anticipate moving MacKinnon into the position of head coach of the national side so early, but apparently felt that given the timing of former coach Frank Yallop’s resignation on January 20, it was best to hire from within and prepare for FIFA World Cup qualifying, which will start for Canada in June.

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(This is the first time I'm managing the home team too, so don't feel bad. icon_wink.gif )

"...And now that the official statements have been made, we will have a general question and answer period. Please wait for the runner with the microphone to arrive at your seat before asking your question."

Q: Obviously the first question that comes to the mind of many soccer fans, both avid and casual ones, would be to question your appointment as head coach, that you don't have enough experience or savvy... What would you say to them?

A: Well, first off I don't like the term "head coach". I know that technically it's correct, but I like the European way of looking at it... I'm the manager of the team. I have to coach the team on the field, keep track of players off the field, ensure that players can be released for matches, arrange friendly matches... It's much more than just going out, kicking the ball around at practice and then playing 90 minutes.

As far as the question goes, the fans have every right to doubt my abilities. It's not every day that a manager who's several years younger than the veteran players gets placed in charge. I've kept track of the game since I was a youngster, I've been involved in coaching youth teams since I was 16, and I've had success in New Zealand and have been fortunate enough to receive some great instruction under the CSA's wing. Those aren't the credentials of a Scolari or an Eriksson, but they obviously trust me. And I don't want to let them down, believe me. If I felt that I couldn't do the job, I would have turned the job down. And they gave me that option, mind you.

Q: Before we even mention the World Cup... Obviously Canadian soccer is in a pretty, to be frank, sad state. What do you think can be done about this while in charge of the team?

A: Well, we need to put more focus on our grassroots programs. No question. We've lost too many players due to not having high quality coaching and scouting, and it's definitely affected the overall makeup of the squad. Having said that, I'm going to be paying close attention to promising youngsters and give them exposure through the under-20 side, which I will be coordinating along with Colin Miller. If we can achieve success on the field, and if more of our players can start successful careers both in North America and in other leagues around the world, then they'll improve and the profile of the game in Canada will increase. We could sit here all day talking about funding, forming a professional league, government intervention and so on, but as a manager I can only do so much.

Q: Well, obviously you have an eye on qualifying for the World Cup, which is every nation's dream... Do you think Canada's chances of qualifying are good, or even realistic?

A: When I was hired for this job yesterday, I was told that we really need to make it to the World Cup. I couldn't agree more. We're in a position now where we haven't gotten the job done for a while... We couldn't make 1994, we came short for 1998, and we didn't even get out of the starting block for 2002. As a Canadian soccer fan, I can understand the frustration people have felt because of this. I feel that we have a team that can make it to the final round of qualifying and can hopefully make it to the World Cup. I'm not promising any miracles, but I know that we have many hard-working players out there who have a lot of individual skill. It's my job to mold them into a winning team, and I feel that with the talent available at my disposal, we'll make other teams in the CONCACAF region realize that Canada isn't a soccer minnow by any stretch of the imagination; we have boys here that can play soccer.

Q: How will the squad look for qualifying? Will you be sticking to veterans or looking at youngsters?

A: A little of both, actually. I really can't say for sure what shape the team will take because I still have to contact players and spend the next little while keeping tabs on everyone's performance for their club teams. I think we have some fine established players who can make a difference, but I also feel that we have a lot of young talent that's been overlooked. I doubt that we'll be able to get a friendly in before qualifying starts, meaning that I'll have to hope that we can afford to look at a few players during the two-leg tie. So the answer's basically a good mix, but how much of a mix I really can't say at this time.

Q: Do you have any specific style of play you'd like Canada to adopt?

A: Not really. I think we have to play a good, cohesive game as a unit, but it'll all depend on how the players gel with each other. We're not going to bang 4 or 5 goals into the net each game, but I'm not going to sit back and go for boring 1-0 wins either, to put it bluntly. I'm going to emphasize teamwork above all else, and if everyone's on the same page we can look at using the team's strengths to our advantage.

Q: Will anyone be assisting you in coaching the team?

A: I believe so, but I haven't talked with anyone yet. I plan to do so in the next few days, because I would like some veteran leadership on the team to assist the guys. I feel that's key.

Q: Do you plan to have one friendly in Canada at least every 4 years?

*laughter fills the room*

A: A home friendly? Are you nuts? *laughs* Seriously, I know that Canadian fans are frustrated that we don't play at home very often, and I think that we need to reach out to the fans and allow them to come see us play. I definitely see a few home games a year in our horizon, as we need to establish a presence in Canada. We don't need to alienate our fanbase.

And with that, I think they're signaling that my time is up... For today at least. In closing, I'd like to thank the CSA again for this opportunity, and I'd like to say to the fans that they're in for a treat. We're going to make Canada proud this time around. Thank you.

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If you couldn’t tell by now, this is an attempt at getting Canada to the World Cup, trying to right the wrongs that happened when trying to qualify this time around. FM 2005 (with 5.02 patch) is being used, Large database, all players from CONCACAF nations loaded, one league (Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Peru, South Africa, USA) active in each continent. The match reports/goings on between match dates will be more or less personal, but there’ll be quite a bit of media stuff here and there. Enjoy!

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(I know - it's so refreshing to see something a little out of the norm. icon_smile.gif )

February 6, 2004

I managed to get my two coaches within the week; Dominic Mobilio (***) (25 caps/0 goals) and Garreth Kusch (22 caps/1 goal). They certainly had their time in the spotlight for the national team and should help me prepare the team for our first match.

((***) - Mobilio actually was killed a few weeks ago in a car accident. I chose him for two reasons; to keep his memory alive and because he had good stats. So there.)

February 18, 2004

Results from today’s FIFA World Cup CONCACAF First Round, First Leg qualifiers:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">

Anguilla 2-2 Bermuda

Aruba 1-1 St. Vincent

Bahamas 1-2 Antigua & Barbuda

British Virgin Islands 3-1 Dominica

Grenada 3-0 Cayman Islands

Guyana 2-1 St. Lucia

Montserrat 1-1 Dominican Republic

Netherlands Antilles 1-2 Belize

Surinam 3-0 Turks and Caicos Islands

US Virgin Islands 1-1 Nicaragua

</pre>

February 20, 2004

Apparently the Faroe Islands would get a kick out of us traveling there 4 days before a potential qualifier for a friendly on November 13. If they wanted to come here, sure, but since they didn’t, it’s no good. Honestly, do they think we have the time to make a potential trip from the Faroes to Mexico or Honduras and be nice and rested? Talk about a lack of logic...

March 31, 2004

Results from today’s FIFA World Cup CONCACAF First Round, Second Leg qualifiers:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">

Antigua & Barbuda 2-1 Bahamas

(4-2 on aggregate)

Belize 4-1 Netherlands Antilles

(6-2 on aggregate)

Bermuda 3-1 Anguilla

(5-3 on aggregate)

Cayman Islands 1-1 Grenada

(1-4 on aggregate)

Dominica 2-1 British Virgin Islands

(3-4 on aggregate)

Dominican Republic 3-0 Montserrat

(4-1 on aggregate)

Nicaragua 2-1 US Virgin Islands

(3-2 on aggregate)

St. Lucia 2-1 Guyana

(3-3 on aggregate, Guyana wins penalty shootout 2-1)

St. Vincent 2-1 Aruba

(3-2 on aggregate)

Turks and Caicos Islands 1-0 Surinam

(1-3 on aggregate)

</pre>

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(That's the spirit!)

April 2, 2004

States, Mexico, Canada receive easy draws

KINGSTON, JAMAICA (AP) - The United States will play Guyana in the second round of FIFA World Cup CONCACAF qualifying.

The draw, held in Kingston this morning, saw favorable draws handed to the other North American teams as well. Mexico was drawn to face Nicaragua, while Canada will face St. Kitts and Nevis. 2002 World Cup qualifiers Costa Rica will battle Belize.

The draw itself tossed up few surprises, although first round winners Grenada will certainly fancy their chances against Haiti.

The draw in full, with matches to take place on June 12 and 19:

Guyana vs. U.S.A.

Antigua & Barbuda vs. Panama

St. Vincent vs. Honduras

Grenada vs. Haiti

Nicaragua vs. Mexico

Surinam vs. Cuba

Bermuda vs. Jamaica

Canada vs. St. Kitts & Nevis

Belize vs. Costa Rica

British Virgin Islands vs. Trinidad & Tobago

Dominican Republic vs. Guatemala

Barbados vs. El Salvador

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May 28, 2004

Squad set for St. Kitts clashes

TORONTO (Canadasoccer.com) - Canadian men's national team manager Colin MacKinnon has announced his 23-man lineup that will face St. Kitts and Nevis in the second round of FIFA World Cup CONCACAF qualifying.

"I worked very hard to come up with the right mix of players that would ensure qualification, and I'd like to think I succeeded in that regard," Mackinnon stated at this afternoon's CSA press conference in downtown Toronto. "I think that we should qualify fairly easily for the semi final stage, but I hope for the sake of the team that we can afford to do a little experimentation in the second leg."

The squad named for the two matches against St. Kitts and Nevis on June 12 and 19:

Goalkeepers:

Lars Hirschfeld (Dundee United, Scottish Premier League)

Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes, MSL)

Greg Sutton (Montreal Impact, A-League)

Defenders:

Jim Brennan (Norwich City, English Premiership)

Jason De Vos (Ipswich Town, English Championship)

Kevin Harmse (Rochester Raging Rhinos, A-League)

Stathis Kappos (AEK Athens, Greek National A Division)

Mike Klukowski (La Louviere, Belgian First Division)

Kevin McKenna (Hearts, Scottish Premier League)

Marco Reda (Sogndal, Norwegian Premier Division)

Adrian Serioux (Millwall, English Championship)

Paul Stalteri (Werder Bremen, German Bundesliga)

Midfielders:

Patrice Bernier (Tromso, Norwegian Premier Division)

Marc Bircham (Queens Park Rangers, English Championship)

Maycoll Canizalez (Hannover 96, German Bundesliga)

Julian De Guzman (Hannover 96, German Bundesliga)

Iain Hume (Tranmere Rovers, English League One)

Atiba Hutchinson (Helsingborg, Swedish Premier Division)

Tam Nsaliwa (Saarbrucken, German 2. Bundesliga)

Forwards:

Dwayne De Rosario (San Jose Earthquakes, MLS)

Oliver Occean (Odd Grenland, Norwegian Premier Division)

Rob Friend (Molde, Norwegian Premier Division)

Tomasz Radzinski (Fulham, English Premiership)

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by tamarisk:

No players from domestic canadian league?

Good story <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

We don't have a domestic league. icon_frown.gif But there is the A-League though which has some Canadian teams combined with American. But from what I've heard they changed the name now to something else icon_confused.gif

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(There ARE some semi-pro teams in Canada (aside from the A-League/USL Division 1 teams) but the majority of players are quite poor. Maybe good enough to warm the bench on the B team. Maybe.)

Questions and answers from the press conference…

Q: Obviously the deck’s been stacked for this match, but do you think that you need all these talented players to defeat St. Kitts?

A: I think so. I think that we’re at a point now where we can’t take any competitive match lightly, and I’d hate to be in a must-win situation on June 19. My plan is that the best possible team will be fielded in the first game, and then depending on the result achieved we’ll see how the second game will be approached. There’s a few players here I’m dying to take a look at, but since we have no time for friendlies we need to take this seriously; having said that, I’m hopeful a few of the younger guys will get a run-out.

Q: Have you or anyone in the CSA scouted the St. Kitts side, and if so have you drawn any conclusions from them?

A: Not really. We’ve done some background checks but all we really know is that they have 3 players who are on Peterborough’s squad from England, and 2 players compete for Sabah in Malaysia. The rest of the squad seems to be composed of local boys. We think their biggest threat is Callum Willock, who had 8 goals for Peterborough last season… But they certainly are a developing soccer nation. We’ll show them respect, but we’re also coming to compete.

Q: Will this be the squad that you bring into the next round, assuming all goes well?

A: The shape of the squad probably won’t change that much, but things happen… You have injuries, suspensions, poor form and other things like that which need to be addressed at times. I’ve contacted a few players and told them that they’re still in the national team’s plans, even if they won’t be playing in the St. Kitts series. We have many talented players who are gaining attention at clubs throughout Europe and the world, and it’s important to keep track of as many of them as possible.

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June 12, 2004

FIFA World Cup - CONCACAF Qualifying - Second Phase First Leg

Canada vs. St. Kitts & Nevis

Canada (4-4-2): Onstad, Serioux, Brennan, De Vos ©, McKenna, Hume, Stalteri, Hutchinson, Bernier, Radzinski, Occean. Subs: Sutton, Reda, Klukowski, Nsaliwa, De Guzman, Friend, De Rosario.

St. Kitts & Nevis (4-4-2): Martyn, Newton, Vassell, Burton, Ellis, Callinan, Pearce, Crawford, Ifill, Gumbs ©, Willock. Subs: Jeffers, Halls, Critchley, Sanders, Lake, McHale, Lawson.

The match got off to a great start 7 minutes in, when Radzinski came down the right flank and found Hume, who flicked the ball to Bernier in order for the Tromso player to score his first goal for the national team. St. Kitts looked pretty nervous from where I was standing, but they played a balanced first half and didn't do anything stupid or anything; they just played a defensive style of soccer, although they can't time their tackles at all. Stalteri found that out first hand, as he had to limp off the field at the half thanks to a Pearce challenge. De Guzman replaced him and looked lively in the second half, as did the entire team. A terrible Martyn clearance fell right into Occean's path, and rather than go for the quick shot, he passed to Radzinski for the easy tap-in to make it 2-0 at the 54 minute mark. Occean and Radzinski teamed up again in the 66th minute, as the former's shot was blocked by Martyn, but he couldn't clear as Radzinski took a shot from a tight angle that just made it into the far side of the net. We had a chance for a 4th goal in the 79th minute when De Vos was brought down inside the box, but Martyn managed to make a great save. Ifill started to mouth off at some of the boys in the closing minutes and was deservedly sent off for an early bath.

Canada 3 (Patrice Bernier 7, Tomasz Radzinski 54, 66; Jason De Vos m/p 79)

St. Kitts & Nevis 0 (Linvoy Ifill s/o 85)

Man of the Match: Tomasz Radzinski

Attendance: 60,188

Referee: Kevin Terry

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Mexico humiliated by Nicaragua; other favorites win

Fifa.com – Mexico’s shock 3-1 defeat to Nicaragua highlighted an otherwise uneventful night in CONCACAF qualifying for the World Cup.

Victor Webster, Clarence Martinez and Jose Bermudez all scored within a 20-minute stretch in the first half to send Mexico into a state of shock. Jared Borgetti gave Mexico hope for the second leg with his goal in the second half, but the defeat will surely go down as one of the most humiliating in Mexican football history. Failure to advance to the next round would be catastrophic.

Other top teams avoided Mexico’s fate. Earnie Stewart, Brian McBride and Clint Mathis all found the net in the United States’ 3-0 win against Guyana. Canada also managed a 3-0 scoreline against St. Kitts & Nevis, with Tomasz Radzinski netting a pair.

Costa Rica scored twice in two minutes off Paulo Wanchope and Rolando Fonseca, but Belize struck back through Dean Flowers to cut the final score to 2-1. Carlos Ruiz scored two goals and was named man of the match in Guatemala’s 4-0 rout of the Dominican Republic.

Results from today’s FIFA World Cup CONCACAF Second Round, First Leg qualifiers:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">

Antigua & Barbuda 1-3 Panama

Barbados 0-2 El Salvador

Belize 1-2 Costa Rica

Bermuda 2-2 Jamaica

British Virgin Islands 1-2 Trinidad & Tobago

CANADA 3-0 St. Kitts & Nevis

Dominican Republic 0-4 Guatemala

Grenada 0-0 Haiti

Guyana 0-3 U.S.A.

Nicaragua 3-1 Mexico

St. Vincent 2-2 Honduras

Surinam 0-0 Cuba</pre>

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(Thanks!)

June 19, 2004

FIFA World Cup – CONCACAF Qualifying – Second Phase Second Leg

St. Kitts & Nevis vs. Canada

St. Kitts & Nevis (4-4-2): Martyn, Newton, Vassell, Burton, Ellis, Callinan, Pearce, Crawford, Spiller, Lake, Gumbs ©. Subs: Neville, Jeffers, Sanders, McHale, Baldwin, McMahon, Willock.

Canada (4-4-2): Sutton, Harmse, Klukowski, De Vos ©, McKenna, Hume, Stalteri, Bircham, Bernier, De Rosario, Friend. Subs: Onstad, Reda, Brennan, Nsaliwa, De Guzman, Occean, Radzinski.

A much different look to the team today, as I felt that 3 goals was enough of a margin to be able to experiment with a few new players, while keeping some veteran presence on the field as well. Sutton, Harmse and Friend were all handed their first caps. St. Kitts were much more fluid with the ball in the first half, as they pretty much had no pressure to do well and were just trying to play respectfully. It would be Canada getting the first goal however, as a long Stalteri ball found De Rosario, who made some great moves to get around the defense and slide the ball home at the 22 minute mark – his first goal for Canada. The only highlight of the second half was De Vos picking up a yellow card for a rash challenge on Willock, but St. Kitts were more than happy to get the ball out of play and allow the clock to run down. We had a few chances, but there’s bigger fish to fry.

St. Kitts & Nevis 0

Canada 1 (Dwayne De Rosario 22)

(Canada advance 4-0 on aggregate)

Man of the Match: Marc Bircham

Attendance: 7,981

Referee: Armando Archundia

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Wild night sees Mexico, Costa Rica eliminated by minnows

Fifa.com – CONCACAF World Cup qualifying took an unexpected turn today, as 2002 World Cup participants Mexico and Costa Rica were both bounced from the competition.

Mexico needed to defeat Nicaragua by 2 goals, but Jose Bermudez and Mario Alberto Gaston scored in the first half to send the crowd at the Azteca Stadium into a state of panic. The Mexican team was booed throughout the second half, German Villa’s goal having no effect on calming the crowd. Nicaragua ended up winning 2-1 and qualified 5-2 on aggregate, a result that not only shattered the spirit of the soccer-mad Mexicans, but also surely sets the stage for manager Ricardo Antonio LaVolpe’s departure.

Following the match, police arrested more than 120 fans following riots outside the Azteca. Tear gas was used to disperse the crowds, and 26 people were taken to hospital with “minor injuries†according to a police official.

Costa Rica looked to be in good shape after Saturday’s match against Belize, and Paulo Wanchope put them in a good position to qualify with a 5th minute goal. Belize pressed, however, and goals by Dean Flowers and Bent Burgess gave them the win after 90 minutes by a 2-1 margin. Extra time solved nothing, and with the aggregate score being 3-3, a penalty shootout was necessary. Both teams connected with their chances until Austin Gerardo Berry, Costa Rica’s 8th shooter, hit the crossbar on his attempt. Vallan Symms converted for Belize to send yet another top team out of the competition.

Other minnows were not as lucky. The United States outplayed Guyana in recording a 2-0 victory to advance 5-0 on aggregate. Canada also advanced, 4-0 on aggregate after a 1-0 win over St. Kitts & Nevis.

Three teams put 4 goals on the board this evening. Carlos Ruiz scored another 2 goals in leading Guatemala to a 4-1 win over the Dominican Republic (8-1 on aggregate), Honduras relied on Carlos Alberto Pavon’s performance as he scored a brace to pace them to a 4-1 win over St. Vincent (6-3 on aggregate) and Panama breezed past Antigua & Barbuda by the same scoreline of 4-1

Results from today’s FIFA World Cup CONCACAF Second Round, Second Leg qualifiers:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Costa Rica 1-2 Belize

(3-3 on aggregate, Belize wins penalty shootout 8-7)

Cuba 2-1 Surinam

(2-1 on aggregate)

El Salvador 3-1 Barbados

(5-1 on aggregate)

Guatemala 4-1 Dominican Republic

(8-1 on aggregate)

Haiti 1-3 Grenada

(1-3 on aggregate)

Honduras 4-1 St. Vincent

(6-3 on aggregate)

Jamaica 2-1 Bermuda

(4-3 on aggregate)

Mexico 1-2 Nicaragua

(2-5 on aggregate)

Panama 4-1 Antigua & Barbuda

(7-2 on aggregate)

St. Kitts & Nevis 0-1 Canada

(0-4 on aggregate)

Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 British Virgin Islands

(4-1 on aggregate)

U.S.A. 2-0 Guyana

(5-0 on aggregate)</pre>

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Colin, this isn't TNM, but whateve. icon_wink.gif Story is shaping up nicely, well written (as usual).

BTW, anything can happen. In a game of CM 99/00, Canada went on to win the world cup in 2010! I wasn't managing them, as you couldn't in those days. I think they were over rated because it was around the time of the Gold Cup win, but whatever. icon_smile.gif They beat Argentina 1-0 in the final. On the way they knocked off Brazil, Germany, Spain, and Portugal (if I remember correctly). It was entertaining to watch!

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by spurzgrrl:

In CM4, Canada often ended up HOSTING the World Cup in 2010, or 2014, which was kinda cool (if, as yet, quite unlikely).

Come one you Canucks! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Could I lay a sneaky bet that if the USA qualified their group games would be at Vacouver Island, Halifax and Labrador? icon_biggrin.gif

Good luck buddy icon_smile.gif

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Attendance: 60,188 <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think there's an extra zero in there somewhere.

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(Andrew! icon_biggrin.gif Long time no see!

Best I've ever seen Canada do in CM... hm... one QF run, I think. And a Confed Cup win.)

June 21, 2004

Canada given fair draw in qualifying

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (CP) – Canada will play Cuba, Jamaica and Nicaragua in the semi-finals of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

The draw took place in Geneva early today, and Canada will fancy their chances of finishing as one of the top two teams in Group 2, as that would qualify them for the final round.

Still, their group opponents cannot be taken lightly. Cuba defeated Canada 2-0 in their last meeting during the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 14, 2003. Jamaica made it to the World Cup in 1998, and Nicaragua will be taken seriously after their stunning upset of Mexico in the previous qualifying round.

The results of the draw today are as follows:

Group 1: Grenada, Honduras, Panama, U.S.A.

Group 2: Canada, Cuba, Jamaica, Nicaragua

Group 3: Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago

August 18: Canada at Cuba, 7:30 PM

September 4: Canada vs. Nicaragua, 3:00 PM

September 8: Canada at Jamaica, 7:30 PM

October 9: Canada vs. Cuba, 3:00 PM

October 13: Canada at Nicaragua, 7:30 PM

November 17: Canada vs. Jamaica, 7:30 PM

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Q: Well Colin, you must have been satisfied with the team's performance against St. Kitts & Nevis over the last week. Did the matches give you a good feel as to what the team's capable of?

A: Good, you're giving me a softball question before we talk about the draw. *laughter*

Q: Well, I'm just doing my job.

A: Don't worry about it. To get back on track... Yeah, I think the games were helpful, although they certainly weren't a true example of what the team's capable of. Don't forget that lots of players had just come off seasons in Europe and may not have been in perfect game shape. But we had relatively few problems with St. Kitts, who certainly did go out there with the intent of putting in a good performance. I think in the first game, we wanted to go out there and put the tie away, which we were successful at; in the second game, we were a little tentative and I think a few players might have been a little nervous in their attempt to try impress me or put on a good showing. But we played well generally speaking in both games, and I think the positives far outweighed the negatives.

Q: OK, now you'll get a question about the draw. What do you think about the group and how realistic are the prospects of Canada advancing from it?

A: I think they're very good. I think the problem in the past was that Canada was drawn into very tough groups, and the odds worked against us. This is a fair group. There's no easy games, but it's certainly not a group of death. I mean, imagine if we were in a group with, say... Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala. That would be absolutely unfair. But this will give us a good challenge... Jamaica have a strong squad, and I think they'll give us a hard fight for top spot in the group. Nicaragua can't be taken lightly... I'm sure you all saw what they did to Mexico. I was absolutely floored when I saw the result, but that shows that they have talent and they will be fighting hard to make an impact, although I don't know if they have enough depth to perform miracles all the time over a six-match schedule. Cuba is the weakest team in the group, but we've had problems with them in the past. I think that we have an excellent chance to advance, and if I had to make a prediction, I'd say that it'll be between us and Jamaica for the top spot. But a lot can happen between now and November. We just have to make sure that we put in our best effort and not stop until we've clinched qualification.

Q: Will the squad be the same to start the campaign, or will changes be made?

A: Well, I think that'll depend on whether or not the squad stays injury-free up until that point. I was generally impressed with the squad over the two games, and I don't think anyone played themselves out of a spot just yet. Having said that, there's plenty of players who are still in the mix, and when the time comes I may decide to take a look at another option or two. I think September might be a better time to really take a close look at the team, however, since everyone should be playing regularly in their respective leagues at that time. Then I can take a closer look and see who's in game shape and who might be deserving of a call-up. I certainly hope that we end up qualifying before our final game, because then I can use it to take a look at some young talent... But I think things are generally good right now. I'm confident that we can start the campaign on a winning note against Cuba in August.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Brian of Nazareth:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by spurzgrrl:

In CM4, Canada often ended up HOSTING the World Cup in 2010, or 2014, which was kinda cool (if, as yet, quite unlikely). <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Could I lay a sneaky bet that if the USA qualified their group games would be at Vacouver Island, Halifax and Labrador? icon_biggrin.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Don't be silly. We'd offer our neighbours full three-coast goodness: one game in Victoria, one game in St. John's, and one in Iqaluit. In February. icon_smile.gif

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(Well, let's see how tough those Nicaraguans are in FM now. icon_wink.gif )

August 3, 2004

Paul Stalteri is sold by Werder Bremen for £350,000 to Real Mallorca. Although the fee was cheap, Stalteri is still highly valued and I feel this move will give him more exposure while still allowing him to face a high level of competition.

August 4, 2004

MacKinnon names squad for Cuba match

TORONTO (Canadasoccer.com) - Colin MacKinnon has named a 23-man squad to face Cuba on August 18, the first match in Semi Final Group 2 of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

"I feel that this squad provides us with an explosive mix of talent which should allow us to take the game to Cuba and come out of Havana with an important first 3 points," said MacKinnon. "We cannot underestimate Cuba, but we also cannot take any chances by calling up a weakened squad for the game. It's important to put our best foot forward and send a message right away."

The squad is largely unchanged from the team which beat St. Kitts & Nevis in June, with the addition of veteran Fernando Aguiar from Penafiel in Portugal. He replaces Tam Nsaliwa, who has been fighting for a squad spot at Saarbrucken in Germany.

The squad named for the match against Cuba:

Goalkeepers:

Lars Hirschfeld (Dundee United, Scottish Premier League)

Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes, MSL)

Greg Sutton (Montreal Impact, A-League)

Defenders:

Jim Brennan (Norwich City, English Premiership)

Jason De Vos (Ipswich Town, English Championship)

Kevin Harmse (Rochester Raging Rhinos, A-League)

Stathis Kappos (AEK Athens, Greek National A Division)

Mike Klukowski (La Louviere, Belgian First Division)

Kevin McKenna (Hearts, Scottish Premier League)

Marco Reda (Sogndal, Norwegian Premier Division)

Adrian Serioux (Millwall, English Championship)

Paul Stalteri (Mallorca, Spanish Premier Division)

Midfielders:

Fernando Aguiar (Penafiel, Portuguese Premier Division)

Patrice Bernier (Tromso, Norwegian Premier Division)

Marc Bircham (Queens Park Rangers, English Championship)

Maycoll Canizalez (Hannover 96, German Bundesliga)

Julian De Guzman (Hannover 96, German Bundesliga)

Iain Hume (Tranmere Rovers, English League One)

Atiba Hutchinson (Helsingborg, Swedish Premier Division)

Forwards:

Dwayne De Rosario (San Jose Earthquakes, MLS)

Oliver Occean (Odd Grenland, Norwegian Premier Division)

Rob Friend (Molde, Norwegian Premier Division)

Tomasz Radzinski (Fulham, English Premiership)

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August 17, 2004

Qualifying continues without two top teams

(Reuters) – CONCACAF qualifying for the 2006 World Cup starts again tomorrow night with 6 matches, although both Mexico and Costa Rica are conspicuously absent from the lineup.

Both teams, participants in the last World Cup held in South Korea and Japan, were unceremoniously eliminated in the last round by Nicaragua and Belize, respectively. That left the United States as the only entrant from the last World Cup still alive in the competition.

The Semi Final round consists of three groups of four teams each. Each team will play the others in their group home and away, a total of six matches. The top two teams in each group will advance to the Final round in 2005.

Group 1: The United States should have no problems advancing to the Final, as manager Bruce Arena has put together a solid side rich in talent and experience. Honduras will be looking to steal first place in the group from the Americans, with stars such as Saul Martinez and David Suazo leading the way. Panama will be aiming for a respectable performance, while Grenada will likely aim to learn from this experience.

Group 2: Canada and Jamaica should battle it out for top spot in the group. The Canadians are focusing on youth this time around, with few players under the age of 30 in the mix. Jamaica has a strong lineup of players from the English leagues who bring with them a unique blend skill and experience. Both teams will be wary of Nicaragua, who stunned Mexico to reach the Semi Final and will be looking to build on that achievement through players such as Jose Bermudez. Cuba rounds out the group.

Group 3: Likely the toughest group in this phase, with three teams all with realistic hopes of qualification. El Salvador’s always viewed by teams in the region as difficult to play against, especially at home with their rabid fans. Guatemala will be hoping that Carlos Ruiz continues his fine form, while an aging Trinidad & Tobago squad will hope that they have enough energy left for one final run towards the World Cup. Belize, despite eliminating Costa Rica in the last round, will likely find themselves the odd man out.

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August 18, 2004

FIFA World Cup – CONCACAF Qualifying – Semi Final Group 2, Matchday 1

Cuba vs. Canada

Cuba (4-4-2): Molina, Diaz, Driggs, M. Rodriguez, Marquez ©, Alvarez, Gandara, Martinez, Torres, Amikale, Delgado. Subs: Castellano, More, Faife, Colome, Cruzata, R. Rodriguez, Galindo.

Canada (4-4-2): Onstad, Serioux, Brennan, De Vos ©, McKenna, Hume, Stalteri, Hutchinson, Bernier, Radzinski, Occean. Subs: Sutton, Reda, Klukowski, Aguiar, De Guzman, Harmse, De Rosario.

One word could describe this game – temperamental. Radzinski streaked into the box 3 minutes in and had a great chance at goal, but was tripped up by Mario Rodriguez, earning us a penalty kick and earning Rodriguez a yellow card. Torres received a yellow as well for dissent. After everything was cleared up, De Vos calmly converted the penalty to put us on the board. Occean showed some great skill two minutes later in reading Hume’s cross, which went off Occean’s boot and Diaz’s thigh into the back of the net for our second goal. The main problem after those goals was discipline. Cuba sucked our players into taking some stupid fouls and earning some yellow cards; De Vos’ in the 32nd minute ensured he would be given a one-game suspension by FIFA, by virtue of having two to his name already. Cuba had some chances early in the second half, but their attempt at a comeback was halted in the 68th minute when Amikale earned his second yellow card for mouthing off at the referee, causing Cuba to play with 10 men for the rest of the match. Some poor finishing meant that we couldn’t expand on our lead, but we didn’t need to in the end.

Cuba 0 (Katsudi Amakale s/o 68)

Canada 2 (Jason De Vos 6pen, Oliver Occean 8)

Man of the Match: Oliver Occean

Attendance: 17,990

Referee: Armando Rosales

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CONCACAF WCQ Semi Final Day 1 reports

(AP) – Match reports from today’s games in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying:

Grenada 2, Honduras 2

Grenada had a shock 2-1 lead after the first 6 minutes, Saul Martinez’s early marker being wiped out by two quick goals from Tony Bedeau and Shalrie Joseph. Carlos Alberto Pavon tied the game in the 42nd minute, but Honduras could not break down Grenada’s defense in the second half.

Panama 0, United States 1

Brian McBride’s goal in the 21st minute off a pass from Carlos Bocanegra was all the United States needed to beat Panama. Claudio Reyna left the game in the dying moments with what was reported to be a shoulder injury.

Cuba 0, Canada 2

Jason De Vos scored a 6th minute penalty and Oliver Occean followed with a well-placed strike 2 minutes later to lead Canada to a comprehensive victory over Cuba in Havana.

Nicaragua 2, Jamaica 2

In Managua, Wilber Sanchez scored twice for the surprising Nicaraguans, who came back twice after Jamaica went ahead through Kevin Lisbie and Tyrone Marshall in each half. Sanchez could have secured a stunning upset in the 87th minute, but his strike just grazed the top of the crossbar.

Belize 2, El Salvador 2

Diego Armando Mejia’s brace had El Salvador in control after the first half, but Dean Flowers came back with goals in the 50th and 65th minutes, allowing Belize to steal a point against the run of play in front of just over 4,000 fans at the People’s Stadium.

Guatemala 1, Trinidad & Tobago 2

In Guatemala City, Andre Boucaud and Marvin Andrews led Trinidad & Tobago to a 2-1 victory over 10-man Guatemala, who had Nelson Noel Morales sent off in the 36th minute for a hard shove on Stern John. Carlos Ruiz scored for Guatemala.

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August 20, 2004

MacKinnon makes one change for Nicaragua and Jamaica matches

TORONTO (Canadasoccer.com) – The Canadian men’s national team squad only saw one change made to it ahead of the next two matches in Semi Final Group 2 of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, at home to Nicaragua and away to Jamaica.

The change sees Fernando Aguiar being dropped, with Chris Pozniak of Norway’s Haugesund taking his place.

MacKinnon said, “I was extremely pleased with the efforts of the squad against Cuba. With little time between that match and the deadline to name the squad for the upcoming matches, I decided to keep faith with the current squad; however, depending on how things go I may take a look at some new faces in October.â€

The squad named for the matches against Nicaragua and Jamaica:

Goalkeepers:

Lars Hirschfeld (Dundee United, Scottish Premier League)

Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes, MSL)

Greg Sutton (Montreal Impact, A-League)

Defenders:

Jim Brennan (Norwich City, English Premiership)

Jason De Vos (Ipswich Town, English Championship)

Kevin Harmse (Rochester Raging Rhinos, A-League)

Stathis Kappos (AEK Athens, Greek National A Division)

Mike Klukowski (La Louviere, Belgian First Division)

Kevin McKenna (Hearts, Scottish Premier League)

Chris Pozniak (Haugesund, Norwegian First Division)

Marco Reda (Sogndal, Norwegian Premier Division)

Adrian Serioux (Millwall, English Championship)

Paul Stalteri (Mallorca, Spanish Premier Division)

Midfielders:

Patrice Bernier (Tromso, Norwegian Premier Division)

Marc Bircham (Queens Park Rangers, English Championship)

Maycoll Canizalez (Hannover 96, German Bundesliga)

Julian De Guzman (Hannover 96, German Bundesliga)

Iain Hume (Tranmere Rovers, English League One)

Atiba Hutchinson (Helsingborg, Swedish Premier Division)

Forwards:

Dwayne De Rosario (San Jose Earthquakes, MLS)

Oliver Occean (Odd Grenland, Norwegian Premier Division)

Rob Friend (Molde, Norwegian Premier Division)

Tomasz Radzinski (Fulham, English Premiership)

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September 4, 2004

FIFA World Cup – CONCACAF Qualifying – Semi Final Group 2, Matchday 2

Canada vs. Nicaragua

Canada (4-4-2): Onstad, Serioux, Brennan, McKenna, Reda ©, Hume, Stalteri, Hutchinson, Bernier, Radzinski, Occean. Subs: Sutton, Friend, Klukowski, Bircham, De Guzman, Pozniak, De Rosario.

Nicaragua (3-5-2): Olivas, Gaston, J. Solorzano, Perez ©, Sanchez, Acevedo, Martinez, Palacios, Garcia, Zapata, Webster. Subs: Espinoza, Bustos, Molina, Bayadares, Calero, Lagos, D. Solorzano.

This could basically be called “the night of missed chances†if we wanted to get technical. Radzinski had no less than 5 chances of net in the first half, 2 of which were with an empty net to shoot at... and he blew them all. He came off at the half in favor of De Rosario; it just wasn’t his day. The second half was even more frustrating, as in the 51st minute Pozniak (who came on for Brennan) made a terrible defensive error, allowing Zapata to latch onto a Webster cross for the easy tap-in to give Nicaragua the lead. Two minutes after that, Onstad got hit in the face with a shot and needed to be helped off, with Sutton coming in. Things were looking bleak with our missed chances, and Bernier was guilty of a few of them; that is, until Olivas fisted the ball away right into Bernier’s path, and the ensuing shot went in from a tight angle to draw us even. That’s how the match would finish off, and Nicaragua can certainly take more positives away from the match than us.

Canada 1 (Patrice Bernier 83)

Nicaragua 1 (Jimmy Zapata 51)

Man of the Match: Manuel Olivas

Attendance: 58,571

Referee: Arthur Reed

Following the match, it was revealed that both Pat Onstad and Patrice Bernier would have to be dropped due to injury; Bernier will be out for 2 weeks with a damaged shoulder, and Onstad will sit out for a month due to a broken collarbone. How he got that from the shot to the face, I have no idea. Fernando Aguiar has been called up to take Bernier’s place against Jamaica, but we won’t call up a replacement for Onstad.

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CONCACAF WCQ Semi Final Day 2 reports

(AP) – Match reports from today’s games in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying:

Honduras 3, Panama 0

Julio Cesar Leon’s goal 46 seconds in made the difference as Honduras eased past Panama. Carlos Alberto Pavon and Milton Nunez also connected for the home side, the former off a penalty kick.

United States 5, Grenada 0

Brian McBride scored 2 goals, including a penalty, as the United States routed Grenada 5-0 at the Rose Bowl. Earnie Stewart opened the scoring 5 minutes in, and Clint Mathis and Steven Cherundolo also got on the scoresheet for the Americans, who could have done more damage in the second half if not for poor finishing.

Canada 1, Nicaragua 1

Patrice Bernier’s 83rd minute angled strike spared Canada from an embarrassing result against Nicaragua. Jimmy Zapata’s 51st minute goal against the run of play ensured another inspiring result for the visitors, who were badly outshot by Canada 20-4.

Jamaica 1, Cuba 2

Miguel Angel Gandara’s 64th minute free kick led Cuba to a shock win over hosts Jamaica. Alberto Delgado opened the scoring for the visitors in the 18th minute, but Kevin Lisbie cancelled it out 3 minutes later. Warren Barrett was stellar in goal, but he could not stop Gandara’s rocket which secured the points for Cuba.

El Salvador 3, Guatemala 1

Diego Armando Mejia scored two goals as El Salvador defeated a weakened Guatemala in San Salvador. Mario Rafael Rodriguez was sent off after only 5 minutes, putting the visitors at a serious disadvantage throughout the match. Roberto Carlos Vasquez also found the net for El Salvador, while Carlos Ruiz scored for Guatemala.

Trinidad & Tobago 1, Belize 2

Goals on both sides of the break from Dean Flowers and Wilmer Garcia led Belize to an epic win over Trinidad & Tobago. Jason Scotland scored for the hosts in the 48th minute, but Garcia streaked through the defense a moment later to send a shot sailing into the top-left corner of the goal, out of the reach of Shaka Hislop.

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September 8, 2004

FIFA World Cup - CONCACAF Qualifying - Semi Final Group 2, Matchday 3

Jamaica vs. Canada

Jamaica (3-5-2): Barrett ©, Moore, Sinclair, M. Johnson, Taylor, Gardner, Langley, Francis, Williams, Lisbie, D. Johnson. Subs: Ricketts, Ralph, Benjamin, Whitmore, Davis, Byfield, King.

Canada (4-4-2): Sutton, Serioux, Brennan, McKenna, De Vos ©, Hume, Stalteri, Hutchinson, De Guzman, Radzinski, Occean. Subs: Hirschfeld, Friend, Aguiar, Bircham, Reda, Harmse, De Rosario.

Maybe the Nicaragua match took too much out of the boys, but we looked absolutely pathetic in the early going. Jamaica kept getting chance after chance, and it was all we could do to weather the storm and muster up some token chances on the counter-attack. The second half started out exactly the same way, until De Guzman lost his focus and tripped Lisbie in the box for a penalty. Francis easily sent Sutton the wrong way to give Jamaica the lead. Later in the half, Taylor was tripped by Stalteri, earning him a second yellow card and forcing us to finish the game with 10 men. We kept trying to press forward, but Jamaica were just too strong. Whitmore took advantage of our low morale in stoppage time by streaking in to put away any hopes of a comeback by us. Nothing positive to take away from this performance; the fact we were outshot 25-5 says it all.

Jamaica 2 (Damien Francis 48pen, Theodore Whitmore 90)

Canada 0 (Paul Stalteri s/o 58)

Man of the Match: Ricardo Gardner

Attendance: 39,963

Referee: Arturo Angeles

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CONCACAF WCQ Semi Final Day 3 reports

(AP) – Match reports from today’s games in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying:

Grenada 0, Panama 2

Luis Tejada and Roberto Brown were on the mark in St. George’s, as Panama successfully recovered from their 3-0 loss to Honduras by easing past Grenada.

Honduras 1, United States 3

Clint Mathis’ goal right before halftime earned the United States a win over Honduras. Brian McBride opened the scoring for the Americans 13 minutes in, with Earnie Stewart converting a penalty in the 25th minute to make it 2-0. Jose Reynaldo Clavasquin brought Honduras within one goal in the 42nd minute, but Mathis’ lob 2 minutes later sealed the victory.

Jamaica 2, Canada 0

Damien Francis’ penalty in the 48th minute secured a win for Jamaica over a woeful Canadian side, who were outplayed throughout much of the match by the hosts and finished the game with 10 men after Paul Stalteri was sent off in the second half. Theodore Whitmore also scored for Jamaica.

Nicaragua 1, Cuba 1

In Managua, Victor Webster’s goal 5 minutes from time cancelled out Raudel Rodriguez’s 79th minute strike, as Nicaragua and Cuba shared the spoils in a fast-paced encounter.

Belize 1, Guatemala 2

Norman Nunez gave Belize hope of another upset with his 12th minute goal, but Dwight Pezzarossi and Pando Ramirez struck back before the break as Guatemala beat Belize at the People’s Stadium. Belize had control of the play in the second half, but were constantly shut down by the Guatemalan defense.

El Salvador 4, Trinidad & Tobago 1

El Salvador relied on four different scorers to overcome Trinidad & Tobago in San Salvador. Stern John’s 6th minute goal was cancelled out by Gilberto Alfredo Murgas’ header off a corner kick, and Selvin Hernan Gonzalez scored the winning goal just 18 minutes in. Jose Alexander Amaya and Elias Vladimir Montes also scored for the home side.

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The group tables following the first three matchdays:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Pos Inf Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag G.D. Pts

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st U.S.A. 3 3 0 0 9 1 +8 9

2nd Honduras 3 1 1 1 6 5 +1 4

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Panama 3 1 0 2 2 4 -2 3

4th Grenada 3 0 1 2 2 9 -7 1

Pos Inf Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag G.D. Pts

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Jamaica 3 1 1 1 5 4 +1 4

2nd Canada 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Cuba 3 1 1 1 3 4 -1 4

4th Nicaragua 3 0 3 0 4 4 0 3

Pos Inf Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag G.D. Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st El Salvador 3 2 1 0 9 4 +5 7

2nd Belize 3 1 1 1 5 5 0 4

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd Guatemala 3 1 0 2 4 6 -2 3

4th Trinidad & Tobago 3 1 0 2 4 7 -3 3 </pre>

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(Thanks for the votes of confidence. icon_wink.gif )

October 1, 2004

Squad announced for Cuba and Nicaragua games

TORONTO (Canadasoccer.com) – Colin MacKinnon has named a 24-man squad to face Cuba and Nicaragua this week in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.

Josh Simpson of Millwall has been called up to replace Paul Stalteri for the game against Cuba. Stalteri is serving a one-game suspension for his sending off against Jamaica last month. Simpson will likely head back to Millwall after the Cuba match, reducing the squad to 23 players.

“We really came crashing down to earth after last month’s matches, but I expect that we could come close to qualifying for the final round this week,†said MacKinnon. “We need to keep focused on the task at hand, and I’ve told all the players to be ready to put in a great effort so that we can breathe a little easier after Wednesday.â€

Goalkeepers:

Lars Hirschfeld (Dundee United, Scottish Premier League)

Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes, MSL)

Greg Sutton (Montreal Impact, A-League)

Defenders:

Jim Brennan (Norwich City, English Premiership)

Jason De Vos (Ipswich Town, English Championship)

Stathis Kappos (AEK Athens, Greek National A Division)

Mike Klukowski (La Louviere, Belgian First Division)

Kevin McKenna (Hearts, Scottish Premier League)

Marco Reda (Sogndal, Norwegian Premier Division)

Adrian Serioux (Millwall, English Championship)

Josh Simpson (Millwall, English Championship)

Paul Stalteri (Mallorca, Spanish Premier Division)

Midfielders:

Fernando Aguiar (Penafiel, Portuguese Premier Division)

Patrice Bernier (Tromso, Norwegian Premier Division)

Marc Bircham (Queens Park Rangers, English Championship)

Maycoll Canizalez (Hannover 96, German Bundesliga)

Julian De Guzman (Hannover 96, German Bundesliga)

Iain Hume (Tranmere Rovers, English League One)

Atiba Hutchinson (Helsingborg, Swedish Premier Division)

Tam Nsaliwa (Saarbrucken, German 2. Bundesliga)

Forwards:

Dwayne De Rosario (San Jose Earthquakes, MLS)

Oliver Occean (Odd Grenland, Norwegian Premier Division)

Rob Friend (Molde, Norwegian Premier Division)

Tomasz Radzinski (Fulham, English Premiership)

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October 9, 2004

FIFA World Cup – CONCACAF Qualifying – Semi Final Group 2, Matchday 4

Canada vs. Cuba

Canada (4-4-2): Hirschfeld, Serioux, Brennan, McKenna, De Vos ©, Hume, Simpson, Hutchinson, Bernier, Radzinski, Occean. Subs: Sutton, Friend, Aguiar, Bircham, De Guzman, Canizalez, De Rosario.

Cuba (3-5-2): Molina, M. Rodriguez, Marquez ©, Driggs, Dalcourt, Ruiz, Estrada, Colome, Aragon, Marten, Gandara. Subs: A. Rodriguez, More, Bobadilla, Diaz, Galindo, Alvarez, Fernandez.

We needed to put the memories of the Jamaica match behind us, and we looked pretty good doing so early on with some crisp passing and ball control. Radzinski looked much better today, acting more like a playmaker; he gave a streaking Occean a pass into the box, and he had no problems rounding Molina to score the opening goal. We doubled our lead in the 32nd minute when Occean found himself on the left flank after a corner and swung a cross in to Hume, who’s shot went off Hutchinson and into the net. The latter received credit for the bizarre goal, which would be his first for Canada, but nobody was complaining. Cuba looked listless in the second half, not really putting in much of an effort. We capped off the win in the 86th minute when Friend was pushed from behind by Mario Rodriguez, and De Vos fired the penalty home easily as Molina barely moved, and took an extremely important 3 points away with a comprehensive win. The only hitch was that De Vos will be out for the Nicaragua game with a bruised rib.

Canada 3 (Oliver Occean 16, Atiba Hutchinson 32, Jason De Vos 86pen)

Cuba 0

Man of the Match: Iain Hume

Attendance: 60,209

Referee: Felipe Ramos Rizo

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