Archive | Also Noted

Canadian National Team Event Feb. 2nd, 2012

Posted on 03 February 2012 by Mahmoud Shoblaq

Here are several pictures from the Umbro Canada event yesterday night!

Other info: all home world cup qualifying games this year will be played at BMO Field and a friendly vs. the US national team on June 3rd as well!













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TFC’s current depth/formation

Posted on 28 January 2012 by Mahmoud Shoblaq

Toronto FC ASN is on Twitter @TorontoFCasn! Follow us for live game action, breaking news and headlines covering Toronto FC, Canadian soccer and  MLS.

So everyone out there with a TFC blog, website or covering TFC is doing one of these formation set-up things.
So I thought I would do my own!

Some players listed are yet to be signed but expected to, so that is why they are there.
Keep in mind some players are versatile and the position they are listed in might not be where they actually play.
FYI, this list would be my guess for the 30 man roster we will have.

After taking a look, share your thoughts – be nice!

Here it is:

———————————————— Frei ————————————————
———————————————- (Kocic) ———————————————
——————————————— (*Bush*) ———————————————

Eckersley ——————– Caicedo ——————- Aceval ——————– Morgan
— (Maund) ——————- (Harden) —————— (Cann) ——————- (Hall) —
——————————— (Henry) —————- (Williams) —————————–

——————————– Frings ——————- De Guzman ————————–
—————————— (Dunfield) —————– (Bouchiba) —————————
——————————————— (Stinson) ——————————————

———————————————- Avila ————————————————-
——————————————— (Silva) ————————————————-
—————————————— (*Burgos Jr.*) —————————————–
——————————————– (Cordon) ———————————————–

— Lambe —————————— Koevermans ———————————- Plata —
— (Soolsma) —————————- (Johnson) ————————- (Makubuya) —
———————- (*Vukovic*) ——————— (*Jackman*) ——————–
* Players with a star beside their name are those who I think will be signed!

This post was written by @MahmoudShoblaq of @amersocc and @TorontoFCasn.

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TFC Preseason Squad

Posted on 21 January 2012 by Mahmoud Shoblaq

Toronto FC ASN is on Twitter @TorontoFCasn! Follow us for live game action, breaking news and headlines covering Toronto FC, Canadian soccer and  MLS.


This is just a short post to give everyone a heads up on who is/will be in camp during Toronto FC’s preseason.

This information is gathered through various internet sources and reports. (players’ twitter accounts, translated articles, rumors etc.)

This list will be updated throughout preseason!

I will start off with the list of players not ‘officially’ signed with the club, followed by the list of those that will be given a trial and lastly a list of signed players.

As the lists indicate there are 26 + 1 (Lindsay is inactive due to long-term injury) official squad players with 2 expected to sign, leaving 2 roster spots available for several new players (most likely academy products).

LAST UPDATE: FEBRUARY 3rd, 2012 – 5:00pm

Players expected to be signed:
Stefan Vukovic (Academy product) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Efrain Burgos, Jr. (2011 Draft Pick) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP

Players expected in camp for trials:
Michael Green (2012 Supplemental Draft Pick)
Tristan Jackman (Academy product) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Chad Bush (Academy product) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Quillan Roberts (Academy product) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Brandon John (Academy product) CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Tyler Pasher  (Academy product) CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Sergio Camargo (Academy product) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Jay Chapman (Academy product) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Jordan Hamilton (Academy product) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP

Current Squad (Under Contract):
Milos Kocic
Torsten Frings – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Terry Dunfield – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Julian De Guzman – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Danny Koevermans – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Ashtone Morgan (Home grown) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Matt Stinson (Home grown) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Doniel Henry (Home grown) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Keith Makubuya (Home grown) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Oscar Cordon (Home grown) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Elbekay Bouchiba – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Richard Eckersley
Jeremy Hall (New Signing) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Reggie Lambe (New Signing) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP

Geovanny Caicedo (New Signing)
Miguel Aceval (New Signing) CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Luis Silva (New Signing – 2012 Draft Pick) – CONFIRMED IN CAMP
Aaron Maund (New Signing – 2012 Draft Pick)

Dicoy Williams – CONFIRMED IN CAMP

Nicholas Lindsay (Home grown) – Reports indicate he will be out for the 2012 season.


This post was written by @MahmoudShoblaq of @amersocc and @TorontoFCasn.

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RSL visits Philly in potential defensive battle

Posted on 11 June 2011 by kali

Real Salt Lake and the Philadelphia Union meet on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park (2 pm MT, KMYU 2.2) in what might be billed as a defensive showdown.

Each team boasts one of the best defensive units in MLS, excellent goalkeepers in Nick Rimando and Faryd Mondragon, and coaches that prize team defending, but the similarities don’t end with the back four.  Both RSL and the Union have struggled to find consistent goal-scorers this season, leading some to question both sides’ ability to contend for a league championship, despite their respective defensive performances.

Real certainly faces a number of challenges going into Saturday’s match — not only is RSL coming off a tough 2-1 loss at Columbus on Wednesday, but Philadelphia is undefeated at home this season in league play as well.  With the quick turnaround time between matches, a depleted roster due to injuries and the Gold Cup, and a 4 pm start, coach Jason Kreis acknowledged that his players may find the conditions difficult.

“We’re going to need to regroup pretty quickly,” Kreis said after Wednesday’s match. “We’ve got to regenerate. We’ve got guys in the ice bath right now, and we’ll take care of them over the next couple of days, because that 4 o’clock kickoff on Saturday is going to be a huge challenge.”

Part of that regrouping process will be getting players to play better team defense against the Union — in the Columbus match, turnovers in the midfield and some key miscues at the back ultimately doomed Real.  “We acted like we were defending but we really didn’t put the effort in to defend and that was the result of us losing,” Rimando said.

With few personnel options available, Kreis is expected to use largely the same lineup that he did against the Crew.  Central defender Nat Borchers, who was rested on Wednesday, should return to the starting eleven in place of Chris Schuler; meanwhile, neither Andy Williams nor Collen Warner has definitively staked out a place as the starting attacking midfielder, meaning that Kreis may opt to make a change there as well.  Jean Alexandre and Fabian Espindola, who each scored last weekend against Vancouver, are likely to remain the starting strikers.

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RSL seeks to make history in Dallas

Posted on 22 May 2011 by kali

Real Salt Lake has faced a series of challenges over the past few weeks — however, Sunday’s match at FC Dallas (5 pm MT, KMYU) might represent one of the biggest yet.

Not only will RSL be looking to get its goal-scoring momentum back after a disappointing 0-0 draw at home against Houston last week, but the team will be doing so in a city where it has never earned so much as a single point.  Real has lost all nine of its previous matches in Dallas, including a tough 2-1 loss in the 2010 playoffs that ultimately led to elimination.

With FCD currently sitting in second place in the Western Conference, an RSL win would prove to be tremendous as the team looks to reboot itself after a difficult few weeks.  In order to win, however, Real will need to find its attacking form once again in the wake of Javier Morales’ long-term injury and minor injuries to strikers Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio, and Paulo Junior.

Defender Nat Borchers said last week of the team’s scoring struggles, “It’s frustrating because I think that in a couple of those situations we are just so close. We are chomping at the bit right now to get goals and I think they will come. We’ve just got to keep fighting.”

Fortunately, RSL’s defense has been stellar as of late.  Central defenders Borchers and Jamison Olave, along with goalkeeper Nick Rimando, turned in excellent performances in shutting out both Houston and Chivas USA in consecutive matches.  That defensive mettle will certainly give the team confidence as it seeks to defeat a Dallas side that is unbeaten in five matches despite losing David Ferreira to injury.

Real coach Jason Kreis gave his players some extra rest this week after noting that some looked like they had run “out of gas” in the second half of the Houston match.  Injury management continues to be a concern for Kreis — although Espindola returned to training during week, Paulo Junior’s hamstring has not yet sufficiently recovered, leaving him few options at striker.  Midfielder Nelson Gonzalez made his 2011 debut last week after a slow start to the season, however, providing another option to help cope with Morales’ absence.

Despite the challenges, Kreis told that the team should remain optimistic this early in the season.  “We need to look at the glass as half full right now, for sure,” he said.

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RSL looks to get back on track in Portland

Posted on 30 April 2011 by kali

To say that Saturday’s match against the Portland Timbers is a test of Real Salt Lake’s character is perhaps a massive understatement.

Nonetheless, that’s exactly the situation that RSL is faced with in the wake of Wednesday’s tough CONCACAF Champions League loss to Monterrey.  With only a few days’ recovery, Real has to travel to Portland to face a Timbers squad that has featured well so far on the artificial surface at Jeld-Wen Field.

Because of the quick turnaround time between matches, RSL coach Jason Kreis has considered making some changes to his starting lineup.  The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Jamison Olave, Robbie Russell, and Fabian Espindola remained in Salt Lake instead of making the trip with the team; Olave is often held out of games on turf, while Russell’s hamstring has been a concern.

Luckily for Kreis, Real has plenty of depth on the bench — Chris Schuler could replace Olave in the starting eleven, while Paulo Junior may start up front in place of Espindola.  In addition, Kyle Beckerman will be rested and available after being forced to sit out the CCL final through yellow card accumulation.

The mental challenge for RSL after the loss is likely to be the bigger obstacle, however.  Goalkeeper Nick Rimando said of the challenge that awaits Real, “These kinds of games can either break a team or make a team stronger, and I think our team is strong enough to know that this isn’t going to break us up.  We’re going to stay strong and keep on preaching about how we’re a good team and deep team, and how the team is the star.  Right now this is an account of when there’s a tough loss to rebound and forget about it and go on with our season.”

Portland will be looking to rebound from a difficult loss too — the Timbers lost 3-0 in Los Angeles to the Galaxy last week.  Coach John Spencer will have his team trying to limit RSL’s chances early on in the match and play off of the tremendous home advantage that the Portland supporters  have created at Jeld-Wen.

“We are winning games at home because we compete from the first whistle,” Spencer said.

The match will kick off at 8:30 pm MT and can be seen on KMYU 2.2 (Comcast 12 / DishNet 22) in Utah.

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Rapids reach MLS Cup Final

Posted on 14 November 2010 by pshea

With a combination of gritty defense and relentless attacking, the Colorado Rapids notched a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night to reach the MLS Cup Final in Toronto next week.

Central defender Drew Moor cleared the ball with his head 17 times during the game for Colorado, and he launched a diving header on goal in the 70th minute. San Jose midfielder Geovanni cleared Moor’s shot off the line to prevent a final nail in his team’s coffin.

Ultimately, Kosuke Kimura’s inswinging cross in the 42nd minute was the game-winner for Colorado. San Jose defender Tim Ward won a race to the ball deep in the corner and knocked it out for a throw-in. Kimura joined Pablo Mastroeni and Wells Thompson to work the ball on the ground amid tight pressure, and Kimura curled a cross into the goalmouth. Omar Cummings streaked to the ball first and froze goalkeeper Jon Busch. What do you call it? A missed flick? A dummy?

“We call that the two-for-one,” San Jose coach Frank Yallop said after the game. “If you whip it in and people are running across, it leaves you flat-footed. It’s a good ball in a dangerous area.”

Call it a goal. Call it a ticket to the MLS Cup Final. The 17,779 fans roared their approval and maintained their heated enthusiasm until the final whistle.


The Earthquakes started immediately with hard challenges and aggressive attacking. Ward worked his way up the left wing in the fifth minute, and Geovanni forced Matt Pickens to make the first save of the game. Although this turned out to be the only shot on goal for the visitors all night, San Jose stayed competitive until the very end.

“We had a good 20-25 minutes in the second half,” Yallop recounted, noting a boost when he inserted Arturo Alvarez for Chris Leitch in the 57th minute. “It’s not the personnel coming off. It’s who comes on. Our boys played well. They never buckled, never got down on each other.”

The after-shocks from the first shot of the game transitioned to Colorado. Cummings raced up the middle of the field with the ball in the seventh minute and fired a worm-burner from 25 yards out. Busch collected his first of five saves for the night.

Scott Sealy read an outlet pass from Pickens in the 12th minute and lofted the ball over the bar as the Colorado ‘keeper retreated.

Brian Mullan weighted a near-perfect through-ball to Cummings in the 22nd minute, but Busch left his line in time and blocked the shot at the top of the penalty box.

Conor Casey overcame multiple defenders and sent three shots wide left in the first 30 minutes of play. Casey sent his fourth shot wide left as well, another header in the 78th minute. For the night, Casey ran hard with and without the ball, forcing the visitors to contend with his challenges instead of creating attacks of their own.

Marvell Wynne had a seven-minute stretch in the first half when he was in the defensive spotlight, clearing balls with his head and feet in dangerous situations. Head coach Gary Smith has settled on a starting back line with Wynne and Moor in the middle, Kimura on the right, and Anthony Wallace on the left.

When asked how they would defend against Dallas or the gaLAxy, Wynne said, “We’ll do what we always do. It’s seems to be working. Why change it?”

In recent games, Smith has inserted central defender Julien Baudet for the closing minutes.

“You know they’re going to drop in long balls,” Wynne said. “So it’s smart to bring in a big guy like Julien.”

“He’s a great communicator,” Moor said of Baudet. “At the end of the game, a lot of guys are tired. If you bring in a guy like him, he talks constantly and keeps the intensity up. It’s been nice the last couple games.”

Replacing Jamie Smith on the flank, Thompson delivered corner kicks for Colorado, stayed back on defense when Kimura overlapped, and created danger with the ball.

When asked about his preparation for the game, Thompson said, “As a player, you have to be mentally ready. I didn’t know until about an hour before game time.” Smith left practice early on Friday, and after the Scottish midfielder conducted a brief test before kickoff, Thompson received his assignment.

“Omar opens it up down wide,” Thompson explained. “And Kosuke does his thing. So I stayed back a bit too.”

Rather than race down the wing with the ball, Thompson tends to swerve inside. “I grew up playing center mid,” the midfielder said, “so I tend to drift in and slash.”

Captain Mastroeni drifted and slashed his fair share, forcing saves from Busch in the 63rd and 73rd minutes. Tactically, Mastroeni has made a conscious effort to push forward more in recent games, while maintaining his trademark presence with Jeff Larentowicz as defensive midfielders.

But according to Moor, the captain brings much more than tactics and skill.

“Pablo has been the heart of the team this year,” Moor explained. “He’s been on a mission, and everyone has followed him.”

Looking ahead

“Both teams are tough,” Moor explained. “Dallas plays fast, and LA is very dangerous. They play finesse and can catch you sleeping.”

Mastroeni will be wide awake. According to Colorado’s leader, “We’ve played well against the best teams in the league. So regardless of who we play, it’s going to be a great game.”

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RSL faces tough challenge against FC Dallas

Posted on 05 November 2010 by kali

With Real Salt Lake’s season on the line and one of the team’s key attacking players unavailable for Saturday’s Western Conference semifinal match against FC Dallas (8 pm MT, Fox Soccer Channel), coach Jason Kreis might have some cause to be worried.

Or maybe not.  “I think that our team is at their absolute best when their backs are firmly against the wall,” Kreis said earlier this week.  “Now, that’s exactly where we are.”

RSL’s unbeaten streak at Rio Tinto Stadium, which dates back to May 2009, has been well-documented, giving Kreis cause to be even more confident, but Dallas will present a stern challenge to Real as it seeks to advance in the MLS playoffs.  That challenge will be made tougher due to the absence of attacking midfielder Javier Morales, who is suspended for Saturday’s match after being sent off in RSL’s 2-1 loss in Dallas last weekend, particularly as Real will need to win the match outright in order to advance.

Although Morales’ seven goals and nine assists this season have been invaluable to Real’s success, winning without him isn’t exactly unprecedented.  The Argentine playmaker left last year’s MLS Cup final early through injury, a match which RSL eventually went on to win in penalty kicks; the team also earned some key results earlier in the 2010 regular season while Morales was out with a hamstring injury.

However, Will Johnson has recovered sufficiently from an injury sustained in training last week and is expected to start.  While Johnson hasn’t had the attacking production of Morales this season, his work rate and defensive capabilities will be key for RSL’s possession in the midfield. Nelson Gonzalez could be an option off the bench if an offensive spark is needed late in the match, as the young midfielder has also been on the mend and may be available on Saturday.

With Alvaro Saborio fighting to recover from a knee injury and Paulo Junior nursing a groin strain, Fabian Espindola and Robbie Findley will be the likely starters up front, while Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Andy Williams, and Ned Grabavoy are expected to start in the midfield.  2010 MLS Defender of the Year Jamison Olave, fellow DOTY nominee Nat Borchers, and Goalkeeper of the Year nominee Nick Rimando will spearhead the RSL defense, with Chris Wingert and Robbie Russell the likely starters on the flanks.

However, Dallas has some injury and suspension woes of its own to deal with.  Milton Rodriguez and Heath Pearce did not travel with the team to Salt Lake City, while Atiba Harris is suspended after being sent off last weekend as well.  Former academy player Ruben Luna, whose goalscoring abilities attracted attention during the Hoops’ preseason training, is set to travel in Rodriguez’s place.

Regardless of who Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman puts on the pitch, RSL must overcome the one-goal deficit from last week’s match in order to keep its title defense alive.

“We’re not going change how we do things or what we do,” Kreis said. “We’re still a very possession-oriented team, we’re still a very dynamic team that’s going to demand a lot of movement in our midfield. And the guys that step in to do the job, we have no doubts that they can do it.”

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RSL travels to New York for crucial match

Posted on 08 October 2010 by kali

Real Salt Lake travels to New York on Saturday for a match against the Red Bulls (4 pm ET/2 pm MT, Telefutura) for what will be one of the team’s most critical matches all season.

RSL needs a win in order not only to keep pace with LA for Supporters’ Shield, but to also maintain some distance in the standings from FC Dallas for an automatic playoff spot.  Meanwhile, the new-look Red Bulls will be seeking points in order to capture the Eastern Conference title over a slumping Columbus side.

New York ought to pose a stern test for RSL — not only do the Red Bulls have three quality international designated players in Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry, and Rafael Marquez, but the rest of the roster has made a tremendous contribution to the team’s turnaround in 2010.  Joel Lindpere has six assists this season, while rookies Tony Tchani and Tim Ream have played their way into the starting lineup as well.

However, the Red Bulls will be missing several players to international duty — Dane Richards, Bouna Coundoul, and Andrew Boyens will not be available.  Richards’ absence could be the most glaring for RBNY coach Hans Backe, as the midfielder’s form has surged lately.

With only one CONCACAF Champions League match left on the schedule and a full week’s rest after last weekend’s victory at New England, RSL should be focused on Saturday.   The team was able to have two full training sessions before leaving for New York, giving the players and coaching staff time to get back in sync and work on a few small things before the final stretch of the season.

While this will be Real’s first visit to Red Bull Arena, resulting in some unfamiliarity, the players and coaches will be happy to leave the artificial surface of the old Giants Stadium behind, as RSL has yet to win a match at New York.  In addition, Giants Stadium played host to one of the strangest episodes in team history — Real’s first-ever match, a scoreless 0-0 draw, was played there in a monsoon in April 2005.

Coach Jason Kreis told The Salt Lake Tribune of his team’s recent form, “I’ve really felt like we haven’t played our best soccer. We haven’t been as sharp or in-tune as we are when we’re at our best defensively and we certainly haven’t been as sharp or in-tune as we have been when we’ve been at our best offensively, as well. So I’m hopeful that this rest will give us a chance to really go full-bore at things.”

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RSL travels to New England in search of three points

Posted on 02 October 2010 by kali

From Salt Lake City to Atlanta, Toronto, and now New England, Real Salt Lake’s late-season schedule has taken the team from coast-to-coast within the span of a week.  The odyssey continues on Saturday evening when RSL visits the Revolution for an important league match (7:30 PM ET/5:30 PM MT, KUSG).

Since earning a last-gasp draw against Colorado at home last weekend, Real has experienced a series of travel delays which separated the team in Atlanta en route to Toronto, earned another critical draw against TFC to clinch a berth in the next round of the CONCACAF Champions League, and finally arrived in Boston for Saturday’s match.

Awaiting RSL is a Revs side that has been eliminated from playoff contention, yet has plenty to play for.  Not only will New England be looking to avenge a rough 5-0 loss at Rio Tinto Stadium earlier this season, but the players will be seeking to make an impression on coach Steve Nicol as he begins to look toward the 2011 season.  Nicol started his roster overhaul this week as the club released Edgaras Jankauskas on Thursday.

Defender Darrius Barnes told the Revs’ official website, “They’ve gotten the better of us the past two years. They beat us 6-0 last year and 5-0 this year, so we definitely want to come out and avenge that loss.”

If New England is to exact some revenge against RSL, they’ll need to do it without some key defensive players.  Kevin Alston (hamstring) and Cory Gibbs (infection) will be unavailable for Saturday’s match; however, Chris Tierney is likely to return to the lineup after recovering from a knee sprain sustained last week.

The injury-riddled Revs backline presents a huge opportunity for RSL — Nicol will have just three natural defenders at his disposal and is likely to use either Tierney or Pat Phelan to fill out a back four.  With Real scoring only one goal in its last two matches, the timing couldn’t be much better for Jason Kreis’ squad to rediscover its once-prolific scoring touch.

However, RSL has some injury issues of its own to balance, largely among the attacking players.  Javier Morales (quad strain) and Paulo Junior (hamstring strain) remain questionable, while Fabian Espindola (hamstring), Robbie Findley (knee), Nelson Gonzalez (foot), Ned Grabavoy (knee), and Alvaro Saborio (knee) are probable.  In addition, Real lost defender Chris Schuler for the season after he broke his foot in training earlier this week.

Although Real has already clinched a playoff spot, the Supporters’ Shield and home advantage in the playoffs remain key goals for the team, regardless of injuries and fatigue; earning three points at New England would help RSL’s chances significantly ahead of the team’s final three league games against New York, Dallas, and Colorado.

Defender Nat Borchers articulated RSL’s attitude about the Supporters’ Shield concisely, stating, “It’s still within our reach.”

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