Archive for the ‘Whitecaps FC’ Category

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VANCOUVER, B.C – The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup begins on Friday, June 7. Fans from around the world will be tuning in for a month of fantastic women’s football. Twenty-four teams will compete in France, for a chance to hoist the World Cup on July 7, in Lyon.

Canada will take on Group E opponents, Cameroon, New Zealand, and the Netherlands in Montpellier (June 10), Grenoble (June 15), Reims (June 20). There will be a sense of familiarity for no.5 ranked Canada, who also faced New Zealand and the Netherlands when Canada hosted the 2015 World Cup. Canada earned a draw vs both countries.

Just like fans across the country, Vancouver Whitecaps FC players will be cheering on Canada. Many Whitecaps FC players know the Canada’s women’s national team, and have met, trained, and been in the same environment representing Canada.

While on an MLS Gold Cup break, several Whitecaps FC players shared their thoughts on Canada’s chances at the World Cup, and the brilliance that is, Christine Sinclair.

“Yeah, I support them,” Doneil Henry explained to Har Journalist. “I love our women’s national team. Jordyn Huitema, just signed at PSG, and (Janine) Beckie at Man City. We have some really talented women on the national team. I’m excited to see them continue to go far. Knowing that John (Herdman) has a lot of history with the women’s side, and the respect that he has for them. I just wish them the best. I just know that they’ll do us all proud.”

“They’re a great team,” Russell Teibert said. “From what I know, from Canada Soccer, they’re going to be a hard working team. They’re going to do everything possible to keep Canada at the top of women’s soccer. We’re familiar with the team, because John (Herdman) was the women’s national team coach. I think we’re all together as a family in Canada Soccer.”

“They’ll get out of it (Group E) for sure,” Max Crepeau predicted. “No pressure on the women’s team, but they’re really really good, honestly. In the last few years, they’ve been dominate, I’m pretty confident that we’ll get out of the group. I hope they go to the semis, but one game, at a time.”

“I’ve been in the Whitecaps program since I was fifteen ” Theo Bair revealed. “I made some friends at school along the way. Elite Girls players, Julia Grosso, Jordyn Huitema, and Jayde Riviere. All three, really good players, promising players for Canada, and my good friends. I’ve seen all of them work, not only on the field, but off the field. They’re great athletes, people, great students, and I think that applies both ways.”

Christine Sinclair is arguably the greatest professional football player Canada has ever had. As she closes in on U.S. Soccer great, Abby Wambach’s, all-time goal-scoring record of 184 goals. Whitecaps FC players can’t wait to see Sinclair make history and set the record. It’s quite likely that Sinclair won’t remain on her 181 goal total for very long.

“Sincy’s been doing it forever,” Henry said. “Since I was a young one with Toronto, I’ve been seeing her score goals, everywhere, at every stage. I can’t wait for her to beat it, because she’s definitely going to do it.”

“I just think she’s the best Canadian soccer player,” Derek Cornelius added. “She carries herself very well. She’s a good role model for a lot of the ladies coming up. She just leads our country in the right way, and of course she’s a great soccer player.”

“I think it’s going to happen,” Brett Levis said with confidence. “I think it would be huge for soccer players all over Canada, for us to hold a record like that. It’s pretty unbelievable.”

“The killer instinct,” Crepeau said of Sinclair. “You have half a chance and you create a goal out of it. This is why she’s on top of the list for sure.”

As we witnessed four years ago, Canada’s women’s national team has the ability to capture the entire country from coast to coast. Canada is in with a real shout to make some damage at the World Cup. Twenty-three players will represent the red and white in France. Whitecaps FC players will be among the biggest supporters of the women’s team.

“We love our women’s national team,” Henry beamed. “While the men were in a slump for a very long time, the women have held the country really proud. The women are great. They’re tenacious. I think we’re definitely one of the few nations on the women’s side who can definitely win it.”

“Absolutely, I’ll follow,” Teibert said. “I’m a big supporter of Canada Soccer. I was a big supporter of the women’s team when they were here. I really enjoyed going to watch the games at B.C. Place.”

“I’m excited, I think it’s a very exciting team,” Levis explained. “I know they have a lot of young players. They’ve got some Whitecaps REX Girls players, hopefully they get their opportunity. It’s always fun to see the country rally around when the World Cup comes around. I’m just excited to watch.”

“As long as they played united,” Bair explained. “They’re a very strong group. I’ll tune in when I can, as long as I don’t have training. I’ll try to watch them because I want to support them.”

The football world, isn’t all that big. When Canada is on the biggest stage, they can know that there will be support in all corners of the country. Whitecaps FC players want to see them do well and succeed. Canada Soccer is one big family.

 

 

 

 

 

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Pro Soccer USA for my Whitecaps FC vs Toronto FC report.

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Whitecaps FC vs Toronto FC at B.C. Place in Vancouver on May 31, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist 

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VANCOUVER, B.C – The Toronto Raptors will make history tonight when they host the Golden State Warriors in the first NBA Final game outside of the United States. The Raptors have the support of the an entire country behind them from coast to coast.

The support extends to Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s biggest Raptors fan, Doneil Henry. The 26-year-old Henry, has fond memories of going to games with his family, well before the ‘We The North’, Drake, Raptors brand took off to unexpected levels.

“I had an aunt that use to bring me out to the Raptors games,” Henry explained exclusively to Har Journalist. “When Vince Carter was there. Just when Toronto started to have a buzz around basketball. Carter, the Junk Yard Dog (Jerome Williams), Mo Pete (Morris Peterson), these are the type of guys I think about when I think about the Raptors.”

The Brampton, Ontario native is a primo Raptors fan. He has lived through all the ups and downs from Alonzo Mourning, Rafael Araujo, to Andrea Bargnani. Henry knows that building a championship contender takes time, it can’t be build overnight. Seeing the Raptors in the NBA Finals after twenty-four years makes it all that more enjoyable.

“I’m a real fan, I’m not a hater,” Henry explained. “I’m the type of guy, it doesn’t matter how the team is doing. We trust the process. I’m a sportsman, I understand the game from a professional level. I know it’s not easy for a player, or management. Everybody wants to do well, and sometimes it takes time to get all the pieces right.”

Toronto Raptors President, Masai Ujiri, has found the right pieces to put his team in a position to upset one of the best NBA teams to take to the hardcourt. Kyle Lowry was always an x-factor, but adding Kawhi Leonard has helped the Raptors reach new heights. It has also helped having nemesis, LeBron James in the western conference with the LA Lakers.

The Warriors are a once in a generation NBA franchise. They have re-written the book on how to play basketball. There is no poor shot when Steph Curry pulls up. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala all know what it takes to win an NBA title. Even with Kevin Durant waiting on the sidelines. Henry isn’t wavering.

“I have no fear, I have no worries,” Henry revealed. “I believe in the team, we have really good players. If any games I felt like we were in any trouble, it was the (Milwaukee) Bucks. No-one can mark (Giannis) Antetokounmpo. He’s a great player, young player, explosive, and aggressive.”

“I think that with Golden State, we match up better with them,” Henry continued. “We have lock down defenders that can defend the perimeter. Now it’s the question of who is going to guard Kawhi…”

Toronto could be the toughest team the Warriors have faced in the previous four NBA Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers tried, but only managed to win once. For Henry, it’s not a matter of if the Raptors will win, but how many games it will take.

“Six, in The Six.” Henry said with confidence.

“I love the Toronto Raptors,” Henry beamed. “It’s really good to see that we’re in the finals.”

If the Raptors win game six at Oracle Arena, in Oakland, California, Henry will be ready to celebrate in his own special way. You won’t see him in his favourite purple Tracy McGrady jersey cheering on Yonge Street during a potential parade.

“Nope, I’m not into all of that.” Henry said.

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VANCOUVER, B.C – It’s going to be an all Canadian battle on Friday night at B.C. Place as Vancouver Whitecaps FC take on bitter rivals, Toronto FC. Vancouver will be looking to continue their recent run of form with a victory over a 5-6-2, (17 points) Toronto FC squad that’s winless in their last five matches (0-4-1).

Vancouver has picked up valuable points over Sporting Kansas City, New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas. Whitecaps FC have 17 points, from a 4-6-5 record this season, and they’ll be looking to head into the MLS Gold Cup break on a high.

Even with the Canadian Championship, Vancouver and Toronto don’t play each other often enough. When they do get together, there’s always fireworks, and plenty of bragging rights, for several Canadians from ‘The Big Smoke’.

“It’s important, we want to finish off strong,” Ajax, Ontario native, Derek Cornelius explained to Har Journalist. “We want to end this difficult stretch on the right foot. Yeah, it’s my hometown, so of course I want to do well, and get the three points for the club.”

Vancouver goalkeeper, Maxime Crepeau, is locked in and playing some of the best football of his career. Crepeau has solidified his role as a number one MLS shot-stopper, and he has recently come up with several quality saves of the spectacular variety.

The 25-year-old, Crepeau, relishes the opportunity to go up against a versatile Toronto FC side that features the ever dangerous Jozy Altidore, and first-year MLS magician, Alejandro Pozuelo. The dynamic duo lead Toronto’s offence with five goals each.

“Toronto is a team that’s been successful over the years,” Crepeau told Har Journalist following training. “They went to the cup final. Toronto is a team that can play with both systems. They can play 3-5-2, 4-3-3, and 4-4-2. They’re a good team, and we just have to maintain them, and we’ll be good.”

Vancouver skipper, Jon Erice, knows just what kind of exceptional talent, Altidore brings to a pitch. The former La Liga talent was a young prospect with Villarreal, when Erice first had a glimpse of his future potential.

“I saw Jozy Altidore when he was young, and playing in Spain,” Erice revealed. “He’s improved a lot, he’s a very very strong guy, strong player. A quality player. Michael Bradley, is one of the best players in MLS. One of the best midfielders, and we know him very well. They are a very good team, not only these two guys, and Pozuelo. They have a lot of good players.”

Whitecaps FC will be without the services of Brampton, Ontario native, Doneil Henry. The avid Toronto Raptors supporter will miss his second consecutive match with a left hamstring strain. Striker Joaquin Ardaiz, and winger, Lass Bangoura will also be unavailable. However, left-back, Ali Adnan, and winger Yordy Reyna are in contention.

Toronto FC also faces an injury crisis. Jonathan Osorio (hip / groin), Michael Bradley (hamstring), and Auro (hamstring) are all listed as questionable. It’s uncertain if any of the trio will travel to Vancouver today. Despite facing a depleted roster, Whitecaps FC coach Marc Dos Santos, isn’t about to underestimate Toronto FC.

“We know what we want to do,” Dos Santos explained. “I believe that there are seven to ten teams in the league that are just kind of vintage, top teams. Toronto is part of that group. How they invest, the fans, the fact that in the last three years, they went to two MLS Cup finals. Eight of the eleven starters are the core that went to the final. I know what they’re about. We’re always going to respect an opponent like Toronto. It’s going to be a tough game regardless of who comes here.”

While there might not be an edge on paper for either side. Vancouver can boast an advantage by just being at home. MLS western conference teams are on a fantastic run of form against their eastern conference foes. Western teams are 11-0-2 in their last thirteen matches against the east.

Might there be a new west coast v east coast beef underway on the pitch?

“It would be unfair for me to say that the western is stronger,” Dos Santos pondered. “I think that maybe in this moment right now, the teams of the west are just in a better form. Maybe travel affects, I’m not sure. It doesn’t mean that at any moment, teams like Atlanta have a lot of quality in their roster. New York Red Bulls can jump and become stronger.”

Whitecaps FC will be looking to jump all over a Toronto FC side that hasn’t found their stride in 2019. Vancouver’s key off-season pieces are finally starting to clicking, and the club looks to be finding some consistency. The centre of the universe could be in for tough night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Please visit Pro Soccer USA for my Whitecaps FC vs FC Dallas report.

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs FC Dallas at B.C. Place on Saturday May 25, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Russell Teibert. Photo: Whitecaps FC

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Whitecaps FC are back on the road, as the team gets set for a pair of matches away from B.C. Place. Vancouver will take on Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, May 18, and then it’s a battle against the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, May 22.

Vancouver is coming off a 1-0 loss to Atlanta United FC on Wednesday night at B.C. Place. At the minute, Whitecaps FC sit 8th in the western conference with a record of 3-6-3, 12-points. Sporting Kansas City remain in 11th position with a 10-points, from a 2-4-4 record. The home side will be looking to snap an eight-match winless streak.

Whitecaps FC are no strangers to long distance travel. Playing on the west coast often means long road trips across the continent. Vancouver has already had three trips into the central and eastern time zones, traveling to Houston, Chicago, and Orlando. That often requires flying commercial with a layover before reaching the final designation.

Over the years, players have developed a flying routine. Some players prefer the window seat, over the aisle, and almost no player wants to be stuck in the dreaded middle seat.

“I love the aisle, so I can get up and go to the bathroom when I feel like it.” Fredy Montero explained.

“I’m an aisle guy,” Jake Nerwinski said. “I like to be able to get out. I like to lean my legs out into the aisle a little bit.”

“If it’s a long trip, I like the aisle,” Russell Teibert revealed. “If it’s quick trip, which we rarely have here in Vancouver, I like the window.”

“My favourite situation is a nice aisle seat, and I sleep as much as possible,” Andy Rose revealed. “Our last plane trip, we were on United, and we had a couple of Premier League games on, which was great. That’s probably the ideal situation. A good sleep, good book, and time to relax.”

“I’m always window seat,” Doneil Henry admitted. “I don’t like to be bothered, I don’t like to be bumped by carts when I’m in the aisle seat. Put me by the window, and I just sleep.”

“Middle, love the middle,” Scott Sutter joked. “I love being crammed in. No, no. Aisle all day, I prefer the aisle, I like to stretch my legs a little bit.”

There are a variety of choices to pass the time away on a long flights. You can try and get some kip, read a book, play cards, listen to music, watch a movie, or talk to your seat mate. Athletes usually like to rest up, relax, and watch a movie.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC players are no different.

“Watch movies, that I can’t watch at home with my kids,” Felipe told reporters at Vancouver International Airport. “I like to be quiet, watch movies, and enjoy myself. Anything on iTunes, and Netflix.”

“Mostly watch films, and see what new films are out,” Sutter said. “I’ve got my iPad, and a good book at the moment.”

“Soccer books, at the moment I’m reading a great book about Barcelona,” Rose explained. “That’s incredibly interesting. I read a lot about different coaches, managers, player autobiographies, all those sorts of things.”

“I try to sleep,” Nerwinski added. “I try to rest as much as I can. When I get a little stiff, I usually do a little walking down the aisle, until a flight attendant will yell at me to sit down. I watch Netflix. Right now I’m watching Designated Survivor, it’s pretty good.”

“Sleep, I like to sleep,” Henry said. “I don’t do anything other than sleep. Sometimes I download a couple of Netflix. I’ve been watching Imposters. I’m on the second season.”

“I don’t sleep, that’s for sure,” Montero revealed. “I get nervous when the plane is shaking, for those two seconds, five seconds. I’m praying about it, because I honestly don’t like it. Most of the time, I watch movies, read books, and talk to my teammates.”

There’s always one individual who is persistent in chatting up his teammates while they’re doing their own thing. If there’s a lengthy travel day ahead for Whitecaps FC, there’s one player that teammates would prefer they don’t sit beside.

“Ali (Adnan), Ali’s annoying.” Henry said.

“Normally I sleep, but Ali (Adnan) has been bothering me on the flights,” Teibert explained. “He likes to take pictures of me. I’ve kind of got to sleep with one eye open, now.”

“Joaquin (Ardaiz).” Nerwinski revealed. “I’ve sat next to him two or three times. He loves the middle (seat), which is a very odd thing. He likes to talk to everybody. If you sit next to him, you’re not going to get much sleep.”

“Yeah, Fredy Montero. He just does not shut-up on the flights,” Sutter laughed. “It’s crazy, he just wants to speak about everything. No, no, he’s great. If I can choose anyone, it would be next to Fredy.”

“Fortunately, we’re all sort of spread out on the plane,” Rose revealed. “I think we do a great job of trying to get away from the middle seats. Usually you’re sat by yourself. A few guys like to play cards together, and what not. For the most part, so far, I haven’t been hassled.”

Whitecaps FC will look to re-group in the friendly skies as they prepare for a week on the road. Vancouver will stay and train in Kansas City following Saturday’s match at Children’s Mercy Park. Vancouver will fly home on Thursday, May 23.

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Atlanta United FC on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – Vancouver Whitecaps FC were no match for high flying Atlanta United FC. On his 49th birthday, Atlanta coach Frank De Boer’s side earned a 1 – nil victory over Vancouver. Josef Martinez converted from the spot, and Brad Guzan made two saves to earn his MLS leading 6th clean sheet of the season. A paltry crowd of 16,138 was on hand to see Whitecaps FC’s two-match winning streak come to an end.

“I’m very proud of the team,” De Boer said post-match. “It’s a long trip, short period in between those two legs. I think we started off a little bit sloppy. With passes lacking concentration, but after 20 minutes we took the control a little bit. In the second half we were even more concentrated, and at the end I think the best team won. But it was still tense at the end, as it was only 1-0 and we could’ve ended the game a number of times before.”

Atlanta’s five-match winning streak remains in tact as they improve to 6-3-2, 15-points. Coach Marc Dos Santos, Whitecaps FC side slip to 3-6-3, 11-points on the campaign.

“They came with a plan to hit us in transition where they have players that are very dangerous,” Dos Santos said post-match. “They are quick to attack the space. I thought that when we had possession, we spent a lot of time in their half, but couldn’t find any kind of opening. I have to give credit to Atlanta, I think they did a very good job in their defensive organization, it showed as this is their fifth game in a row they did not concede. The disappointing part is that I thought overall the game was equal.”

Brek Shea made his return to Vancouver to take on his former club. He recieved a mixture of cheers and boo’s from fans during player introductions. Shea had a solid performance at left-back, and helped Atlanta steal three points on the road.

“It was good, we got three points,” Shea shared his match thoughts with Har Journalist. “What can we say. I think we started a little slow, but we got the goal in the first half, and we won the game. All is good.”

The visitors opened the scoring in the 29′ minute after Whitecaps FC’s, Lass Bangoura knocked Atlanta’s Pity Martinez to the ground inside the Vancouver box. Referee, Baldomero Toledo was quick in his decision to point to the spot for a penalty.

Josef Martinez stepped up and smashed home the penalty for his team leading 5th goal of the season. Whitecaps FC opponents have converted all seven successful penalties this season.

For the fourth consecutive home match, Whitecaps FC supporters, Curva Collective, and the Southsiders staged a walk out in the 35′ minute. An already quiet B.C. Place, was even more quiet after fans walked out in protest.

Just as Atlanta was pressing for a second goal, Whitecaps FC’s, Max Crepeau has other idea. The Caps was in perfect position to deny Tito Villalba, Crepeau rebounded to stop Eric Remedi after he was setup by Josef Martinez. Pity Martinez followed up with a diving header only to be turned aside by Crepeau’s acrobatics saves.

“You know, it is just ball watch,” Crepeau explained his technique. “First action is the counter attack on the corner kick, Villalba was running at me and I just tried to close the angle well and the second save is just…ah, I don’t even know quite well, I’m just trying…I just remember that I focus one ball at a time, that’s it. I said often when I spoke to you guys but it’s one ball at a time, you focus and I’m happy that I kept the team in the game and give a chance to actually tag and win, but it’s disappointing to get no points right now.”

Vancouver looked absolutely gassed. They just weren’t in the match from the opening whistle. Atlanta United FC had pace, flair, and just enough to earn a road victory. Whitecaps FC will look to bounce back on Saturday, May 18, when they visit Sporting Kansas City.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Starting XI: Max Crepeau, Ali Adnan, Doneil Henry, Erik Godoy, Jake Nerwinski; Russell Teibert, 69 (Andy Rose), Felipe, 77 (Joaquin Ardaiz), InBeom Hwang; Lass Bangoura, 64 (PC) Fredy Montero(C), Lucas Venuto. 4-3-3

Atlanta United FC Starting XI: Brad Guzan, Brek Shea, Florentin Pogba, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Franco Escobar; Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Remedi; Pitty Martinez, 82 (Miles Robinson(; Justin Meram, 63 (Julian Gressel), Tito Villalba, 69 (Dion Pereira) Josef Martinez. 4-2-3-1