July 10th Edition

CanMNT’s Gold Cup heartbreak & CanWNT Women’s World Cup Roster Announcement

CanMNT’s Gold Cup Heartbreak & CanWNT Women’s World Cup Roster Announcement

CREDIT: Canada Soccer

It’s another melancholy Monday in Canadian soccer as Canada’s Gold Cup campaign is over, in a way that was equal parts more painful but also inspiring than many expected.

The Canadian men’s national team has plenty of reason to hold their heads high, but also ask a number of ‘what ifs’ after a penalty shootout loss to the United States in the Gold Cup quarter-finals.

Now the eyes of the nation turn to the women’s national team, who announced their World Cup roster earlier on Sunday, with some surprising names included.

All that and a whole lot more in this week’s edition of The Northern Pitch:

Canada unquestionably saved their best for last at the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup. In a shootout loss to the United States, CanMNT showed all the spirit and quality that has truly helped them close to gap with the best teams in Concacaf over the past few years.

Unfortunately, they will have to wait longer until they have any trophies to show for those efforts, as a Charles-Andreas Brym penalty that hit the underside of the bar before bouncing down and out spelled the end of their tournament.

The proceding 120 minutes plus penalties had been incredibly dramatic, with a referee injury, some calls you would only see in Concacaf, a late equalizer from Steven Vitoria, huge saves from Dayne St. Clair, a Jacob Shaffelburg goal that looked to be sending Canada to the semis…and then we don’t really want to talk about the rest.

What exactly the performance and results at this tournament mean for the program going forward will be a debate for the days and weeks to come. But after a whole lot of criticism and debate over the group stage results, this team devlivered a performance to be proud of in their biggest game of the tournament.

I would link to the highlights here but…nobody wants to go through that pain again, surely.

CREDIT: Canada Soccer

On Sunday afternoon in a special broadcast on TSN, the Canadian women’s national team revealed the 23 players who will be representing the team at the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The roster reveal included a few more surprises than expected, as due to injuries to Jade Rose and Deanne Scott, 18-year-old Olivia Smith and Gabriel Carle were named to final roster after neither was included in the preliminary list. The other suprise omission was Marie-Yasmine Alidou who recently moved to Benfica. Janine Beckie is another key player who be missing for Canada at this tournament, and unfortunate trend for many national teams of late with big stars missing this competition.

In better news injury wise, Nichelle Prince and Deanne Rose were both included in the roster after lengthy spells on the sidelines. Both will bring experience and quality to the Canadian front line.

Otherwise, it is the usual stars who will lead Canada at the tournament, including the G.O.A.T Christine Sinclair, Jessie Fleming, Julia Grosso, Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence and Kailen Sheridan.

Canada will play one last behind-closed-doors friendly against European champs England, before opening their 2023 tournament against Nigeria on July 20. Canada’s challenging group also included Ireland and hosts Australia. All matches at the 2023 World Cup will be available on CTV/TSN.

The full squad can be found here.

Other news this week


🔱 James Merriman has signed a long-term deal to remain Pacific FC head coach. The Victoria-side re-signs Merriman on a three-year deal with an option of a 2-years extension. The Nanaimo man is the winningest coach in club history. Merriman has already won the CPL as assistant coach under Pa-Modou Kah, could he do it again as head coach?

➡️ Summers are not only for transfers, as Ike Ugbo and Theo Corbeanu have been loaned out to new clubs. Ike Ugbo has been loaned out to Cardiff City for the season. The Troyes striker could benefit from Championship level football, a style which John Herdman is very familiar with. While Theo Corbeanu has been loaned out to Grasshoppers Club Zurich. Strong name. For Theo, it is all about game time and if he can shine at Grasshoppers it’ll be a positive step forward in returning to Wolves.

🔵 CF Montréal signs Kwadwo Opoku from LAFC. This is a blessing. MTL’s biggest struggle season is finding a convincing forward that can finish. Especially with the absence of injured Romell Quioto, MTL has been missing a trigger man. Moreover, LAFC receive $1.75 million in GAM, making it one of the largest GAM acquisitions in MLS history. Opoku, last season MLS winner, has registered 7 goals and 3 assists in 34 appearances. Stats do not tell the full story and MTL need all the help in the forward position.

🔴 Franco Ibarra is not happy being sent to TFC. Atlanta United loaned-out the Argentine defensive midfielder to Toronto. Ibarra explained that the deal was done “out of the blue” and it went against his wishes. However, Ibarra was moved out because ATL had too many “U22 Initiative” players at the moment. Despite that reality, the consistent holding midfielder felt he was blindsided and did not want to play for a struggling club. A bit of a diss to TFC but the reality is that club is seriously struggling. Then again, it’s just a loan. Daddy chill.

🇨🇦 The Canadian Women National Team will play Jamaica at BMO in September. Our defending gold medallist will play Jamaica in a two-leg game for a spot in the Paris Olympics 2024. Canada will travel to Kingston on Septembre 22nd and the second leg will be played at BMO Field on the 26th. Just like the UEFA Champions League, the team with the highest goal aggregate will qualify for the Olympic tournament. Tickets go on sale July 21st.

CREDIT: Toronto FC

👕 TFC unveil their third away jersey in honour of Toronto’s Carnival festival. The newly unveiled jersey is called The Energy kit,” TFC is one of the four MLS clubs to don a third kit. The third kit is designed to be representative of the city’s culture. With this kit in particular reflecting the influence of Caraibbean culture in Toronto.

📺 Janine Beckie will be joining the TSN broacast team for the Women’s World Cup. Due to her injury, she will not be able to play but second best option is a TV gig. If you like her punditry on TSN, definitely check out her full cover story on the latest issue of DARBY Magazine. She will be joined by an all-star coverage cast including former CanWNT stars Amy Walsh, Erin McLeod, Claire Rustad and Carmelina Moscato.

✍️ Alejandro Diaz is signing with Vancouver FC. The former Pacific FC player signed a one-year loan deal with Vancouver FC from Norwegian second-division side Sogndal IL. Diaz has scored 31 goals in 62 games in his 3.5-years stint with Pacific. A goal every two games, that’s impressive.

CREDIT: Hanin Mazri / DARBY

Another unfortunate week for Canadian MLS clubs this week.

🔴 Toronto FC’s struggle continue at home. The boys in red hosted St. Louis FC losing 1-0. Reminder, they are without Richie and Oso along with an interim coach. It might not be a satisfying excuse for some, but TFC need to start focusing in rebuilding next season.

🔵 Montréal struggle at home for the second week in a row. Just like their Toronto rivals, MTL lost to ATL 1-0 at Stade Saputo. Last week, MTL’s loss to NYCFC marked the end of their 6-game unbeaten streak at home in MLS. The loss to Atlanta United has revealed two things, the Opoku signing is deeply needed and the absence of Mathieu Choinière is felt.

🌊 Vancouver also lost at home to Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders. The Whitecaps lost 2-3 to the Sounders in the Cascadia DARBY. Despite the loss, Vancouver continue to the be only Canadian team with a convincing attaking philosophy. Above all, this was still an entertaining game.

🔨 Meanwhile in the CPL, Forge are back baby! Every year the Hamilton club tricks us into thinking they are a ‘club in crisis’ before delivering the type of dominant result that. The league’s all-time leading goalscorer Terran Campbell scored a hat trick while its first ever Player of the Year, Tristan Borges, added a fourth.

🐎 Elsewhere in the CPL, Cavalry stunned Pacific 2-1. Goteh Ntignee, remember the name. Baller. Vancouver FC, meanwhile, look to really be enjoying the acquisition of Miki Cantave as they picked up just their second home win, 2-1 against Halifax. Nobody saw that coming. Finally, Atlético Ottawa doubled up on Valour, also by a score of 2-0. With the transfer window opening, the race is incredibly tight in the CPL. Get ready for plenty more drama as the second half of the season unfolds.

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from Pat Ryder (@Patryderr)

📺 What to watch

I find anything with Mark Goldbridge is hilarious, entertaining and generally pretty well thought through from a football perspective. He’s a slow burn of a character and it actually took me a second go at the channel to really understand what he was on about — but he’s passionate, talks about hard issues head on and bloody hilarious at his best. I’ve grown to admire him as a person, despite his hilarious temper tantrums and rants on the state of Manchester United. You can catch him on That’s Football, The Football Fill In with Ben Foster or for those United fans like my self a daily watch is The United Stand.

🎧 What to listen to

I listen to a Podcast called “ShxtsnGigs” they initially got me hooked with their hilarious antics and outlandish situations that people write in about but I found myself sticking around for some of Fuhad’s football chat - surprise surprise.. he’s also a Man United fan.

🎧 What to also listen to

I am much more of an audio learner so I’m gonna give you another audio listen. This one a little more analytical, historical and broader overarching for anyone that wants to dig a little deeper into the world of footy. Wildly popular without my reco, but Tifo is a great place to learn a little more about the game and all of its questions beyond just what happens on the pitch.

✅ Who to follow

The first is @theringleaders. They not only have stunning imagery and football inspired pieces that blend the word of football and fashion with more and more ease every season - they’re also Canadian and I feel as though that alone deserves the support 🫶

And second, the photographer in me definitely has a bias toward strong imagery. I recently discovered the work of Pete Martin @iampetemartin who is the Editor and Head of Creative at SoccerBible. His work is stunning and littered with stars from across the footballing world.

Have any thoughts on the newsletter? Just reply to this email. We’d love to hear from you.