July 24th Edition

Canada draw Nigeria, Smith to Lisbon and big CPL news

Canada draw Nigeria, Smith to Lisbon and big CPL news

Sleep is just a social construct as we exit the opening week of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, coming to grips with our new normal.

Despite the time difference, the quality of footy has been incredible as the expanded tournament has showcased just how far the women’s game has come in terms of international depth. Who didn’t love to see Vietnam keep it close against USWNT, or Jamaica pull off a draw with France?

Unfortunately, our CanWNT had a disappointing draw of their own to open the tournament against Nigeria and now have a tough road to the knockout rounds. But there is still everything to play for down in Australia and New Zealand.

That and the rest of this week’s biggest Canadian soccer stories below.

CREDIT: Canada Soccer

World Cup openers just haven’t been kind to Canada lately.

In a way that brought back far too many memories of Qatar, a missed penalty, this time by Christine Sinclair, was the story of Canada’s 0-0 draw with Nigeria.

First off, we will hear absolutely no Christine Sinclair slander. At this point, she can do no wrong and anyone giving her nonsense for missing clearly hasn’t been paying attention. At 40, she was still one of the best players on the park, and we back her to rebound from this like she always does.

Secondly, this game certainly didn’t help any of the concerns that this Canada team can’t score. They had their chances, but the final third was a bit of nightmare

Canada get a chance to set things right bright and early on Wednesday (8:00 a.m. ET/ 5:00 a.m. PT) when they take on Ireland, who lost their opener 1-0 to hosts Australia. Expect a scrappy affair, as like Canada the Irish are down to full tilt into any 50/50 on offer.

The team with ‘no official nickname’ need a W if they are going to control their destiny heading into the final match, and considering that is against a very good Australia on their home soil on Monday, they will want to take care of as much business as possible before then.

Other news this week

📺 Canada’s opening match versus Nigeria on TSN attracted 1.5 million viewers across Canada. The attention towards women’s football is growing and the CanWNT have a strong pull.

🏳️‍⚧️ Speaking of TSN, make sure to check out their feature on a trailblazing member of the national team, Quinn. They go in depth on becoming the first out trans and non binary athlete to win an Olympic Gold medal and how they are now looking to earn respect for their play on the pitch at the World Cup.

🇵🇹 Life comes at you fast: Olivia Smith signs with Sporting Lisbon. Before the World Cup, the 18 year old rookie planned to leave Penn State and focus on turning pro. She then went from being a training player for the Women’s national team in their pre-WC camp, to making it into the final 23-player roster. Now she has signed a professional contract with Sporting Lisbon until 2025.

⚓️ Canadian international Doneil Henry signs with Halifax Wanderers. Big news for the both Henry and the Nova Scotian side. Big man Don solidifies a move to the CPL after stints with LAFC and TFC. Doneil’s contract runs until the end of the 2023 season with options to extend into 2024. Players of his calibre are vital to raising the profile of league. Above all, for CPL to bring in Canadian internationals is a major gain. We love to see it.

➕ The Canadian Premier League also annnounced a new roster category called the ‘Exceptional Young Player’ spot. This adds two additional spots to each team’s roster reserved for U-18 Canadian players in the interest of giving more young domestic players a launching pad for their careers. So far, three players qualify, including Vancouver FC 16-year-old T.J. Tahid who is both the youngest signing in league history and also its youngest-ever goalscorer. Also some guy named James Cameron, who google tells us is the 43-year-old director of Avatar — so we aren’t sure exactly how he’s eligible.

🔵 CF Montreal close to signing Fernando Alvarez. Transfer prophet Fabrizio Romano reported that the Quebec club are the closest in signing the U20 Colombian talent over other European clubs. The young South American talent will be acquired by MTL for a $1 million transfer fee. Based on MTL’s recent transfer philosophy, they will look to develop and sell him to a European club for a profit. So long as CFM pick up a few trophies before selling, this could be a good investment.

🌊 Vancouver Whitecaps’ Julian Gressel joins Nancy at Columbus. This trade came out of nowhere. While the ‘Caps are finding their groove in MLS, losing an influential starter like Gressel seems unwise. However, Vancouver did get decent money out the trade with $850,000 USD in allocation money. That’s good money to work with. Julian Gressel did express that his reason for not signing a contract extension is to return to the East Coast to be closer to family, but Ohio is in the midwest… I guess distance is relative. Anyway, Wilfried Nancy should be delighted to add Gressel to his roster.

🧊 Jonathan David scored four goals in a friendly against club Cercle Bruges. As this is transfer season, these performances from the Canadian striker only sweeten his chances of a move to a top club. Notably, with serious interest coming out of Juventus. LOSC’s asking price for The Iceman is set at 50 million euros. The Bianconeri are a massive club but that price may be a little steep. England is where David has set his eyes on, so perhaps a Premier League club can front that cash.

🇨🇭Theo Corbeanu picked up an assist in his debut with Grasshoppers FC. The young Canadian’s debut for the Zurich-side will be memorable as he picked up an assist for Tsiy William Ndenge’s banger of a goal. Despite Grasshoppers losing 3-1 to Servette, this is a key moment for Theo Corbeanu’s stint in Switzerland.

💰 Mallorca pursuing Cyle Larin, hard. with a second bid to Valladolid. Real Mallorca have reportedly offered 6 million euros plus add-ons for the Brampton striker. While Real Valladolid are looking for a transfer fee closer to 10 million euros. Larin has expressed his wishes in staying in La Liga and has displayed that he has adapted to Spanish football last season with 8 goals and 3 assists. This won’t be the end of the saga, as Mallorca are going to come back with a good offer. If not, clubs like Valencia and Real Betis who have deeper pockets will step up to the plate.

CREDIT: Ketsia N’kumbu / DARBY Magazine

🏆 CF Montreal faced Liga MX heavyweights Pumas in the inaugural Leagues Cup. The night before, we witnessed Kamal Miller’s rookie teammate Messi score his first goal for Inter Miami in the Leagues Cup versus Cruz Azul. CFM hosted Pumas at Stade Saputo. This game was thoroughly entertaining. The match ended in 2-2 with MTL winning on penalties 4-2. Bryce Duke picked up the Man of the Match award. Please watch the highlights. If you’re curious about the vibe of the game, Gisoo was there: Games like these are what I live for. The atmopshere was imaculate. The stadium was 30% Pumas/Mexican fans. Major chants coming from both sets of supporters with a real feeling of a Concacaf Champions League night. A sold out Stade Saputo during a big match should be on anyone’s bucket list. Incroyable.

🌊 Vancouver Whitecaps hosted Club Leon at BC Place. It was another entertaining game and Sergio Cordova is a beast. While Club Leon’s second goal by Elias Hernandez was a screamer/banger or whatever you want to describe that quality goal. To add icing to the cake, the game also went to penalties. This was no typical shootout, a total combined 31 penalty shots were taken. Unfortunately for Vancouver, Club Leon walk away from BC Place as winners. Yohei Takaoka must’ve been exhausted.

⚓️ Back in the Maritimes, Doneil Henry debuted as a Halifax Wanderer at Wanderers Ground. HFX took on Atletico Ottawa with the game ending 1-0 for the home side. With the only goal coming from Theo Collomb’s volley in full sprint. CPL only knows banger eh? Don came off the bench for Riley Ferrazzo in the 83rd minute. This win for Halifax has rendered Wanderers Ground into a fortress, with a total of 5 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss at home. With Doneil in the team, Halifax will grow in confidence and move forward as a club that can attract top Canadian talents. Every club needs a big name and Don has filled that need.

🔨 Other results in the CPL included: Forge FC defeating Pacific at Starlight Stadium 2-0. The goals came from Kwasi Poku and David Choinière. In Winnipeg, Valour were defeated at home by York 2-1, with all the goals coming from the first 12 minutes of the match.

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from Hanin Mazri (@hanin.mazri)

📚 What to read

RELENTLESS: by Tim S. Grover. This one is specifically for all the players out there, but also for anyone who’s struggling to achieve their goals. Regardless of your field of work this read will help you reach the next level, it will help you become the best at what you do.

📺 What to watch

I’m a huge film buff but you can ask me for my movie list at a different time. For football relevancy, everyone has to watch the movie Goal! The Dream Begins. The dream of becoming a footballer we’ve all had, and this classic movie keeps that dream alive.

🛍️ What to buy

I’m gonna follow suit from my g: DARBY Issue 3 is now available for purchase! Don’t be one of the people who regret missing an issue from their collection.

✅ Who to follow

Follow (@shuttersworth), not only is he the best Canadian football photographer and one of the creative minds at EA sports, he’s our leader at DARBY — so do it for the culture.