June 24th Edition

CanMNT show out in their Copa debut and MediaPro/CSB settle the beef

To all our Quebecois readers, bonne St-Jean!
We hope you are able to celebrate this Holiday Monday with a lovely day of back-to-back-to-back football (with a second screen of course), as the Euros begin a dramatic final round of group stage matches, and Copa América finishes up the first round of games.

As part of that first round of games at Copa, Canada went toe-to-toe to with the top team in the world, and have us all fired up to see what they can do in the rest of this tournament and beyond.

We aren’t the only ones apparently, as scouts have been watching this team closely. That, plus some potentially huge news for CanWNT’s Olympic roster, soccer on TV in Canada, and all the biggest stories in Canadian Soccer ahead in this week’s edition of The Northern Pitch.


🇨🇦 CanMNT show out against Messi & the defending World Cup Champs

Photo: Tagwa Moyo / DARBY

Canada may have lost their Copa América debut 2-0 to Argentina, but in the process won over a lot of people with just how well they played on Thursday.

The lads played a fearless style against the World Champs, and easily could have scored on a few separate occasions with some lovely football. They were well organized for most of the match and came out with a clear and effective game plan to frustrate the World’s #1 Ranked team.

You know Canada really had Argentina rattled, because the dark arts started to come out. They came out late to start the second half, they were hacking down JD at half for fun, and Rodrigo De Paul did his best Dikembe Mutombo impression by throwing up his hand to block a counter-attack.

To be fair, in a wide-open second half Argentina could have had like five goals. But Max Crépeau, for the second straight game, was fantastic. For a goalkeeper who missed the World Cup with a broken leg that he suffered from making an aggressive challenge in the 2022 MLS Cup Final, his bravery and decisiveness in coming out of the net kept Canada in the match.

1.1 million people tuned in across Canada, a further sign of the immense continued growth of the sport in this country.

Unfortunately, the beautiful game doesn’t always live up to its name — and we saw the uglier side of the sport after the match. Moïse Bombito, as well as multiple other Black Canadian players, received horrific racist comments on social media. Concacaf and CONMEBOL condemned the comments, and said they were investigating — but it’s on all of us to hold them accountable for that and continue to root out this despicable behaviour in the sport we love.

Up next for Canada, Peru on Tuesday (6:00 p.m. ET / 3:00 p.m. PT), and Chile on Saturday (8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT). Two very different games tactically, and after three matches against the top three teams in the World, a big chance to get out of this group.


👀 Canadian ballers are getting looks in Europe

Summertime and international tournaments. AKA Audition period for scouts and big-time summer moves. World Cup ballers, Euro phenoms or Copa America stars have made major moves to the world’s biggest clubs. Canada is the new kid on the block this year, and everyone is courting them.

Jonathan David is back in the rumour mill. Let’s go through the list of clubs linked with JD so far: Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and AS Roma. If you play career mode on EAFC, you’re signing immediately with any of these clubs. But a new player has entered the chat: Chelsea. The West London club is interested in the JD, and a move to the Prem seems far more enticing. Chelsea are not the only English club showing interest. Manchester United, Aston Villa, West Ham, and Tottenham are rumoured to show interest in JD. If true, this is a kid in a candy store situation. However, is it the right move or too big of a jump? We shall see.

Everybody wants Ismaël Koné. In the last edition, we shared that AS Roma has shown interest in Koné. According to Matteo Moretto, Koné is the most appreciated midfielder in Europe. Along with Roma, Marseille and West Ham have shown interest in the former CS Saint-Laurent baller. His contract with Watford ends in 2027. Good options.

Derek Cornelius to Copenhagen? Rumours have emerged that the CanMNT CB could move from Malmö, Sweden, to the Danish capital. If he continues to perform with Canada in Copa America, FC Copenhagen could be the destination. If so, we may potentially see Cornelius perform in the Champions League.

Moïse Bombito to Ligue1? When we said Ligue1, we didn’t mean Quebec. Another CB could be on the move. The CanMNT CB pair has been impressing the scouts lately. The former CS Saint-Laurent baller could be leaving MLS for France. No official bids have been made, but rumour has it that Colorado Rapids have been in talks with a few big clubs in France. Bombito, continue comme ça.

Question: Does Maxime Crépeau deserve a move to Europe? We say yes; many have wanted this move for him since LAFC. If he hadn’t broken his leg in the MLS final and gone to the World Cup, we believe he would’ve impressed if he had the #1 spot over Borjan. However, his performance against Argentina and his twice-denying Messi was an eye-opener for those who didn’t know the keeper from Montreal’s South Shore. If he continues this performance for the rest of the Copa, we sense Phil Neville could lose his #1. Awaille Max, continue comme ça.


🤝 MediaPro and CSB come to an agreement

Photo: MediaPro

One of the most dramatic stories in Canadian soccer this year — which is saying something — came to a somewhat quiet conclusion this week as Canadian Soccer Business and MediaPro settled their very public lawsuit.

As part of the settlement terms, MediaPro will continue to provide technical support for broadcasts until the end of the season, at which point they will transfer “all OneSoccer online service, intellectual property and all associated rights to Timeless Inc". - a company owned by CPL & CSB Chairman Scott Mitchell.

The media company and CSB had originally signed a 10-year agreement back in 2019, but in January both made court filings with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice alleging that the other had not lived up to their end of the bargain.

What exactly this means for the future of broadcast rights for the Canadian Premier League, as well as Canada’s national teams, remains to be seen. Publicly, however, CSB CEO and CPL commissioner Mark Noonan has said that the settlement is in the “best interest of Canadian Soccer”.

This settlement might make it easier for Canadian Soccer Businesses to get their product to a greater audience in the coming years. But without a media partner, who exactly will produce these broadcasts remains to be seen.

Canucks Abroad

🌍 Canucks Abroad

Photo: @CanMNTBible (Twitter)

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Young Player of the Year goes to… Victor Loturi. Ross County gave the 23-year-old midfielder this award. If he keeps this up, the CanMNT midfield slots will get very competitive.

🇸🇪 Clarissa Larisey scores a banger. While everyone is preoccupied with international tournaments, Cal Larisey scored a banger in BK Hacken’s 2-0 win over Trelleborg. We see you.

🇩🇰 Molly Race does the Danish double. U SPORTS continues to produce. The UBC Okanagan alumna started three matches in goal along the way to Nordsjælland lifting the cup in a 2-1 win over Brøndby, for the double.

🇺🇸 Back-to-back for Stephen Afrifa. Earning a starting job after scoring last week, Afrifa once again proved to be automatic. Despite the midweek seven-goal thriller ending in a loss to RSL, the Torontonian equalised with SKC’s opener.

🍃 Julia Grosso to… the Windy City? Having confirmed a departure from Juventus in late May, rumours have been swirling about the midfielder’s next destination. Picked up this week, were hints that JG has been spotted in Chicago ahead of a potential NWSL switch. Watch this space, especially with a move apparently soon to be announced.

👏 Quinn returns from injury. After two months on the sideline, Quinn has returned from injury in timely fashion, just in time for the Summer Olympics. The 28-year-old midfielder featured in the Seattle Reign’s DARBY match against the Portland Thorns. Quinn played the first 45 minutes and was taken off at the half—a great first step into full recovery. We love to see it.

⚽️ Mya Jones’ first pro goal. We have a first pro goal to celebrate! — as they say, hard work makes goals — including the once Calgary Foothills and Memphis Tigers forward’s first for the Wave… although it would only be consolation for San Diego in a 2-1 midweek loss to Gotham.

🧤 Kailen Sheridan keeps it clean. In the second match of the week for the Wave, K pocketed a fifth shutout of the NWSL season under the Houston sun. Jones would also nearly pick up an assist (if not for VAR), with this one ending in a scoreless draw.

👋 Allysha Chapman’s back. Chappy, aka Allysha Chapman, was back on the bench for Houston on the other side of their 0-0 draw against San Diego. The hard-nosed left-back had been on maternity leave since last October, welcoming her son Tavish this past February. Welcome back to the pitch, Chappy!

👑 Jordyn Huitema with a smart run. The Reign would claim a 1-1 draw in Sunday action, with their opener coming off a penalty won by Huitema. Huitema was brought down in the box after taking a darting line between two defenders. Quinn would also start this one, going 86’.

🦁 Bianca St-Georges assist. Late in NC’s 3-1 win over Chicago, the notorious B-S-G would find a helper, with a back-post feed. The insurance marker was confirmed with goal-line technology after a clearance off the line. Victoria Pickett also chipped in a half-hour off the bench.

Follow Canucks Abroad on Twitter.

Canucks at Home

🏡 Canucks at Home

Photo: CPL

😔 Dylon Powley passes away. The former FC Edmonton and Atletico Ottawa goalkeeper passed away this week in Edmonton. The 27-year-old's untimely passing shook the Canadian soccer community. Our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Dylon Powley. 

✍️ Cavalry announce their first EYT signing. 17-year-old Chanan Chanda becomes the Cavs’ first signing since the initiative was announced last season. Chanda has balled out with Cavalry’s U21s in League1 Alberta, with seven goals in seven apps — and joins a club that has moved on the likes of Aribim Pepple, Goteh Ntignee and Victor Loturi in recent memory.

Follow Canucks at Home on Twitter.

Other news

📰 In other news this week

Photo: Hanin Mazri / DARBY

🔴 When things look up, Toronto immediately brought down to the 401 at peak rush hour. BMO Field hosted Nashville on Wednesday, and the boys in red were handed a 2-1 loss to the visitors. Bernadeschi’s penalty slip is perhaps one of the most shocking moments of the game, besides conceding two goals after leading with one.

🔴 On Saturday, Toronto FC travelled to the New York Red Bulls. TFC lost 3-0. TFC supporters shouldn’t worry about the attack. When pushing forward, Toronto creates chances and is outright scary. The conversion rate could be better, but it still looks good, considering it’s Herdman’s first season as a gaffer. However, their defence remains shocking.

🔵 CF MTL endures heartbreaks but still looks positive. The squad has felt the absence of Mathieu Choinière, Samuel Piette, and Joel Waterman. The MTL central core is essentially gone. On Wednesday, MTL hosted the New York Red Bulls and scored 2-0 in the first half. the absence of that core was felt as CFM conceded two goals to the away team, ending the game 2-2. 

🔵 On Saturday, MTL travelled to Colorado and was defeated 4-1. It was a long night for Bleu-Blanc-Noir, and Joel’s absence is now obvious. On the bright side, Kwadwo Opoku, Matias Coccaro and Josef Martinez are back from injury. MTL has been waiting for the CanMNT trio to return to have a complete squad since March.

🏔️ Another Cascadia Darby! Portland Timbers hosted the Whitecaps at packed Providence Park. Timbers are without Kamal Miller and Maxime Crépeau, while Vancouver is without Ali Ahmed. This was quality football from the Timbers as James Pantemis earned his clean sheet in Portland’s 2-0 win over the Caps. Vancouver had no answers, while the Timbers had all the solutions. Alessandro Schopf’s second-half red card hindered Van’s attack ability.

👑 York United hosted Pacific at York Lions Stadium. This game had a spicy first half. It started beautifully with a banger goal from Brian Wright in the 36th minute. A minute later, Austin Ricci sees a red card for shoving Sean Young to the ground after a bit of jersey tugging. Despite being a man down, Mo Babouli scored the second goal for York. The match ended 2-0 for the home side.

🏟️ League leaders Atlético Ottawa travelled to ATCO Field. Cavalry scored early, within the opening two minutes of the game. Tobias Warschewski scored off a saved shot from a tight angle. Ottawa found an equalizer started from Ruben Del Campo’s cross to Alberto Zapater’s headed goal in the 39th minute. The game ended 1-1 but it was a thoroughly entertaining affair.

🔨 Forge welcomed Valour to kick off a Sunday double-header. Kwasi Poku started up top again, with Terran Campbell out of action and Jordan Hamilton only just fit enough for the bench. The left-back-turned-striker would hammer home a brace inside the first half-hour. Abdul Binate would claw back for the visitors, but a 2-1 victory ensured Forge would leap into 2nd to end the week.

⚓️ Halifax went coast-to-coast — clinching victory over Vancouver. That’s right — Patrice Gheisar’s squad have their first CPL win of 2024. The Wanderers would do it in style too, with Ryan Telfer getting off the mark after nine minutes. One more from Telfer for the road and two off the bench from Dan Nimick gave HFX a resounding (and club record) 4-0 win over the Eagles.

Northern Picks

This week’s picks come from Hanin Mazri. He’s a freelance Photographer and Contributing Editor at DARBY.

📺 What to watch

A show that I’m inspired by and always suggesting people watch is The Bear. The direction and cinematography is unbelievable. Season 3 drops this Thursday June 27th on FX/Disney Plus.

Who to follow

To see the culture of football through some of its best photographers, follow Football Case Study by STADE.

👕 What to buy

If you’re in Toronto, pull up to our Euro/Copa watch parties at STACKT Market and pick up a sick vintage kit from Christian @ Riot on the Terraces. He’s an absolute gem with racks and racks of heaters.

Follow Hanin on Instagram here.