June 19th Edition

CanMNT taught a lesson in Concacaf Nations League Final

CanMNT taught a lesson in Concacaf Nations League Final

Like many of you, we are still recovering from a rather sobering defeat last night for the Canadian men’s national team in the 2023 Concacaf Nations League final.

It will likely be a week of soul searching for Canadian soccer and its fans after a performance in the final that left a lot to be desired in a 2-0 loss to the United States. But there was still plenty to celebrate — most notably the career and contributions of the greatest to ever do it for CanMNT, Atiba Hutchinson.

Here are the biggest stories from this week in Canadian soccer:

Photo courtesy: AS USA

Heavy was the crown for the Canadian men’s national team last night, as they were rather unceremoniously stripped of their ‘Kings of Concacaf’ title by a dominant United States side in the 2023 Concacaf Nations League final.

Chris Richards scored a free header in the 12th minute and new United States star striker Folarin Balogun added to the misery in the 34th minute. It ended 2-0 but it arguably could have been worse with several other close calls for the USA.

More disheartening than the result was the performance from Canada, who were completely outclassed and outworked all over the pitch on Sunday night. In their first major final since 2000, Canada looked unprepared for the occasion both emotionally and tactically.

Next up is the Gold Cup, but one that is expected to have a rather different look and feel for Canada without a number of their top stars. Maybe giving other players the opportunity to pull on the maple leaf and fight for a spot going forward will be just what this team needs to regroup.

Either way, the match served as a significant lesson for CanMNT and a painful reminder of the gap that still exists between them and their rivals to the south.

Other news this week

CREDIT: Ozan Metin / DARBY

🫡 Captain, trailblazer, and World Cup player Atiba Hutchinson is retiring. The 40-year-old Canadian international has announced that he is retiring from club football and his final professional game with Canada at the Nations League Final. A final dance in parallel to Zidane’s last professional game, Atiba will forever be remembered as the pivotal anchor in Canadian football history. From obscurity and into the floodlights and the countless camera shutters of the World Cup. We will never forget when BMO Field erupted into chants of “Atiba! Atiba! Atiba!” on that frigid day when Canada qualified for Qatar. Atiba Hutchinson embodies the spirit of Canadian football. To this man we say thank you and our sunday league squad needs a CM.

🍁 Ashley Lawrence is now a free agent. After serving 6.5 years at PSG, the Canadian fullback is now available for any club on a free transfer. A serious bargain. Reports have stated that Chelsea are the strong favourites in bringing in Lawrence, thereby uniting her with Jessie Fleming and Kadeisha Buchanan. Will Chelsea finally lift the Champions League? Fingers crossed.

🇮🇹 Udinese interested in Ismaël Koné. The moment he touched the ball at the Stade Olympique against Santos Laguna, the fans knew he was special. Serie A club Udinese are reportedly interested in the young Montrealer. The Pozzo family, who also own Watford, are interested in bringing the young talent to Serie A. A considerable upgrade.

🇪🇸 Real Valladolid will buy and sell Cyle Larin this summer. Larin has been on loan at the Spanish club since January. Real Valladolid will move forward and seal the transfer while keeping the possiblity of his sale open. It is reported that Real Valladolid set his buyout clause at 40 million Euros. We encourage you to read the article by Tom Nightingale’s article on the matter. He hits the nuances of this deal effectively.

🇮🇹 Julia Grosso has won Serie A midfielder of the season. The 22-year-old Vancouverite has been honoured with the prestigious award after winning the Coppa Italia and finishing second in Serie A. As any Italian football fan will tell you, stats never tell the full story. She is, perhaps, the most important young player for Canada heading to the World Cup.

CREDIT: Andrea Staccioli

🔨 Forge FC is taking one step back at a time. After lose 2-0 away to Valour, Forge have been slipping up as league leaders. While Valour are clawing their way to the top. In the last five matches, Forge have recorded one win, one draw and three losses. Here’s the link to the highlight, please note Walter Ponce’s goal. That’s technique.

Halifax Wanderers hosted Calgary’s Cavalry FC, with the Nova Scotian side picking up a 3-1 win against the visitors. Cavalry suffered from a failed attempted clearances and poor marking. Wanderers currently sit in 6th place while Cavalry are in 4th.

🏛️ Meanwhile in the capital, Atletico Ottawa defeat Vancouver FC 1-0. Ottawa are slowly rebuilding confidence one game at a time, while the CPL’s newest club is struggling to collect points. VFC remain last in the standings.

🔱 Pacific hosted York United at Starlight Stadium on Sunday. The home side walked away with a 1-0 win over York, with a late goal by Sean Young keeping Pacific FC top of the league.

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from Nora Stankovic (@norastankovic)

📚 What to read

Although not directly about soccer, Mamba Mentality by the late Kobe Bryant is filled with lessons that apply to everyone.

🛍️ What to buy

An Ismaël Koné #8 CanMNT kit 

✅ Who to follow

Me! @norastankovic (shameless plug)

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