March 11th Edition

CanWNT slip & fall at W Gold Cup and CanMNT set for a date with the Dutch

Happy Monday!

We hope that everyone has dried off and warmed up after Wednesday night’s debacle of a match in San Diego, which headlined another wild week in Canadian Soccer.

Canada may have been eliminated from the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup, but not before proving they can compete with the world’s best.

The men’s national team will also get a chance to test their level in an exciting June friendly announced this past week, with another apparently in the works ahead of a potential Copa America run.

Plus, Jonathan David is THAT guy, so is Lorenzo Insigne, and more from the week that was in Canadian soccer in this week’s edition of The Northern Pitch.

P.S. We’re debuting an updated look this week. We hope you like it!


W Gold Cup

💦 Splish, Splash, Welcome to Concacaf

Photo: Canada Soccer

It was hard to know whether to laugh, cry or just shake your head as two of the best teams in women’s football sloshed around the field at Snapdragon Stadium trying to contest a crucial semifinal of the inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup. 

The first 30 minutes were almost unwatchable, if it wasn’t for Jessie Fleming megging the entire USWNT squad one by one. In a sport on the women’s side that has been dealing with an ACL injury crisis in recent years, allowing this match to be played without postponement was a ridiculous decision. 

These will be the two nations representing Concacaf in the Olympics this summer, after all, and any one of those slips or slides could have meant one of the key players for either side not being on the plane to Paris. 

To the credit of both teams, after the half-time break especially they adapted to the conditions, and they deserve every credit for playing the calibre of footy they somehow did despite everything going against them. Canada in particular showed a fight that we perhaps have not seen since Tokyo to dig deep and keep going no matter the odds. Their 82nd minute equalizer off the head of Jordyn Huitema was a genuine moment of class despite the impossible conditions. 

Even when the United States struck first in extra time through Sophia Smith, Canada just kept fighting. In the 127th minute, 2024 W Gold Cup Golden Boot winner Adriana Leon scored her sixth goal of the tournament from the spot to send it to a penalty shootout. Unfortunately, Leon opened the shootout by having her shot saved by US keeper Alyssa Naeher. Canada’s shooting did not get any better, with three of their four attempts stopped by Naeher, who scored her own lifting the US to the 3-1 win. 

It’s a result that’s going to sting for a while, as it does any time Canada loses to the United States. But what they showed in the semifinal was not only can they still hang with the best in the world, they can do it in tough conditions. Oh, and Bev’s decision of who to bring to the Olympics either got harder or easier depending upon how you look at it. Simi Awujo, Gabrielle Carle, Olivia Smith and Jade Rose all balled out and look like heavy contenders to be included in the final 18 player squad. 

Canada’s next match will come at the SheBelieves Cup semifinal next month on April 6th against Brazil. They will then face either Japan or the United States in the final.


🇳🇱 Dutch Dreams

Photo: Canada Soccer

Could it be real? Not only has Canada booked a friendly in the June window, it is against one of the best teams in world football—the storied Oranje from the Netherlands—on Thursday, June 6th.

We’re talking Virgil Van Djik, Denzel Dumfries, Mathijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo. A team that is currently ranked 6th in the world and will be contenders at this summer’s Euros.

To make it even better, the match will be played in the Netherlands at Rotterdam’s Stadio Feijenoord, giving Canada a strong away crowd to contend with. These are the kind of tests that are essential for the CanMNT as they look ahead to the 2026 World Cup.

Ideally, it will also serve as preparation for the 2024 Copa America, which kicks off on June 20th. Canada have only played the Dutch once in an international match: a 3-0 loss in June of 1994 at Varsity stadium. That was quite the year for Canada, as they also played Brazil, Germany and Spain in friendlies (even drawing against Brazil in Edmonton).

Canada still need to beat Trinidad and Tobago in a one-game play-in on March 23rd to make that happen. The squad for that match is expected to drop at some point this coming week.


⚽️ Canucks make headlines in Smashville

Photo: Hanin Mazri/DARBY

For the first time in club history, Inter Miami stepped into Concacaf competition this week in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Nashville SC — featuring a pair of Canadians who made headlines.

Lionel Messi scored a beautiful goal in the second half, and Luis Suárez a stoppage time equalizer, but this came after Kentville, Nova Scotia’s own Jacob Shaffelburg stole the show through the first 46 minutes.

The Canadian attacker smashed home the opener to give Nashville a 1-0 lead, before doubling it just after halftime with a stunning strike from distance. Mauro, you watching?

Fellow Canuck Lukas MacNaughton also made headlines, but for slightly less celebrated reasons having almost broken Messi’s leg. Even though it was clearly an accidental follow-through on a clearance, Messi fan boys have been wilding on Lukas’ socials. The biggest surprise may be that Messi’s security guard didn’t run on the pitch after the play.

After all that drama, the second leg is set for Wednesday in Miami (8:15 p.m. ET / 5:15 p.m. PT on OneSoccer). Nashville may be down on away goals, but expect another fiery match.


Photo: Kronen Zeitung

🦷 Alphonso Davies returns from injury, but then… after a turbulent month, Phonzy returned to the Bayern starting lineup against Mainz but was kicked in the face in the 18th minute. He was subsequently subbed off for Raphael Guerreiro. This comes two weeks before the Copa America qualifier. We are praying for the best and a speedy recovery. UPDATE: He okay.

🇫🇷 JD earns Lille’s POTM. The Twitter post reads: “Four games, five goals in Ligue 1 in February.” Dogue of the month. We went from being worried about how he started the season to being worried about the opposing defenders. He’s got that dog in him.

⚽️ JD scores in UEFA conference league. The Ottawa striker picked up two goals in LOSC’s 3-0 win over SK Sturm Graz. JD now has 12 goals in 11 games this calendar year.

🧊 But wait, there’s more JD news. The Iceman, the brace master, the two-goal stunner, the double stack merchant. Four goals in the last two games in all comps for JD, with two in Lille’s matchup against Stade Rennais. LOSC were down 2-0, but JD equalized the game with goals in the 84th and 91st minute of stoppage time. Highlights here.

Photo: Canada Soccer

🍁 Olivia Smith picks up Best Young Player honours in the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup Tournament.

🌲 Portland Canadians picked up 3 points. The Timbers travelled to Yankee Stadium Saturday to take on NYCFC. Maxime Crépeau, Kamal Miller, and Zac McGraw started as the Timbers' defensive core. Portland conceded the first goal, but came back with two late including a 97th-minute screamer to win it.

🔵 CF Montréal signs draftee Grayson Doody. Bleu-blanc-noir has signed the defender as #10 overall (first round) in the SuperDraft. The UCLA player has also spent time at the LA Galaxy Youth Academy. MTL has signed Doody through 2024 with options for 2025-2027.

👏 Tani Oluwaseyi picks up an assist. It’s been an incredible start for Oluwaseyi this season. Last week, he scored a banger, and this week, he assisted the match-winner. Into the 95th minute, TO set up the tie-breaking goal for Minnesota as they defeated Orlando at home.

Photo: Hanin Mazri/DARBY

🔴 TFC are so back. The Reds are feeling confident in the early days of the Herdman era delivering a 1-0 over Charlotte in their home opener on Saturday. After picking up a draw and a win away from home to start the season, things are looking promising. After an abysmal last season with the club, Lorenzo Insigne is proving himself to be the guy scoring an absolute banger from outside the box to lift TFC to three straight clean sheets.

🌊 ALI AHMED. The 23-year-old stole the show as Vancouver travelled to San Jose. However, let’s give some flowers to Alessandro Schöpf’s banger after four minutes on the pitch. Pure class. Speaking of quality, Ali Ahmed. Wow. A flick over the defender after controlling it with his chest, runs into space and then top bins. BANG. An early contender for goal of the year, and something we wish we could pull off without cramping up in our Sunday league.

🔵 The ‘Snowbird Darby’. That’s right, we’re coining the name of this matchup. Thousands of Montrealers flock to Miami for the winter, so much so that Miami has become Canada’s Southernmost city. Fun facts aside, this game was madness. With Messi and Mr. Beast in the stands, Matias Coccaro missed two 1v1 chances, Jordi Alba banged a top bins screamer, and Sunusi Ibrahim scored. This was an incredible game as MTL walked out of Miami with a 3-2 win. MTL fans say thank you, Lukas McNaughton.

🍁 The Columbus Canadians score big. Jacen Russell-Rowe with a BANGER outside the box. The young Canadian opened the match with a stunner and earned himself MOTM honours. Meanwhile, Mo Farsi—another Canadian making a case for his selection to the national team—called game with a 100th-minute tie-breaker. Nancy’s Columbus Crew defeated Chicago 2-1 at home.


This week’s picks come from Maya Stephen. Maya is a model, storyteller and content creator living in Washington, DC. Her work includes collaborations with MLS, DARBY, World Soccer Shop, NPR, MARKET, and Somewhere.

📚 What to read

“Soccer, She Wrote” is a blog series created by Mariah Lee, a professional soccer player with Adelaide United in Australia. The series goes behind the scenes into her life as a footballer and Black-American living abroad.

🎧 What to listen to

Theresa Maryland-based artist from Ghana, Foggieraw, is creating a genre of his own incorporating spoken word poetry with elements of rap and R&B. Ms. Johnson is one of my favorites.

🛍️ What to buy

Wake up! Spring is here and kitboys made a drop. The Spring Training Capsule just went live, and I got my eyes on the Precision Academy Hoodie. They’ll be a kitboys x EPL kit collab one day, trust me.

Who to follow

Recently featured in Forty-One Magazine, content creator Jessica Black is THAT girl! She’s a huge Arsenal fan and also incorporates fashion and culture into her work.