March 4th Edition

Alphonso Davies to Real Madrid & CanWNT set for clash with USA at Concacaf Gold Cup

Honestly, it was a week of hope for all things Canadian footy.

There is a new man in charge at Canada Soccer, Canadian MLS sides look pretty good, and the CanMNT’s biggest star looks set to make a move to arguably the biggest club in the world.

On Wednesday, Canada will take on their rivals south of the border in the semifinals of the first-ever Concacaf W Gold Cup.

Plus, we’re pretty sure every player who is listed as a striker and is eligible for the Canadian men’s national team scored a goal this weekend.

That and much more ahead in The Northern Pitch.

Alphonso Davies to Real Madrid HERE WE GO

There’s been smoke coming from this story since day one, but now it appears as though there are some flames as well.

The Athletic’s Raphael Honigstein reported this past week that Alphonso Davies has reached a verbal agreement with Real Madrid to join them in either 2024 or 2025. Davies’ club for the past six seasons, Bayern Munich, still needs to agree to terms with the Spanish club, but that seems like an inevitability at this point.

With Bayern, Davies has won the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup, two DFB-Pokals and the Bundesliga five times.

Even with all that success, Real Madrid are different. Per Forbes, they are the most valuable soccer club in the world. On the pitch, they are assembling a talent group worthy of the Los Bloncos name, headlined by Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo.

It seems almost certain that Kylian Mbappe will be added to that list as well, if they don’t offer him the Presidency of France to stay with PSG that is. Davies and Mbappe playing on the same wing is just pure nightmare fuel for any backline in World football.

Davies returned to the lineup for Bayern this weekend after missing around a month of action due to a ligament strain in his knee. This is great news for the men’s national team, who have a massive match coming up against Trinidad and Tobago on March 23.

For Bayern, however, news has been less rosy of late. Their 2-2 draw this weekend with SC Freiburg means they now trail Leverkusen at the top of the table by nine points. They take on Lazio on Tuesday in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 , who they are trailing 1-0 on aggregate.

Davies had originally seemed prepared to remain long-term with the German giants, but after a couple of years of front office upheaval, plans quickly changed. Now Spain is calling, and Davies could take his already incredible legacy to the next level.

CanWNT to face USWNT at Gold Cup

Photo: Canada Soccer

Bring on the USWNT.
It felt inevitable that at some point during the inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup, the region’s traditional top two teams would meet. It’s now happening, but probably earlier than most expected in the semifinal stage on Wednesday in San Diego.
The USWNT haven’t exactly looked like the best team in the world that they were for so many years of late, but after a convincing win against Colombia in the quarter-finals, they will still certainly enter the clash as favourites.

After going through the group stage on cruise control, Canada were given a wake up call of their own in the quarter-finals. In a bizarre circumstance that involved tiebreakers and a lottery ball system, top seed Canada took on their final group stage opponent Costa Rica again in the knockout stage.

Only this time, Costa Rica were better prepared with a stop-start defensive strategy that frustrated Canada. Despite firing 39 shot attempts—10 of which were on target—they won just 1-0 after extra time.

Canada in the end needed a world class stop from Kailen Sheridan and a clutch headed goal from Evelyne Viens just to reach the semi-final. It was all a lot more stressful than the team, its fan or coaching staff were probably anticipating.

On one hand, Canada will enter the semi-final with 120 minutes worth of football on their legs, which will not help fitness-wise. But they survived, and perhaps those lessons in composure and playing under pressure will serve them well the rest of this tournament.

Wednesday at 10:15 p.m. ET / 7:15 p.m. PT at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego and the W Gold Cup semifinal will reveal those answers.

Kevin Blue announced as new CSA General Secretary & CEO

Photo: Canada Soccer

Some 69 days after Canada Soccer had announced Alyson Walker as their new General Secretary (and 38 days after Walker stepped down before she had even started) the national federation announced that Kevin Blue had been hired as the General Secretary and CEO of Canada Soccer.

He has perhaps the most difficult job in Canadian sports right now, leading a fractured organization with a number of different stakeholders who are actively fighting each other, both legally, in the media and otherwise. He does so under the pressure of knowing the world will be coming to Canada for the men’s World Cup in 2026.

Blue joins Canada Soccer with a sterling sports resumé that includes most recently being the chief sports officer at Gold Canada. He has also served as athletics director at University of California, avis, as well as a senior associate director of athletics at Stanford University. This guy is wicked smart, with a history of fundraising. Canada Soccer, it is no secret, needs funds to be raised.

So far, in just a few days since he has been announced, Blue has proven he knows how to write a quality press release, and release a social media video. The bar is sort of low, but these are both welcome signs for an organization that hasn’t exactly been transparent in recent times.

Kevin will officially start on March 14, and we will officially be holding our breaths (until we’re Blue).

In other news

🇨🇦 Canada-U20 qualifies for the Concacaf U-20 Championship. After defeating Trinidad & Tobago 3-0, Canada has won all three qualifying matches and now earned their spot in the Concacaf U-20 Championship. Myles Morgan, Santiago López, and Forge FC youngster Kevaughn Tavernier scored in Canada’s victory over Trinidad & Tobago. The Concacaf U-20 Championship will take place this summer in Mexico.

🇪🇸 Cyle Larin reaches the Copa Del Rey final. Mallorca travelled to San Sebastian to play Real Sociedad in the Cup semi-final. At full-time, and after extra time, the game ended 1-1, forcing the teams to go to penalties, in which Mallorca defeated La Liga big boys Real Sociedad 5-4. Cyle Larin will be competing in the Copa Del Rey final. Not bad for his second season in Spain. Larin celebrated that accomplishment this weekend by picking up an assist in a 1-0 victory of Girona. Mallorca are now a full 8 points from the drop zone in LaLiga.

🇫🇷 Jonathan David finds the net. We started the season worried about JD’s form, but as of late, the man’s been balling. David scored the opener in Lille’s away game at Reims. Capitalizing on a poor back pass from CB Abdelhamid, JD scored a tidy one-time shot on the net. He now has 12 goals this season. All the Canadian forwards are balling out. 

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Iké Ugbo scores again. Can’t stop, won’t stop. Ugbo needs to leave Troyes and stay in Sheffield. He must be loving life in the English Championship. Iké Ugbo scored the only goal against Rotherham. This is now his 6th goal in 5 games, with an overall tally of ten goals this season.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Theo Bair scores big goal against Rangers. FEED THE BAIR! Theo Bair does not just have a chant, he has a war cry in Motherwell. This past weekend, Theo and Motherwell travelled to the historic Ibrox to face Scottish heavyweights Rangers. In a big surprise, the away team defeated Glasgow’s team in blue 2-1, with Theo Bair scoring the opening goal of the game.

🫡 Teibert retires. One club players are becoming an increasingly rare breed. Russell Teibert is among that tribe. This week, the Vancouver Whitecaps legend has announced his retirement after 301 appearances in all competitions. He will begin transitioning from player to a role in the front office. 16-years of service. Wow.

⚽️ Tani Oluwaseyi scores late for Minnesota United. The Nigerian-born Mississauga forward made a statement in Minnesota’s 1-1 draw against MLS Champions Columbus Crew. This season, he has already registered one goal and an assist in two games. Canada Soccer, we hope you’re watching.

Image: MLS

🇪🇸 Sean Rea to Spain. Since being let go from CF Montreal, Sean Rea has found a new home in CD Castellon in Spain. The pre-agreement in place for July depends on the club’s promotion. In the meantime, he will train with the reserve team and acclimatize to Spain. Rea’s new club is first in Spain’s Primera Federacion Group 2.

🇪🇸 Theo Corbeanu scores his first goal in Spain. Granada travelled to Villareal to face the Yellow Submarines. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well, as they were defeated 5-1. However, on the bright side, Theo Corbeanu scored a consolation goal late in the game—opening his La Liga scoring account.

🇺🇸 MAK finds the net for New England. Not only did he score, but he confirmed the win in the Revolutions’ 3-0 win over CA Independiente. From inside the box, MAK placed a tap in goal to help put New England into the round of 16 in the Champions Cup.

🇳🇱 Charles Andreas-Brym picks up an assist. If Canadians aren’t scoring, they’re providing, balling nonetheless. Charles Andreas-Brym assisted in Sparta Rotterdam’s equalizer against AZ Alkmaar. Brym currently has three goals and two assists in the Eredivisie.

🔴 Toronto FC added Matty Longstaff. Herdman pulling talents from England, this time a player from the English Premier League. TFC have confirmed the signing of Matty Longstaff from Newcastle. The central midfielder has signed a contract through 2025 with the option of 2026.

Photo: Vancouver Whitecaps FC

🌊 Vancouver Whitecaps hosted Charlotte FC. Sporting their beautiful new 50th-anniversary kit, the Caps hosted Charlotte at BC Place. Despite conceding the first goal, Vancouver responded, finally earning a goal from Ryan Raposo. The game ended 1-1.

🔵 CF Montréal travelled to Dallas. Things are looking up for Bleu-Blanc-Noir. MTL travelled to Texas to take on Liam Fraser and FC Dallas. Despite Kwadwo Opoku's and Matia Coccaro's first-half injuries, their replacement carried Montréal to a 2-1 victory. 21-year-old Montréal baller Jules-Anthony Vilsaint opened the game with the first goal, then heavy hitter Josef Martinez sealed it with MTL’s second. First three points under Laurent Courtois. Also, Sirois is the truth and was the difference maker on defence. Canada please call him up soon.

🔴 TFC win away in New England. The Herdman era is starting strong as well. The two big-man Italians are starting to impose their attacking flair into this early period of the MLS. One notable moment was Insigne's goal. Wow. For the TFC faithful, this is a good time to feel optimistic. The game ended 1-0 for Toronto.

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and around the world.
This week’s picks come from Tagwa Moyo.

Tagwa Moyo is a freelance photographer, creative director, storyteller and journalist and the co-founder of DARBY Magazine.

📺 What to watch

The homie Lukas recently dropped a new video showing off his elite kit collection. Unfortunately, guys a Goon but I ask you to look past that and check out this video and the rest of his YouTube.

🎧 What to listen to

Ain’t no jam like a Moonshine jam. Massive shout out to the homie Akantu who recently had a killer Boiler Room set. TAP IN.

🛍️ What to buy

My favourite purchase of 2024 so far are the three quarter length pants from the homies at Scenes NY. Go get you some.

📚 What to read

Mans like Sam Diss has a newsletter called “Why are you like this”. ENJOY!

✅ Who to follow

You can never have too many graphic tees, and that’s why Team of the Month is a must follow. New footy related graphic tees every month. What’s not to love?

Follow Tagwa on Instagram here.