May 20th Edition

Marsch has landed, a Canadian Classique & a double-Canuck WSL win

Happy Victoria Day! We hope everyone got some well-deserved time away with friends and family this past weekend but still got enough time to sneak a quick peak at their inbox this morning and get caught up on all the latest happenings in Canadian footy.

We are having our own celebration on this holiday Monday after unveiling our exciting new partnership with Canucks Abroad. Nobody has done a better job of tracking and covering Canadian ballers across the globe over the past decade-plus, so adding their knowledge and insight to this newsletter is only going to take it to a new level.

Plus, scroll down to find out how you could win our Peace Collective x Canadian Premier League giveaway in celebration of the new exclusive capsule collection.

It couldn’t come at a better time, as we get set for arguably the biggest summer in the sport’s history in this country. This week, finally, we found out who will be coaching the Canadian men’s national team for this summer and beyond, got treated to another edition of the Canadian Classique and plenty more, ahead in The Northern Pitch.


🇨🇦 Jesse Marsch has got it going on

Graphic: Canada Soccer

A week ago, Canada Soccer finally got their guy, and Jesse Marsch was named the Gatorade CIBC Telus Joey Saputo MLS Canada Canadian Men’s National Team Head Coach.

All jokes aside (for this week at least), this is an impressive bit of recruitment by Kevin Blue and his team to get a top candidate and find a creative way to pay his wages as well. The three Canadian MLS owners teamed up to help support the effort, plus other contributors through Canada Soccer’s new philanthropic efforts.

Marsch was introduced to Canadian media on Monday and said all the right things about how excited he is to take on this project, the talent this country has, how he plans on getting everyone on the same page and how he’s here to help influence the game at every level.

Having coached the Montréal Impact back in 2011-12 this is a man who has experience in Canadian soccer. He was also an assistant with the United States at the 2010 World Cup, won the MLS Supporters’ Shield with New York Red Bulls, did the double twice in Austria with Red Bull Salzburg and coached in the Bundesliga and Premier League.

He has a level of experience that will not only allow him to be respected by Canada’s top ballers but also help them to take the next step in their careers.

That said, he’s got a heck of a baptism by fire to open his tenure. Few international coaches for any team will have to play the likes of The Netherlands, France and Argentina in their first three games as head coach — with one of them kicking off a major tournament. But Marsch welcomes the challenge, and hopefully, he can quickly find a way for the national team boys to live up to it.

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🍁 Rivalry Week, Baby

Photo: Hanin Mazri / DARBY

It’s that time of the season, the Canadian Classique! This game was a high-scoring affair and a tale of two very different seasons. One club emerges from the ashes, and the other takes Ls.

First win in four years. You read that right; it has been since 2020 that TFC won against Montréal in MLS. This time, Toronto won with a pent-up vengeance by punishing their rivals 5-1.

Bernadeschi is having fun. A hattrick for the boy, Insigne is back, Matty Longstaff scored against two MTL clubs, and Prince Owusu messed around with the opp’s defence. Toronto’s defence had fun exploiting MTL’s defence and exposing Joel Waterman at the back, CFM’s most consistent player.

What has happened with CFM? The drama continues with Bleu-Blanc-Noir. The absences of Mahala Opoku, Matias Coccaro, and Josef Martinez have greatly influenced CFM’s attacking prowess. The injured forwards were the main reason for MTL’s exciting attacking football at the beginning of the season. CF is missing that trigger. With Raheem Edwards also sidelined, they are missing that engine at wing-back. It has been an unfortunate first half of the season for the club.

Another Classique in the books. This will be mentioned when MLS historians review all the Canadian Classique matches. In the context of not winning against their French-Canadian rivals in four years, the scoreline is a statement of a return to form. TFC is back.


🏆 Buchanan & Lawrence win WSL

Photos: @CANWNT Twitter

Winning a title is one thing, but smashing your rivals 6-0 on the final day of the season to clinch it? That’s just magic.

A pair of Canadians lifted the FA WSL trophy over the weekend. Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence, and Chelsea defeated Jayde Rivière and Manchester United 6-0 on Saturday. With the dub, Chelsea finished the season tied on 55 points with Manchester City but with a superior goal difference.

Make that four straight for Chelsea and their seventh title overall. For Lawrence, it was her first title, having joined the Blues this off-season. She played 18 matches in the league, with a goal and two assists. Buchanan, meanwhile, added her second title, scoring her first league goal this season in seven appearances.

Some love for Jessie Fleming as well, who, despite leaving in January, made ten appearances in the league, scoring once.

Another major title for Canadians in Europe. You love to see it.

Other news

🌍 Canucks Abroad

Photo: Alistair Johnston

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Alistair Johnston wins the Scottish Premiership. As the European season is coming to an end, the Canucks in Europe are drawing their season to a close with some silverware. This past week, Alistair Johnston picked up his second Scottish league title with Celtic. But it’s not over for AJ, as Celtic will face Old Firm Derby rivals, Rangers, in an FA Cup final on the 25th. Here's a fun fact: AJ has never lost to the Rangers.

🧊 Jonathan David to AC Milan? It feels like forever that JD was destined to move away from Northern France to clubs in England or Italy. This time, there is a possibility through a specific factor: Paulo Fonseca. The Lille manager has been linked with the AC Milan job for weeks. If Fonseca were to move to Milan, the likelihood of the manager bringing in the Ottawa forward increases. Also, JD had been on Milan’s radar in the past and with Olivier Giroud leaving for LAFC, the club will need a new #9. If this move happens, find the right café in Milan and hope to bump into JD and TJ sipping on espressos.

🇪🇸 Real Madrid is losing steam on Davies. Como? Phonzy has been scoring as of late (bangers, too); why would Real Madrid lose interest? With Davies entering the final year of his contract, he seemed interested in changing scenery and finding new challenges. However, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have not reached a transfer agreement. Moreover, Los Blancos may be waiting to sign Phonzy as a free agent. German outlets have reported that Canadians may want to stay in Bavaria. One thing is for sure: Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is still interested in finding a replacement for the fullback Ferland Mendy. If Phonzy balls out in Copa America, maybe Madrid might come sooner.

🇵🇹 Marie-Yasmine Alidou and Chandra Davidson win the Taça de Portugal. More silverware for the Benfica Canadians. So far, they have picked up the Portuguese Super Cup, Taça da Liga, the Portuguese league title and now Taça de Portugal. Benfica won Portugal’s FA Cup by defeating Racing Power 4-1 in the final. Mimi Alidou scored the match's opening goal on a dangerous counter-attack, with Chandra Davidson in the starting lineup.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Sabrina D'Angelo to leave Arsenal. The Canadian keeper’s contract ends this summer, and she is set to leave North London. There is a likelihood that D’Angelo could be joining Adriana Leon at Aston Villa. However, the probability of that move seems to depend on Arsenal acquiring Villa keeper Daphne Van Domselaar. Or maybe she goes back to NWSL? She has options.

🇫🇷 Vanessa Gilles wins the league title with Lyon. Olympique Lyonnais won its 17th league title by defeating ancient rivals PSG 2-1 at home. PSG’s only goal came from a failed clearance from Gilles, but that doesn’t reflect her performance this season and the fact that she is a league winner. Allez Vanessa!

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Junior Hoilett has a strong ending to the SPL season. On Wednesday, Aberdeen played Livingston in the 4th game out of five in the second phase of the Scottish Premiership. Hoilett scored two goals and assisted two in Aberdeen’s 5-1 win. In the last game of the season, Aberdeen played away at Ross County. The game ended 2-2, with Hoilett providing an assist for the second gold. Junior Hoilett picked up two goals and four assists in the last four games in the Scottish Premiership relegation battle.

🇮🇹 Evelyne Viens wins Golden Boot. Winning the Serie A title and ending the season as the league’s top goalscorer is a great way to start the summer. In the last game of the season, Roma defeated Fiorentina 5-0. Viens came on in the second half and assisted the fourth goal. She then scored the fifth goal of the game in the 83rd minute. Evelyne Viens ends the season as Serie A top scorer with 14 goals.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Robbie Cleary signs with Salford City. For those unaware, Salford City is a club in the greater Manchester area owned by Manchester United’s famous class of 92. They are a League Two club aspiring to move up the divisions. They have announced the signing of the 21-year-old Canadian forward Robbie Cleary. The forward signed a development contract with Forge FC in 2021. As a part of the contract, he played for League1 outfit Sigma FC.

Other news

🏡 Canucks at Home

⚜️ CS Saint-Laurent going pro? For real? Rumours have been speculating last Friday about Saint-Laurent possibly becoming the next CPL franchise. That rainy night at Stade Claude-Robillard against Toronto FC became the most important night in CSSL’s history. With their viral tweet towards the CPL, they appear to be the front runners in becoming Quebec’s first CPL club. Investing in Saint-Laurent seems like the perfect fit with an already soccer-specific stadium in Claude-Robillard with natural grass. For the time being, nothing is confirmed. However, statements made by Saint-Laurent GM Mateo Cabanettes and CPL Director of Communications Laura Armstrong’s email to John Healey suggest they are in talks, but fingers crossed. Everybody wants this to happen, from Mark Noonan to the investors and the club, but the checklist for becoming a pro team needs to be followed and respected.

🎤 More Montréal news: Olivier Renard speaks on his departure from CFM. The former chief sports director of CFM came as a surprise as it seemingly came out of nowhere. Renard spoke to the media and explained the situation behind the scenes leading up to the departure. In the last edition, we suggested tensions began with Joey Saputo and strict financial restraints. Renard stated that it was none of those reasons, as a tight budget was not the issue. Rather, it seems to have been based on tensions between Gabriel Gervais. Montreal Impact Hall of Fame, club President and CEO Gabriel Gervais and Olivier Renard seemed to have differing methods creating the tension. We will not review all the details, but Tom Nightingale’s article is great. We will emphasize that Olivier Renard has left MTL with an important legacy: the youth academy.

⚽️ Jacen Russell-Rowe scores again. The Columbus Crew travelled to the crown jewel of the midwest, Chicago. In the Windy City, the Crew put a beating by defeating the home side 3-1. Among the goalscorers is a name featured many times in previous editions: Jacen-Russell Rowe. The Canadian yute scored the Crew’s third goal with a half-volley banger at an angle. He now has five goals and an assist in MLS this season.

Other news

📰 In other news this week

Photo: Ketsia Nkumbu / DARBY

🔵 MLS had some mid-week games, so let’s start with MTL vs. the Crew. Despite the loss to Miami, MTL performed impressively. This time around, CFM fielded a team in mind for Le Classique. Victor Wanyama, Sunusi Ibrahim, and Rida Zouhir started for the first time this season. Unfortunately, Bleu-Blanc-Noir went down 3-1 against former manager Wilfried Nancy and defending Champion Columbus Crew.

🔴 TFC travelled to the Country music capital. This game was interesting for Toronto FC because of their post-brawl with NYCFC. As a result, gaffer John Herdman, goalkeeper Sean Johnson, and Richie Laryea were suspended. Also, Kevin Long was suspended for yellow card accumulation, and Bernadeschi received a red card after a second yellow. Moreover, Toronto missed Osorio, Marshall-Rutty, Shane O’Neill and Brandon Servania due to injury. That being said, let’s jump into the action by skipping the first half. With an extensive absence of players, Toronto lacked creativity moving forward but held their own on defence until two late goals in the 81st and 90+1 minute. The game ended in a 2-0 loss for TFC.

🏔️ Colorado vs Vancouver, aka the Rocky Darby? The Caps visited Colorado for their mid-week matchup. The game was relatively tight, with only a penalty due to Bjorn Utvik’s handball, breaking the 0-0 deadlock. The game ended in a 1-0 loss for the Whitecaps.

🌊 But wait, there’s more Whitecaps news! On Saturday, Vancouver travelled to Seattle for the Cascadia Darby. This game ended 1-1, but the scoreline does not reflect the quality of football at play. From amazing saves and exciting counter-attacks to crushing tackles and a red card, this game was it. Jordan Morris scored first for the Sounders after a rebound from a Takaoka save. The Caps equalized in the 90+4th minute with a penalty by Ryan Gauld. The Scotsman has become the first Whitecaps player in the MLS era to score 30+ goals and 30+ assists.

🤕 The CPL weekend kicked off in an incredibly tough fashion for Pacific FC, as three players were removed through injury in the first 36 minutes of their 1-0 loss to Atlético Ottawa at home on Friday night. Ottawa is now the only team in the league without an L, and Pacific finally conceded its first goal.

🐎 A crazy second half in Calgary saw Cavalry FC and York United play to a 2-2 draw on Saturday. Austin Ricci and Brian Wright looked to have given the Nine Stripes a stunning dub at ATCO Field, but Malcolm Shaw added an equalizer, and the Cavalry stayed unbeaten in their last five.

🦅 Vancouver FC impressed on Saturday afternoon in Hamilton, picking up their first-ever dub at Tim Hortons Field in a 2-1 win over Forge. Rocco Romeo scored early, and Vasco Fry added an Olimpico for the Eagles, who secured their first road points of the season.

Northern Picks

This week's picks come from Brandon Que. Brandon is one of many contributors to Canucks Abroad (and its many, many offshoots) covering Canadian soccer players around the world, and, in his spare time, an avid Southampton supporter.

📚 What to read

In search of more in-depth coverage of #CanWNT/#CanXNT club careers beyond what 280 characters can offer? Well, look no further than Rise Higher’s Laura Bryan and Molly Smith! The pair do an incredible job recapping the weekly exploits and hijinks of recent Bev Priestman call-ups.

📺 What to watch

Mariam Kourabi, aka SHEscoresbangers, has been, as fitting with the name, putting out banger after banger on the women’s football front. With Évelyne Viens on a pre-summer tear at club level for Roma, causing (good) headaches for Bev Priestman’s squad selection ahead of Paris 2024, now’s the perfect time to watch Mariam’s recent interview with the #CanWNT/#CanXNT forward.

🎧 What to listen to

With League1 seasons in full swing across the country, why not get involved in supporting grassroots football? The North Star Podcast, run by our friends Andy (@CanSoccerHist), AC (@WsoccerCa) and Greg (@gregpaziuk), recently ran through their first episode, setting up the new League1 Ontario season and the future of women’s footy in Canada with Project 8! Who knows — maybe your local club can become the next TSS Rovers or CS Saint-Laurent?

Who to follow

Plugging our own socials aside (wink wink, nudge nudge, check out our website for all our links and where to find us!), our shoutout this week goes to CANwatchwomenssports! Whether it’s soccer, PWHL, WNBA or almost any other league and sport under the sun, they’ve got you covered with links and TV info to tune in live to Canadians and Canadian women’s sports.

You can follow Canucks Abroad on Twitter and Instagram.