#CanadaRed soccer notebook: Canadians making an Impact in Montreal starting XI

#CanadaRed soccer notebook: Canadians making an Impact in Montreal starting XI

It may simply have been an incident of squad rotation with three games in a week, but the Montreal Impact used Thursday’s 1-1 draw with NYCFC to include an almost unheard-of four Canadian players in the starting XI.

Montreal had captain Patrice Bernier and Kyle Bekker in the midfield along with academy product Maxim Tissot and Wandrille Lefevre on the backline as Montreal set the mark for most Canadians in a starting XI for the season.

When MLS first came to Canada with Toronto FC it was hoped that the league would be a boon for Canadian players and for the national team but that still really hasn’t happened on either front. Rare as these instances may be, if you’re a fan of the Canadian national team, the hope is that this becomes the norm rather than a rare event.

Vancouver also played Thursday night and had two Canadians in the starting lineup and Toronto regularly has Will Johnson and Jonathan Osorio included. It’s certainly a question to ponder: how many Canadians starting regularly for the Canadian pro teams is enough to be considered progress?

Perhaps that Canadian pro league in the works will have a quota of Canadians on the field to encourage further development and see more Canadians playing professionally on a regular basis.

It won’t be a silver bullet solution to the national team’s depth woes but it would help.

Big weekend on club scene for pair of Canadian internationals

The only Canadian on an English Premier League roster is defender Doneil Henry, and he has yet to see the field in league action since joining the team.

The Canadian contingent could double next season as Scott Arfield’s Burnley could see themselves promoted from the English Championship if results go their way after this weekend’s action. Burnley is in a three-way tie for first place with Middlesbrough and Brighton & Hove Albion but have a superior goal difference with just two games left in the league.

Burnley will play Queens Park Rangers, which have two Canadians on their squad, on Monday, and will be looking to return to the Premier League after one season down in the Championship.

Back in the 2013/14 season, Burnley gained promotion with both Arfield (before he opted to play for Canada) and David Edgar on the roster, and as a regular starter in Sean Dyche’s side, Arfield looks like he could get big minutes next season for the Lancashire side.           

Over in Turkey, Canada’s best player Atiba Hutchinson edges closer to Champions League football for next season as Besiktas closes in on the Süper Lig title.

Just four games left in the season and Besiktas holds a three-point lead over Fenerbahce and have all but assured at least a second-place finish which would mean the chance of qualifying through a playoff.

Winning the league gains automatic entry into the Champions League and would simply be a fantastic accomplishment for Hutchinson, an unappreciated player on this side of the Atlantic but in line for added exposure back at home against some of the world’s biggest teams.

After road struggles, Ottawa Fury start home season

Canada’s newest professional team, the Ottawa Fury FC, came so close to winning the NASL Soccer Bowl last season. They haven’t been able to match that form so far this season.

After a tough four-game road trip to start the season, Ottawa has just a single point and just one goal to sit at the bottom of the Spring Season table , their latest result a 2-0 loss to Canadian rivals FC Edmonton.

A lot has changed since Canadian coach Marc dos Santos guided Ottawa to first place in the Fall Season and a narrow 3-2 loss to the New York Cosmos in the Soccer Bowl. Dos Santos has moved onto Swope Park Rangers in the USL, the affiliate club of Sporting KC, and some important players like Tommy Heinemann have also moved on.

With new boss Paul Dalglish (son of former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish) in charge, Ottawa hasn’t found that magic and face NASL newcomers Miami FC this weekend in Ottawa’s home opener.

“It was always a tough ask to start with four games on the road,” Dalglish told TSN 1200 in Ottawa earlier this week. “By that same theory, it’s going to be tough for anybody to come to Ottawa and face us on our home patch. We’ve really got to focus now on making TD Place a fortress.”