Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Canada-centric linkspam

  • First up, some (moderately) good news for those of us in Canada: Setanta Sports is going to be launching a Canadian soccer channel in partnership with Rogers Cable. There aren't a lot of details yet, but they're hoping to have it up and running by the time the Premiership season starts on August 11. It'll probably be a premium channel, costing about $15 a month. Which is pretty steep, but I'm going to suck it up and pay so I can get my fix.

    Basically, what's happened is this: The Score bought the Canadian rights for Premiership games, and is going to be sub-licensing them to Setanta. The Score will carry the 11am Sunday games, while Setanta will have most of the other games. Rogers Sportsnet, which was previously showing three games on Saturdays, will now only have one: the second-choice 10am match. FSWC, I think, is going to be left out in the cold.

  • The police inquiry into the incident with the Chilean U20 team has exonerated the officers involved. Hopefully that'll be the end of that.

  • The Canadian women's team came home from the Pan Am Games with the bronze medal, beating Mexico 2-1 in the third-place game. It was kind of a so-so tournament for Canada: they dominated their first two group games but then lost to Brazil 7-0 (or, really, losing to Marta +10) in the final round-robin match and went down 2-1 to the USA in the semi-finals. (The USA, represented by an U20 team, went on to lose 5-0 to Brazil in the final.) They've got a couple weeks off now, and then it's back to training for the World Cup in September.

  • Toronto FC are finally back at home, but still struggling. They lost 4-2 to Aston Villa in a friendly last week -- although at least that was a decent performance, with TFC going down 2-0 and then coming back to tie it up before losing to a couple of late goals. On Sunday, though, they lost 3-0 to the Chicago Fire, and they were terrible.

    The team, unfortunately, is carrying a lot of injuries, including both their first- and second-string keepers. (Jose Mourinho is almost feeling sympathetic right now.) They actually had to start an 18-year-old rookie in net this week -- but the problem was less the goalkeeping and more the rest of the team in front of him. They had nothing going forward and even less defence. I know the MLS isn't the greatest league in the world, but come on. You can't let players just walk into the box unmarked.

    Up next: A home game against the LA Galaxy (aka David Beckham And His Man Crumpets). Still no word on whether Becks will play, but if he does, I'm sure he'll get quite the reception the first time he goes to take a corner.

  • I forgot to mention this before, but the 2008 MLS All-Star Game is going to be held in Toronto.

  • Why soccer isn't hockey. Not a bad clip from the CBC, with a reporter venturing into the stands during a Toronto FC game. Actually, this reminds me that I have a theory that part of the reason why soccer has been (relatively speaking) welcomed here is that hockey, rather than a "summer" sport like baseball or football, is our number one sport. And soccer -- despite the insanity of the Stanley Cup finals being played in June -- doesn't conflict too much with the hockey season.

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