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// Hard to imagine a venue, which played host to one of the Montreal Impacts most memor
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16.04.2018, 11:11 (Uhr)
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Hard to imagine a venue, which played host to one of the Montreal Impacts most memorable matches in their history when over 55,000 packed in for the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals in February 2009, would play spoiler for todays home opener. There goes my thinking as a parent that snow days only occurred at school. Not in a domed building. This for a stadium which has such a tarnished history it makes the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar appear like a rational decision. Increment weather may have played its part but the real issue here though is with the building itself. Todays postponement has certainly taken the gloss on what has been a very successful couple of months for the Impact off the pitch. Earlier this week the club announced a number of supplier partnerships which are expected to dramatically improve the in-stadium experience. This follows up from a number of announcements and events which have occurred throughout the off season. The Klopas announcement in mid-December could not have been better timed, as later that evening the Impact staged their inaugural Members General Assembly. Staged at the very same downtown hotel the Sounders will spend an extra night in this weekend, the event drew a highly passionate crowd of in excess of 500 season ticket holders who interacted with the Impacts brain trust. A Members Council comprising of 15 fans was introduced, it is they who will represent the supporters and stage regular meetings with club officials. The first of those meetings took place in the Impacts locker room at Saputo Stadium last month. How relieved David Moyes must be that Manchester United dont hold similar events. The bond between fan and club was further strengthened just before the season got underway when the Impact launched their new home shirt at a downtown venue which played host to Adele last time the Grammy winner played in town. There arent many supporters clubs in all of MLS as old as Montreals UM02, who ironically trace their roots back to the time the Toronto Lynx bought a boisterous number to Montreal for an A-League game back in 2002. The Montreal Impact could not have paid UM02 a greater compliment than by incorporating their moto "Toujours Fidèles" inside the collar of the new home shirt. The relationship between UM02 and the Impact has come a long way since the time of a walk out protest the night the Impact unveiled their MLS logo at an NASL match back in August 2011. It cant be overstated the role UM02 and the other supporters clubs, which have sprung up since MLS came to Montreal in 2012, play in bringing new fans through the gates. The appetite for MLS has grown over the past two seasons, as has a much more genuine soccer atmosphere on match days. Dont be surprised if their ranks are swelled Sunday afternoon with a cameo appearance by Montreal Mayor, Denis Coderre - likely wearing the Impact shirt that was given to him when the Mayor met with Joey Saputo at City Hall early in the new year. When the club began their 2014 season ticket push last July an area of weakness in need of much improvement was with the Montreal business community. That matter seems to have been addressed in the off season. Try finding yourself a Saputo Stadium corporate box for the season. Increased chats about the Impact around the office water cooler can be nothing but a good thing. With the confirmation late this afternoon the game will go ahead Sunday afternoon, the Impact will need to build on what was an impressive display in Houston. Play those 90 minutes again and there is no way Houston would emerge with a 1-0 victory. Undeserved as the defeat was these though are the games that come the end of the season can be the difference maker when the playoff positions are handed out. Bruin got the fortunate deflection, Wenger the bobble of the ball when clean through on goal. A bounce here, a bounce there, the margin between defeat and victory can be cruel. The key now is how the team react to that set back. Playing against a team which suffered a home defeat last time out and one which is supposed to be amongst the Western Conference pace setters adds to the task. Of no consequence is the absence of USMNT star Clint Dempsey. The Impacts defence which looked shaky through the pre-season and during the opener in Dallas need to be focused, organized and disciplined throughout the 90. The early season form of rookie right back Eric Miller has been most impressive. He plays with the confidence of an MLS veteran and has certainly seized his opportunities. Continuing to play as he has, then the number two position is his to lose. With a fine display through a little over 70 minutes on the pitch in Houston its hard to imagine that Bernier underwent serious knee surgery in the off season. Just as Di Vaios goals did through 2013, Berniers relationship and understanding with Bernadello will go a long way to define the Impacts season. The Impact will be hoping the Olympic Stadium turf does not have any adverse effects on their 30-something skipper. The MLS All Star is the heartbeat of the club, on and off the pitch. You can reach and follow Noel Butler at:Noel.Butler@BellMedia.ca @TheSoccerNoel on Twitter Ryan Kesler Team USA Hockey Jersey. The top-ranked Williams carried her winning momentum from 2013 into the new season, beating No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to defend her title at the Brisbane International and set the tone for the Australian Open. Ryan McDonagh Team USA Hockey Jersey. Orlov, who scored two goals in the game, was assessed a major penalty for boarding on the play. The Flyers scored once on the power play and again with the extra attacker with 65 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. .1 Sam Stosur will meet Germanys second-ranked player Andrea Petkovic in the opening match of the Fed Cup World Group semifinal. Joe Pavelski Team USA Hockey Jersey. Directly ahead was open field, the end zone and the Seattle Seahawks place in the NFC championship game. Cory Schneider Team USA Hockey Jersey. Sources tell TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun the international tournament will likely return in September 2016 rather than 2015.It shouldnt come as a disappointment anymore for England supporters. They are used to this. Losing. It isnt underachieving when the team isnt good enough. This is as good as it gets. Whenever Englands Brazilian journey comes to an end (they havent been eliminated, yet) the diehard support and those responsible for overseeing English football will hold on to the positive moments. Flashes of ability and promise are what constitute hope. "They werent that bad" is excused as progress. The play of the likes of Sturridge and Sterling, and the futures of Barkley and Shaw will be used as evidence brighter days ahead. Yawn. Weve heard this before. Weve done this song and dance. The days of a semi-final shoot-out loss in Italia 90 are long gone. Lets not go back to 1966. The failures have piled on, one less painful than the next. Success would be a surprise. Losses to more intelligent and superior football nations are the expectation. The English should be immune from the feeling of devastation or outrage. From a Golden Generation not good enough, to the likes of Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard who have failed to capture the imagination. Its a vicious cycle of mediocrity. A 2-1 loss to Uruguay is just the latest chapter. England was poor. Nothing new. The how it happened is what drives home the obvious. Too weak in too many areas and lacking true top talent to break down their competition. Out-managed. Out-witted. Out-classed. Uruguay only completed a pathetic 64 per cent of passes. The South Americans struggled in build up and were content to sit back. It was an astute page out of Italys book from Englands opening match; sit-back and force England to break you down. Dont get beat for speed. And counter-attack. Thats what Uruguay did, and credit for executing. They got stuck in and remained organized. Forget basic statistics telling you England dominated possession with Uruguay on the back-foot. It was calculated. It worked to perfection. A basic approach against a basic team. Simple. The game winning goal incredibly came directly from the Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. A ball put on the ground and a long ball played out. Simple to defend, right? Apparently not. Edinson Cavani dropped deep all match to expose long-in-the-tooth Steven Gerrard sitting on top of the England backline. For what the England captain has in experience, he lacks in legs because of the kilometers accumulated. Cavanis aerial challenge of Gerrard forced a wayward header backwards from the England midfielder. Luis Suarez, as proper poachers do, tucked in behind the backline looking for an advantage. He gambled and he won, as Gary Cahill got caught. Suarez was clinical in finish and again showed his special talent. A game breaker and match winner, something England doesnt have. Likewise on Suarez opener, he exposed Englands backline. The Uruguayan number nine did well to create the needed space on the far post behind Phil Jagielka. The ball played to Suarez by Cavani was all-world. But it was two Uruguayan players on six England defenders. Nobody put pressure on the ball. And to leave Suarez lurking on the far post wasnt good enough. Not to mention is was a missed tackle by Gerrard in the midfield, leading to the attack. Two England centre-backs and two mistakes leading to goals conceded. Cahill and Jagielka are experienced at the position, at least at the club level. They are the best in the country at the position and they were exposed. The best England has at an all-important position and not good enough. Its the same story at the other end of the field. Not good enough. Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge are more than fine players. They are very good. But they are not at the same levels of other top forwards in this tournament, let alone not the top forwards on their own club teams. Therein is the difference. The likes of Rooney and Sturridge require real substance around them to be at their best, and thats fine. They are better the complimentary piece rather than the focus at this level. p; When played appropriately, they can shine.dddddddddddd In this England team, their play often times is representative of the whole. These are the best England has and they are not good enough. The midfield, a make-shift, comprised of decent parts with no direction on how its supposed to work. Jordan Henderson had a fine season on a good attacking Liverpool team. Yet something suggests he has the makings of becoming the next Sinclair, Wright-Phillips, Mills, or Parker – take your pick of the long list of players youll ask, "Did he really play for England?" Is he really the best England really has? The rest of the midfield is all over the place. The left-side exposed defensively and the movement in attack not creative or consistent. Passing the ball around without purpose wont break down a back line. Its no surprise this area of the field is stagnant and lacks influence. And the manager, oh the manager. Roy Hodgson saw fit to keep Englands double-pivot of Gerrard and Henderson on the field in a game begging for attacking players to breakdown the Uruguayan defensive wall. Comically, two holding players were preferable to keeping on Sterling or Welbeck, or even throwing on a Rickie Lambert until after England went down. The options at Hodgson arent flattering. But neither were the tactics. The very least Hodgson could have done was shuffle the deck. Bring off a defensive midfielder or ineffective wing-back in preference of another attacking player. Change the shape. Instead, the end result of a cautious approach was not good enough. Some will suggest Ashley Cole and Jermain Defoe should have been in the England set-up. Leighton Baines has struggled and another forward option off the bench could have proved decisive. Arguments can be made but how much of a difference they would have made most likely would have been negligible. It made more sense to include Michael Carrick in the squad as a holding midfielder able to provide distribution. But then again, this is a country deeming Paul Scholes not a proper fit to be an England regular over the course of his career. The best England had, but not good enough? Theres a pattern here. Selection issues are nothing new. But no matter who dons the England kit, are they ever good enough? There have been phenomenal performances over the course of the first week of the World Cup, both by individuals and team. Honest assessment would tell the standard of football played by the true top football nations is a step beyond England. Its all very disturbing considering important players for the likes of Chile and Colombia (etc…) are buried in the League Championship, or in some cases not deemed good enough for even that. This should trouble the English to the core. But it wont. Overrating their own talent has become a past-time and feeds the beast. Criticism and finding scapegoats has become a past time. In reality, these are the best players they have. And they are not good enough. The Premier League is the most entertaining league in the world and the most popular. It is not the best. Englands best players are not even the top talent in their own domestic league. Taking a look in the mirror doesnt always cast a pretty reflection. But the look in the mirror is necessary. Acceptance is needed. This was a day England will never have a better context to beat a Uruguay team as such on a stage made for a statement performance. The weather was an ideal 14 degrees Celsius for the hardened English. The opponent was missing two of their preferred back-four. The star player was not 100 per cent. And Uruguays confidence was shaky coming off a shock 3-1 loss. England didnt let it slip away. They were incapable of seizing the moment. It is possible England can still advance from the group stage, even though a team losing their first two games at a World Cup has never done so. Italy must beat Costa Rica then Uruguay, and England will need a comprehensive victory over the Ticos to have superior goal differential. But really, would that constitute success? Squeaking by would be as good as it gets for a team not good enough. Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '



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