Tag Archives: ‘Settling

Toronto FC win streak snapped at 5 games after settling for draw with Red Bulls

Teenager Caden Clark continued the torrid start to his MLS career, scoring his second goal in as many games to lift the New York Red Bulls into a 1-1 tie with Toronto FC on Wednesday night.

Clark, who turned 17 in May, marked his debut on the weekend with a spectacular volley off a corner against Atlanta. He did it again in the 77th minute Wednesday, finding the top corner with his a left-footed rocket from outside the penalty box.

The late goal ended Toronto’s win streak at five games, one short of matching the club record.

Introduced in the 59th minute, Clark added immediate punch to the New York offence. The Minnesota native was riding a high after becoming the fifth-youngest MLS player to score on debut.

Toronto (11-2-5) is still undefeated in eight games (6-0-2), a run that also included victories over Montreal, New York City FC, Columbus Crew SC, the Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution and FC Cincinnati.

The Red Bulls (7-8-3) were coming off a 1-0 win Saturday in Atlanta that snapped a two-game losing streak.

Toronto’s Alejandro Pozuelo opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute after Ayo Akinola’s rising shot off a corner hit Dru Yearwood’s arm. It was the eighth goal of the season for Pozuelo.

Goalkeeper Ryan Meara stood rooted to the spot as Pozuelo, who upped his career MLS penalty success rate to 10-of-11, rolled the ball into the corner of goal.

The Spaniard missed one-of-two spot kicks in a 1-1 tie against NYCFC at Yankee Stadium last September. A failed attempt to pass the ball from the penalty spot to teammate Pablo Piatti in a 1-0 loss to Montreal earlier this season apparently is not considered an attempt.

Yearwood appeared to have redeemed himself in the 32nd minute with a shot through traffic that went in from a corner. But a Red Bull player was ruled to be offside and interfering with goalkeeper Quentin Westberg.

WATCH | Red Bulls’ teen Clark scores late equalizer:

After scoring in his MLS debut on Saturday, Caden Clark records his 2nd career goal with an excellent strike as his New York Red Bulls play to 1-1 draw with Toronto FC who have their win streak snapped but are still unbeaten in 8 games. 1:17

Pozuelo had chances for more goals at Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field but his shots hit bodies, went wide or were saved.

TFC has lost just two of 28 regular-season games (16-2-10) since a 2-0 defeat at the Red Bulls on Aug. 3, 2019. A 3-1 loss to NYCFC on July 26 in round-of-16 play at the MLS is Back Tournament doesn’t count because the knockout rounds of the competition did not factor into the standings.

Wednesday’s game was the fourth in 12 days for Toronto, which faces Atlanta on Sunday.

Greg Vanney made four changes from his weekend lineup in Cincinnati, bringing back Chris Mavinga, Nick DeLeon, Piatti and Akinola.

Newly signed homegrown player Ralph Priso made the bench. The 18-year-old midfielder from Toronto, a Canada under-17 youth international who joined the Toronto academy in January 2017, wore No. 97. He is the 25th player to sign for the first team from the academy.

WATCH | TFC clinch playoff berth with victory over Cincinnati:

Toronto FC earned their 5th straight victory and became the first team to clinch an MLS playoff spot with a 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati. 1:01

Pozuelo had a pair of early chances for Toronto. Meara made the save to deny the Spaniard in the eighth minute off a nice give-and-go with DeLeon. Pozuelo then shot wide off the ensuing corner.

Jonathan Osorio split the defence and found Akinola in the 17th minute but the striker could not get the shot away. Three minutes later, Meara parried Piatti’s swerving shot from just outside the penalty box.

Westberg made a diving one-handed save to deflect a Florian Valot shot in the 29th minute of a first half that saw 63 per cent possession for Toronto despite the Red Bulls’ trademark high press.

Pozuelo had another chance in the 53rd minute but his weak shot was easily saved. Westberg then stopped Tom Barlow from close range after defender Omar Gonzalez’s header didn’t reach his goalkeeper.

Pozuelo found Akinola with a through ball but his shot deflected off a defender. Another Pozuelo chance bounced off a Red Bulls body in front of goal in the 74rd.

Former Whitecap defender Tim Parker captained the Red Bulls with skipper Sean Davis, who returned to action on the weekend from a knee injury, starting on the bench. Austrian attacking midfielder Daniel Royer, who leads the team with four goals, came off the bench in the second half.

The two teams will meet again in the regular-season finale Nov. 8 at Red Bull Arena.

Impact edged by Revs

Kekuta Manneh and Teal Bunbury scored early goals, Adam Buska had a goal and an assist, and the New England Revolution beat the Montreal Impact 3-2 on Wednesday night at Red Bulls Stadium.

Manneh opened the scoring with his first goal of the season in the 13th minute, side-footing a one-touch shot into an empty net. Buska ran onto a loose ball before tapping it to Manneh for the finish from point-blank range.

Alexander Buttner chipped a high entry to the centre of the box where Bunbury scored on a header to make it 2-0 in the 20th.

WATCH | Impact’s comeback falls short in loss to Revs:

New England’s Adam Buksa scored the game-winner and added an assist in a 3-2 victory over Montreal. 1:01

New England (7-4-7) has won consecutive games and has one loss in its last seven matches.

Amar Sejdic tapped in a roller from the top of the six-yard box in the 27th minute for the Impact. Buska beat a pair of defenders before his shot was stopped by goalkeeper James Pantemis. Buska then put the rebound into an empty net in the 52nd minute to make it 3-1.

Ballou Tabla’s goal — the 21-year-old’s first since 2017 — in stoppage capped the scoring.

Montreal (6-10-2) has lost six of its last eight games.

The Impact are playing their remaining home games in the United States due to travel restrictions regarding COVID-19 put in place by the Canadian government.

Whitecaps edge LAFC

Lucas Cavallini scored twice and the Vancouver Whitecaps took a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles FC on Wednesday.

Cristian Dajome and Fredy Montero assisted on both goals for the `Caps (7-11-0).

WATCH | Whitecaps take down LAFC:

Lucas Cavallini of Mississauga, Ont., scored both goals as Vancouver beat Los Angeles 2-1. 1:16

Eduard Atuesta tallied the lone goal for L.A. (7-7-2), converting a penalty kick in the 83rd minute.

Evan Bush did not register a save but collected his second straight win for the Whitecaps. LAFC `keeper Pablo Sisniega stopped two shots.

L.A. was without several of its top players Wednesday, including Diego Rossi, who’s away with the Uruguayan national team, and midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, who is out with an ankle injury.

The result comes three weeks after LAFC shellacked Vancouver 6-0 in California, igniting a four-game losing skid.

WATCH | Cavallini connects off of slick passing:

The Vancouver Whitecaps work their way down field with some stellar passing as Lucas Cavallini of Mississauga, Ont., scores their opening goal against Los Angeles FC. 1:39

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CBC | Soccer News

Canadian Doneil Henry settling into life, soccer in South Korea

A Jan. 7 Instagram post shows Doneil Henry sitting on a stacked luggage cart — at Vancouver International Airport en route to South Korea.

The adventure was about to begin.

The 27-year-old defender from Brampton, Ont., is in uncharted territory for a Canadian, playing for the Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the K-League — one of the first soccer leagues around the world to return to action during the pandemic

‘It’s all positive’

“It’s definitely an experience. I am enjoying it … I’m happy,” said Henry, a former member of Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps.

“So far so good. It’s all positive,” he added.

Henry’s new home is Suwon World Cup Stadium, a 43,959-capacity venue known as Big Bird because the cover on one stand — seen from above — looks like a bird stretching its wings.

Suwon hosts Ulsan Hyundai on Sunday in its second league outing of the season. Ulsan blanked Sangju Sangmu 4-0 in its opener.

Henry started in two AFC Champions League games — a 1-0 home loss to Japan’s Vissel Kobe on Feb. 18 and a 2-1 loss at Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim FC on March 3 — before the K-League opener March 8.

The visiting Bluewings lost 1-0 to defending champion Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on a rainy night in an empty Jeonju World Cup Stadium.

Suwon, down a man when Australian midfielder Terry Antonis was sent off for a harsh tackle, conceded the goal off an 84-minute corner with 41-year-old Lee Dong-gook beating Henry and other defenders to a header off a corner.

The goal celebration was modest with fist and elbow bumps.

Substitutes, off-field officials and photographers wore masks. The Joenbuk players came out to “We are the Champions” as Bluewing players applauded. A giant message saying .CU Soon Stay Strong was spelled out in one empty stand.

“It was almost like a closed-door training [session],” said Henry.

But while the stadium was empty, the contest was shown around the world via TV and social media feeds.

“Although there weren’t people in the stadium, there were people watching,” said Henry.

“Honestly I was just very hungry and couldn’t wait to get back on the pitch and be playing some meaningful games.”

Strict health measures

COVID-19 checks remain strict there. Henry has a fever check the day before and day of a game. Only the 18 players selected for the game are allowed in the stadium with substitutes having to wear masks.

The Bluewings finished eighth at 12-14-14 last season but qualified for the 2020 AFC Champions League group stage as Korean FA Cup winners.

Starting at the heart of the Suwon defence, Henry has been impressed by the level of play in Korea.

“I think that the players are very sharp and technical and very direct. They play very very very fast. That’s something that I’m not used to. I like to slow down the game, taking it in spurts where you can change the tempo of the match. Whereas they are always full out, 100 per cent.”

Comparison with MLS

He says his early take is the K-League is like Major League Soccer but “without some of the DP [designated] players.”

Already Korea is meeting his expectations.

“I want to be valued wherever I play,” Henry said. “I didn’t feel like I was getting that in MLS, so basically it was my time to go. I always had in my head that if anything pops up and I can go back to Europe, I’m gone.

“I just want to go where I’m getting that exposure that I need, because I have a bittersweet taste in my mouth about how everything ended in Europe. Because of lots of injuries, I didn’t get a chance to fully show myself.”

“My vision is still clear when it comes to that kind of stuff.”

Henry was 21 when he signed with West Ham in January 2015 on the recommendation of former TFC manager Ryan Nelsen. The defender had played 70 games for Toronto, with the last matches coming while he was officially on loan from Cyprus’ Apollon Limassol.

He never actually played for the Cypriot side and then-Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko took months to announce the mysterious loan deal.

Three surgeries, including a long-term knee injury, in 2 1/2 years delayed Henry’s progress. He saw limited action in Europe with Blackburn Rovers and Denmark’s AC Horsens on loan before joining Vancouver in 2018. He played 39 games for the Whitecaps.

In Korea, Henry is back wearing No. 4. It was his original number with Toronto FC before he ceded it to Michael Bradley in 2014. He has gone on to wear No. 2, 5, 15, 23, 25 and 93.

Initially Henry stayed closed to home in Korea because of the pandemic, not wanting to take chances.

“Even though everything was open, it was like you didn’t want to go outside. Especially for myself, for a lot of time I didn’t know where I should go, what I should do.”

He stuck to his routine, knowing where the nearest grocery store was. “I just had two or three places. I wasn’t really exploring.”

Situation improving in South Korea

But with the situation improving, he has ventured outside more this month — including a visit to Seoul.

While life may be returning to something more normal he says people continue to follow COVID-19 protocols. Masks have been commonplace in Korea for some time, he said.

Seoul closed bars and clubs after another outbreak of the virus. But Henry says most everything is open.

Henry flew back to Canada, arriving early to go through self-quarantine, ahead of a March national team training camp and two friendlies against Trinidad and Tobago in Langford, B.C., Sadly the March 27 and 31 games were called off and Henry had to go through self-quarantine again upon arriving in Korea.

Antonis and fellow Australian Adam Taggert have helped ease his transition with the Bluewings.

“Everything’s been class. Everybody’s been good. The club’s been really good, taking care of us,” said Henry.

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CBC | Soccer News

‘It’s a strategic win’: Why Russia is settling in for the long haul in Syria

After four days of awkward questions from foreign reporters touring Syria with him, Russian general Igor Konashenkov appeared to have reached his limit.

Konashenkov, the main spokesman for Russia’s army, had put together an elaborate trip aimed at showcasing Russia’s presence and accomplishments in the country.

At the Russian airbase near Latakia, reporters were shown newly constructed radar installations and concrete hangars for fighter jets to make them less vulnerable to remote drone attacks. In the Syrian port of Tartus, the Russians showed off a new repair shop for their naval ships.

In briefing after briefing, Russian officers extolled the successes of their Syrian intervention, claiming to have helped re-unify the country and eliminate more than 5,000 jihadi fighters since Russia began combat operations in 2015.

And yet, it seemed all the foreign journalists wanted Konashenkov to address was the high number of civilian casualties from the Russian bombing campaign and why Russian planes continue to target hospitals and other civilian infrastructure.

Fed up, the general launched a blistering counter-attack on his inquisitors.

“We are fighting these terrorists, do you understand?” he vented.

“It’s better to fight them here than have them back in our country,” his rant continued. “They run people over with buses and freight trucks. They blow things up. They cut people’s heads off with knives. This is not opposition. These are just terrorists.”

Konashenkov’s outburst came at the end of a visit that included stops in Damascus, Latakia, Tartus, Aleppo and Idlib province, the site of a recent Syrian government offensive.

Maj.-Gen. Igor Konahshenkov addresses the media at the Russian airbase near Latakia, Syria. (Pascal Dumont/CBC)

CBC News went on a similar Syria tour with Russia’s military in 2017. But this latest trip was notable for the emphasis Russia’s military placed on showcasing the permanence of its Syrian facilities, and how despite fierce criticism from international human rights groups and ambivalence back home, Russia is planning for a lengthy stay in the country. 

‘A strategic win’

The Khmeimim airbase on the western coast is currently home to 30 Russian Su fighter aircraft, while at the port journalists saw a number of surface vessels, including a frigate and two diesel-powered submarines.

At both facilities, there were examples of new construction and improved amenities for the roughly 5,000 Russian personnel stationed in Syria.

At times, demonstrations of the new Russian amenities in Syria bordered on the comical. Under the watchful gaze of cameras, Russian soldiers silently but dutifully ironed their shirts. Others trimmed each other’s hair in a barber’s chair while yet others washed and folded their laundry.

Russian soldiers in Syria demonstrate their ironing and barbering skills for foreign media. (Chris Brown/CBC)

Reporters were also taken on a tour of living quarters, which included a Russian sauna, or banya. The military has also set up a Russian Orthodox church near the Khmeimim airbase. A Russian orthodox priest was on hand to explain that “99 per cent” of soldiers were “believers” and attend regular services.

The military set up this Orthodox Russian church at the airbase. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

Russia’s strengthened position on the ground in Syria, however, has not translated into an increase in public support back home. An April 2019 survey suggested 55 per cent of Russians said the country should end its involvement.

But a Syria presence is likely part of the Kremlin’s broader strategic plan.

“Their endgame is to have a foothold in the Middle East,” said Bessma Momani, a Syria expert at the University of Waterloo. “It’s been a strategic win. They have a client state [Syria] for the long term indebted to them. And it allows them to remain relevant to discussions of the Middle East.”

A ‘civilian nightmare’

Momani also said the Syrian investment has come relatively “cheap,” with most of Russia’s soldiers out of harm’s way and the war waged mainly from the air.

For human rights organizations, however, any evaluation of Russia’s role in Syria has to underscore the human suffering inflicted by that air campaign.

Groups such as the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) have eviscerated President Vladimir Putin’s government, suggesting the conduct of Russia’s military — and especially its bombing campaign against anti-regime targets — amounts to a war crime.

Coincidentally, on the day the media tour ended, SNHR released a report that blamed Russia for 6,686 civilian deaths since 2015.

Russia’s air force has played a key role in the bombardment of rebel-held towns in Syria’s Idlib province. (Anas Al-Dyab/AFP/Getty Images)

The report claims Russia has conducted 1,083 attacks on “vital civilian” facilities, including schools and hospitals. The group also said that by “escalating violence,” Russian actions have resulted in the displacement of 3.3 million people.

In a report this past spring, Amnesty International blamed the U.S.-led coalition for excessive civilian deaths as well. It claimed 1,600 died from western bombs in the city of Raqqa alone, which ISIS had declared as its capital.

“It’s a civilian nightmare,” said Momani. “Whenever anyone said ‘civilians,’ [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] said, ‘No, they are terrorists.’ And then you create this aura of doubt. And he has done this from the very beginning.”

Showdown in Idlib

The situation on the ground in Idlib province, one of the last regions of western Syria not under regime control, is especially complicated.

On the Russian military tour, the convoy drove through a scorched earth landscape for several kilometres in southern Idlib, the scene of heavy fighting between regime forces and militants.

The province has become a refuge for regime opponents, including hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing Assad as government troops have gradually reclaimed much of the country.

Along with perhaps 500,000 civilian refugees, Idlib is thought to contain between 20,000 and 30,000 jihadis from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a militant group formerly part of al-Qaeda.

The fear is that if Assad’s troops move in and Russian bombs start falling, HTS will use civilians as human shields.

Looking out the windows of an armoured personnel carrier, it was impossible to tell which side had created the most destruction. In the towns of Suran and Khan Sheikhoun, several people who spoke to our crew said they were relieved Assad’s forces had finally arrived.

“The terrorists attacked us with all kinds of weapons,” said Halud Latkani, a mother of six. “We’ve been on the road now for three days. We had some money on us, but they stole it all from us.”

A Russian pilot of a Su-35 aircraft prepares for a demonstration flight in Syria. (Chris Brown/CBC )

Russia’s position in Syria may be strengthened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision this week to pull the U.S. out of an area of northeastern Syria, which would enable Turkey to launch an offensive against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). 

Russia and Syria have both been calling for U.S. troops to leave Syria. One former Trump official called the move “a gift to Russia.”

WATCH – From The National, Russia’s role in reconstructing Syria:

Russia is playing a major role in reconstruction efforts in Syria, but it may come at a major cost. CBC’s Chris Brown recently went inside Syria’s Idlib province with the Russian military to see what’s happening on the ground. 5:51

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CBC | World News

Taylor Swift Shuts Down Interview Question About ‘Settling Down and Having Kids’

Taylor Swift Shuts Down Interview Question About ‘Settling Down and Having Kids’ | Entertainment Tonight

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