TORONTO - A team-high seven-goal outburst against St. Lucia has Canada four points clear of CONCACAF’s Group D after a 7-0 win on the remote island late Friday night.
Olivier Occean and Iain Hume recorded two goals apiece while Simeon Jackson tallied a first-half hat trick in the second-round World Cup qualifying match.
“I’m just happy to get the result,” head coach Stephen Hart said. “We showed a little faith in Simeon and he paid it back.”
A record-tying 19th national team goal continues to elude Dwayne De Rosario who represented his country in the absence of Kevin McKenna.
“It was a huge honour to represent my country and to captain the side,” De Rosario said. “I was very pleased by the way we came out.”
Toronto’s Julian de Guzman started the match with both Terry Dunfield and Ashtone Morgan coming on as substitutes. Morgan’s appearance was his first for the full national team and officially cap-ties him to the Canadian program.
“The whole second half was about managing the game and managing our energy levels,” Hart said. “We know Puerto Rico is going to be looking for a result.”
Canada returns to World Cup qualifying Tuesday night against Puerto Rico at BMO Field. The Canadians head Group D on nine points — four clear of second-place St. Kitts and Nevis following three matches.
Arguably the league’s top ’keeper over the past three seasons, Stefan Frei has seen his playing time plummet following a spell of injuries and quality service from TFC’s former reserve ’keeper Milos Kocic.
Managing to shake off an amateurish gaffe that could have cost the Reds back in July, Kocic has proven to be more than capable of replacing Frei.
“Both goalkeepers are good,” head coach Aron Winter said. “(It) depends on the opponent …both of them can play so I make a choice.”
It seems the club has elected to see out TFC’s remaining schedule with ’keeper roles reversed — a strategy that may have more to do with preparing next year’s salary cap than talent.
Splitting time between the posts leaves little room for either player to ask for significant changes to current compensation packages before next season.
One less cap concern as Winter continues reshaping the club.
SEE THEE RIVALRY RISE
Montreal is wasting no time ahead of its 2012 MLS entrance after signing its first player. Former Inter Milan defender Nelson Rivas signed with the Impact for an undisclosed amount — a risky acquisition seeing as the Colombian has appeared in just 17 matches since 2009 … The Impact weren’t short on surprises this week. Reports from the club’s player selection camp said former Tottenham defender Pascal Chimbonda attended despite being under contract with Doncaster … Head coach Jesse Marsch named former U.S. international and MLS standout Mike Sorber as his assistant this week … The club says it has sold more than 5,000 season tickets as it continues to restructure Stade Saputo by adding 7,000 more seats before next season.
AN UNBALANCED 2012?
Montreal’s addition is threatening to change the league’s complexion.
“I’m a believer that rivalries matter,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said. “You would like to have a fair and balanced schedule. With 19 teams next year ... it is going to be very difficult.”
In an interview with TSN, Garber hinted that Montreal could force MLS to implement an unbalanced schedule that would alter the common format of teams playing twice — a change that would see regional rivals face each other more frequently.
“We are going to work through those details and in the next couple of months.” Garber said.
But for all the positives rivalries bring, many clubs won’t benefit from the proposed setup. With club’s like Sporting KC and Columbus having no natural rivals, excluding home dates against bigger clubs will hurt smaller markets.
DERO, DAVID AND DANNY
The league’s MVP race has dwindled to two. With 14 goals and 12 assists — the only player to achieve double digits in both categories — De Rosario has been the league’s most consistent contributor in 2011. While it’s difficult to comprehend how MLS could give the honour to a player who has been shipped to three different clubs in 2011, if he manages to get United into the playoffs, it’s settled … To the dismay of MLS purists, David Beckham’s 15 assists puts him in the running. It doesn’t hurt that the Galaxy are in the midst of a record-breaking season … Following seven goals in eight starts, TFC fans can only wonder what Danny Koevermans is capable of during a full season.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
The New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire have already shattered the league’s previous record of 14 draws in a season. Both clubs sit on 16 ties with two weeks to go … The Seattle Sounders are set to break their own attendance record for an MLS match. The club is reporting that 55,000 seats have been sold for the team’s season finale on
Oct. 15 against San Jose … Finally, Leicester City is said to be in the running to land Beckham following the Englishman’s playoff run with the Galaxy. The Guardian reports that former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has already offered Becks a player-coach role once his current contract expires.