Thoughts on Canada v Greece

Note: Game will be re-broadcast later today on various Sportsnet channels (and Gol TV has the Argentina v Portugal friendly at 7pm tonight)


Here’s a video of the goal. On second thought I’d throw a good heaping cupful of blame for the goal on Borjan. That’s hardly a driven ball into his box and it drops just outside his six with no attackers in sight. He should have called Straith off it, especially since Straith had to (well, chose to) clear the ball on the turn, and taken it. That’s an easy take for Borjan the more I look at it if he reacts quicker.

So no pressure on the cross, keeper pulls a vampire (fear of crosses) and stays on his line and defender muffs the clearance…sounds like the U15 silver game I watched last weekend 😉

A familiar story for Canada in that the lack of internationals and turnover in both coaches and players makes it difficulty to have strong, consistent performances. We seem to be caught in a perpetual re-build.

Admittedly I only saw the last half hour so take these as semi-random thoughts:

  • Borjan the keeper was a bit too intent on drawing attention t himself. A few minutes after the Greek goal he tries a toe drag away from pressure from a Greek striker that takes him to his (weak) left foot. This leads to a cut out pass and having to make a save from a chance he gifted them from trying to be too fancy. Similarly, trying to control a long Greek ball into his box with his chest and then head, instead of just getting it in his hands, almost leads to conceding a corner. After this sort of attention seeking it wasn’t surprising to see him push up for a free kick in injury time but as Craig Forrest says, when it broke down he should’ve got his ass back to his goal instead of lingering. Almost led to an embarrassing second goal. Bit concerned at the need to be noticed. Not what you want in a keeper.
  • The goal against was of course entirely preventable. While most of the blame should rest with Adam Straith for the very poor clearance (covered as one of the simple ways to prevent goals against; see Point #2), if you’re going to be a team that allows teams to put crosses into your box uncontested, you’re going to increase the chances of them being scored on. No pressure on the ball so he gets a good clean strike. Unfortunately, Straith did not and the slow dribbler to 5’4″ Fetfatzidis leads to the game winner for the Greeks.
  • It’s great that they’re trying to play through midfield and keep the ball. At times it looked quite promising. At times, it became apparent that just because Spain can make it look easy, it isn’t, and it only takes one brick wall first touch to concede possession and you’re defending for the next two minutes.
  • The best chances, as acknowledged by Forrest and Dobson, were Dwayne DeRosario’s strike at goal (he adjusted well to a ball that was pushed a little further forward from the free kick than he was expecting) and Rob Friend’s header off the corner (or was it a free kick?). These are still Canada’s best weapons. High balls in to Friend and free kicks in DeRo’s range around the box.
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5 Responses to Thoughts on Canada v Greece

  1. thiku says:

    Not so much worried about the Straith mistake. He us young and not a left back, and certainly not Canada’s. Although that clearannce (or lack thereof) might be keeping him out of the right back spot for a good long while behind Nana and Peters.

    The performance was fine enough – and on another day with more “in-season” players we may have gotten something out of it. Atiba is in another class from the rest of the Canucks along with Simpson though eh? De Ro did well….he deserves to be there despite the TFC mess. Cann need not come back! Nor Edgar. At least not when McKenna is available.

    • Gregor says:

      Good points and as a passive national team supporter I totally yield to your more complete knowledge of our up and coming players (and veterans).

  2. thiku says:

    I gotta disagree on the goal on one point. I am not sure Borjan could have gotten out. He would have been backstepping as the Greek forward dribbled toward the goal line prior to the back pass. The ball did drop in the six but I don’t think Borjan could have got there. Although a GK is in charge, maybe Straith called him off? Both being young and inexperienced and not knowing each other, Borjan might have thought “Ok, you take it then?” who knows.

    You should know our nats much better than this!!! Tsk tsk. Especially if commenting on their performance. *shame on you*

    Was pleased to see Pacheco coming through. We need more latin-american-based players. I’d almost prefer our guys go there than Europe due to us being Concacaf!

    • Gregor says:

      When I assess goalies I pay more attention to what their feet and mouth are doing and saying than their hands. I think when the ball got pulled back to the guy who crossed it in he should have adjusted, especially when he sees the lack of targets Greece had in the box, and taken a step or two forward then. If he had, he’d have been in a better position to claim the cross. But yes Straith takes a lot of blame for the clearance too.

      As for knowing more about the nats, yes I should but it’s easier being an armchair expert! Hence the name of the blog…

  3. thiku says:

    I just think he was backpedaling, and ya…his footwork probably wasn’t good enough. I bet yer right. I’ll watch the video again.

    One thing we’ll agree on – the black shorts are terrible.

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