Stronger Canadian Flavour in NASL For 2014The 2014 North American Soccer League has finally come around and Canada looks to be a large part of it
by Henrik Lonne | Thursday, April 03, 2014
With a new team in Ottawa and a Canadian head coach in San Antonio, the NASL has become a lot more existing for Canadian soccer fans.
There is much to play for in 2014 spring season, as the NASL has made the questionable decision to award the Spring Championship at the summer break rather than after half the games. This means that it will only take 9, rather than 10 games, to book a ticket in the new 4-team playoff and teams need to be ready from the get-go.
The Eddies succeeded in keeping their defense together; something is likely to pay off, as this was the best defense in the NASL last season. What kept Edmonton as a mid-table side last season was the lack of goals from the team and while they have lost a key player in midfielder Shaun Saiko to San Antonio, they managed to bring in Frank who has been playing in Finland since 2008.
If Jonke is scores goals for Edmonton and the team can maintain the steely defense it had last season, this could potentially be a team, which could challenge for the Spring Championship. They are however disadvantaged by only playing 4 games at home, while going on the road 5 times during the spring season.
Being an expansion franchise there is bound to be a certain level of mystery around the team. While we are able to judge the signings that have been made on paper, it is difficult to know how they will gel together fast enough to make an impact on the spring season.
The club has made plenty of what appears to be quality signings in players with experience in the North American lower divisions, as well as sizable amount Canadians, including both local guys from Ottawa and others who have at least been playing for the Fury PDL-team.
Unlike the Eddies, the Fury have the benefit of 5 home games, so if Marc dos Santos can get his team together fast and make the temporary home at Carleton University into a fortress, they might have a chance at the playoffs, too.
Outside of the NASL, the 2 teams will face each other in the Voyageurs Cup, with the winner facing the Montreal Impact. Here there could be an outside chance of a chock, as Montreal hasn’t had the best start to their MLS season and if the Canadian Championship is taken lightly by them, we could see a surprise NASL participant in the final.