Thursday, August 30, 2012

College Football Preview

College Football kicks off today with 17 games across the country. ESPN has a double hitter tonight starting at 4pt/7et. The first game of the night will feature Vanderbilt hosting South Carolina in an SEC Conference tilt. The nightcap will be the beginning of the Mike Leach era for Washington State when they travel down to Provo to take on BYU.

The AP Top 25 has been out for awhile but if you haven’t seen it click here.

Fresh off the two-year bowl ban, USC opens up as the #1 team in the land. Defending Champions Alabama are ranked #2 and followed closely are the defending runners up LSU. Oklahoma after having a very disappointing season starts at #4 and Oregon rounds up the Top 5 and is ranked fifth.

What sticks out to me is the week one matchup between Alabama and Michigan. Both teams have aspirations of going to a BCS Bowl game, however, the winner of Saturday Nights game will have their mind set on the BCS National Championship game.  Another game that I’m looking forward in week one but not many people are talking about is Notre Dame VS Navy. The game will be played in Dublin Ireland and will kick off at 6ampt/9amet.

More notable games through out the year will be September 8th when Washington goes on the road to LSU. October 13th will be the annual Texas – Oklahoma rivalry that will take place on neutral field once again. November 3rd might be the best day in the year. There are potentially two Top 5 games with the National Title game rematch between Alabama and LSU and out west, Oregon will be travelling to LA to take on Heisman candidate Matt Barkley. The winners of the two games should undeniably have the inside edges to the National Title game.

Like last year, a handful of teams will be in new conferences. West Virginia makes the move from the Big East to the Big 12; TCU will join the Big 12 coming from the Mountain West. Missouri and Texas A&M both go from the Big 12 to the SEC. On the Volcano Islands, Hawaii will make the switch from the WAC to the Mountain West.

It’s going to be a very interesting year off the field this year. A total of four teams have been declared ineligible for any postseason competition. The four teams include North Carolina, Ohio State, UCF and Penn State. In addition, Miami if they get 6 or more wins might reject a bowl invitation like they did last year.

This year should be very competitive as once again, the landscape of college football is changing. Teams who have met in bowl games in the past are now becoming conference foes. This can only be a positive in the sport of college football as the more competitive the teams are should be all the better. Hopefully, there are fewer problems off the field this year and more problems on the field. The off the field problems were really the main story last year. If there are fewer off the field problems this year it should be a really good season!

Heisman Trophy Winner: Landry Jones (Oklahoma)

Rose Bowl:  Oregon (Pac 12) VS Michigan (Big Ten)

Fiesta Bowl: TCU (At Large) VS Louisville (Big East)

Orange Bowl: Florida State (ACC) VS USC (At Large)

Sugar Bowl: Georgia (At Large) VS Wisconsin (At Large)

BCS National Title Game: Alabama (BCS #1) VS Oklahoma (BCS #2)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flashback: How Did I Do With Last Year's College Football Preview

Labour Day weekend only means one thing. The start of  the College Football season. That has been the case for as long as I can remember and this weekend will be no different. Many teams this week will go into the season with high hopes. Some of them with hopes of going to a BCS bowl and others hopes of reaching a bowl game for the first time in awhile.

You can view the AP Top 25 here.

What sticks out to me is the week one match up between the Oregon Ducks and the LSU Tigers. Both teams have aspirations of being in the BCS National Championship. The loser of the game will likely have to win their remaining games and even that might not be enough. I think the Oregon Ducks prevail in the game Saturday Night. LSU will be without their starting QB Jordan Jefferson as he has been suspended.

Oklahoma is the #1 team in the nation. The question for them is can they run the table and win the National title. The last team to start #1 in the nation and finish #1 in the nation was the 2004 USC Trojans. However, we all know that the Trojans had to forfeit the title because of the Reggie Bush debacle. It goes to show it is a really hard thing to accomplish. Personally, I highly doubt the Sooners win the National Title. They will get tested in week two when they travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State. They will also play at Oklahoma State and of course the Red River Rivalry against Texas on neutral field. At least one of those games I predict they lose.

Sneaking into the Top 10 is the always talented Boise Sate Broncos at #7. They will began their season with a game against SEC powerhouse Georgia. Last year, Boise State was in National Title contention until their place kicker Kyle Brotzman missed two key field goals against Nevada to lose 34 -31 in OT. If Boise State can go undefeated this year and and be the only undefeated team, who knows, maybe the polls will be on their side this year. Boise State this year will make the move to the Mountain West from the WAC which should help their strength of schedule this year. Boise' State's big game this year is against TCU on November 12th at Boise.

It will be interesting to see how the teams switching conferences fair this year. Nebraska should be able to fair well in the Big Ten this year. Their my pick to win the Big Ten in fact. Their only obstacle will be at Wisconsin on October 1st. Other notables will be Colorado going to the Pac 12 from the Big 12 and Utah going to the Pac 12 from the Mountain West. We also can't forget about BYU becoming an independent after being in the Mountain West from 1999 to 2010.

The best conference this year has to be the SEC. Again the conference is stacked from top to bottom with eight of the 12 teams ranked. Once conference play starts up in late September known of the teams will have an easy week. Hey, why can't Vanderbilt be a competitive team this year and compete for a bowl?

In the end this College Football season will be a blast. We will see upsets, great finishes and of course a controversial ending at some point this year.  I think this will be a very competitive season. New rivalries will be forming and the debate about whether or not College Football needs a playoff will be here before we know it.  Enjoy it Football fans!

Heisman Trophy Winner   Andrew Luck - Stanford

BCS Bowl Predictions 

Rose Bowl  Florida State (At Large ) VS Wisconsin (At Large)

Sugar Bowl Alabama (SEC) VS Boise State (At Large)

Orange Bowl  Virginia Tech (ACC) VS Oregon (At Large )

Fiesta Bowl    Oklahoma (Big 12) VS West Virginia  (Big East)

BCS National Championship   Stanford VS Nebraska

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Felix Hernandez Continues his Spectacular Summer

Two things come to mind when Felix Hernandez has pitched for the Mariners this summer. Firstly, he is really a King of Pitching and secondly, there is no question that Hernandez should win his second Cy Young award this year.

That’s how spectacular he has been. When Hernandez takes the mound, it is almost a given that the Mariners will win the game if they have consistent offense that night. In fact, I believe Hernandez would have been a twenty game winner the last two years if it weren’t for the Mariners abysmal offense.

He is the ultimate workhorse and the ultimate competitor. Not many pitchers would want to stay in Seattle with his talent level and the Mariners lack of run production. However, Felix Hernandez will be the first one to tell you that he loves Seattle. He is loved in Seattle, when he starts Mariner fans call it ‘Happy Felix Day”. For home starts, a section is reserved for fans that buy a yellow T-shirt and they’ll become a part of “Kings Court”.

The support in Seattle is unbelievable and his numbers are even more remarkable. He has a 13-5 record and a 2.43 ERA. Since his last loss on June 12thin Seattle against the San Diego Padres, He has a 9-0 record with a 1.40 ERA. His last loss to an American League team came on May 26th in Seattle against the Angels. 

Last night when Hernandez picked up the complete game shout out in Minnesota. It became his third complete game of the month. It shouldn’t come as a surprise but all three complete games have been 1-0 this month including his perfect game on August 15th. Most pitchers after they throw a perfect game have a little bit of a hangover pitching wise. Not the King, Felix has picked up right where he left off before his perfect game. Since his perfect game, he has a 2-0 record with a 0.62 ERA. He also has one of the best breaking balls in the game of baseball.           

To me, Felix is the best pitcher in Mariners history. The only player that comes close is Randy Johnson.  I put Felix ahead of Johnson because of the age that Felix is pitching with the Mariners compared to when Johnson was a Mariner. In addition, Felix has a 3.14 ERA with Seattle; In contrast, Johnson had a 3.42 ERA during his time in Seattle.

As Felix goes for his second Cy Young of his career in his final few starts of the season, he will be as hungry as he’s ever been. Felix has been locked in this summer pitching a gem time after time. I believe Felix is the Cy Young favorite, if he doesn’t win he’ll be robbed just like all the times he was robbed of a win this year and was stuck with a no decision because of the Mariners lack of run support. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mariners Are 6.5 GB of Wild Card, This has Gotten Interesting - The Comparison of 1995

The Seattle Mariners have had an amazing stretch of good baseball since the All-Star break. The Mariners are 25-13 since the mid-summer classic and have found themselves in a very unusual situation for the Mariners in late August.

The recent surge has put this team 6.5 games back of second Wild Card leading Oakland Athletics who also share the spot with the Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers. With 37 games to go, I figure the Mariners need to go 25-12 in their remaining games. That would put the Mariners at 86-76 and on pace to have a shot at the second Wild Card in the American League. In fact, if the current teams ahead of the Mariners play 500. Baseball the rest of the way there would be a four-way tie for the second Wild Card.

I’m not sure how the tiebreakers would play out if this Scenario happened. I’m really not sure if the MLB has any idea yet. The bottom line, since the Ichiro trade, the Mariners have seemed to have a lot of chemistry on and off the field. They have a fun attitude during the game and they have played really loose. Therefore, with so many young kids playing, we might as well expect the unexpected.

The ride would be magical but still highly unlikely. If the Mariners pull off the miracle, they would finish the second half with an approximate record of 50-25. I don’t expect this team to do that however, 6.5 games back of a playoff position is something to get excited about.

To think that 1995 is happening all over again is fine by me. Both in 1995 and 2012 MLB added an extra playoff spot prior to the start of the year and the Mariners are 12.5 games back of the division and in 1995 they were 11.5 back on this day 17 years ago.  However, keep in mind, the Mariners were only 4.0 games back of the then leading Texas Rangers on this day 17 years ago.

Interestingly enough, also on this day in 1995 the Mariners started their remarkable run to the playoffs. The Mariners were down 7-6 with two outs in the bottom of the 9th facing Yankee closer John Wetteland. The Mariners rallied to tie and then Ken Griffey Jr. stepped to the plate to hit a walk off home run to beat the Yankees in the first game of the four game series. The win snapped a 0-43 record when trailing after eight innings and the Mariners went 24-11 to finish the year. Ironically, the Mariners need a similar record to end the year in 2012. Furthermore, in both years there has been a spark that has ignited the ball clubs. In 1995 it was the return of Ken Griffey from the DL and in 2012 it was the Ichiro trade. 

The Mariners will began the remainder of their 37 games tonight in Chicago against the White sox. Starting pitcher for the Mariners will be Jason Vargas who has an impressive 12-8 record. He will be going up against White sox star Jake Peavy. For the first time in a few years, Mariners baseball has gotten interesting in late August. Personally, I hope it stays that way for years to come. As Dave Niehaus would say, MY OH MY! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Good-Bye London 2012

It has been just under a week since the Closing Ceremonies concluded which officially ended the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

 The 30th Olympiad in the end will go down as a successful games overall. Prior to the games, people around the world and in England were skeptical whether it was a good idea for London to have the games. Security was going to be really tight and financial problems were a concern. At the end of the games, none of that mattered; security was fine and financial problems were overshadowed from Team G.B.’s success on the podium.

To me, the games seemed to mirror the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. There were a few distractions, but for the most part, both Olympiad’s seemed to be a success for their respected countries during their time of hosting the Olympics. Both times the host country over achieved in the Gold medal column. Canada won 14 Gold’s in Vancouver and Great Britain 29 Gold medals.

As for Canada at the 2012 Olympics, 18 medals are bittersweet for sure.  Canada tied their total from Beijing and it was tied for their third best showing at a non-boycotted Olympics. Personally, for the country of Canada, whenever we can average a medal per day is something to be proud of.

The unfortunate side was the lone Gold medal by Rosannagh MacLennan in Trampoline. In addition, gold medal favorite Dylan Armstrong failed to even win a medal in Shot Put. Interestingly enough, I met Dylan Armstrong at Harold Jerome Track and Field Olympic Qualifiers at Swangard Stadium in June. Despite him not winning a medal, I really like his attitude towards his sport.

Lastly, Canada had a chance to surpass their Beijing medal total on the second to last day of competition in the 4X100 Relay. Canada appeared to win the bronze but they were controversially stripped of their bronze medal cause they stepped on the line during one of the turns. I still don’t understand how at this level of competition at such a critical time a team could screw up like that but I guess it happens.

 This was a very typical Olympics for Canada. They did very well but they also could have done so much better if our athletes didn’t screw up so many times. Likewise for Great Britain, the citizens had a blast over the two-week Olympic period and now that the Olympics were a success, most Brit’s will say it was a really good idea to host the Olympics in 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Canada's Women's Soccer Roller Coaster Ride Ends With Bronze Medal

The Canadian Women’s Soccer team has captured the Bronze medal following their 1-0 win over France. The winning goal came in the 92nd minute when Diana Matheson kicked the ball in the net and celebrated with patriotic joy as she was swarmed by her teammates.

The goal came after France had dominated the majority of the game. France outshot Canada 25-4, hit multiple goal posts and was given many other scoring chances.  After every scoring chance France could not convert on, Canada’s confidence grew. However, that didn’t stop France from throwing everything they had at Goalkeeper Erin McLeod.

With all that the Canadian Women’s team had been through, they deserve this bronze medal. Trust me, most teams would quit on themselves after a heartbreaking loss to the United States. More importantly, Canada almost played the perfect game and couldn’t steal the win. 

In addition, there became more controversy after the game. A select few of the Canadian players made some inappropriate remarks towards the referee from Norway In response, FIFA investigated the quotes and there was potential for suspensions for the Canadian team. Fortunately for Canada, none of the players were suspended. Nevertheless, it would have been easy for the distractions off the field to derail Canada before their Bronze medal game.

Maybe this is what this team was all about. It was a team of heart; passion and determination that got this team to the medal round in the first place. None of the players cared who got the glory; they wanted to do it together as a team.

I can’t think about a team that has faced more adversity in a 13-month period then this one. Canada was coming off a disappointing last place finish in the World Cup. In fact, I’ll take it a step further; it is an understatement to say that the World Cup was a disappointment. Not only did they come last, they also only scored one goal and only generated seven shots on goal. After the World Cup, they fired their coach and hired John Herdman. Since the hire, the team has excelled. The team easily qualified for the Olympics in January winning the Silver medal. In fact, the Gold medal game set a record for the highest attendance at a Women’s CONCACAF game. Thankfully, I was in attendance that night but unfortunately the USA came away with the 4-0 win. Canada also won the Gold at the Pan American Games in 2011.

The roller coaster 13 months was nicely capped off by a Bronze medal for Canada. The goal by Matheson should be a meaningful goal in Canadian Soccer history. Sadly, good portions of the west coast people were still in bed when she scored. For me, I tried to stay up all night but dozed off and on during the game cause I was so tired. I had the game recorded and watched the final minutes of the game around 8:00am Vancouver time. The goal was as timely as it could have been. Not only did it give them the Bronze medal, it also erased the 4-0 loss against France in the group stage of the World Cup last year that eliminated them from the group stage.

It’s easy to see that the Women’s team is heading in the right direction. The next big thing for this team will be the 2015 World Cup that will be hosted in Canada. Being defending Olympic bronze medalist will help greatly heading into the World Cup.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

USA Beats Canada 4-3 in Women's Soccer, Where is Canada as a Soccer Country

Its been over a day since the USA defeated Canada 4-3 in Extra time in the Women’s soccer Olympic Semi Final, the thought of Canada almost shocking the world is still hard to believe. In fact, I’m not sure which loss was more heartbreaking: The 2007 Gold Cup Semi Final loss to the USA in men’s soccer or Monday night’ Women’s Olympic Semi Final loss to the USA.

Perhaps both are equally heartbreaking. In 2007, Canada lost 2-1 to the USA at Chicago’s Solider Field. In the last minutes of that game Canada was denied the equalizing goal on a very controversial call that went the USA’s way. Up in to that point Canada had played well considering they were major underdogs. To tell you the truth, I remember turning the game off at halftime after Landon Donavan’s converted penalty kick made the game 2-0. A win would have given the Canadians a spot in the 2007 Gold Cup  Final against Mexico. A win in that game would have gave them a berth in the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa.
If anyone wants to refresh their memory of this painful day click here.

The women’s game on Monday is just as heartbreaking if not more heartbreaking. Canada had to play an almost perfect game if they were going to pull off the amazing upset. For the majority of the game, Canada played great. The only thing that stopped the Canadians was three fluke goals and very questionable referring at the most critical part of the game.  

The delay of game call was the worst call I’ve ever seen in soccer. The worst part of it is Canada was denied a break through moment that could have given Canadian soccer a boost at all levels of competition.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, because soccer isn’t the #1 sport in Canada, we will need to rely on a break of some sorts if we’re ever going to do something as a nation. In other words, history will never be on the Canadians side. Therefore, if Canada is to every qualify for a World Cup again, they can't ever blow leads. The difference between qualifying and not qualifying will be minuscule.

In the past, Canada has struggled to get wins in World Cup Qualifying. CONCACAF is a very competitive federation and the majority of games are one-goal games if not tie games. Currently, Canada is in a good position in Qualifying. They are sitting in second place in a four-team group that consists of Panama, Canada, Honduras and Cuba. Canada will need to finish in the top two to advance in the next stage of Qualifying.

So, where is our nation as a soccer country? Canadian soccer rarely gets much publicity. In most countries when they have a World Cup Qualifying it is the top story in the media. When Canada has a qualifying game, it’s the third story.  Traditionally, Canada doesn’t draw well for home games. When they do, the majority of the fans are cheering for the other team.
For a country that is harshly blamed for their performance on the pitch, the team is ranked 79th in the world. Is it embarrassing? No, that being said it has to be better and can be better. Considering there are 206 teams that play soccer in the world, 79th is in the upper half. More importantly, teams that are ranked lower than Canada somehow get to the World Cup. Therefore, there should be no reason why Canada can’t make the World Cup every once in awhile.

I'm curious what people are going to be doing on September 7th when Canada takes on Panama at BMO Field in a crucial World Cup Qualifying game. My feeling is that there won’t be much attention towards it. Unfortunately, if Canada would have beaten USA on Monday, the win could have inspired a nation to be more attached to the game and want to watch more soccer. In reality, my feeling is Canadians will look at soccer in Canada the same way they did before Monday’s game. Canadians will look at it as disappointing or a failure. Isn’t it a massive failure when one of Canada’s player scores a hat trick but we can’t even win the game? Lets be honest, that rarely happens in hockey, let alone soccer. I don’t think we’ll see that ever happen again. That’s how rare it is.

As a nation, Canada can claim to a couple of achievements as a team, Canada qualified for the World Cup in Mexico in 1986 and Canada winning the 2000 Gold Cup. Despite Canada making the World Cup, they are one of five teams to get to the World Cup and not score a goal.

Canada will have to wait and see if a gutsy loss is good enough to inspire a nation. Some people think Canada can make the World Cup in 2014, others think in 2018 or 2022. Then there are the people that think it will take a generation to fix the CSA’s mess. The mess of trying to find the right place to play our team’s home games is just one problem. Money is another huge problem. Personally, Canada is a couple of break through moments away from making soccer big in Canada. However, for Canada to be a consistent contender in CONCACAF it could take 15-25 years.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Canada Faces USA in Olympic Women's Soccer Semi Final

Old Trafford is home to the Manchester United Red Devils a Club team in the English Premier League, but today it will be home to the Olympic Semi Final game in the Women’s soccer tournament that will be between powerhouse USA and the upstart Canadians.

The two countries that are separated a by dotted line and have a great relationship in some things in life; are also each other’s biggest rivals. The USA has dominated the Canadians when it comes to women’s soccer. In fact, Canada has only won three times and the last time came in 2001.

That being said, Canada is playing their best soccer at the perfect time of the year. In addition, they have qualified for the Semi Finals in a major tournament for the first time since 2003.  That year, Canada was eliminated in heartbreaking fashion against Sweden. Canada opened the scoring that night before Sweden scored two unanswered to win 2-1.

The USA comes into the game on a roll. They breezed through their qualifying in Vancouver to get to the Olympics; they dismantled the three teams in Group G fairly easily and made quick work of their Quarter Final opponent New Zealand.

For USA, gold is the only option. They are two times defending Olympic gold medalist and are currently ranked #1 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. If Canada is to upset the States today, it would pretty much be Canada’s Miracle on the field. Those words seem like bold words but it is almost the truth. Canada is the underdog and the whole world knows it.

Furthermore, USA still has something to prove following their second place finish at last years Women’s World Cup in Germany. Japan’s upset in the Final last year gave the Americans a bitter taste. Unfortunately for Canada and the rest of the world the taste is still in their mouth.
 Despite being the major underdog, Canada feels they also still have something to prove. USA beating Canada at the Olympics in 2008 is one thing, but Canada still feels the effects from their lack-lustered performance at last years World Cup. In the World Cup, Canada could only muster one goal in three games and their scoring chances through out the three games were few and far between.

Canada has turned it around since then and to think for a second what it would be like if Canada upsets Alex Morgan and the United States is hard to believe. In a country that soccer is not the main sport. Canadian soccer fans never know what type of moment it will take for Canada to become a bigger soccer country. If Canada wins tomorrow, will that be our moment? One can only hope.

The game kicks off today at 11:45amPT/2:45pmET and can be seen on TSN. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Canada VS Australia Women's Olympic Basketball - Group B

The Canadian Women’s basketball team will be playing for a better seed at the 2012 Olympic Basketball tournament on Day Nine of competition. Going into play on Day nine, Canada can be placed anywhere from second to fourth. Depending how the Russia-France game turns out at 1amPT/4amET, Canada could move up to second with a France win. The three teams (Russia, Australia and Canada) would be tied at 3-2. The tiebreaker is point differential and if Canada has the best point difference, Canada would be second. In contrast, if they have the worst, they would still finish second despite the potential win.

The task will be a challenge considering Australia is fighting for the exact same places in Group B. Australia is also the 2nd ranked team in the world and were the favorites with Russia to win the group. The Aussies have under achieved in the Olympic tournament losing a heartbreaker to France in overtime.

Despite Australia being 3-1, they are one loss away from having a quarterfinal date with the United States. If that were to happen, it would be a rematch of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Gold medal game.

For Canada, a loss tomorrow would also mean a game with the powerhouse Americans. The Canadians have been in every game this tournament. They have two heartbreaking losses while also snatching two nail biting wins. In Canada’s losses, blown leads and missed lay ups were the teams undoing, resulting in both of the teams defeats 

If Canada wants to upset the Australia in the final group stage game they’ll have to knock down three point shots early and often. Canada does not have what it takes to stay with Australia. They’re big and talented and feel they are the stronger team then Canada.

In May, I got the opportunity to watch the Canadian women’s team play an exhibition game in Abbotsford B.C. Canada was playing Team China in a tune up for the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Turkey, prior to the Olympics. Canada played very well that day and came away with the win. In fact, I feel if Canada plays as well as they did that night they have a chance to win. Unfortunately, the Canadians won’t be playing in front of the home crowed, they do however have the potential to beat Australia and finish with a 3-2 record and avoid the USA.

As good as Canada has competed in these Olympics, this game will be the toughest so far. Canada will have to keep their turnovers at a minuscule number and capitalize on their lay up opportunities. I don’t see this happening for Canada and Australia will come away with the 77-63 win.

The game tips off at 6:30amPT/9:30amET and can be seen on CTV, Sportsnet or TSN.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Canada Against Great Britain - Quarter Final Preview

Soccer has never been a big thing in Canada. Kids grow up wanting to play hockey and other sports instead of soccer. Therefore, it’s been tough for our Men’s or Women’s teams to reach there full potential.  Despite the growth in the sport in recent years, Canada hasn’t had an amazing moment in soccer in the past several years.

This afternoon. Canada will get a chance to have a break through moment when they play Great Britain. In the FIFA Women’s rakings, Canada is higher ranked then the host Brits. They have a 4-0-2 record against Great Brittan and have looked well in all three of their previous games leading up to the Olympic Quarter Final game.

Everything would be in good place for Team Canada.  A fortunate draw has landed them in a Quarter Final against some other team then one of the five powers. (USA, Sweden, Brazil, Japan and Germany), USA plays New Zeeland, this morning while Sweden faces France. In the other Quarter Final Brazil will play Japan. Germany surprisingly didn’t even make the Olympics.

The only downer about facing Great Brittan is that they are of course the host. In Great Britain’s final group stage game against Brazil, Wembley Stadium had 70,584 with the majority of them cheering for the home team. Canada will have to win this game in a hostile stadium if the players want their olympic dream to continue..

A win would go a long way for the Canada women’s team. A year removed from the disaster in Germany that saw the team only score one goal and failed to get out of the group stage.

In addition, a team Canada win would be Canada’s best showing at the Olympics. This is Canada’s second time at the Olympics in women's soccer. Their first appearance came at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Canada had a good start to the tournament going 1-1-1. However, an indirect upset in another group placed them wit the dreaded USA team. After a lightning delay, the game got back underway. The game was tied 1-1 going into Extra Time. Unfortunately for Canada, USA got the eventual winning goal on their way to winning the gold medal.

It won’t be easy for Canada, but I’m taking this Quarter Final draw over most draws that Canada could have received. Playing the USA or Brazil would be much worse and could turn into a nightmare.

If Canada plays to what they are capable of they will win this game and stun the home crowd. The only questions are, will they and will Great Britain play nervous or excited when it matters the most on home soil? I think Canada steps it up today and Christine Sinclair gets a huge goal at huge time of the game. I predict Canada will win 1-1 (5-3) in penalty kicks.

The game kicks off at 11:30am PT/2:30pm/ET on CTV, Sportsnet or TSN

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Milos Raonic Loses Historic Tennis Match at the Olympics

The Olympics bring out the best of all the countries athletes every four years and that was certainly on display in the Tennis at Wimbledon yesterday. Milos Raonic of Canada was facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in an historic tennis game that lasted just under four hours and had 48 games in the 3rd and final set. 

Unfortunately for Canada, Milos Raonic didn’t have enough energy to upset the heavily favored French man. The two went back and fourth holding serve numerous times. In the Olympic Tennis tournament, there is no tiebreak, therefore, the two combatants went back and fourth before one of them won by two.

To put the tennis match in perspective, John Isner’s 1st round win at the 2010 Wimbledon tournament was way longer but that was also historic. That game was the longest match in Tennis history. The final score in the 5th set was 70-68. That game was also played over a span of two days.

Despite Raonic’s game not being quite as long as Isner’s, yesterday’s game was the longest in Olympic history. Keep in mind; the Olympic Tennis tournment only plays a best of 3 matches while the four Grand-Slam Tennis tournaments play a best of 5.

At the age of 21, Milos Raonic has a lot of good things going for him. He’s young, has an awesome serve and arguably is the best men’s singles player to ever come from Canada.  Raonic will be able to learn a lot from this match and most importantly will make him stronger.  I’m not a big Tennis fan but in the games that I’ve watched in the French Open and Wimbledon, he had a tougher time in the fourth and fifth sets as I could see that he was getting tired.

The same was true in today’s game. The only thing that helped him was a two hour rain delay after the second set. When play resumed and the third set got underway, I could tell that Raonic was just holding on. He had fought off a couple of match points earlier in the third set to keep him in the game.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France,will now move on and play Feliciano L√≥pez of Spain. Raonic would have had a good chance to win that match and advance to the Quarterfinals.