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6ix on a Wave: Nation in Regress

The madness. The chaos. Canada’s men open up the CONCACAF Nations League this weekend against Cuba, and we have your preview — well, sort of.

Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup-Canada at Cuba
Canada coach John Herdman yells instructions during group play against Cuba in the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament
(Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports)

I’ll be honest. It doesn’t make much sense to devote this week’s column to the Toronto FC-FC Cincinnati away tie coming up this Saturday. One, there is a mountain of #content on the way from WTR HQ, and two — and perhaps most importantly — this is a must win if there ever was one. No questions. No excuses. Go down there and get it done.

Instead, I’ll switch gears to another match coming up this weekend, in the church on the Lakeshore, no less: the first leg of Canada vs. Cuba in the new, and beyond confusing Nations League ver 2.0.

Our very own stats man, Martyn Bailey, has tried to explain, several times, the format, ramifications, etc. as the CANMNT gear up for this tournament. I’ll speak only for myself here: it hasn’t stuck. I’m so confused.

But I’ll be there come Saturday, if only to see my pick as TFC newcomer of the year, Richie Laryea, fulfill a life-long ambition to don the Canada shirt. I’m all about narratives.

Oh! And the CPL got it’s first call-up! This is pretty great too:

So I’ll be there, but I certainly won’t know all the ‘whys’.

I know it’s a a four-match group, so despite home-and-home ties, it’s points over aggregate. I also know it’s a six-match tournament between USA, CANADA, and Cuba... okay then. And I know these points are very valuable towards World Cup Qualification, so that’s a thing.

I also remember much smarter football minds than I frothing at the bit when these format changes were first announced.

Where’s the disconnect, then? Most of this sounds pretty good, and yet, the response across the interwebs has been mostly very negative.

So, here’s my homework for WTR-Land:

  1. What is going on here? Is this objectively a better pathway for Canada than what came before? Worse? How?
  2. What do we think of Canada’s chances on Saturday and the remainder of the Tournament?

Also, for bonus points, check out the full broadcast of yesterday’s Special Footy Talks Canada Soccer Rally. John Herdman just spitting truths:


... is a bit of fun that runs on word association. A bit of “League”, a bit of “Canada” and some fun stuff I’ve been listening to on the regular.

Some choice cuts in there, but as always, if I’ve missed any zingers, please let me know in the comments and I will rectify my mistakes.