Friday Night Rock:Sick Puppies-Poison

Tonight on Friday Night Rock here is Sick Puppies with Poison.


A long lasting triumph for Toronto


Canada isn’t known for football,the last time they were featured in the World Cup was in the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico where in a group with the USSR,FRance and Hungary finished in last place and since then the Canucks have tried unsuccessfully to qualify for the World Cup without any success.And it took a long time that professional football comes to Canada besides that Major League Soccer was formed in 1996,but took eleven years that the MLS comes to Canada and this is the story of how a Canadian club finally conquered the MLS after a decade of its formation.Toronto is one of Canada’s most known cities and one of the most visible in the World,it is a major business,cultural and social center of Canada,but also of sports as well.Besides that it passed 50 years that the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League won its last Stanley Cup and they aren’t doing good,howver if ice hockey isn’t doing good than football was the next sport to watch and begin its rise from the ashes.Besides that during the NASL era Toronto had the Metros-Croatia and later the Blizzard,nothing compared to the formation of Toronto FC in 2005 when the MLS awarded the franchise to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment,while it took two years that Toronto FC begins to play from the start it was a success since ignited the passion of fans across the city who waited for a long time that football comes back to Toronto.In its early years the Reds as newcomers attracted huge crowds but yet failed to produce decent results besides the squad featured Dwayned De Rosario who is the club’s all-time top-scorer and with Celtic and Rangers legend Mo Johnston on the bench,but success came hardly and with the arrival of the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Montreal Impact in the MLS,but the Reds got also domestic competition to worry about.In order to build a foundation to make the Reds more competitive,the MLSE in 2013 made one of the most crucial moves which has changed the club and laid the foundation of the triumph in 2017,it was the hiring of Greg Vanney on the bench and Tim Bezbachenko as General Manager which began a club policy of signing high profile players like Michael Bradley,Sebastian Giovinco,Jozy Altidore,Jermaine Defoe and others to compete in the increasigly competitve MLS and to end the streak of missing the MLS playoffs.That came in 2015,two years after Bezbachenko’s hiring that the Reds broke the streak of eight consecutive seasons missing the MLS playoffs besides they were eliminated by their biggest rival the Montreal Impact in the knockout round,but that was a signs of things to come in Toronto and the rapid rise of the club which was since its inception a decade ago at the bottom of the MLS.It marked a turning point at the club and the Reds the following season continued to climb an collected 53 points in the regular season which placed them third in the Eastern Conference, after a comfortable victory against Philadelphia Union and the routing of New York City FC in the Eastern Conference semifinalsbut they got their rematch with Montreal in the conference finals which was one of most memorable matches in Canadian football history which saw two Canadian clubs battling for a place in the MLS Cup final and the Reds in the end triumphed over their bitter rivals,but in the MLS Cup final on their homeground it was the Seattle Sounders who won the MLS Cup.This season the foundations which were lid in 2013 came to frutition as the Reds finished first in the Eastern Conference and again made its way to the final and like with Montreal,the Reds got their rematch with Seattle in the MLS Cup final in front of their homecrowd.Instead of an expected victory of the Sounders,the Reds pulled a stunning 2-0 victory in one of the biggest moments of Canadian football in its history and became the first club from Canada to be crowned as MLS Cup champions which took almost a decade after its founding.

Riders from the East


Of the 21 teams from Eastern Europe which participated in European competitons this season,12 have made it into the spring.This season we have witnessed the rise of a new European sensation which is Qarabaq which is Azerbaijan’s first ever representative in the Champions League and which will play a role in European competitions,the debut of Vardar which became the first ever Macedonian side to compete in the UEFA Europe League as well the victory of Rijeka over AC Milan in the final matchday as well Maribor drew Sevilla in the final matchday of the UEFA Champions League,but the surprise story comes from Kazakhstan where FC Astana made it to the second round of the UEFA Europe League and with that the yellow-blues from Kazakhstan all these years played a minor role in European football have put themselves on the European football map and became the latest club from Eastern Europe which has redrawn the European football map which has been stadily moving to the East.While Shakther Donetsk which is one of Eastern Europe’s finest football clubs will be the only from the region in the UEFA Champions League and it is still unlikely in the near future that the miners or any other football club from the east wins the UEFA Champions League,the UEFA Europe League gives a hope that this season at the final in Lyon we are going to see a club from the east in the final.Ever since the mid-to-late 2000 clubs from Eastern Europe have succeded in the UEFA Cuo with CSKA Moscow,Zenit St.Petersburg and Shakhter Donetsk wininng the competition before it was rebranded and reorganized,in fact during that time predicitions were that a club from the east would win the UEFA Champions League,but a decade later still no Eastern European club couldn’t manage to go to the final,the closest came Dynamo Kiev when in 1999 reached the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League under the legendary Valeriy Lobanovsky.From that moment no one from the east couldn’t replicate Dynamo’s success in Europe’s most prestige club competition.While in the Cold War era clubs from the east were on the par with those from the west winning European trophies,the post Cold War era meant something else.The problems came everywhere from finances,stadium infrastructure and new founded leagues which didn’t gave bigger clubs enough quality matches which is still in some cases a problem.However in the mid 2000s it began the change for the better when major investments were made which gave the rise of clubs like Zenit St.Petersburg which was billed after its 2008 UEFA Cup triumph over Rangers as a contender to win the UEFA Champions League,a decade after its triumph in Manchester and switching coaches like Luciano Spaletti and Andre Villas-Boas the skyblues which are owned by Gazprom aren’t anywhere near their goal of winning the Champions League,instead with Roberto Mancini on the bench the skyblues are in the second round of the UEFA Europe League and will try to replicate the success of a decade ago in Manchester.But in the last decade European football experienced the expansion of the map to more Eastern European clubs which in the Cold War era were unheard with the likes of CFR Cluj,Rubin Kazan,Ludogorec Razgrad,BATE Borisov,Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and many others who achieved the dream of playing in Europe.Still there are many obstacles which eastern clubs have to pass both on and off the field,but they have become a competition to the clubs in Western Europe and their presence can’t be ignored.Next years spring in the UEFA Europe League will have to be one of the strongest showing for the eastern clubs since it will feature a mixture of old and new names from the east with some of them making a deep run in the competition,the question is can the riders from the east break the domination of the west in the UEFA Europe League at the final in Lyon,we’lll see that next spring,but one thing is for sure it can be counted that clubs from the east will make deep runs in the UEFA Europe League,but one can hope that the same will happen in the years to come in the Champions League.

A Derby d’Italia of destiny


This weekend will feature by far one of the biggest matches of the current Serie A season which has the potential as one of the most crucial matches of thr whole season.The Derby d’Italia which is between Inter and Juventus this season is by far one of the most biggest matches since both clubs are competing for the Serie A title and the stakes couldn’t be higher.The nerazzurri are currently leading the Serie A with 39 points and they are the only unbeaten team in the Serie A since Napoli was defeated by the bianconeri last weekend at Sao Paolo,while the current Serie A champion the bianconeri are third two points behind the nerazzurri with two defeats in the season.Inter’s run this season is a contrast what happened last season when the nerazzurri in the autumn part were in deep crisis,Frank de Boer was fired after only three months on the bench,Stefano Pioli was no better,the whole spring part of the season was a catastrophe,for two months,from mid-March to mid-May the nerazzurri have collected a mere 2 points out of 24 and saw them finishing out of European places at seventh places.Pioli was let go and former Roma na Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti has hired to provide a shock therapy to the club and lead the nerazzurri to higher places,but Spalletti has exceded all expectations on the bench and the nerazzurri used Napoli’s loss for their first lead in the Serie A table in the current season.On the other side there is Juventus led by Allegri and the bianconeri have a good reason to be worried,the last six seasons where the Serie A champions and nobody could stop them.But this season that has changed Napoli,Roma and Inter have emerged as prime competitors,that can be seen that te bianconeri hadn’t led that table during season at all and suffered defeats against Lazio and Sampdoria whic has raised the question are the bianconeri in a period of crisis or simply the energy has ran out and there is no enthusiasm in Torino since the bianconeri’s beggest goal is to wn the Champions League while the Serie A and the Coppa Italia are put behind and in the minds of the whole mangement was a belief that it would be another walk in the park?Juventus still isn’t struggling against smaller teams and still its squad is one of the best in the Serie A with Dybala being the goal machine while Higuain and Mandzukich provide the necessary help in the attack with a midfield composed of Cuadrado,Marchisio,Pjanich and Khedira who are top-class midfielders and a defence with Benatia,Chielini,Lichtsteiner,Barzagli and Howedes with a timeless Buffon on the goal which will retire at the end of the season.But the cracks might be appear in the defence where Lichtstenier,Barzagli and Chielini are on the wrong side of the 30s with Buffon retiring at the end of the season regardless how the bianconeri will fare,this summer a necessary reconstruction of the squad will be needed.on the other side the nerazzurri don’t have such worries but since they are leading from now on its nearest competitors will be looking to give the nerazzurri a chase for the Serie A title and there is the absence of a long bench for the rest of the season something which the nerazzurri need to think since the season will be long and unpredictable and possible injuries might cripple the ability of the nerazzurri for a decent title run.Regardless of the advantages and disadvantages of both clubs this season,the Derby d’Italy this saturday night will be by far one of the crucial matches of the current Serie A season which could easily make the job of Juventus defending the title harder or Inter could easily blow up a chance to extend their stay at the top of th table.But one things is for sure the thrill of the Derby d’Italia has returned and on saturday night at the Allianz Stadium the stars will align.

The stage has been set


The draw was made,the first reactions and predictions was made by everyone and now we 189 days till the 14th of June when the biggest event in world football will open its 21st edition,one of the most strangest by far where several names of world football like Chile,the USA,Ghana,Ivory Coast,Italy,Netherlands and Bosnia-Herzegovina are missing.We won’t be seeing Sanchez and Džeko,Buffon won’t make the end of his International career in Russia.This will be Leo Messi’s last chance for silverware with the Albicelestes since he is 31 and his playing at his height,but after three unsuccessful World Cups and a run of unsuccessful Copa America tournaments Russia will be the end of Messi’s International career,will it be a happy ending unlike four years ago in Rio we will see that in Moscow.Lifting the World Cup in Europe would give Messi a place among the immortals of world football and a legacy above his main rival Cristiano Ronaldo who last year conquered the Euros in France.speaking of Portugal they already have a grudge match with their rivals and neighbors Spain and the La Furia Roja will look to correct the perfomance from the last World Cup where they made an exit in the group stage which ended an era.If one by land then one by sea since Spain will play Morocco which would be for the first time in two decades the Atlas Lions will be featured in a World Cup .It will all start with the match between the oil superpowers Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki on Thursday night and since the Zbornaja was given an easy group it is expected that they made at least to the second round,anything more will be considered as a historic achievement since the Zbornaja has mixed results in the preparations for the World Cup on its own soil.But like other hosts,nothing is guaranteed for the Zbornaja and they should watch South Africa how fared when the Bafana hosted the World  Cup as a warning that they might similarly experience.The dark horses ae also present on the tournamentstarting with Belgium,after an  embarassing loss to Wales in the quarterfinals of the Euros in France,the Red Devils are looking to go even further in the tournament than the quarterfinals in Brazil since they have one of the strongest squads among the dark horses,Croatia is another of the dark horses and they have a chance for the first time in two decades to make out of the group stage,but the World Cup in Russia presents the last chance of the current generation of the Vatreni to make a decent result since a large number of players is hitting 30 or it is the on the wrong side of 30 which includes Luka Modrich who is now 32.Poland with Robert Lewandowski and Colombia with 2014 FIFA World Cup Goldden shoe winner James Rodriguez will clash one against each other in a match of two teams which can go far in the tournament.Meanwhile Germany the current World Cup holder will kickoff its title defence against Mexico who this time will have to with Sweden which denied Italy a place in Russia and South Korea for a place in the 2nd round.Brazil one of the favorites to win the World Cup is looking to leave behind the Maracanazo of four years ago to try to go all the way to the final in Moscow.The Selecao was the first team to qualify for the World Cup and Neymar and Co. wants to bring the World Cup title back to South America and it comes exactly 60 years after Brazil’s first World Cup triumph in the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden which featured back then a 17 year old Pele.The biggest stage of world football is only 189 days away and Russia will for a month be the center of the football world,but we can’t wait the 14th of June when it all begins.