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Monday, September 1, 2014

THE STARTING 11: Worst jobs at TFC

Not the parade Leiweke had in mind
 
Happy Labour Day you wacky labourers. On the day where we appreciate the value of the working man and woman in society/weep giant tears that summer is over, we also take a closer look at local employer/dream killer - Toronto FC. Many of you would surely like to land a job working for your beloved club but before you shine up your resume, take a look at these less-than upwardly mobile BMO Field careers...

11. The English-to-New Zealish translator

10. The barber trying to shave a CNE corndog into the side of Dominic Oduro's head

9. The team trying to get "Joe Bendik - The Cologne" off the ground

8. The guy that has to hold the bowl over Nick Hagglund's head during his weekly haircut

7. The crew that has to re-capture the Timbits children after halftime and put them back in their cage until the next match

6. Ryan Nelsen's personal Post-Match Excuse Assistant

5. The engineer that must make sure that Warren Creavalle's cameo is perfectly level before kick-off

4. Butty-mopper

3. Assistant Bitchy the Hawk

2. The intern that has to cut ticker tape for all of Tim Leiweke's imaginary parades

1. Substitute defender


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blight of The Conchord! Reds sack Ryan Nelsen


On Labour Day Eve? TBez - you cold!

We're not sure what they teach you in New Zealish business school (because he didn't learn it on a coaching course) but Ryan Nelsen pretty much sealed his fate yesterday when he publicly called out his boss. Blaming Tim Bezbatchenko for putting too much pressure on his squad (a home win against New England - how outrageous a request!) was a major professional gaffe and one that sealed Nelsen's sacking today along with his entire staff minus Jason Bent. And yes fans - that includes The Immortal Jimmy Brennan.

Of course this move was seemingly the tipping point for TBez. Nelsen, a manager who never met a badge he liked, has been mired in a stubborn and mediocre style for large stretches of this season. When his DP strikers were scoring for results, Nelsen was surviving - but never quite flourishing. As the season has plodded on and injuries, form and fatigue have affected the expensively rebuilt TFC, Nelsen had often looked naive in regards to his handling of the line-up. Stubborn tactics, head-scratchingly odd substitutions and a general lack of progression came to a boil after the particularly insipid 3-0 loss to New England.

However... You think TFC learned a hard lesson in regards to "on the job training" managers? Not so fast hot shots. At the sack and hire press conference today, Bezbatchenko announced that the new PERMANENT head coach is TFC Academy Head and former Chivas USA Assistant Manager (his managerial zenith) Greg Vanney. "Yes!!!" said 0.00012% of TFC supporters. On the surface this is a mind-boggling move for a club that hasn't hired an experienced manager since Paul Mariner - and his experience was sinking Plymouth Argyle. You are all forgiven for assuming the fetal position.

Of course past experience doesn't guarantee future success but this all stinks of a giant re-run for TFC. The season that started with all that "bloody big" promise has a very 2010 feel to it suddenly. A playoff run now turns into a learning process under yet another new manager. While Nelsen wasn't likely the answer, Greg Vanney is the answer to a question no one was asking.

Caught your breath yet? Well sit down. It gets weirder. There are very loud rumours today that Jermain Defoe is well on his way back to England, in particular QPR. With the European transfer window about to shut - this could be within 24 hours. When asked about the team's money-maker and his future in Toronto, you could have driven a bus between the lines of Bezbatchenko's answer. The words you are looking for are "smoke" and "fire". What a blow to the image of this club and the house of cards sold to fans this past winter if this move comes to fruition.

One thing is obvious after today. With the imminent departure of  Tim Leiweke, Tim Bezbatchenko is putting his stamp of leadership on this club. The only question that remains - what kind of club will he have left to lead?

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT : Toronto v. New England... or Look a Ferris Wheel!

Ya know, this was a terrible match.

Top to bottom.

The final score was Toronto 0, New England 3 (Nguyen, Rowe, and son of Canadian Legend Alex Bunbury that shall not be named - that last one really pissed me off), in which the lack of organization in the back field left Bendik hung out to dry all afternoon.  At least our favourite cuss word got 20 minutes to run out... Fagundez!

So you'll have to forgive us as what my wife and I did after the match is much more interesting...

On to the Ex!

13' - The crafts building had the usual stuff but that's to be expected.

19' - three people were sitting in their motorized scooters, comparing rides.  Too bad it was in the middle of an aisle.

23' - BUY - The wife buys fudge.  The Butterfinger one looks crazy!
GOOD IDEA 1, BAD IDEA 0

29' - They had these plaques for "Prayer for the"  (some profession) like teachers and engineers.  They had one prayer for Defenders which went something like this...

Dear Football Lord,
Please grant me the patience to leap for a cross at the right moment
Wait for the ball before committing
The talent to cover my partner
To be a leader when there is chaos
To move the ball confidently around the back
To never over hit a backpass to the keeper
And not to play my mark onside


Amen

I'm sure these will be snapped up and given as gag gifts all this week.

37' - I can carney bark better than this guy! If you want someone to get excited over your hammer and launch the from game, you should make it clear that you can win a ninja turtle in one shot.   Terrible finishing.

The second half of our journey took place in the Direct Energy Bldg, still more of the same...

48' - near miss with the grossly overpriced Lemonade stand.  When the hell has that ever been a good idea the second time around?  Stupid $5.

67' - the discount DVD section is always a hoot.  May live in regret walking away from Parker Lewis Can't Lose season 1 box set,  or the classic Roadhouse 2. Only time will tell.

71' - BUY - 2 dozen Tiny Tom's donuts, classic icing sugar.  Always a strong finish.
GOOD IDEA 2, BAD IDEA0

79' - BUY - The wife broke down and got one of those overpriced lemonades.  So tart.  Just weak decision making. I know who buys them now.
GOOD IDEA 2, BAD IDEA 1

87' - nearly seals the night with a cotton candy purchase, but just a few feet from goal and just didn't settle.

Man of the Match : running into a friend and catching up was kinda nice.  Seems to be doing well.

Goat of the Grounds : up yet arse lemonade extortionists

Kit Spotting : some lucky kid is wearing the new super classy PSV home kit, but serious props to the kids wearing their local shirts.  Grimsby Town (yes, the one past Hamilton, but before St. Catherines) and Toronto Croatia looking sharp

If you PVR'd the actual game : delete it, go watch the Lego Movie,  just gave you the gift of a satisfying 90 mins

For realzies, it's hard to think of a more lackluster performance all season.  Now let's purge this memory and await Philadelphia!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

THE MATCHUP: Blind Ambition


TORONTO VS. NEW ENGLAND
BMO FIELD - SATURDAY 5PM ET
TV: SPORTSNET 360

MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME:
"Ye Olde English Derby Matche"

FACTS* AND STATS**
TORONTO FC
- 4: Hours it takes the average fan to get in and out of BMO Field during the CNE
- Fetal: The position you would find Ryan Nelsen in after someone proposes he plays three attackers up front.
- 17,000: Number of people at BMO Field who underestimated the influence of Steven Caldwell until recently.
- 8/10 TFC fans will never be arsed to say Gilberto's full name
- 25%: Chance that Ashton Morgan still exists
- TFC and Revolution personality Paul Mariner hates ocean travel. Irony.
- If this match is a draw after 90 minutes, a winner will be chosen by blind draw.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
- After debuting at BMO Field, new Revs' DP Jermaine Jones will likely expect fans to sit on both sides of the pitch at Gillette Stadium. Mistaken.
- "Shuttleworth": The surname of Revolution goalkeeper Bobby and one of NASA's finest astronaut compliments.
- "Fagundez!" continues to be Major League Soccer's best family-friendly curse-word.
- 0: Number of hot dog eating competitions won by Revs' midfielder Daigo Kobayashi.
- 33% of Wahlbergs have an interest in Saturday's match. Funky.
- "Partially torn musket" is still the most common Revs' injury.
- Two thirds of the name "Canadian National Exhibition" is ironic when used in the same sentence as "Teal Bunbury".

*Possibly
**Maybe

Monday, August 25, 2014

THE STARTING 11: Things that Tim Leiweke wants to accomplish before leaving Toronto

Drake (feat. Tim Leiweke)

Well that was a bloody quick deal. A day after vehemently denying his departure from MLSE, that very same glorious corporation announced Tim Leiweke's exit as their head honcho by next summer at the latest. While Leiweke blew into Toronto like a hurricane, he leaves on a mysteriously short-term breeze. Make no mistake, the blustery salesman did some good things during his time as MLSE CEO but there are a few things he wants to accomplish before leaving Toronto for good...

11. Surf on top of a GO Train wearing nothing but an ill-fitting TFC warm-up jacket

10. Be in a Drake video

9. Get his hilarious sitcom script starring Muggsy Bogues and Joao Plata in the hands of a Hollywood producer

8. Teach Ryan Nelsen not to pronounce his name as "Teem Leewikky"

7. Figure out what the hell Jim Brennan actually does

6. Put an end to the "Bee-right" vs. "Bright" Dike debate

5. Finally get Mo Johnston to move out of BMO Field's basement

4. Hide in the Ecuadorian embassy until this whole LeiwekeLeaks scandal blows over (Ed. - please fact-check)

3. Complete his album of sexy slow jams with Fran O'Leary

2. One night out as Jermain Defoe's wingman

1. Release Chris Konopka back into the wild

Saturday, August 23, 2014

THE SOUTH COUCH REPORT : Toronto v Chicago... Or head colds in August sucks



I don't know what I did to deserve this? I'm a good person.  I am a part of an internationally acclaimed podcast.  I make custom soccer jerseys for laughs.  I shouldn't have got sick on my birthday week.  Now I'm on the couch while my brother in law babysits my seats.  So stupid.

Looks like everyone is healthy.  Everyone except me.

3' - GOAL - Osorio to Morrow whose cross is headed in by Soumare.  He doesn't play for us.
ROBINS 1, WATER 0

5' - Oduro with a quality through to Gilberto forces a good diving  save from the Chicago keeper

22' - SUB - guess everyone wasn't as healthy as we thought as Caldwell comes off for Henry

43' - Closed my eyes for a bit.  Didn't miss a thing it appears

52' - There's a nap.  Missed nothing it seems

57' - YELLOW -  Warner goes in for a rough challenge.

57' - SUB - Jackson will come in for an injured Morrow

61' - Two minute nap. Well earned.

65' - Robert Earnshaw comes into the match. Good for him.  Hope he does well.   Next game.

69' - If I took a shot of cough medicine every time Dunleavy or Dolan used the adjective of "twisting"  in describing Amarikwa, I'd have long exceeded the recommended dosage #memorizedTheReport

70' -  GOAL - really Earnshaw? It's nowhere near October.  Counter, cross, header.
ROBINS 1, WATER 1

77' - SUB - Defoe comes off for Moore

79' - GOAL - Moore sends Gilberto through on a break and beats the keeper and buries it. GOALberto!
ROBINS 2, WATER 1

81' - Osorio breaks away and his shot is deflected by an impressive lunge to prevent which was obviously a goal

90' - GOAL - M*therf#cker.  Seriously? Are they out of ex-Robins? Amarikwa scores. No mentioning of twisting. I assume someone told them to knock it off with same descriptor.
ROBINS 2, WATER 2
3 mins of extra time 

90+3' - Henry should be booked.  Why not, this has had everything else.

FULL TIME : TORONTO 2, CHICAGO 2

Coughing Fits : 8

Messy Kleenex : 2

Phlegm : you bet.

Heavy Eyes : 29 mins worth,  including half time.

I think I'm doing better tonight than I was yesterday or even this morning.  Plenty of naps and football, like any good doctor would prescribe. Trying to stay away from NyQuil, who is a dear friend, due to the chance of having to drive people to the airport tomorrow. Hopefully will recover in time for podcasting. Though may produce less than 5% of the facts, the loss of nearly 43% of the comedy is a mighty blow to a side the struggles to keep it to a respectable length week in week out.

Player Ratings : Bendik 6, Bloom 7, Caldwell N/A [Henry 6.5], Hagglund 6.5, Morrow 6.5 [Jackson N/A], Oduro 6.5, Bradley 6, Warner 6, Osorio 6.5, Defoe 6 [Moore N/A], Gilberto 7

Contrarary to popular belief, @ignirtoq was not deliriously singing the Dichio song all game as the he's sick and not hallucinating. Full disclosure, he was sure last night Toronto signed Wayne Rooney, along with Troy and Abed from Community and one of those minions from the Despicable Me movies. The minion was the only one on DP money.

Friday, August 22, 2014

THE MATCHUP: "Do you wanna go Fire?!"


TORONTO FC VS. CHICAGO FIRE
BMO FIELD - SATURDAY 7PM
TV: SPORTSNET 360

FACTS* AND STATS**
TORONTO FC
- 98%: Chance that Tim Leiweke's resignation will be involve the word "Argonauts"
- 2%: Chance that Tim Leiweke's successor at MLSE will have any f*cks to give about TFC.
- TFC physios are on alert for higher than usual "corn dog-related" injuries for the duration of the CNE.
- 7: Number of emotional reunions this season if Jermain Defoe returns to The Reds' lineup this weekend.
- Vegas odds put a Robert Earnshaw Saturday hat-trick at 2:1
- 82%: Probability of this fixture descending into a skirmish, kerfuffle and/or handbags.
- "Yes": The only acceptable answer to "Do you wanna go faster?"

CHICAGO FIRE
-72% of Americans think of the TV Show first when they hear "Chicago Fire"
- 6 Months: Average gap between Robert Earnshaw goals in Major League Soccer.
- Fire forward Harry Shipp has won the coveted 2014 "Player Whose Name Most Suits a Pirate"
- Chicago currently 2nd in the Eastern Conference behind Montreal Impact as "The New TFC"
- Fire were third place in the recent Chicago Cup behind FC Earth and Wind City.
- "Draw": Frank Yallop's favourite result during a game of "Win, Lose or Draw"
- Chicago Fire defender Hunter Jumper is the closest thing MLS has to a green British sweater.


*Possibly
**Maybe

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A bloody big loss? How Tim Leiweke's departure may hurt Toronto FC


Much like the carnival hucksters surrounding BMO Field during the CNE, it is the "step right up" shtick of Tim Leiweke that has excited and frustrated TFC supporters in equal measure. The brash American CEO was brought in to fix the eternally stumbling Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment corporation on a wave of success that included wins for both the LA Kings and LA Lakers as well as the delivery of David Beckham to North American football. Unlike his MLSE predecessors, his monorail promises definitely put Toronto FC in a place of prominence next to their bigger brothers, the Leafs and Raptors - this was a new experience for TFC supporters.

While some of his bluster towards TFC has been cringe-worthy, few can argue that he really has had his eye on fixing the floundering club since day one and has backed that up with a top-to-bottom renovation that is beginning to show dividends. High-profile DP acquisitions, poaching a league wonderkid as GM and giving good lip service to supporters has healed many of the very deep wounds fostered by the likes of Tom Anselmi and his merry band of idiots who "lead" The Reds prior to Leiweke's arrival. All of which now leads to a big question: "what happens to TFC now that he's leaving?"

The whispers emerged earlier this week and today were confirmed that Tim Leiweke will indeed be leaving MLSE by next June at the latest. So just how could this affect the delicate balance that is the still-rebuilding TFC going forward? There are a few areas where fear amongst TFC fans may be warranted:

CLUB MANAGEMENT
For years, TFC's front office was the justified lightning rod for TFC supporter frustrations. A rotating group of on-the-job trainers with little (or expired) connections to the league, let alone the greater football world, always left observers with the feeling that the lights were on but no one was home. They were mostly correct. The installation of MLS bright spark Tim Bezbatchenko, with Leiweke as the money man above, has been a tonic to seven years of rudderless leadership.

So what will happen to this branch of the MLSE Empire? Will the new CEO have TFC in his wallet and leave the day-to-day operations and team management to Tim Bezbatchenko? Will the young T-Bez be elevated to a higher "team president" role? These are questions that could have great impact on the club moving forward. Most supporters will agree that T-Bez seems like a very bright and well-connected steward who knows MLS intimately. Having someone like him as the "leader" of TFC would probably calm many nerves but his relationship under a new CEO will dictate that potential success.

Alternatively, a more hands-on CEO with an eye on ruling all of MLSE's properties with an iron fist may end up upsetting the fine balance and/or feel the need to install "his own men" into managerial roles. The best case scenario would seem to be allowing Bezbatchenko to grow into a club leadership role with greater autonomy under a financial overlord.

Monday, August 18, 2014

THE STARTING 11: Toronto FC-related CNE Attractions

Also how TFC chooses managers

Hot dogs are being corned; Judas Priest mirrors are being shined; ice-cream and waffles are about to make sweet, sweet love; and, the Polar Express really wants to go faster! Yes it's time once again for the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto's annual goodbye to summer/ carny-folk's annual hello to your sister. Of course the Exhibition Grounds are also the permanent home of local foot and ball squad/profit enthusiasts Toronto FC and as usual, the club has their own set of attractions to add to this year's festivities...

11. Ol' Gil's Wolf Steaks

10. The House of 2015 Season Ticket Increase Horrors

9. Julio Cesar practicing alone in a field

8. AIR SHOW EXCLUSIVE: Bitchy the Hawk vs. The Snowbirds

7. The Jeremy Hall of Mirrors

6. Timmy B's Allocation Casino

5. Bradley Orr head butts The Superdogs

4. "Word Up" - Warren Creavalle's one-man tribute to "Cameo"

3. Collin Samuel judges/eats the butter sculptures

2. Jermain Defoe guesses the age, weight and phone number of your girlfriend

1. Club Excobar

Sunday, August 17, 2014

THE SOUTH STOOL REPORT - Kansas City v Toronto... or Why Not Let The Refs Have a Go?

So we're out at an unnamed pub with Vocal Minority Podcast celebrity and host @kzknowles celebrating her something-teenth anniversary of her 25th birthday, having a few wobbly pops and watching a few wobbling defenses. Sure we're optimistic, but reality can be such a silly beast.

Onto the match!
 
17 -  PENALTY - Jackson took out someone in the box.  I guess it is,  but it's weak. 

17 - GOAL - Dwyer converts
REFS 1, ROBINS 0

32 - PENALTY - Henry hauls down someone in the box which, regardless if it is or isn't a penalty, typically leads to...

32 - GOAL - Dwyer converts
REFS 2, ROBINS 0

45 - GOAL - counter attack has Oduro on the wing slots a ball through to Gilberto who takes a touch then SIDE STEPS THE BALL AND BACK HEELS IT IN LIKE A SUPERSTAR.  Fantastic.
REFS 2, COMETS 1, ROBINS 1

64 - GOAL - Saed takes a cross,  half volley and buried it from the top of the box
REFS 2, COMETS 1, ROBINS 1

71 - Jackson damn you...  Beautiful 1-2 then dances around a defender to present a 3 man break and instead of passing to a wide open Osorio and Moore he goes for a shot and gets stopped by the keeper.

74 - SUB - Oduro off for Lovitz

77 - GOAL - Sapong gets on the end of a cross and taps it in.  No chance for Bendik
REFS 2, COMETS 2, ROBINS 1

78 - SUB - Dike makes his return from long term injury to replace Moore

Quote of the Match
I think they're gonna lose
~ Roz with biting commentary

83 - SUB - Bradley off for Bekker

FULL TIME : KANSAS CITY 4, TORONTO 1

Man of the Match : GOALberto.  Ol' Gil's FIFA 14-esque finish was just so pretty.  Too bad it overshadowed the result.

Though we here at The Yorkies "pride" ourselves on our "journalism" and "integrity", but we felt that both penalties were suspect. We are not refs, even though on multiple occasions we're sure we could do the MLS officials' job with little preparation or fitness, but we like to think we have a grasp on the game.

That being said, it was understood that a penalty was awarded not for any foul in the box, but rather a foul that impeded a goal scoring opportunity.  So if I had just pushed the ball towards out of bounds nowhere near goal and I was taken down on a tackle, it wouldn't be a penalty.  Perhaps a free kick in the box? Typically the calls made for penalties are legitimate goal-scoring opportunities and not for what happened twice in this match. I am willing to understand what exactly these nuances are, and what separates from a penalty or a foul.

Regardless of Toronto were poor (which they were at points), but I felt that at least one of those penalties were uncalled for and that a strong argument could be made for neither.  Being two-nil down and then having to mount a comeback seems unnecessary.  Those first two goals truly belonged to the officials.  KC just happened to be the benefactors.  Toronto deserved the result but didn't deserve to go out like that.

Player Rating : Bendik 6, Jackson 5.5, Hagglund 6, Henry 6, Morrow 6, Oduro 6.5, Warner 6, Bradley 6 [Bekker N/A], Osorio 6 [Lovitz N/A], Gilberto 6.5, Moore 6 [Dike 10 just for coming back]