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Monday, July 21, 2014

THE STARTING 11: Ways TFC can make the Spurs friendly more entertaining

Definitely not this fun

We have banged on for years here about our dislike for mid-season friendlies. We still think they are money-grabbing, energy-wasting injury magnets but we have always understood your attendance if your childhood club was the opponent. (So mail your letters calling me a hypocrite to "P.O. Box: I Don't Give A Toss"). As many of you know I'm a born Spurs supporter but I totally get that this match will end up bordering on naptime for those not Lilywhite and/or a fan of TFC's B-Squad. Not to fear though, TFC has plenty of entertainment lined up to keep you nice and friendly...

11. The Aaron Lennon Eyebrow Shaving Booth

10. An emotional halftime presentation where corporate sister club Tottenham Hotspur agree to help move the Toronto Argonauts... to the Emirates Stadium

9. Roberto Soldado vs. Gilberto "First-to-Five-Goal Challenge"! (Time Limit: 7 hours)

8. Tim Leiweke and Daniel Levy chase a hundred dollar bill on a string around the pitch

7. Kids get to hunt for prizes in Benoit Assou-Ekotto's hair

6. Sandro vs. Jackson face-off for the title of "World's Angriest Brazilian"

5. The pre-match parade of the two clubs' combined 58 managers from the last 20 years

4. The two teams to sit in a sharing circle and talk smack about Thierry Henry

3. Chas 'n' Drake

2. Bitchy vs. a Fighting Cockerel

1. Winner keeps Defoe

Saturday, July 19, 2014

AFTER 90: Playing brawl

The blurst of times...

HOUSTON VS. TORONTO
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM

2014 is a season of new beginnings for TFC and we felt it was time to put a sad page in Reds' history to bed. With that in mind, we invited "The Escobar 3"... Miguel Aceval, Luis Silva and Nick Soolsma - TFC's notorious Houston nightclub scuffle arrestees - back to watch this match with us at a Texan bar to prove that those negative times are all in the past and they are on the straight and narrow. Luis Silva still has a job in this league so he couldn't be here. But the other two are hardly out curing cancer... so on to the match!

FIRST HALF:
1' - TFC are looking to make it two in a row in seven days against Dynamo tonight. Miguel Aceval is looking to make it two shots of J├Ągermeister in a row in seven seconds tonight... and yes.
5' - Reds looking sharp to start. Nick Soolsma keeps disappearing to the men's room.
11' - GOAL: HOUSTON - Bradley Orr with a sweet touch and soft pass to set up... Houston's Will Bruin. Brainfartage of the highest degree. Miguel Aceval still thinks Bradley Orr "is the shit, dude" because he can handle himself at a bar.
HOUSTON 1 - TORONTO 0
15' - Soolsma's back at the table. Asks us if "we wanna party?", Aceval says "does the pope shit in the woods?" and Soolsma reaches into his Euro-style man bag... and brings out his pet kitty-cat "Suarez". Aceval yells "Pusss-ayyy!"
17' - Joe Bendik doing the Super Pickle routine as he stops Brad Davis point blank.
18' - GOAL: TORONTO - On the impending counter attack, Gilberto ends up on the receiving end of the direct passing, slices through Dynamo's defence and slots past Tally Hall.
HOUSTON 1 - TORONTO 1
27' - GOAL: HOUSTON - Giles Barnes takes a look at TFC's makeshift defence, has a giggle, and takes a big blast which flies past Joe Bendik.
HOUSTON 2 - TORONTO 1
29' - PENALTY: This one is coo coo for cocoa puffs as Luke Moore is hauled down in the box. Michael Bradley confidently steps up to take it... and hits the post. Nick Soolsma just fell off his barstool. He wasn't watching the game or anything though.
35' - Uh oh. Trouble brewing here as Nick Soolsma changed the jukebox from country and western to Aqua's "Barbie Girl". Lots of angry looks. Aceval's shirt is suddenly half unbuttoned.
40' - Dynamo happy to take their chances with a series of dangerous long-distance shots at Bendik.
44' - Miguel Aceval just told the room he "has to go let a Chilean miner escape" before going to the bathroom.
45'+ - GOAL: TORONTO - Luke Moore with a lovely run into Houston's box and a sharp pass across goal that bounces off a shocked Dominic Oduro who may have been thinking about pizza.
HOUSTON 2 - TORONTO 2

HALFTIME: HOUSTON 2 - TORONTO 2

SECOND HALF:
46' - You have no idea how much these two can consume in 15 minutes. Frightening. Soolsma is having an argument about the pros and cons of declawing with a pinball machine.
50' - Luke Moore having his best match in a TFC kit.
55' - Suarez Soolsma just killed the buzz by talking about Feline AIDS
64' - SUB: Gilberto OFF / Jermain Defoe ON
64' - Aceval does a shot for the substitution. We weren't playing any game like that.
67' - Dynamo throwing the kitchen sink at TFC.
68' - Line cook came out to complain that Nick Soolsma is throwing up in the kitchen sink.
70' - SUB: Jonathan Osorio OFF / Dan Lovitz ON
70' - Aceval just bought everyone in the bar a shot. Now he just asked the cat if he has any money. Shit.
72' - Neither side look content to hold out for a draw tonight.
73' - Nick Soolsma is trying desperately to call Luis Silva on a pay phone. Sadly he's talking into a napkin holder.
75' - SUB: Luke Moore OFF / Dwayne De Rosario ON
76' - Bendik with another massive save. If his distribution was as consistent as his shot blocking he'd be considered one of the league's best.
80' - Aww crap - someone has called the cops! NO MIGUEL DON'T TRY TO RUN!
83' - Defoe and Warren Creavalle go a bit handbags but cooler heads prevail.
88' - All kicking off now as Defoe and David Horst roll about and scrap. Defoe's yellow meaning he misses next match but can play 90 minutes against Spurs.. Conspiracy line to the left please.
89' - All kicking off here at the bar as Suarez Soolsma just hissed at the cops! Why is Nicky riding Aceval's shoulders!!! No!!!
90'+ - Well that was all a bit nutso of an ending. And no, I mean the wackiness at the stadium. A scrappy, shooting gallery with a bit of everything. TFC could have won as equally as they could have lost so another point in a very tough environment is ok in the grand scheme of things. Meanwhile back at the bar...
90'++ - "SOMEBODY CALL JULIAN B. GUZMAN!!!"
 
FULL TIME: HOUSTON 2 - TORONTO 2

PLAYER RATINGS: Joe Bendik 7.5 / Nick Hagglund 6.5 / Bradley Orr 5.5 / Doneil Henry 6 / Justin Morrow 6 / Dominic Oduro 6.5 / Michael Bradley 6.5 / Collen Warner 6 / Jonathan Osorio 6 (Dan Lovitz 5.5) / Luke Moore 7.5 (Dwayne De Rosario 5.5) / Gilberto 7 (Jermain Defoe 6)

THE YORKIES' TFC MAN OF THE MATCH:
Joe Bendik


Thursday, July 17, 2014

THE MATCHUP: Orange is the New Onyx: Season 2


HOUSTON VS. TORONTO
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM - SATURDAY 9PM ET
TV: SPORTSNET 360

MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME:
"Copa Del Escobar"

FACTS* & STATS**
HOUSTON DYNAMO
- In the previous fixture against Toronto, Houston forward Brad Davis had 98% possession of the ball in the first 20 minutes.
- Giles Barnes and Tally Hall lead MLS in "Sounding Like Wealthy Country Gentlemen"
- 38% of all league defenders claim to suffer from "Temporary Orange Blindness" after a Dynamo counter-attack.
- Contrary to internet rumours, Will Bruin is not in fact half-bear cub. Wild.
- 98: Percentage of arguments won by Dynamo co-owner Oscar De La Hoya at MLS Board meetings after he cracks his knuckles dramatically.
- BBQ Sauce-related injuries have dropped by 7% at BBVA Compass Stadium since 2013.
- In the off-season, Dynamo forward Omar Cummings hosts a weekly cable-access current events show in his native Jamaica called "Cummings & Goings"

TORONTO FC
- TFC's "onyx" alternate kit could reach 63 Degrees Celsius in the Texas sun.
- Ex-TFC defender Miguel Aceval is listed as "Day-To-Day" in regards to appearing at Houston nightspot Club Escobar.
- 180: The SPF level in the suntan lotion TFC medical staff apply liberally to team albino Kyle Bekker.
- 10% of all Houston-area jail bonds are posted by a "Julian B. Guzman"
- 23: Former kit number of ex-TFC winger Alvaro Rey and also the same amount of minutes he spent in Columbus, Ohio before begging Crew to release him.
- 9: Average number of times Andrew Wiedeman dramatically takes of his designer sunglasses in the press box over 90 minutes.
- 88: Level of Candy Crush that Steven Caldwell is stuck on. Sweet.

 
*Maybe
**Possibly

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT - Toronto v Vancouver... Or thanks for the 8pm kick off schedule dicks

Well the later than usual kickoff on a very nice summer night blended with the incredible Saturday night game gave us the hope of three points tonight, but that was not the case.
Vancouver scored early in the second half on a counter in the 50th minute. Teibert put a wonderful ball through four red shirts, and Mattocks buried it from 6 yds out.

Toronto controlled much of the match, and were rewarded with a fairly soft penalty as Jackson went down to a Reo-Coker challenge just inside the box.  Defoe converted in the 63rd minute.
All the hard work could not get them any more than one point however.  Gilberto may be resuming service of near misses as for the second game in a row, the ball bent around the outside of the woodwork.  Not fair for the guy.

FULL TIME : TORONTO 1, VANCOUVER 1

Man of the Match : Collen Warner played very well throughout the match.

Goat of the Game : The idiot who couldn't delay the closure of Lakeshore for 2 more hours.  Well planned Mr. City person. It's not like either event was scheduled for months in advance? (same for you Johnny Schedulemaker)

Ref Rating : 3 out of 5.  Didn't effect the match either side.

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

@ignirtoq would like to apologize for the lack of a more detailed post however he took a spill on his way to the ground and wasn't up to being Mr. Reporter Guy. He also likes making names up for people based on the jobs they apparently have.

Monday, July 14, 2014

THE MATCHUP: Night Caps

An evening with Carl...
 
TORONTO VS. VANCOUVER
BMO FIELD - WEDNESDAY 8PM ET
TV: TSN

MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME:
"The Great Canadian Bagel"

MATCH FACTS* & STATS**
TORONTO FC
- Despite being third in the Eastern Conference, TFC have an alarming 35 games in hand over 2nd place Sporting Kansas City.
- Dominic Oduro averaging 8.7 slices of pepperoni pizza a week since move from Columbus, down from 2013.
- Ryan Nelsen is five wins from becoming TFC's all-time winningest manager. No, really.
- Gilberto has the same number of goals in his last two appearances as his national side of Brazil does. Prolific.
- Jermain Defoe leads the league in touches. Mostly bum and boob.
- The Reds are 7-5-2 all-time during night matches where the temperature is above 25 degrees Celsius and the other team has a manager with a strange hairline.
- It is Micronesian Heritage Night in one row of BMO Field this Wednesday.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
- Vancouver is coming into Toronto off of a home loss to Chivas USA. Just let that one sink in for a moment.
- Carl Robinson has a pre-match ritual vs. TFC which includes both smirking and snorting in Jim Brennan's direction.
- Despite lack of concrete proof, it has been accepted that Caps midfielder Pedro Morales is NOT the same Pedro Morales from 1980's WWF wrestling. Disappointing.
- Darren Mattocks currently leads MLS in "Looking Like an Effeminate Version of Predator", a category he has dominated since 2012. Reliable.
- More than 50% of Matias Laba's completed passes still legally belong to TFC.
- "Lenarduzzi'd" has been added to the 2015 Webster's Dictionary.
- 43% of Caps supporters will be high by the 20th minute.

*Maybe
**Possibly



THE STARTING 11: Signs that you are already suffering World Cup withdrawal

That could totally work on the TTC
 
It's over! We thought it was something special but you just got up and packed your bags. Well... it was a great month... we'll always have Rio. Yes, the FIFA travelling road show/circus of corruption that is the World Cup has torn down their gold and diamond-encrusted tents leaving us waiting for four long years and a reunion in Russia. Breaking up is always hard to do though and here are some tell-tale signs that you aren't handling the lack of World Cup action well...

11. You refer to spending hours getting drunk in a pub as a "mandatory cooling break"

10. Preparing to switch your nether region grooming from a "Brazilian" to whatever a "Russian" may be

9. Angering your girlfriend by constantly trying to get her to wear really tight Colombian kits

8. Your Facebook status is: "Questionable (Groin)"

7. You invite a confused elderly man over for dinner just to remind you of Roy Hodgson

6. Your friends all roll their eyes behind your back when you pretend to suddenly know everything about the country of Costa Rica

5. You spray paint your loafers gold just to give yourself a sense of achievement

4. You keep getting kicked out of Starbucks for biting the person in line ahead of you

3. Keep trying to get extra space on the subway by putting a line of shaving cream down in front of you

2. You got fired for constantly asking co-workers to swap shirts with you at the end of the work day

1. You added an umlaut to your name


Saturday, July 12, 2014

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT : Toronto v Houston... Or Is There No Place Like Home?


DC was disappointing but they were quality (Hamid being Hamid).  But this is Houston, league leaders in losses, let's see what we can get out of this match. Gilberto appears to be in game shape so maybe if we're all well behaved, Uncle Ryan will give us some 4-3-3!

The line up is out.  Guess we're not behaved...  4-4-2.

Onto the match:

13' -  GOAL Davis left wide open on the right side leaving Bendik out to dry.   Bottom right corner.
ROBINS 0, CREAMSICLES 1

18' - Clark for Houston has streaks in his hair that makes it look like a bike helmet. Ha.

28' - Defoe free kick from the edge of the box forces Hall to top palm the ball over the bar

29' -  GOAL - Davis wide on the right, slides the ball under Bendik.
ROBINS 0, CREAMSICLES 2

34' - Yellow #1 to Houston

39' - GOAL - defoe pops a ball over his mark and it's bobbled by Hall,  leaving Osorio to clean up the mess and bury it.
ROBINS 1, CREAMSICLES 2

44' -  GOAL - Defoe lays off a ball to Oduro.  First shot stopped but picks up his own rebound and buried it.  The villiagers go bananas.
ROBINS 2, CREAMSICLES 2

Half time mood: beyond thrilled

56' - Yellow #5 to Houston 

58' - SUB - Oduro off for Lovitz

59' - Yellow #6 to Houston

59' - Free kick from Lovitz finds Caldwell who just heads it over the bar

63' - GOAL- Defoe streaks into the box on an angle and nutmegs Hall.
ROBINS 3, CREAMSICLES 2
65' -  Barnes beats Caldwell on the wing with no one to beat but Bendik. Puts it past him and the far post. Bullet dodged.  Caldwell limps off hurt.

68' -  SUB - Orr in for Caldwell

68' - Lovitz breaks in on a counter and instead of shooting,  cuts in to beat a defender and loses the ball.

73'- Houston floated cross into the box headed toward goal but grabbed at the line by Bendik.

80' - SUB - Moore comes off and Gilberto comes in

84' - Gilberto streaks down the right has a go and beats Hall but not the left post.  Didn't miss by much.

86' - Oh.  Clark is wearing a helmet.  Part of the Petr Cech collection I guess. Now I feel stupid. I blame the far away seats we have...

89' - GOAL - Oh we're on dream street! Defoe collects a blown back pass from 35 yards out (maybe, I can't remember) and breaks in one on one with Hall.  First shot is mostly stopped, but the rebound gets buried.
ROBINS 4, CREAMSICLES 2

3 minutes of extra time

FULL TIME : TORONTO 4, HOUSTON 2

In game prediction : Tonight's game question was how many cards will Toledo hand out without going over!  And I won by doubly accurately predicting 6 cards and all yellow!  Boom!  Genius.

@kzknowles 7, @RedWineRoz 4, @DuncanDFletcher 5 (3 yellow, 2 red specifically), @ignirtoq 6 (all yellow), Dom 4, @jonarthur's son 9

Man of the Match : Defoe.  2 goals, 2 assists

Goat of the Game : Whoever the player was supposed to mark Hall.  You know what... nevermind.  No one.  #bliss

Ref Rating : 3 out of 5.  In Toledo-terms, this is as flawless as he can possibly be.

Kit Spotting : I'm going to give it to the woman in the Eintracht Frankfurt away kit.  I'm not going to give it to the two people in the crowd with US Men's National Team AstroPop kits.

I Am Not the Gaffer But... : I'm glad today I wasn't because someone would've been subbed after the second goal.

In Case You PVR'd It : Watch it all.   It was a classic.  Show your kids.

What can be said other than the resilience was staggering. If you ever waivered that this club has yet to turn into a juggernaut or whatever this monster of a team is, this was a glimpse of what can be.  Never quit, Defoe was a major factor in all the goals, they fixed their problems before the half was over.  Understanding that this could all come undone on Wednesday, but we witnessed the future and it is glorious. (/hyperbole)

Player Ratings : Bendik 6.5, Bloom 6, Caldwell 6 [Orr N/A], Henry 6.5, Morrow 6, Oduro 7.5 [Lovitz N/A], Warner, Osorio 7, Jackson 6.5, Defoe 9.5, Moore 6 [Gilberto N/A]

@ignirtoq lost the classic quote that Dom had about how the ref hasn't screwed up the match and it's far too late to go and wrangle up the exact verbage, but just know it was classic and he deeply regrets losing it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

THE MATCHUP: Orange is the New Onyx


TORONTO VS. HOUSTON
BMO FIELD: SATURDAY 7PM ET
TV: SPORTSNET 360

Our regular match preview has been pre-empted by this modern art piece which highlights all of our favourite examples of Dynamo that exist in the football world...
 

Monday, July 7, 2014

THE STARTING 11: Rejected alternatives to World Cup penalty shootouts

Hey, we know that dude!
 
There really isn't a more heartbreaking way to go home from the World Cup than by being on the losing end of a penalty shootout. Years of qualifying, training, preparation and group stage victories can all be cut short by a goalkeeper's glove or the wide shot of a nervous kick-taker. However, matches can't go on forever and a deciding competition must exist. While the penalty shootout survives for now, word is that FIFA had polled some of the qualified nations for the current World Cup to find out how they would like a stalemate match decided.

11. SWITZERLAND: Sudden-death fondue party

10. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: First team with the word "and" in their name advances

9. NIGERIA: First team to send a spam email from a "prince" wins

8. ENGLAND: Team with most 1966 World Cup victories moves on

7. URUGUAY: "Who can eat a defender fastest?" competition

6. RUSSIA: Loser gets annexed

5. FRANCE: Most devastating existential crisis is forlornly victorious

4. GREECE: Last team to score wins

3. USA: Guns

2. GERMANY: Most umlauts wins

1. BRAZIL: Wax Off!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

THE SOUTH COUCH REPORT : Toronto v D.C.... or stuck on a couch in Burlington


(I'm sure it's) A nice evening out at the park.  The sun is shining (apparently).  And a good crowd is there for some footie (thanks to the stream). This is the first time I have been unable to make a game due to GO Transit cancelling a train.  In all fairness, my friend and I headed back to his place,  watched the shootout with the wives,  and then missed the next train (if it came which I assume it didn't).

Toronto is coming off a draw against Chicago and are up against the somehow the first place DC United.  Seriously when did that happen?

The nice part is, even if the game is crap, we can always play "try to make the 4 month old daughter Olivia laugh".

Onto the match!

13' - it doesn't wook wike DC is vewwy good? No it doesn't.  Wuis Silwa used to pway for Towonto but now he's a baaaaad gwuy.

28' - Orr pokes through to Morrow who threads a ball into the box and just misses a sliding Defoe.

36' - who's that with the ball? Is it Bradley? Is it Bradley? Yes it is!  Uh-yes it is!

44' - My coochie-coochie-coo is just killing it right now.

HALF TIME MOOD : they are first place? Really?

45' -  SUB - Oduro on for Orr

54' - GOAL -  Nick DeLeon undressed Hagglund, loses Warner then pops it past Bendik.  Good goal.  Baby Olivia makes a frowny face. I see why they're in first now.
ROBINS 0, DIVIDED 1

60' - GOAL - Jackson to a deep Defoe, lays it back to Jackson who fires, stopped by Hamid but poached by Moore and giggles all around.
ROBINS 1, DIVIDED 1

60' -  SUB - Osorio on for Bradley

64' - Osorio has the ball.  PEEK-A-BOO!  Now he doesn't!

68' - GOAL -  Cross comes in for a Perry Kitchen  header, down past Bendik. Bad marker.  Bad.
ROBINS 1, DIVIDED 2

60' -  SUB - Lovitz on for Jackson

73' - Baby can roll over onto her tummy, but cannot beat the roll over on to her back.


86' - YELLOW - Hagglund hauls down Johnson from behind on a break and gets lucky with not being sent off

No wait...

88' - RED - Nevermind. Ref corrected it.  Hagglund is off. 

5 mins of extra time

90+1 - Who's got my pinky finger?  Who's got my pinky finger?  Olivia does!

90+5 - Looping ball from Moore at the death has Lovitz flying on the wing to rocket it toward goal only to be stopped by Hamid. Fantastic everything here.

FULL TIME : TORONTO 1, D.C. 2

Man of the Match : Bill Hamid, actually.  He played very well.  Moore was a bit of a terror tho, wasn't he?

Goat of the Game : Hagglund not for the card, but for a bit of a howler in defending the first goal.  I was a close second as my nom-nom on baby's tummy made her cry, so that's on me.

Ref Rating : 5 out of 5. I appreciate any official who will correct their mistakes immediately (even if it's against Toronto) instead of handing out a revenge card AND he let the game roll at the end which made for a great finish.

I Am Not The Gaffer But... : I would've woken the little one from her nap earlier.  She'll be awake later than usual.

Kit Spotting : I was TOLD someone was in a Darlington 1883 kit, but I wasn't there.  Even after I suggested that a photo be sent.

If You PVR'd It : The whole game was rather engaging.  Just let it run from start to finish.  It's no Netherlands v Costa Rica, but quality.

Player Ratings : Bendik 6, Bloom 6.5, Caldwell 6.5, Hagglund 5.5, Morrow 6, Jackson 6 [Lovitz N/A], Bradley 6.5 [Osorio N/A] , Warner 6, Orr 6.5 [Oduro 6], Moore 7, Defoe 6.5

@ignirtoq was disappointed not to be there in person, but shit happens.  And to be fair, the game wasn't crap, but this kid is sooooo cute.  She's got big blue eyes and monkey ears.  It was a struggle to watch the game and her be so happy.