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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

THE WORD: The Return To Poz...Pozniak to rejoin Toronto FC?

Scottish media is reporting that Canadian International defender/midfielder Chris Pozniak has agreed to a deal with his club Dundee that paves the way for a return to Toronto FC when the transfer window opens.

The useful utility man was a solid worker bee on a poor TFC in year one. He was foolishly left unprotected and snapped up in the San Jose expansion draft. If true, he would be a welcome addition to the Toronto bench which sorely lacks depth and versatility.

Mo Johnston has one very extensive scouting network. Rumours also have him being spotted on the Dufferin 29 bus looking for Andrea Lombardo and at the Ben & Jerry's Factory scouting Collin Samuel.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Real" Poor

Tonight's key word is depth. As in "out of our..." and "the bench has no...". The fact that the only Toronto player who bothered to go to Utah was Dwayne De Rosario doesn't help either. After a solid first 10 minutes, The Reds took a Mormon Siesta and never woke up.

No one can take away from Real Salt Lake though. The midfield to forward combo of Kyle Beckerman and Yura Movsisyan were top quality and punished the lazy TFC every time they had a defensive lapse. Amado Guevara's weak no-look back pass was the first to be capitalized upon when Movsisyan intercepted it and was free on Stefan Frei making it 1-0. At that point, the already tepid TFC were visibly deflated, the only fight displayed was in the form of poorly timed fouls. Further goals from Beckerman and Clint Mathis added the exclamation mark as RSL took 11 new brides winning 3-0.

The long-term worry from this result is if it is an indication of TFC's future away fixture performances. Toronto cannot afford it's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Johnston" form of years past with so many road games ahead. The paper thin roster reared it's ugly head once again as the absolutely invisible Chad Barrett got yet another start and performed consistently Chad-like. However, the most disturbing indication of the lack of options was when down by 2 goals, Chris Cummins subbed Pablo Vitti for the offensive genius of... wait for it... Marco Velez. Time for another Brazilian scouting trip my dear Scotsman... and hurry.

Finally, big props to the aforementioned Kyle Beckerman. Not only a very solid MLS midfielder but so good as "Drexel" in True Romance and as one half of the "Albino Karate Twins" in The Matrix sequels. Kudos to you Rasta, kudos.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Match Preview: Gosh Your Lake Is Salty!

Rio Tinto Stadium - Saturday 9:30PM EST
TV: Rogers Sportnet / RADIO: The Fan590

Toronto move into a new stage of the season that sees them spending far too much time on the road for any supporters' liking. That's some top level scheduling Mr. Garber. Remind me why MLS has credibility issues again? Either way, TFC look to pick up three points and a couple of wives each when they visit Utah on Saturday.

This will be TFC's first visit to the very impressive Rio Tinto Stadium, one of MLS's finest grounds. The Red's have had some minor success in Utah but run into a team who are also unbeaten in three. The wacky altitude and those crazed Mormon football hooligans makes this one a prospective tough night for Toronto... and monogamy.

TORONTO FC: 6-4-5 22 pts - 2nd in East (5th Overall)
TFC are still riding the Canadian Cup wave and are fresh of a very solid 2-0 win against NYRB in midweek. Marvell Wynne is still away with the high flying USA at the Confederations Cup while Guevara and Serioux are tender but should play. Luckily for TFC, Rohan Ricketts and Kevin Harmse are still no longer with the team. No word if Ricketts will beat the stadium stalking his former club.

REAL SALT LAKE: 4-4-6 16pts - 5th in West (10th Overall)
RSL's leading scorer Robbie Findlay (6G 2A) is listed as questionable, possibly from Osmond-related injuries. The Saltys are fresh off a hard fought 1-1 draw with league leading Houston. However, morale is apparently low in the RSL clubhouse after players realized that unlike Real Madrid, their club isn't really royally sanctioned. They are are not therefore real Real. The so-called King Of Utah who anointed the team was actually just Karl "Mailman" Malone wearing a Burger King crown. John Stockton prefers Arby's. Gross.

Editorial: The Beckham Experiment - Success... Sorta.

The lads and I were discussing the impact of the Beckham experiment on MLS and whether or not he's done anything to improve the game.

While it was agreed that the level of play did not improve with his arrival, given that Los Angeles didn't exactly compete for any honours, what he did provide was what MLS needed : eyeballs.

Not just from a turnstile perspective, which proved to be amazing given many of his matches doubled the average attendance, but from the respect point of view.

Oh sure, the best MLS side would likely end up mid-table of the English 3rd Division (I still refuse to call it the "League One", marketing be damned) in terms of quality, but the global attention can not be ignored. The footballing world now knows there's a league in the United States that is (seemingly) serious.

Here's why the Beckham experiment worked : Thierry Henry was quoted as stating that he could play for New York when his contract expired. Why? Because MLS is now an option for big name talent, albeit fading. It does not matter that he actually signs for New York Extreme Beverage, but the idea that he COULD.

The residual effect is clear, as the eurosnob who doesn't watch "that bush league stuff" will now have the notion planted that "hmmm, if it's good enough for Thierry Henry, why the hell not?", and that's part of the conversion process. And that process still has a long way to go before it gets to the levels of 'respectable'.

I do not know how many TFC supporters watch MLS games where TFC is not the feature. I do not watch non-TFC games, partially due to lack of easy availability, but I am sure the ratings for the Beckham matches were well above average as 'Golden Bollocks' does a run-up.

The "Designated Player" rule has been a success overall. As much as I hate Schelotto, he has raised Columbus' game (mainly by falling down). Same with Blanco for Chicago. And though their form is crap at best presently, Angel has also elevated New York's game.

So, in summary, Beckham's direct on-field impact has been, borderline, a bust, but all of the indirect impacts have been immeasurable.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sam Cronin gets USA Gold Cup Call-Up. Toronto FC Roster gets Thinner

As much as the state of TFC's paper-thin roster is worrying, supporters have to be proud of Sam Cronin for getting the call from the USA squad for the Gold Cup. In a short time with TFC, Cronin has become a reliable and consistent performer in the midfield. Under the obvious mentoring of Carl Robinson, the young midfielder makes few mistakes and has a burgeoning offensive instinct.

Unfortunately, USA's gain is TFC's loss as the roster is bleeding players by the day. With the Gold Cup taking a chunk of Toronto's Canadian contingent, including newly signed Ali Gerba, and now adding Cronin, the bench strength (?) will be tested. A positive for TFC will be the return of Marvell Wynne, who was not included on the USA Gold Cup roster, and Dwayne DeRosario's decision not to play for Canada in the tournament.

Despite the comings and goings of the existing roster, it is painfully obvious that reinforcements are needed quickly. Mo Johnston must sign a handful of players to give TFC some much needed depth and the rumour mill has indeed been grinding over the past few days. If Toronto can get past Puerto Rico in the CCL Qualifier, they are faced with the prospect of 8 additional matches and the prospect of MLS Playoffs. The momentum of late has been welcome but a few injuries or extended absences could derail the high hopes for 2009.

No Harmse, No Foul.

Toronto FC confirmed yesterday that they have dealt Kevin Harmse to Chivas USA for allocation money. Harmse apparently requested the move back to the USA for "personal reasons". In any other circumstance, a Canadian International requesting a move out of Canada would be met with anger, but it's just Kevin Harmse. Can you say addition by subtraction? Good luck Kevin, Chivas is the perfect destination for a guy who is used to being a goat.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The South Stand Report: Toronto v. NYRB again - Pink is the New "Awesome"

Good friggin lord it was warm. Granted, I am the one person who prefers colder weather. I blame the scottish blood.

Tonight, Toronto FC are the Mighty Pinks. Apparently, the shirt is for breast cancer awareness and a whopping 10% of all pink kits go towards breast cancer. That's sweet. MLSE is all about doing good first and making money secondly (rolls eyes). It was mentioned what the kits would look like when we're supporting prostate cancer. [DESCRIPTION DELETED DUE TO EXTREME POOR TASTE]

To be honest, only Bret Hart can make pink look tough. And we're not Bret Hart. Hell, we're not even Jim Neidhart.

New York Extreme Beverage are still crap with the same crap lineup and the same crap coach. Can backstop Cepero be the difference and inspire his boys one notch above mediocrity? Doubtful. Juan Pablo Angel show up? Probably not.

Toronto playing the odd mid-week game after having the weekend off due to the odd number of clubs in the league. Fresh off the whuppin of New York at the same pitch and the improbable 6-1 victory over Montreal 'B' to win the NutCan, you can't help but think things are looking good for the boys in red... erm, pink.

On to the match!

1 - It takes a whole minute for the stupid smoke/confetti effect to clear so we can see the pitch. This is about the only real bush league thing TFC does in its game day presentation. Please lose it.

7 - Guevara slides the ball just wide right of the post. I have a good feeling about this.

Temporary nicknames for TFC tonight:
  • the pigs
  • the pinks
  • the commies
  • the flamingos
  • the cotton candy machine
  • the pink torpedos
  • and for Chad Barrett, the pink slip (Ali's gonna take your job...)
23 - Serioux lunges nicely to interrupt a cross that was heading for J.P. Angel. That was going to be a goal had it reached its destination

25 - NYEB's Nick "Shitty Ronaldo" Zimmerman tried to undo a defender with the foot flick-step over trickery and ends up embarassing himself. On my squad, that's a hair dryer treatment and likely a benching for next game. Idiot.

28 GOAL - Vitti coyly heads the ball over a caught-out-of-position Cepero to score his first goal in 5 years*. Pretty goal and hopefully that'll give him the confidence to crack open the floodgates with the attempts at goal.

One of the other writers dubs the rediculous defensive formation "Torontonaccio" (see last game's report for further explanation).

34 - DeRo cross, Guevara header, Cepero's hands.

34 - DeRo cross, Guevara bobbles then leaps desparately only to end up in Cepero's hands again.
36 - Barrett marauds downthe left side, taps to DeRo for a cute backheel into the net, only to be called null due to the ball going out of bounds.

38 - Attakora gets a giant wide ball out, one touches and fired a ball just a few yards from the right. I want to see Nana do this once a game. He gets the space which he creates, he deserves at least an attempt a game to scare the crap out of defenders.

Don't know where this nickname came from, but it's amusing:
  • the pink Uruguay
Personally, I was trying to sing "are you Palermo in disguise" but me and two others know enough Serie A to understand that reference. Shame on you pseudo-Inter/Juve/Milan supporters.

43 - Vitti is possessed and shoots right at the NY keeper, but Cepero doesn't get full control and the ball just trickles wide of the right post. Vitti smells hat trick. I don't question this method. He could smell rainbows as long as the ball ends up in the back of the net.

45 - DeRo attempts to undress the whole NYEB defense with crazy turns and cutbacks, launching a shot past everyone except the last defender who ran behind the keeper to knock it away.

Half-time mood : damn son...

47 - "Shitty Ronaldo" Zimmerman lets a roket fly from 30 yards out calling for Frei to push it over the bar.

51 - DeRo cuts a beautiful ball to "The Chad", who slots it past the keeper, only to be (rightly) called offside. I call for a 'pity goal' as he was very much on target.

58 GOAL - DeRo headed the ball over the diminutive Cepero. Wikipedia states Cepero is 6'2" but you'd swear he was 5'8" tonight. Amazing finish and composure from the legend.

Yes, he's a legend. I love you Dichio, but folks, DeRo wins leagues. Remember that at the 24th minute when you belt out Danny's name knowing in three seasons he's never bagged a hat trick. And he's a midfielder.

61 - Guevara to Cronin to DeRo and over the bar. Pink is the new awesome.

65 SUB - Barrett for Dichio. Barrett, as much as we hate on him, is becoming an integral part of the build up and counter attack. His finish is still weak, but his control has greatly improved since the first game of the season and his heart and pace has never been questioned. Good game sir.

73 - Ricketts has apparently signed for Red Patch Boys, as he's spotted in mid 112 getting a song. Only in Toronto would a guy get a song who doesn't play for them any more. We changed his popular in stadium chant to "Rohan Rickets, burns his bridges..."

77 - Serioux goes down with a knock, ball goes out of play and a mini donnybrook breaks out. Someone gets a yellow... no idea who.

80 - Guevera and Dichio have a cute game of one touch with each other only to lay the ball off for Cronin who fires a rocket forcing Cepero to make a leaping save to push it over the bar.

84 - DeRo flies down the wing to let another long range shot go, forcing another leaping Cepero save. I'm still thinking Cepero is almost Man of the Match again, because a mediocre keeper *cough*Sala*cough* would've seen a much larger scoreline.

87 SUB - De Rosario for Velez. DeRo ran his ass off. Gets an ovation short of what he deserved.

>run 5MinuteCollapseWarning.exe

Extracting panic libraries...
Extracting 8-2-0 formation...
Extracting loss of strategy and basic skills...

** Welcome to Toronto FC's Game Day Panic program. Press ANY KEY to Continue **

88 - 11 pinkies are behind the ball and not a single one of them is more than 20 yards in front of goal. I don't understand this 'batten down the hatches' mentality, especially since New York Extreme Beverage hasn't created so much as a threatening STARE all night.

3 minutes of extra time and New York packed it in at the 90.

FINAL : Toronto FC 2 : New York Extreme Beverage 0

Man of the Match : As much as Cepero was outstanding and I wouldn't be able to pick him anyways, DeRosario was a BEAST tonight. He's on a level beyond this league right now. May he never leave and never come down!

Goat : Nobody. Everyone stepped their game and aside from the occasional gaffes and stale play, Toronto looked great.

Ref : 4/5 red thumbs up. Allowed a lot of play, didn't fall for a lot of weak fouls, linesmen got every offside correctly. Hope this crew comes back. I asked if they were local due to neutrality... great stuff.

Forever Red was quoted as saying "I'm tickled pink" from the result.

He was thoroughly slapped for that one and is recovering nicely.

The South Stand Report is written by The Yorkies' man in the South End Supporters' section at BMO Field to bring you a feel of the match as seen, and heard, from the stands.

BREAKING NEWS: Gerba Signs - Ali G In Da House!

Toronto FC officially confirmed the signing of Canadian International forward Ali Gerba. The former MK Dons man will suit up with The Reds after the MLS transfer window opens on July 15th. In the meantime, Gerba will play with Canada at the Gold Cup and work on his fitness levels.

Gerba seems excited to return to Toronto where he formerly plied his trade with the USL's Lynx. "Toronto FC have always shown me interest in the past so it was just a matter of time," Gerba said. "It's a great feeling to be back home."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Match Preview: Red Bulls 2: Electric Boogaloo

BMO Field - Wednesday 7:30 PM - TV: GOLTV

Surely, the tepid Energy Drinkers who were here at BMO a week and a half ago can't return. TFC grabbed a 2-1 win in that re-scheduled affair which causes us to play the same team at home twice in a row. Take that Sepp Blatter - this is North America biatch! We like our games in summer and our fixtures f**ked up!

New York have been awful this year and every game without 3 points is one step closer to NYRB manager Juan Carlos Osorio getting the old Manhattan Hot Dog treatment. TFC is fresh off their Canadian Championship win in Montreal and look to keep the momentum going in league play and show off their new trophy.

TORONTO FC: 5-5-4 19 pts - 5th in East (9th Overall)
The Reds may be without Amado Guevara and Adrian Serioux who are nursing minor injuries, they will also be without Frank Ribery who doesn't play for them. Currently national footballing heroes -possibly hungover.

NEW YORK RED BULLS: 2-10-4 10 pts - 7th in East (15th Overall)
Red Bulls are coming off a 1-1 draw with Seattle. The always dangerous Juan Pablo Angel leads the team with 5 goals. NYRB are trying their hardest to clinch the #1 Draft Pick and move into their new stadium next year with the lowest possible expectations. Have you seen Harrison, New Jersey? Have you seen Escape From New York? Same. Fact: New York Red Bulls have never been Canadian Champions. Suck it Nu-Cosmos!

THE WORD: Gerba Signed... Awaiting Transfer Window?

According to reports on Toronto sports radio station The Fan 590, Toronto FC has indeed signed former MK Dons forward Ali Gerba. The apparent delay in the signing is that he can't officially be confirmed as a TFC player until the MLS transfer window opens on July 15th.

There is confusion about the transfer process amongst fans however as Gerba was released outright by Milton Keynes and should not necessarily have to wait for the window. Adding to the delay is Gerba's inclusion on Canada's Gold Cup squad which in the least should have him match fit when and if he arrives in Toronto. There is a slight element of fishy surrounding this story. Stay connected for the latest.

Word Factor: 8 / 10

Saturday, June 20, 2009

eTrophyHarmony Profile: Vcup09

Young, fun silver trophy looking for some attention from a solid, dependable and caring major media outlet. Have been on the market for a while and tired of being ignored. Love to travel across Canada and I look great in red. Just moved to Toronto from Montreal but can't understand why the media here aren't interested in showing me around?! I'm curvy with great handles and love being kissed and hoisted in the air. Surely there is one media outlet who would put me in front of cheap tarts like the NHL Awards. Give me a buzz, print or television, i'm not picky!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

La Miracle de la Fromage! - TFC Win 2009 Canadian Championship!

The funny thing about reporting on a match is that you start writing an article in your head as the game is on. The 80th minute had just passed and I was thinking of a witty way of putting down TFC whipping-boy Chad Barrett when the unthinkable happened. Toronto's own "Poor Man's Rooney" got the slightest glance on a cross and capped off the most improbable, and most important victory in the club's short history. Toronto FC have snagged their first piece of silverware becoming the 2009 Canadian Cup Champions and have put a major silver lining on a season that was slipping into mediocrity in a hurry.

No report on this match can exist without highlighting the fact that it was the hometown boy Dwayne DeRosario who absolutely put the team on his back and dragged them to victory. Scarborough's finest dazzled the weak Montreal defence with aggressive play and scored a hat-trick while seemingly lifting his teammates around him. A pair from Guevara and the miracle from Barrett made it 6-1 and made the impossible a reality. It has also given TFC the chance to shine in continental play. Anyone up for a Puerto Rican road trip? The Islanders are next. Do you believe in miracles?

Bonjour Le 4 Goals?

In a few hours, TFC will attempt to do the near impossible and score four unanswered goals at Saputo Stadium (Le Stade Provolone en francais) in order to steal the Canadian Championship away from Vancouver. For a team whose main striker (Le Barrette Chad en francais) has scored all of two goals this season, its an uphill battle to say the least.

Due to the unlikelihood of TFC having a hot foursome, many of the nation's major media outlets will sadly ignore this match. Now, regular readers of this site know we like to prod the media into better footy coverage. So, in a gesture of media goodwill, The Yorkies will provide our nation's news editors with tomorrow's headlines based on both outcomes, a Toronto success and a Toronto elimination. Start the presses!

In the event of Toronto FC becoming champions:

In the event of Toronto FC being eliminated:
(For the Quebecois media.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Rohan Ricketts Released. Blue Square Premier On Alert.

As reported here earlier today, Rohan Ricketts has been released by Toronto FC. The high on flash midfielder scored 4 goals and had 4 assists in 39 appearances since joining the club in April 2008. He is also the second TFC player to write the team blog and then be dispatched. Hello to Alecko Eskandarian. (Note to future TFC players - don't write the blog, it's cursed!)

What can you say about the lolly-gagging winger that he and his entourage haven't already told you? No doubt the Ricketts PR machine is sending his DVD highlights package to Real Madrid, Manchester United and 50 Cent as we speak. They may want to set their sights on the Luton Town's of the world first.

Hope remains that the sudden glut of open roster spots means some fresh (quality) faces are on the way to BMO. Stay connected!

THE WORD: Gerba In, Ricketts Out?

Numerous unnamed sources (don't you love those guys - what were their parents thinking?) are reporting today that Canadian International forward Ali Gerba has agreed to terms on a contract with TFC and it is now in league hands at MLS headquarters in New York. If completed on time, Gerba may be able to suit up with Toronto as they play 9 men forward in their aim to score four goals against L'Impact de Montreal on Thursday.

In connection with the signing is word that midfielder and professional bridge-burner Rohan Ricketts is about to be moved. It is currently unclear whether this refers to a release or a transfer although what Ricketts' value on the market would be is anyone's guess. The mercurial winger has a knack for becoming a quick fan favourite wherever he goes only to have his lacklustre play and work ethic eventually rise to the forefront. He has burned bridges at Arsenal Youth, Tottenham Hotspur, Wolves and Barnsley before seemingly finding a good fit in MLS only to make the same mistakes he made in England. Rap superstar 50 Cent was unavailable for comment.

Word Factor (for likelihood): 7 / 10

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Johann Smith Released. Shirt Sales Unaffected.

TFC have confirmed that never-time wonder kid Johann Smith has been released by the club. The move ends a roller coaster career with TFC for Smith - if its a roller coaster that never left the station. The Bolton Academy cast-off who was sold to TFC supporters as the next great thing (have you heard that before?) played mostly garbage minutes off the bench over the past year.

No word if this move is any kind of precursor to an Ali Gerba signing. Mo Johnston said he wanted to sign him by Monday or Tuesday and has no doubt been trying to keep Gerba as far away from the pitch as possible ever since. Stay connected to Yorkies1812 for more on this evolving story.

Editorial: Broken News - TFC and the Toronto Press

There have been some odd turns in the Toronto mass media recently when it comes to the reporting of Toronto FC and its supporters. The club, despite its terrible run of results until the New York match, has escaped any scathing criticism and were even lauded in some circles after Mo Johnston's "press conference" last week. On the other end of the spectrum, TFC's supporters have been subversively painted as ungrateful for not jumping at the chance to pay through the nose to see a friendly, and power-hungry for their efforts to protest and change shoddy management practices and bad results. The existence of so many blogs, fan forums and websites has even been called into question in relation to supporter's expectations.

To call the state of Toronto's mass media coverage of football "journalism" is generous at best. There is very little investigative journalism around the club and the majority of stories that make it to major print and/or TV are simply match reports that give little insight into the club apart from what happened on the pitch or the rare sensationalized account of fan violence. Your search for anything MLS-related outside of TFC would be even more fruitless. Now, there are some very good journalists covering the TFC beat but their often quality articles are relegated to the online blog versions of their respective papers. Stories that do make it to print rarely give the serious supporter anything they haven't heard before.

It may be that in the third year of Canada's first truly major football club, we are expecting too much too fast. Surely when the Expos and Blue Jays came to Canada there was a learning curve before truly insightful baseball journalism appeared on a daily basis. It does not seem to be the fault of the reporters however, responsibility more likely rests at the feet of the hockey addicted sports editors of the city's newsrooms. Football is most definitely still fighting a battle here to overcome the North American stigma of that "niche immigrant sport". There is also an alarming ignorance to the supporters role with football clubs around the world. On a continent where fans are meant "to be seen and not heard", fan protests and movements are being admonished rather than analyzed. It is shocking that a sport with such global importance and such growth potential in this city doesn't garner more research.

The fact that the sporting juggernaut MLSE owns the club may also be a hindrance. Is it possible that access and good relations to its higher profile franchises is putting off criticism that may be truly due to Mo Johnston and his backroom staff? It could perhaps explain the alarming turnaround in some of the more vocal reporters' opinions who write a piece questioning TFC's direction only to sing it's praises a week later when very little has changed. It must be a fine balance when one ownership group has so much influence on your livelihood. The purchase of cable soccer network GOL-TV by MLSE is also a double-edged sword. Yes, there will be better access to TFC information and MLS games which is fantastic but it is at the cost of another independent football voice. A negative or insightful word will never be uttererd about TFC while Richard Peddie & Co. are at the switch.

Overall, football coverage in Toronto has never been better. It wasn't long ago that 2 1/2 hours on a Saturday morning with Graham Leggat was all we got. There is indeed a wealth of games from around the world and more options in general, on a club level with TFC however, more needs to be done. Perhaps the team itself isn't the only one in need of a DP. A couple of sharp football reporters with some influence with their editors would be a start. Until then, the much maligned blogs, forums and websites will fill the void and keep feet to the fire.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The South Stand Report: Toronto FC v. NYRB

Ahh, i haven't written one of these in a while. First I lost the notepad, then I found it and got chip butty grease all over my notepad, what a mess. Anyways, excuses aside, it is match report time. Where we last left our heroes, Vitti actually took a shot on net but hit the post. Jimmy B fell with injury and unlikely misfit Ricketts played a fine 45 minutes in relief. Coach Cummins still cannot figure out why the 4-3-3 worked brilliantly yet the standard 4-4-2 has failed against Vancouver and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, our opponents for this evening are in the process of a great skid of poor results. Tonight, at the Fortress of Doom, Toronto takes on New York Red Bulls in "The Battle of Under-Achievement"!

4 GOAL - In the most truly offensive manoeuvre since his arrival, Vitti draws a penalty after being hauled down. Guevara steps up and fires his shot just to the left of down the middle. Instead of reporting how bad the shot really was, "Play It Again" Sam Cronin converts the rebound spectacularly. And the peasants rejoice.

30 GOAL - Vitti gets a juicy break and looks to slot the ball just to the keeper's right except the Cepero makes an amazing stop, only to be outdone by a Dichio bullet burying the bladder in the back of the onion bag.

Yes, I'm done with elaborate alliteration.

35ish YELLOW - Robinson loses his crap over a questionable booking for a harmless tackle.


Mood: border-line giddy

Toronto dominated possession, but that's about it. The scoreline is borderline too kind. NYRB don't seem terribly interested in getting into the match. Vitti looks good and really aggressive. Even Harmse, who started without our permission I might add, looked cohesive and competent.

54 GOAL - After a minute of 18-yard box pinball defending, New York score after second mini-pinball scramble. Reminiscent of first season defending.

57 - TFC is clearly teetering on the verge of collapse like an overplayed game of Jenga. I hate Jenga. It's the clean-up.

61 - Quote of the match : "Bite your tongue, Swiss Chalet salad dressing tastes like angel's cum." Please don't ask.

63 - Robinson smells blood in the six as his leaping header just misses. Left unmarked in front NYRB keeper Cepero.

64 SUB - Guevera for Velez. After his clusterf*ck of a match versus LA, I'm surprised he's getting on the pitch. But I question the motive of swapping a defender in for a marauding midfielder. Oh well.

66 - Kevin Harmse fires a bullet 22 yards out. Didn't miss by much and wouldn't like be stopped if it were on target.

67 - Toronto pressure is on after Serioux lets a shot that sends Cepero to grab it. Cepero is the only Red Bull who's here to win. The rest of the side seems content with just playing.

68 SUB - Vitti for "The Chad" Chad Barrett. Vitti who's been a machine out there and his hard work resulted in two goals, gets the pine in exchange for the only forward who has a hit rate sub 5%. If The Chad donated $500 to charity for every time he missed, we'd have half a hospital built on his foot alone.

72 - Scarborough's own DeRosario fires a laser beam just over the bar in a free kick on the left side of the penalty area.

73 - "The Chad" makes the save of the game. It was at the wrong end of the pitch. I guess if he can't score goals, no one can, huh?

77 - Harry Wetnap had been shouting out "Catenaccio" for the last 5 minutes due to the pseudo-defensive change in strategy. I've dubbed the TFC version of this strategy Cattenaccio cheese

83 - Harmse fires another rocket from 22 yards out. If Kevin Harmse has to watch Paul Scholes highlight reels to improve his game the way he's done this match, get him off the pitch and into the media room. In three weeks, he'll be on the transfer lists of all the biggest clubs of secondary leagues (Anderlecht! Grasshoppers! Urawa Red Diamonds!).

86 SUB - DeRosario for Ricketts. Given how poor his form was for the majority of this season, he did a wonderful job subbing in for Jimmy Brennan last game. I'm glad he's climbing back into favour.

89 YELLOW - The Scholes comment is further verified as Harmse gets a yellow for a reckless tackle. Oh Scholesy...

Toronto survives the traditional "last 5 minute collapse" and wins the day 2-1.

Man of the Match : We say Serioux was outstanding. Harmse was a "10" on the "Harmse Scale" but still a 6 nearing a 7 tonight. I vote for NYRB's Cepero, but I was told to stick it in my bum. Harsh.

Goat : The Chad for his save.

Ref rating : 4 red thumbs up. Aside from the early questionable booking, the officiating team didn't call many soft fouls. He kept out of the game very well. Some of the better MLS officiating that I've seen this year.

Notes : Toronto only looked as good as New York looked bad. Give us a real team and I'm sure all of our faults would be on display for the sheep to eat up. South end doesn't seem to mind getting thrown under the bus over the Real Madrid ticket prices, even with the generous "Loyalty Price" *gag*. Short of Wetnap bringing a few signs, that was it. We've invoked a protest of not wearing any TFC gear for the rest of the year. It doesn't sound like much, but nearly is $15 off a $140 ticket.

The South Stand Report is written by The Yorkies' man in the South End Supporters' section at BMO Field to bring you a feel of the match as seen, and heard, from the stands.

Red Bulls Gave Us Wings

On a lovely early summer night on Toronto's waterfront, TFC got a much needed shot of confidence with a workmanlike, yet often scrappy, 2-1 win over New York.

Readers on our previous website will remember our irreverent match recaps written by our trusty reporter in the South End. Not to worry, those will return later today, with the regular dose of unique insights into the matches as viewed, and heard, amongst the supporters.

Until then, a few observations on T.O. vs NY. New TFC defender Nick Garcia showed what 10 years MLS experience can bring to a back line. No mistakes and great positioning could easily qualify the CB as Man of the Match. After the match Garcia stated: "Obviously we can do better because if we play Russian Roulette all the time of, ‘Hey, let's drop back' as opposed to taking it to them, we're going to get burned." Hopefully his advice will register amongst teammates and coaching staff and our death-defying Torontonaccio style won't return.

Hard work led to goals from Sam Cronin, who cleaned up a missed Amado Guevara penalty kick, and the legend himself Danny Dichio, whose long range effort was on the back of a robust Pablo Vitti counter-attack. A Brazilian robot was wearing Kevin Harmse's uniform as the number 5 had a very solid game with some very technical crosses and runs. Surely that wasn't the real Kevin Harmse! Chad Barrett was subbed in late in the game and kept his performance levels consistent - no shots, no goals and his only impact was stopping the score from going 3-1 as his talented feet got in the way of a goal-bound TFC shot.

Private box sightings included the much-rumoured Ali Gerba, who may sign with TFC, unless he actually walks on the turf, and Julian DeGuzman who may sign for this team in 7-10 years time. The favourite shot on the TV highlight packages last evening was showing MLSE brass including Brian Burke sitting amongst the great unwashed wearing TFC scarves. Precious. I care why?

Finally, how fantastic did that turf look? With the pitch already resembling green polyester slacks, the lacrosse lines from earlier in the day actually started to glow under the lights as the sun went down. It was like one of those black-light velvet paintings of a jaguar and a wizard from the 70's. Groovy. Embarrasing.

Next stop - Montreal. Maybe if we start selling Saputo-brand mortadella and provolone sangwiches at BMO they'll let us have 4 goals! And yes, I said sangwiches.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"Wanna Buy Some Grass?"

Over the last few days the hypothetical dream of getting real grass at BMO Field has once again been floated. Apparently this hypothetical grass issue will be raised with the City Of Toronto at a hypothetical meeting set for this autumn. If it all goes well at this hypothetical meeting, our new hypothetical grass will hypothetically be laid in time for the 2010 season so that our very hypothetically improved football club can begin play on it as soon as possible.
Since we are obviously working in a framework of maybes, let's look into a hypothetical future, say sometime in the autumn, and have a peek at a completely hypothetical text message exchange between an MLSE big-wig and a high-ranking city official. Hypothetically of course.

Tom$$$: Yo, D! We @ MLSE want to put grass down at BMO! We luv soccer!

MayorDave: LOL!

Tom$$$: Why r u laughing???

MayorDave: Oh, u r serious? Gr8! No prob! Gr8 for T.O. You remember the big $ lease agrmnt. right?

Tom$$$: Which part?

MayorDave: T.O. gets a central all-year practice field...

Tom$$$: OMG that's pricey! We r not made of $!!!

MayorDave: LMFAO!!!

Tom$$$: Why u laugh?

MayorDave: Well u kind of r made of $$$.

Tom$$$: Hey, credit crunch and all that Dave-O.

MayorDave: Sorry T-Money, its in the agrmnt. and its for the peeps of T.O.

Tom$$$: OK, wot if we build 1 in deepest, darkest Etobicoke and maybe you pay for some of it?

MayorDave: Ummmm....

Tom$$$: Oh just forget it Dave!!! We tried our best!!! THE CITY WON"T LET US HAVE GRASS!!! WE R THE VICTIMS!!!

The above exchange is purely fictional and is no way based on any factual events or accounts. Resemblance to actual exchanges and texters is purely fictional. And hypothetical of course.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Pehaps Mo Johnston was misquoted when he said he would have "answers to all the questions..." the other day. Perhaps he continued quietly under his breath "... the questions you already have answers to." Perhaps Press Conference now means 4-minute post practice scrum where the press lobs Mo creampuff questions and he treats them like incoming root canals. Or, perhaps Mo Johnston and his MLSE co-horts are such masters of spin and damage control that their honesty is on par with Chad Barrett's goal scoring prowess.

With TFC fans awaiting a "State of the Union" style presser with hard answers to hard questions, Mo instead chose to sardonically mumble his way through the scrum with the usual dazzling array of cliches and corporate doublespeak which we have come to expect since the first season. The highlights, if you would dare call them that, went something like this:

- Nick Garcia is a great defender who was San Jose's team captain; he plays 90 minutes a game (isn't that his job?); he should play on Saturday; blah, blah, blah

- Ali Gerba will hopefully attend Saturday's game; hope to have him signed on Monday or Tuesday (never heard this before - wait until he tries the turf); money issues not a concern; tried to sign him before he went to MK Dons; blah, bloody, blah

- He's got another piece of the puzzle on his radar (too bad his radar system only covers the lower end of the Scottish and English leagues); blah

- He also added blah, blah, f***ing blah

In short, after promising to clear the air after some awful results and fan protests, Mo delivered the same, tired "everything is going to plan" rubbish that we know and hate. No doubt, spin-central at MLSE Head Office had their knowing hands all over this but the sad truth was driven home so brutally once again: Mo Johnston and MLSE think that you are stupid. Will supporters prove him wrong or will the Scottish porridge be swallowed up again until the next crisis?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

THE STARTING 11: Unexpected Announcements at Tomorrow's Mo Johnston Press Conference

The shy and unassuming TFC Director of Soccer, Mo Johnston, is set to hold a "State of the Union" address at BMO Field tomorrow. For those of you who can't wait to hear what our trusted straight-talking leader has to say, hear are some possible surprises that may be delivered avec Scottish brogue:

11. Striker dilemma solved as wonder kid Andrea Lombardo re-signs after apparently riding the Dufferin 29 bus back and forth since his release.

10. Next year's friendly: Rangers vs. Celtic vs. Toronto. Johnston will suit up for all three clubs followed by the First Annual Carlsberg Fan Pitch Invasion!

9. DP signed! Dill Pickles now on menu at BMO Concessions!

8. Breaking News: Chad Barrett almost scored on an open net during Wednesday's training session. Contract extended for another 4 years.

7. Results of Mo's latest South American scouting trip: Brazilian girls have sweet behinds and there's a great new restaurant near the Maracana Stadium.

6. Johnston has been avoiding the press up until today to unveil his new Adrian Serioux-style hair-do!

5. Sol Campbell to sign and be named Captain. Will then move on a free transfer to arch-rival Montreal.

4. Loyalty pricing for Real Madrid improved. Instead of 1 for $125, South End seats now 2 for $250!

3. Aberdeen attacking midfielder Jamie "Tampax" Smith joins TFC - immediately injured for remainder of season after hurting hand during contract signing.

2. Fan protesters to receive special apology coupon - 5cents off your next Chip Butty!

1. Due to Credit Crunch - 5 Year Plan extended to 10 Years.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ali Bomaye!

When it rains it pours. Months of transfer silence was shattered at BMO Field when, as reported earlier, TFC picked up defender Nick Garcia and the Discovery Rights to Canadian International forward Ali Gerba from San Jose Earthquakes.

Ali, who is built like a rather small tank, was last seen plying his trade in exotic Milton Keynes with The Artists Formerly Known As Wimbledon - MK Dons. The 27-year-old scored a healthy 10 goals in 24 appearances for "The Franchise" and became a fan favourite at Stadium:MK but failed to secure a new contract. There is rumoured interest in Gerba from other lower tier English clubs but he would likely be able to command more of a starter's role with Toronto FC. Gerba had two previous stints with Toronto Lynx and has scored 11 goals in 24 appearances with the Canadian National squad despite Dale Mitchell.

TFC Director of Football, the shy and modest Mo Johnston, has hinted that a quick contract resolution with Gerba would be optimal. When reached for comment, TFC fans said "No sh*t Sherlock." So what do you think TFC supporters, are these positive moves or desperate reaction to a growing fan backlash? Are these crumbs enough to make you go back to buying $9 beers?
Leave your comments below!

In other Gerba-related news, Chad Barrett will be working on his new technique - watching the game from the bench.

Greg Sutton Released!!!

Toronto FC has released goalie Greg Sutton after acquiring defender Nick Garcia and the rights to forward Ali Gerba from San Jose.

Toronto sent its third round pick in next year's MLS draft and undisclosed financial considerations to the Earthquakes in the deal for Garcia and Gerba.

Sutton had been with Toronto FC since its inception in 2007. He was 0-1-1 this season after losing his starting job to rookie Stefan Frei.

Garcia helped the Earthquakes rank as one of the best defensive teams last season and played every minute in San Jose's first 12 games this season.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

TFC Supporters -The Biggest Fish?

A few years ago when MLSE announced the purchase of an MLS franchise, many football fans in Toronto, myself included, suspended the usual MLSE-bashing due to the sheer excitement of being awarded a real team in a major league. After a few days I thought "well that's great but surely they will screw this up". I envisioned cheerleaders, a big fluffy mascot and a terrible name such as Toronto Strikers, T-Rexx or Ex-Treme! However, as we know, MLSE actually did things right. A real club name, proper kits with a sponsor on the front and an atmosphere at our real football stadium which was cultivated along with the supporters and not forced down our throats with canned cheering and animated clapping hands telling us to "Make Some Noize!!!". They even hired a football man to run the show. Surely the snickers we heard from NY Red Bulls fans about his appointment were just jealousy - right? For those of us who had grown up attending matches abroad in established leagues, we finally had a club of our own. The disbelief continued to be suspended.

The massive waves of excitement surrounding the club's first season did little to quell our appreciation to the previously maligned corporation. Most of us had suppressed that little voice in our head telling us that we were inevitably going to become "Leafs on Turf". Despite the terrible football of the first couple of seasons, the majority of us had a level of forgiveness towards MLSE and knew they wouldn't dare pull the same stunts they had been doing with Leafs and Raptors' fans. Right? It was in the second year though when cracks started to form. Promises of exotic players from South American scouting trips; big investments with the cash we got after selling our most promising player; not-so-subtle hints of a DP in the days leading up to season ticket renewals; and grass - beautiful real green grass to lure great players here. Supporters couldn't help but get excited but these promises disappeared as mysteriously as they appeared - coming and going on the wind depending on that week's results. TFC win: no need to say anything. 3 losses in a row and no goals: rumour has it an International captain/Brazilian wonder kid/World Cup hero is in town on trial and he drove in on a truck with fresh real grass and a construction crew to expand BMO Field. For supporters who were reading between the lines - cracks were emerging.

As Season 3 approached, the purchase of Dwayne DeRosario gave us a whisper of optimism but not long into the campaign, the cracks became larger and more evident. Halfway through the 2009 campaign, it is fair to say that things have gone from glass half-full to grass half-empty quickly. At the time of writing, our tough talking coach, John Carver, abruptly quit under very odd circumstances; the massive holes in our back line are only overshadowed by one of the worst strike forces ever seen in professional football; our pitch looks like a green pair of old man's slacks and now has very visible lacrosse markings on it; our Director of Soccer only appears once a year like a groundhog (except his appearance usually marks 6 weeks until the end of a season without playoffs) and he somehow can't find any suitable players to fit within acres of cap-room; we are all but eliminated from CONCACAF Champions' League by lower division rivals - again; and most obviously, TFC seems to be hitting it's annual mid-season collapse. Sadly, these are not the worst things happening at Exhibition Place.

The most alarming development has been the gradual gap which is widening between the club and its most loyal supporters. The close relationship which was seemingly cultivated for three years has been damaged badly by the Real Madrid friendly-fiasco. The money grabbing move immediately undid MLSE's image as a patron of football and TFC and exposed them as the same group who have been fleecing Raptors' and Leafs' fans for years. The insertion of one-day-only grass has even angered their star player DeRo who feels disrespected by the move. Add to the list a feeling from certain supporters that players aren't as available as they were before; pushing of Marlies' tickets onto ticket packages; hard line security crackdowns at the stadium; blaming the City of Toronto for every ill of the stadium despite having a lucrative lease which no doubt comes with a level of influence; and worst of all, the inevitable fact that in a few short weeks, 2010 ticket packages will be announced with the equally inevitable price increase.

These frustrating facts can only make the loyal supporter ask - was MLSE's good will and football-friendly decision making truly benevolent or are we in the middle of a 3-year marketing plan that has reeled us in to the point where our loyalty to the club is being used against us? Is the real corporate monster about to be unleashed with the supporter's only remaining choice being go to matches and revel in mediocrity or say goodbye to a club you've taken on as your own? It is at MLSE's peril if they take that route because as much as their bottom line would have them believe now, Toronto FC are not "Leafs on Turf"and the casual football supporter will not wait 44 years for a cup.

Match Report: Toronto FC 1 - LA Galaxy 2

Toronto FC fell to their 3rd consecutive defeat to the LA Galaxy.
Danny Dichio scoring for TFC. Marco Velez more of a goat than a Chivas. Beefcake (pictured above) hasn't decided if MLS is beneath him or not yet.