The Yorkies' Regular Features

Starting 11       The Word       The Matchup       After 90       The South Stand Report

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CODE RED: "Operation Soccer Mom" is a go

2010 - nothing to LOL at

If you are reading this within earshot of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's downtown gold and diamond encrusted lair - those alarm bells are real. This is not a drill. For the first time, ML$E head honchos, who just happened to be hosting Major League Soccer bosses, witnessed a very sparsely attended BMO Field last night. The announced 10,000 attendance (but far lower in reality) may have been the canary in the coalmine for Tom Anselmi and the gang and no doubt the ML$E minions are scratching their heads, and Blackberrys, this morning.
“How could this be?” - they will ask. “What about the famed and marketable atmosphere?” “What about "This Is Our House"?” “What about... (breathless pause) SEASON TICKET RENEWALS!!!” (Silent scream) There will be some sober thoughts in dark corners of Castle ML$E (just to the left of the giant laser) - whispers of "did we really slay the golden goose?" Surely an urgent text exchange like the following couldn't be taking place between two code-named ML$E super-villains... could it?
T SALAMI: Yo Richie Rich - we got problemz at BMO - need ur help!!!
DICK_PEDDLAR: Whaassup!! Ur pansy-ass soccer boys falling over their shadows again? lol
T SALAMI: No! lolz - didn't you see the match?
DICK_PEDDLAR: Haha! U know I don't watch GrassLeafs or BasketLeafs!!! Why?
T SALAMI: Only 7K showed up! And we invited MLS bigwigs too!
T SALAMI: Major League Soccer, Richie - Jesus!
DICK_PEDDLAR: That's a thing? Did u feed them Panda Caviar?
T SALAMI: Of course! But they were PO'd! They think MLS Cup in November will be a bust!
DICK_PEDDLAR: MLS Cup? That's a thing? Indoors right?
T SALAMI: No! Jeez RP - do you ever actually listen at board meetings? It's @ BMO!
DICK_PEDDLAR: LOLZ! OMFG! How will you get those loser Euros to buy tickets?
T SALAMI: We forced them onto 2011 season tix packs.
DICK_PEDDLAR: Ahhh! The old RaptorLeaf combo - brilliant!
T SALAMI: Thnx. But now I think they are revolting! EuroHosers seem smarter than HockeyHosers and BasketHosers! They may not renew!!! Didn't even mention seat licences to them yet! : (
DICK_PEDDLAR: You told us they were like LeafsNation - the teachers will not be happy... you told us you controlled those fan clubs... the U-Zone, North Siders and Red Shirt Club - what happened?
T SALAMI: You really don't watch do you? Dunno. Told them we'd bring MLS Cup to Toronto - guess they thought we meant with TFC playing in it - never said that! lol
DICK_PEDDLAR: You know what you have to do right? Numb the masses with promo junk and noise
T SALAMI: Operation: Soccer Mom?
T SALAMI: But these fans are different...
DICK_PEDDLAR: Pfft! lol. This is Toronto - feed them pudding. The new uniforms coming soon?
DICK_PEDDLAR: Gonna make that dude with the haircut the new GM... John Brannon?
T SALAMI: Jim Brennan. Check
DICK_PEDDLAR: What else you got?
T SALAMI: Naming the north seats "The Danny Dichio Stand"
DICK_PEDDLAR: What's a Dichio? Not that guy on that Ontario Power commercial is it?
T SALAMI: Nevermind. What do you think about Thundersticks?
T SALAMI: Working on a fuzzy dog mascot named "StrikerPup"
DICK_PEDDLAR: Now you're cooking. Cheerleaders?
T SALAMI: Check. TFC SoccerDancers auditions in December. Missing anything else?
DICK_PEDDLAR: What about that Pele guy? Does he still play? He's a good soccerer no?
T SALAMI: Umm - I'll get the scouting department on it.
DICK_PEDDLAR: You have a scouting department?
T SALAMI: An intern and that old VHS from Maple Leaf Gardens lol
DICK_PEDDLAR: Good enuff. Don't sweat big man - you'll have BMO full of soccer moms and girls teams in no time. Hey - how bout TFC Red Shirley Temples for sale!
T SALAMI: Hmm - could work. You still have the Argos on speed-dial?
DICK_PEDDLAR: Duh! lolz! : ) 30,000 expansion for the FC's? Unlikely!!! btw - told you not to fire that Mo Jackson guy - all the heats on you now
T SALAMI: Johnston. Yeah - he was good for that. : ( Gotta go - gonna teach our Scarborough superstar a thing or two on sports radio - lol
DICK_PEDDLAR: Sweet - going to eat some panda - All For One! Hahahahahaha!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The South Stand Report: Toronto FC v. Real Salt Lake... or how long must a snowball last in hell to be considered a success?

It's cold. It's rainy. It's damn near October and I'm looking forward to next season because this season's optimism is almost out and I need to restock for (expensive) Season V. Wonder how many will turn out for this benchmark in the old 5-year plan?

Starting XI

Usanov - Cann - Attakora - Garcia
Gargan - Vanilla - deGoo - Labrocca
DeRo - Maicon

  • Rain. Lots of it.
  • Pain. Lots of it.
  • One of the lame players gets lamer
  • DeRo scores
  • TFC 1, RSL 2
18 - Williams corner results in "King" Conway gorilla-slapping the ball away. Love the imagery.

21 - GOAL - This. Is. Wrecked. Conway whips the ball HALF WAY DOWN THE PITCH. Then, of all people, Vanilla Peterson runs onto the ball, beats his marker and BURIES IT past Rimando bottom left. We are so sh*te and we're winning!

27 - Maicon is down and done. He gets walked off with a nasty looking goose-egg on his noggin.

31 - SUB - Maicon out, The Chad in. Good sub. How often have we been able to be comforted with a substitute.

34 - All Salt Lake right now in the Toronto half of the pitch, floating their balls at Conway. Wait. That sounded dirty...

41 - Crazy break with Vanilla, Chad and a late running DeRo. A little bit of pinball and Vanilla ends up with a header wide.

42 - Real Salt Lake free kick, Johnson lays it off for Beckerman who launches a shot at Conway.

45 - North End Elite's banner of "MLSE : Only $eeing Dollar $ign$" was held up again. Those guys are awesome.

1 min of extra time

Half Time mood : Not bad. Nobody's going for the throat at this point, and it's a giant feeling-out process. As if the first 2 minutes of a match was stretched out for 45 mins. Odd, but comforting.

Quote of the Match:
Thank God, we get a break from Glee.
~ Dom on the half-time silence from the front row choir

53 - YELLOW - Usanov for punching a shadow. No, I didn't see it...

56 - Vanilla rolls a dangerous ball in DeRo gets out of the way of a collision between Rimando and "Brick Sh!t House" Olave that puts both to ground, the scramble results in a squandered opportunity.

58 - DeRo rocket from 20 yards out parried away from Rimando. Great shot.

64 - SUB - Mista in, Peterson out. Confusing substitution as Peterson was having a wonderful game.

Announced attendance : 10 500 *cough*Bulls**t*cough* 7000 tops.

68 - GOAL - We were nervous about this. Free kick 20 yards out as Javier Morales loops the wall and gets handed over the line by deGoo (but not an own goal). Conway never budged.

72 - Labrocca sends in to Mista who's half-volley goes just wide of the mark.

77 - SUB - Labrocca out, OBW in. Labrocca was having a rough game, just anemic.

80 - TFC is playing with that intoxicating melange of desperation and carelessness. Oh end of season style... how I've missed you.

81 - Chad opts to pass when a shot would've sufficed from just right of the 6 yd box and three other Reds nearby. Opportunity missed.

90 - Conway comes up huge in a break out stopping someone. Gargan, not having the best game himself, could not catch his man.

3 minutes of extra time

90+3 - Conway almost undoes every positive by nearly bobbling a cross into the net but salvaged his own gaffe.

FULL TIME : Toronto FC 1, Real Salt Lake 1

This concludes our continental excursion as the 2-0 result for Cruz Azul over Arabe Unido eliminates TFC.

Man of the Match : Vanilla Peterson. I know, I berate him from the time the tannoy announces his name but he played very well. The finish was clinical, the passing was imaginative, the hustle was impressive. These are attributes I would never imagine heaping onto him. Attakora, great to see him back, would've been MotM, except I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity to give to someone I've wanted out for 4 months and deserved it.

Goat of the Game : This is rough... Gargan, Labrocca, Garcia, Usanov all had poor games. Not horrible, but poor.

Ref Rating : 4 out of 5. No howler-type calls. Let it move. Probably allowed a little more than necessary.

You could see the desperation creep into the match. I know I said it before, but it kicked in when they were up 1-0. Slowly but surely however , RSL made their way back into the match and effortlessly tied it up.

There's so much more to report, but short of flogging a terminal horse, the continental dreams have been dashed... and we sooooo longed for a Montreal-type run. But here's the bright side : we defeated one of the Top 50 clubs in the world (#36 as of August 2010 ranking) and got a draw down there. I say that's pretty impressive for a side that wouldn't break the top 200.

Monday, September 27, 2010

THE MATCHUP: Put us out of our misery

De Ro: He was Beckerman before Beckerman

CONCACAF Champions League - Group A
BMO Field - Tuesday 8PM ET
Now that Toronto FC are truly out of the MLS Playoff hunt... again, all efforts can be put towards the slight hopes of getting to the CONCACAF Champions League's knockout stages. Of course, the team's full effort was apparently on show during Saturday's strange loss to San Jose - and look how that turned out. ML$E is in desperate need of some good PR right now so there will no doubt be a good deal of pressure on Nick Dasovic to keep TFC playing in some kind of meaningful matches during ML$E's most critical part of the campaign - season ticket renewals.
It could be a strange atmosphere in The Reds' locker room after team captain Dwayne De Rosario's much publicized call for a better contract. Will the fractures on this fragile club crack further or is there enough respect for De Ro that it won't spread on-field? RSL beat up on TFC in their last CCL match so The Reds will need a monumental effort to get the necessary win. However, you may be in the growing school of thought that feels that RSL could do Toronto a favour by ending their 2010 season once and for all so that the important work of re-building the club can begin. And no Mr. Anselmi - making Jim Brennan he GM doesn't count.
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "Great vs. Salt Lake-Off"
FAULTY: Chad Barrett, Nana Attakora, Maicon Santos
SALTY: Nick Rimando, Will Johnson, Kyle Beckerman
- ML$E Executives keeping warm at BMO Field by burning piles of supporters' money: 2-1
- Kyle Beckerman, Julian de Guzman and Dwayne De Rosario leaving at halftime to form a reggae band: 25-1
- Julian de Guzman scoring the winning goal and then making an ATM withdrawal motion in celebration: 50-1
- In response to North End Elite's "Dollar Sign" protest, ML$E designing a giant wallet to put the giant dollar banners in
- BMO Field staff are now using the new "ANSELMI 3000" attendance counter which uses advance mathematics to add any actual attendance figures to the sum of 20,000
- RSL were pleased to escape some bad PR back home in Utah after the ill-advised "Kyle Beckerman Bobblehead Doll" giveaway which saw dozens of young fans injure themselves on the sharp, plastic dreadlocks
SALT WATER SAYS: 2-0 Real Salt Lake

Kyle Beckermans head to the match...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

THE STARTING 11: New contract perks for Dwayne De Rosario

Nothing can go wrong now.

As if the exhausting soap opera that is Toronto FC (aka "As The Ball Turns") isn't enough to grate on a supporter's last nerve, the talking point from yesterday's loss to San Jose isn't the fact that the rest of the MLS season is redundant but that a deep unhappiness is brewing in the club's star player. After team captain/ only dependable goal threat/ unfortunate hairstyle aficionado Dwayne De Rosario scored a goal which gave TFC a thread of hope in the match he decided to forgo his usual "Scarborough Stutterstep" celebration to instead stand in front of ML$E and the team bench making a cheque-signing motion.

In post game interviews, the blunt Scarberian expanded on his feeling of being undervalued adding a further shadow onto an already dark season. We're not going to get into whether De Ro is the club's most valuable player and if he deserves a pay increase (yes... and yes btw), but we do wonder what ML$E could offer him to make him feel the love he deserves...

11. Piggybacks on Jon Conway

10. Gets Mo Johnston's old parking spot

9. The keys to Scarborough Town Centre

8. A handwritten promise from next TFC GM Jim Brennan that he "will do his best" to sign a striker

7. Rosario Dawson

6. Invited to visit ML$E's secret underground bouncy castle full of money

5. Allowed to fly the team's charter jet whenever he wants to

4. Invited to perform his post-goal strut on "So You Think You Can Dance Canada"

3. Will only be referred to as the "Archduke of Malvern"

2. Chip Butty-making monkey butler

1. Corn-rowing machine

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The South Stand Report: Toronto FC v. San Jose Earthquakes... Or how many goals will Cronin bag?

I swear I'll have a better logo next year. I'm open to suggestions, however...

Ahhh... I'm here at the mint that is BMO Field. The place where ML$E prints money. I'm more compelled to see who, if any, can resist the lure of overpriced concessions. I can tell the tourists know nothing of our plight. Oh well, we can dream.

Toronto have been adopting a policy of aggression since the new "regime". The comeback in Houston, the point in Mexico. I'd rather pay to see them lose like this rather than Prekiball passivity. So let's see if they can keep the post-season fantasy intact.

  • Cronin scoring on TFC
  • "Vanilla" Peterson misses a sitter
  • DeRo usual magic
  • people not knowing about our "No Beer. No Gear." protestTFC 2, Cheesequakes 1

Starting XI

Garcia - Cann - Harden - Hscivicscivcsiciscicisscsicsvicsscics
Vanilla - Gargan - deGoo - DeRo
The Chad - Maicon Santos

3 - GOAL - I don't know how the penalty happened but the ref was super-enthusiastic to point to the spot. Wondolowski converts as Frei gets a hand to it.

4 - DeRo throws a cross the face of goal and Maicon's glancing header misses the target. At least they're not packing it in.

9 - Toronto works the box (no not like that pervs) as deGoo holds the ball a little too long and passes it off. Was going to accuse him of being the new Pablo Vitti but watch this screamer... (fun fact : 18 games, 9 goals with his new club)

17 - Toronto are going for the throat here, Chad sends a ball past four San Jose defenders, but just out of reach for DeRo and Maicon to touch it to even this sucker up.

Quote of the match
If Preki were still the manager, this weather would sure be affecting us.
~ Tony on the cold wind off the lake

27 - Finally someone demonstrates some backbone! North End Elite show some support in the face of greed of the footballing overlords with their banner (yes, I realize a pic would be perfect but I cannot find one). Other large supporters groups remain conspicuous in their silence.

35 - Hscoviscisicivcisicviscs with a pass down the line that heads out of bounds under no pressure. Deja vu...

43 - ex-Hull City Geovanni free kick parried by future Hull City keeper Stefan Frei (not a rumour, making a statement that I'll be shocked if he's still here next season cuz he's young and talented)

2 mins of extra time

HALF-TIME MOOD : interested.

Good half. The difference is finishing. Tons of reds chances and no goals. Two San Jose chances and a goal. So familiar and yet so close to being world beaters...

45 - SUB - Gargan out, Mista in. Tactical change. Gargan played well.

53 - GOAL - Wow! Bobby Convey runs down the wing and lays off a pretty ball for Wondolowski without a marker on him and easily beats Frei. San Jose's third legitimate chance and second goal.

60 - Mista has a ball floated to him dead centre of goal 10 yards out and no marker to have his header miss by a mile. At his payrate, that's a goal but it wasn't. Ugh.

64 - North End Elite debut an "All For $1" flag for another timely brilliant protest in reaction to customers being gouged for a price hike for a mediocre side (sorry DeRo and Chad and Frei, its true)

66 - GOAL - after a bit of pinball, DeRo has a bright idea and chips a ball 20 yards out and over Busch.

67 - GOAL - you couldn't even get a "DeRo" song off before (not that many sing for the hero anyways) San Jose counters and someone lays a ball through the 18 yard box, Wondolowski sets the ball down and gets a slight deflection off a TFC defender for his hat trick and ultimate crowd silencer. Brilliant.

70 - Vanilla lays a huge ball to Chad who gets hauled down with no call from the very near-sighted ref.

72 - Hscvciscovciscisici off for White. OMGWEHAVENOBENCHDEPTH!!!! Tony comes up with the brilliant line that we subbed out "a Latvian for a fatvian".

79 - GOAL - Wow, this game is fu*t! OBW to Chad to Maicon and in. Just crazy.

YELLOW - DeRo booked for wearing the wrong shirt apparently.

85 - after a brutal defending job from Garcia, San Jose counter leads to a WIDE OPEN Geovanni having a go at Frei but can't fully beat him and Cann clears the line.

88 - TFC are playing an all out attack. Harden sets to Peterson and skies it. Damn Vanilla...

89 - Peterson. 8 yards. No pressure. Over the bar. Failure.

4 minutes of extra time.

FULL-TIME : Toronto FC 2, San Jose 3

Man of the Match : Hmmm... part of me says Chad, part of me says DeRo. So both. Kept flying and keeping the pace.

Goat of the Game : Peterson misses 2 sitters in the dying minutes of the game. Yeah, I'm goating someone else...

Ref Rating : 2 out of 5. Some grossly questionable off-side calls and if you were wearing anything other than a black shirt, you were not getting the 50/50 calls.

The scoreline does not reflect the style of play that Toronto displayed. They showed aggression, desperation, brilliance, creativity and were tactically solid. This is fun to watch. However, San Jose had 5 legit opportunities and capitalized on 60% of them. TFC capitalized on approximately 17%. OK, I wasn't counting Toronto attacks, but it was significantly less.

I am almost anticipating the death knell for this season to ring so we can see who disappears and take our chances with the "devil we don't know". Because the devils we know make me weep regularly at 3am. I could list names, but you could also look at past reports because I seem to 'out' the same players over and over again. I think Dasovic is doing an amazing job. Undoing the defensively stifling and passive systems of days gone by to encouraging a free-flowing style. If we're going to lose, I'd rather lose looking like this than the D.C. loss again.

At least there's still Champion's League, right? Right?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

THE MATCHUP: "The Good, The Bad and The Quakey"

"Oh God this is horrific. Hey! Let's name a football team after it!"

BMO FIELD - Saturday 4PM ET

There's a lot of mixed emotions surrounding Toronto FC as they host San Jose in a match with apparent "playoff implications". There have been some good vibes around the club and Saturday marks the first home match after the Mo/ Preki removal which will surely involve a minor supporter celebration. There are tender hopes for a positive change in the off-season and those feelings haven't been damaged by the club’s play under interim coach Nick Dasovic and two surprising results against Houston and Cruz Azul.
On the other end of the spectrum are some very negative feelings about the club, in particular the ownership, after yet another price hike for season tickets was announced. The mark-up is bad enough in yet another season of upheaval and bad results for The Reds but ML$E's sneaky mandatory inclusion of the MLS Cup onto the package sent many loyal supporters into a tizzy. The greedy move in the midst of yet another major uphill battle for an unlikely post-season berth has left a sour taste for many.
With the good and bad out of the way, all that is left is the wildcard... the Quakey. San Jose has pulled together nicely in their third season under Canadian head coach, and should-be ML$E target, Frank Yallop. The DP signing of forward Geovanni seems to be working out well and with few games left, The Quakes have a 5 point lead over TFC and have two big games in hand. TFC has played San Jose quite well at home but there is that wildcard this time - in the footsteps of Jeff Cunningham and Carl Robinson, we can all see it coming... Sam Cronin's winning goal in extra time.
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "The Gallop for Yallop"
TREMBLERS: Dwayne De Rosario, Stefan Frei, Adrian Cann
FAULT-LINES: Geovanni, Bobby Convey, Sam Cronin
- TFC Supporters staring longingly at Frank Yallop: 5-1
- Frank Yallop distancing himself as far from ML$E as possible: 3-1
- ML$E's much touted 13,000 person season ticket waiting list only full of people wanting South End seats: 2-1
- To quell bad feelings, ML$E to offer "Buy 4 Get 1 Free Chip Buttys" coupons, 10% off all Marco Velez jerseys and free Marlies bumper stickers in 2011 season ticket packages: 2-1
Instead of the regular "Who Are Ya?" feature in "The Matchup", today we want to invite you, our BMO Field brothers and sisters to join us in our campaign "NO BEER. NO GEAR". ML$E's unending greed and lack of vision is sinking to new lows with every season and every ticket increase. If you love the club and don't want to give up your tickets - they have you over a barrel. There is a way to fight back though - in their language... dollars. Refuse to buy a drop of beer, a morsel of food or a stitch of merchandise at BMO Field until TFC changes its ways and becomes a successful club. The level of success is up to you but we recommend at the very least - a playoff appearance. Don't protest in silence, call or email your ticket rep or TFC customer service and let them know you're supporting TFC but not ML$E with Cheers, but not beers!

To… hr@mlse / Subject: Cheap Labour

Even my family thought it looked like me.

Hear there’s a new job opportunity. Finally, living out the dream of managing a struggling MLS side can be yours. Well mine anyways.

Oh sure, a cushy job in the computer industry affords a certain amount of stability, but like all things in life, why would anyone want the whole seat when you only need the edge...

And the benefits out weigh the drawbacks. On one hand:
  • better sight lines
  • free parking near the stadium on game day
  • uncovering the truth as to how certain players were ever scouted and signed for the side
  • have an opinion on next year’s kits
  • bring back Collin Samuel on world’s first ever play-for-pie contract
  • get my friend Dave a try out. Dave is the best defender on my Wednesday night rec league team. This guy is so good for a man with a clubbed foot.
  • get invited to Jon Conway's "mid-season kegger". Dude, it's soooo epic. That guy is so huge, his keg stand needs a permit.

    The drawbacks? Let’s see...

  • media scrutiny only when the team fails miserably for 3 years
  • fear of getting punched in any Usanov contract negotiations
  • not all of the supporters groups will boo me at the end of a month’s worth of poor performances
  • beer discount only 10%
  • the hard work in front of me to trade Nick Garcia for anything more than a bag of day-old kettle corn.
  • Get invited to Tom Anselmi's pot luck. Seriously, hot dogs in a Pillsbury crescent roll is such a damn cop-out Tommy given the effort The Chad puts into his pulled pork.

    Hmmm... not that bad after all.

    BA in Geography. Most people have only heard of Latvia - I can point to it on a map with ease. Same with The Gambia. Same with where the ball landed on the last shot Peterson took. Hint: look behind the Tim Hortons in Uxbridge...

    November 1997 - Took a club from Serie C2 to Serie A to become the most dominant football club in Europe. It was a football manager sim, and could complete a season in about 20 mins, but you cannot ignore the managerial prowess.

    February 1998 - Orchestrated the 5-1 thrashing of Men’s University intramural indoor soccer side, Men Chest Hair You Knighted. Yes, it was a recreation-B division but cultivating team chemistry was crucial with post-game beers down at the school pub.

    April 2006 - Ran a successful guild in a popular online game with an installed management team to keep the engine humming right along through the obstacles put in front of us. There are many fundamental similarities between a well geared Warrior and a winger.

    March 2007 - Can win the league in Pro Evo on 3 stars difficulty. I’m Alex bloody Ferguson here.

    July 2008-Present - The ability to give plausible excuses as to why things are falling apart, and not using late afternoon start times and injuries preventing flight as said scapegoats. It’s how I’ve kept both of my girlfriends happy.

    Making fake MLS logos, needlepoint, b-boying, blogging, soccer, being able to spot non-talented players without having to sign them first, photoshop, penning dope rhymes, chip butty connaisseur, line dancing, being a total smartass.

    Now it’s only a matter of when, rather than if, the phone rings. C'mon Tommy*, give me the job already.

    * only Mr. Anselmi's friends can call him Tommy

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AFTER 90: TFC draws in Champions League - ML$E wins in Chumpions League

Put money in here


Amidst the din of droning train horns, apparently the Estadio Azul version of the vuvuzela, Nick Dasovic and his TFC charges gave a gutsy, resilient show of defensive grit in one of CONCACAF's toughest stadiums. The Reds managed to overcome the handicap of early match injuries and the smoggy altitude of Mexico City to stifle and frustrate the highly favoured Cruz Azul and snatch a precious point in the CCL Group Stage. Solid performances from the likes of Adrian Cann, Julian de Guzman and backup keeper Jon "King" Conway showed that you can still play a defensive style without putting North America to sleep - I'm looking at you Radosavljevic. However, on a night which should have made Reds fans sleep well - things back home put a black cloud over the match.
Despite our ardent support for the hometown team, it was so hard not to watch the match tonight without a heavy heart. As most supporters are aware by now Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment announced today yet another increase in season ticket prices for 2011. Barely a week after hitting the club's reset button, by sacking (justifiably) Preki & Mo, the ownership somehow felt it was appropriate to increase your ticket price across the stadium. Somehow, somewhere on Bay Street, some old white man in an expensive suit thought Toronto FC Inc. has provided a quality product in 2010 to warrant gouging their support deeper.
If any supporters of the club are still holding out hope that ML$E "gets football" and "has a vision for TFC" - stop that rubbish thinking immediately. The greedy Bay St. Bankers only see profits and truly feel they have "Leafs on Grass" at BMO Field. Seats in the South End have risen in price by 77% since year one and some BMO Field season tickets cost more than a year's worth of matches at Manchester United. ML$E's claims that this is an "apples and oranges" comparison shows their ignorance of Toronto's knowledgeable football fans who are becoming disillusioned with the overall poor product that is The Reds in a hurry.
Sadly, ML$E has Reds' supporters over the proverbial barrel. The fine balance between loving your club and being taken for a chump by a corporation with zero desire for winning on the field is a painful choice. You can never fault TFC's fans for giving it their all at BMO Field and on the road with The Reds but eventually backs will break and fans will stay home. Another lacklustre year - and we all see 2011 under Head Coach Dasovic and GM Jim Brennan going that way (you read it here!) - and yet another ticket increase, may just fatally injure this young club. The sad thing is, the Toronto-hoser media will say... "professional soccer just can't work in Toronto". Remember, we were there when it did - before greed showed up.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Adrian Cann (TFC)... solid in back
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Tom Anselmi (ML$E)... solid in bank
MATCH IN FIVE WORDS: Scrappy. Train Horns. Injuries. Greed.
TOTALLY FAKE POST-MATCH QUOTE: "We love the FC fans - greatest in the MLS! Now send us your money or get the hell out of here." - ML$E VP Tom Anselmi shows Reds supporters affection

Monday, September 20, 2010

THE MATCHUP: Cruz Azul looking to "cement" Toronto's CCL demise

Mo & Preki decided to show up for the match

CONCACAF Champions League - Group A
Estadio Azul - Tuesday 10PM ET

For the first time in their history, Toronto FC are feeling what it's like to be Rosenborg, FC Copenhagen or Sparta Prague. You can be fresh of a great league win and flying high only to be thrust days later into Champions League and humbled by a continental giant. While CONCACAF Champions League isn't quite its European cousin's standard, The Reds' are about to experience this region's version of visiting Barcelona in the Nou Camp.
Mexico City's Cruz Azul, the 5-time CONCACAF Champions, are the big nacho cheese in the region's footballing chalupa and their bullring-esque Estadio Azul is likely the most difficult place TFC has ever played. Toronto, who have put in a mixed effort so far in the CCL group stage, can expect to meet a Los Cementeros squad who take the competition extremely seriously and also are chomping at the bit to avenge their loss to TFC in Toronto which was widely mocked in the Mexican media.
The fixture puts TFC interim head coach Nick Dasovic in an awkward place tactically. He has seemed eager to shed the negative shackles of PrekiBall and attack his opposition but donde los Estadio Azul he may just have to reel in his Maple Gringos. Partly due to Preki's tactics during the very winnable fixture in Panama, TFC are most likely not going to qualify for the group stage but perhaps this gives Daso a golden opportunity. He could throw caution to the smoggy Mexican wind and if the Reds fail heroically people will say "hey it's Cruz Azul". However, steal a win like a bandito and suddenly Dasovic looks like a genius and maybe cementeros-is his future at TFC.
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "Los Revengeros donde Canadiense"
SOLID CEMENT: Gerardo Torrado, Jose (Christ's Beer) de Jesus Corona, Emanuel Villa
CRACKED PAVEMENT: Dwayne De Rosario, Chad Barrett, Adrian Cann
- Cruz Azul's concrete manufacturer ownership offering to "take care of TFC's boots": 5-1
- Toronto trying to rile up the Cruz Azul fans by re-naming themselves Chivas CDN: 10-1
- Nick Dasovic blaming a loss on "a couple of Mexican guys": 20-1
- Mo Johnston hired by Cruz Azul owners as "Director of Watching Cement Dry": 2-1
- Cruz Azul's Estadio Azul (or Blue Stadium) is located in Mexico City's Colonia Nochebuena district named after Colonel Nochebuena (Sergeant Goodlunch in English) inventor of the modern military burrito
- Estadio Azul plans to unveil its special "Canadian Taco" on Tuesday night. The delicacy is a pancake taco filled with beaver meat, maple syrup, French fries, gravy and shredded stolen Canadian passports
- Cruz Azul is ranked # 1 on FIFA's "Clubs named after Construction Suppliers" list - currently beating rivals FK IKEA Screws Stockholm, Partizan Plastik Sheeting Belgrade and AC Marble Tiles of Turin
- Visiting supporters can expect delays going into Estadio Azul as protests by a Roman Catholic Prohibition Group continues to rail against Cruz Azul's goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona claiming his name is both blasphemous and enabling of alcoholics

Sunday, September 19, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Things Mo Johnston is doing with his free time

"Why won't Barry return my calls?"

To very poorly paraphrase the great Winston Churchill - "Never has one man taken so long, to do so little, for so many". It has been just under a week since Toronto FC's ex-ginger mastermind/employment preservation aficionado Mo Johnston was unceremoniously fired but it already seems like a new era has begun. We had some good times though Mo. Remember the excitement when you became the club's first coach? Good times. Then there was the following five years. Yeah... not so much. For the first time in a good part of a decade Mo isn't fooling an MLS club into paying for his haggis addiction so we have to wonder... what has the wee misDirector been up to?

11. Selling autographed used Field Turf on Craigslist

10. Sent an e-mail to Maurice Edu - asked if he could crash on his couch

9. Waiting patiently by his phone for his invite to join BMO Field's "Wall of Honour"

8. Sitting around the house in nothing but loose boxers that say "MASTER OF THE DRAFT" on them

7. Invited Preki over - badmouthed Canadians for a few hours

6. Writing a long letter of apology to First Wave Agency for "letting them down"

5. Late-night drunk calls to Julius James sobbing "how could ya do that to Papa Mo?"

4. Catching up on five years worth of hate-mail

3. Trying to eliminate Scottish accent from the phrase "Would you like to supersize your combo?"

2. Called Celtic for a job. Called Rangers for a job.

1. Bought a new "5 Year Planner"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

AFTER 90: Isn't it time for a song?

A team on his shoulders


He's Toronto FC's all-time leading goal scorer, he holds most club offensive records in fact. He's a hometown boy and the club captain who also proudly wears this country's colours. Tonight, he lifted a truly lost looking TFC side to only their second away victory of 2010 on the power of two of the finest free kicks you could take. Then why, oh why, doesn't Dwayne De Rosario get the overwhelming respect and support of a good portion of TFC's support?

It is a minority, but a very vocal one, in the midst of TFC's supporter groups that just refuse to give the man his due. The criticisms range from De Ro being labelled a "ball hog" to a "locker room bad apple" to "inconsistent and selfish." The behind the scenes conjecture is mostly based on message board rumour but critiques of his on the field performances are a bit baffling.

We are far from putting down anyone's opinions here but ask yourself just how much worse TFC would have been over the last two years without De Ro. If the Scarborough native does seem to be "selfish" or "disappear" perhaps it's time to step back and ask what kind of quality options his teammates provide in offence, and, if he has "disappeared" it might just be he's having an off day but we've become accustomed to having him carry this club on his shoulders and always expect it.

Tonight in Houston, the match seemed as if it was "Night of the Playoff Dead". TFC looked so poor that Chad Barrett even called out the team on live TV at halftime and openly ripped their putrid performance. Having gone down 1-0 early, it looked as if TFC was having "yet another 2010 road game". The fact that De Rosario pulled two bits of magic out of a hat on a night when most around him were so poor only illuminates his importance to this club.

If you are one who will never like the confident De Ro (possibly for that reason) stop and wonder when the next time this club will have a hometown boy who leads so dominantly. Perhaps when the stadium sings every match for a likeable yet briefly effective journeyman, we can stop, and instead sing (regularly) for the best player this club has ever had.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Best. Red. Ever.
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Mo Johnston for apparently lying to him about DP money - I'm still petty

MATCH IN FIVE WORDS: Terrible. Pathetic. Sloppy. Then De Ro.


TOTALLY FAKE POST-MATCH QUOTE: "See, I told you Toronto should have gotten rid of that Canadian guy. What's with all that goal-scoring and road winning? They could have had a nice 0-0 out there." - ex-TFC coach Preki is confused by the desire to score on the road

De Ro breaks through "Night of the Playoff Dead"

Friday, September 17, 2010

THE MATCHUP: "Houston, we have a..." oh, you know the rest

The "U.S.S. Five Year Plan" had launch issues

Robertson Stadium - Saturday 8:30PM ET

It has been less than a week since Toronto FC cancelled the "Preki & Mo Funtime Circus" but as they say "the show must go on" - at least for a few more weeks. Interim head coach Nick Dasovic will have had time to hold training with his "Canadian guys", as Preki disparagingly called Dwayne De Rosario and Julian de Guzman, and the rest of the International misfits in the hope of not repeating the massive 4-1 loss to RSL on Wednesday.
It must be a bit difficult for De Rosario to return to Houston, home to some of his finest days in football and where he won two championships, especially towing a club that isn't likely to give him another MLS Cup ring. Things however have been far from championshippy in Texas this season. In a rare slip of form, Dynamo are languishing near the bottom of the league and some are calling for the head of manager Dominic Kinnear.
With the way that Major League Soccer has a carousel of head coaches, Nick Dasovic could be shaking hands with the man who could very well end up a rumour for TFC's future manager post. A rare road win for TFC on Saturday could ironically set those wheels in motion but despite Dynamo's current 15th place in the table, Robertson Stadium is a hard place to travel to, especially with a group of underachieving Canadian guys.
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "The unDynamic Duo Derby"
"...WE HAVE A PROBLEM": Brian Ching, Pat Onstad, Bobby Boswell
"...WE HAVE A DISASTER": a couple of "Canadian guys", Stefan Frei
- De Ro exchanging shirts post-game - refusing to take it off: 5-1
- Mo Johnston running on the field if TFC wins: 3-1
- Nick Dasovic blaming "a couple of "American guys": 100-1
- MLSE wondering if a John Ferguson Jr. / Lenny Wilkins combo could run TFC: 2-1
- Houston Dynamo part-owner Oscar De La Hoya is preparing for a possible half-time boxing match with Maxim "I Must Break You" Usanov
- Playing on their association with Houston's Space industry, Dynamo held the now infamous 2006 fan promotion "Half Price Beer and Hand-Held Rocket Night"
- Dynamo are not named in relation to other Dynamo clubs in football but rather after "Dynamo" the obese, electronically-equipped villain in the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic film "The Running Man"
- Houston's new soccer-specific stadium is being built as part of a city regeneration scheme after US President Bill Pullman nuked part of Houston during the 1996 Independence Day alien invasion. We remember...

President Bill "Alien Nuker" Pullman
"Re-building a nuked Houston one stadium at a time"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

AFTER 90: Silk purse meets sow's ear

Yes Mista... we all threw up in our mouths


For 15 minutes tonight, Toronto FC supporters, and most likely Nick Dasovic, thought that the removal of Preki and Mo Johnston was the instant cure for what ailed. Dasovic's boys came out passing and running in an ambitious 4-3-3 formation and were pushing around a Real Salt Lake Club that never loses at home. The positive play, so foreign in TFC-land this season, was instantly rewarded when an inspired O'Brian White laid a sweet little pass to Maicon Santos who slotted it home - TFC up 1-0! Then the "5 Year Plan" returned... in a big way.

The rest of the match went from bad to worse... to well, kinda gross. Going down by a goal made RSL instantly change shape and tactics and the vast gulf in quality between the two teams became very apparent. RSL consistently broke down TFC's shaky defence and were quickly up 2-1. Just like that.

The second half was a bizarre mixture of poor discipline, usual CONCACRAP-brand refereeing and a vision of a Reds' squad that needs the replacement of more than just yesterday's departed pair of midget geniuses. From the addition of an Academy signing in a cup match, to the 5 minute "special appearance" by the quickly red-carded Mista, to the continuing tale of Nick Garcia: Village Idiot - Nick Dasovic got a clear look at the uphill battle it will take to squeeze wins out of this poorly built team.

In the end, the 4-1 result was tough to swallow and Cruz Azul's big win against Arabe Unido tonight, will likely end TFC's CCL run. The Reds' fans who hoped for an immediate bump in the Post-Mo era will need to realize that TFC is going to be a glorified expansion team for a while. Whoever takes over in the TFC front office will need more than a few months to reverse the effects of the "5 Year Plan".

MAN OF THE MATCH: Andy Williams (RSL)
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Mo Johnston (ex-TFC)... because I'm a petty bastard

MATCH IN FIVE WORDS: Surprising. Then unsurprising. Reality check.


TOTALLY FAKE POST-MATCH QUOTE: "Umm, yeah. What I said yesterday about wanting to be the head coach next year... you know - whatever. No big deal. If someone else wants it... I'm cool." - Nick Dasovic thinks about his TFC future after the 4-1 loss

Two Kyle Beckermans? That's not fair.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mastermind & little pal fired as "5 Year Plan" ends in disgrace

" You off then? Don't let the 5 Year Plan hit you in the..."

Do you remember where you were when the Berlin Wall came crashing down? Well you’re spending time reading a football blog so you were likely watching Eintracht Frankfurt v. VfB Stuttgart in the 1989 Bundesliga, but either way, today was Toronto FC's Berlin Wall. Ok, a little strong on the hyperbole but much like the East Germans, Reds' supporters have been stuck under an oppressive regime run by an egomaniac and his pitbull-esque enforcer for too long. After years of iron-fisted yet peanut-brained rule, BMO Field has been left like an East Berlin shell but alas, on September 14, 2010 - sunshine broke through the wall.
At a hastily arranged press conference today, MLSE VP Tom Anselmi broke the very surprising but very welcomed news that misDirector of Football and FIFA-ranked clown Mo Johnston had been relieved of his duties after more than four years of shockingly inept "management". Following Johnston out the door was his fellow "First Wave Agency" pal and "successful MLS coach" Preki. The surly Serb, who had lost the plot and his locker room, had obviously reached the end of the line and his body language had become as negative as his “football” tactics.
In the interim, the gruesome twosome will be replaced by Preki-arch enemy Nick Dasovic (oh sweet irony!) on the bench and TFC Academy head honcho Earl Cochrane upstairs. According to Tom Anselmi, the search for new management starts today. (Paging Mr. Nicol... Mr. Steve Nicol). There will be plenty of time to hash over the steaming remnants that will be known as the “Mo Johnston Era aka When Morons Ruled The Earth” and also what MLSE will do in the coming months. Tonight however is the night to dance on the BMO Berlin Wall and celebrate a taste of freedom from arguably the worst "director" in the history of MLS.
As we spend the night dropping shots of Serbian vodka into Scottish beer, a few happy lingering thoughts remain.... does Mo see the irony that his "masterdrafted" Julius James put the nail in his career coffin?... does this count as a season ticket renewal "giveaway"?... how many horror stories from ex-TFC players will we get to hear now?... which side of Glasgow is laughing loudest? (Answer: Both).... is Nick Garcia already packing his suitcase?... and, did Preki feel “unlucky” because the press conference wasn't at 4PM? Good night comrades... FREEDOM!
Let's party - Ewok style!...

NOTE (7PM): RSL v TFC CCL Match Preview delayed due to Post-Mo hangover. "Yub Nub. Chibo Ba Yub Nub"

UPDATE (11:30PM): Still drinkin' and dancin'... "The Matchup" will return on Friday. For a preview of tomorrow night's match (GOL-TV) here's the official (boring) one. "AFTER 90" will appear post-match. If I wake up and this Mo/Preki thing was a dream, I'm suing vodka.

Ha! Ha! Ewoks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Remaining Preki excuses

I have a 5 Year Plan to find out the secret

When the cheerful Serb known as Preki started his tenure at the helm of Good Ship TFC, he would not accept any excuse for a poor performance. Injuries, weather nor schedules were an acceptable reason for not giving 100%. But, a funny thing happened on the way to the playoffs.

As seen over the last month, Preki's band of merry plumbers and grinders have stopped playing for the hard-nosed, anti-football Balkan and the results have gone as expected. The worse the results have been, the larger the volume of excuses Preki has offered. Reds' supporters have heard "unlucky" "we've got a good team" "scheduling" and "fatigue" recently but what excuses are we still going to hear from Preki as 2010 putters into the mediocre sunset?
11. "Early Canadian autumn makes players sad and grumpy"
10. "Road record is due to poor choice of in-flight movies"
9. "Half-time pep talks are drowned out my de Guzman's hairdryer"
8. "Cameraman be all gettin' up in my bizniss!"
7. "Maxim Usanov's annoying on-field Ivan Drago impressions"
6. "Bieber-Fever!"
5. "20,000 cheering fans make it hard to concentrate"
4. "North America and its stupid time zones!"
3. "Nick Dasovic's strange Canadian accent"
2. "Locker room obsessed with solving the Caramilk Secret"
1. "Girl troubles"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

THE WORD: Nick Dasovic - canary in the coalmine?

Nick Dasovic (left) gets chummy with the next TFC GM Jim Brennan.
Single tear.

First of all my apologies to our readers who are still waking up from the migraine caused by one of Toronto FC's all-time gutless performances, losing 1-0 at home to DC United yesterday. I'd love to tell you there's a silver lining - but this is TFC we're talking about. Actually I'd L-O-V-E to tell you Mo Johnston is packing a large ginger suitcase - but this is MLSE we're talking about (see you in 2011 Mo!).

For those of you just starting to realize that TFC is going nowhere under the current regime (Welcome disciples!) the news today gets even muddier. According to The Toronto Sun this morning (read article here) there is trouble brewing with TFC personnel. Are Mista and Preki at it again? Oh yeah, many of you thought that wasn't true (cough. cough.). No, this one is a bit stranger - TFC first team assistant, and Reds' coach since 2008, Nick Dasovic wasn't on the bench against DCU and hasn't been since before the Dallas match.

Apparently the TFC sources' line is that Dasovic is on a scouting mission... right in the middle of The Reds' playoff run. Okaaaayy. Those words are also likely from the same mouths that brought you such TFC Greatest Hits as "Dichio can't fly on planes", "John Carver doesn't want to sit on the bench", "Carl Robinson/ Adrian Serioux are too injured to re-sign" and "Mo Johnston has a 5 Year Plan".

Before we put Nick Dasovic's face on the side of a BMO Field milk carton, let's think what this rumour could mean...

- Is Dasovic (a pre-Preki employee) just the latest casualty of not being a "Preki Man"?
- Is the fact that Dasovic hasn't been officially demoted or released a sign that TFC/ MLSE hasn't decided on Preki's immediate future?
- Is there yet another massive rift forming down the middle of TFC's locker room much like 12 months ago?
- Or, is Toronto FC such an undermanned, mismanaged disaster that sending your main assistant away during the most important time of year is considered prudent?

If there is indeed an ounce of truth to these rumours, it could very well be the first crack in what could be a major post-season locker room collapse. The truth may or may not come out on this latest pearl of TFC joy but it is distressing how clean Mo Johnston's name is in this new mess so far. What is Scottish for "Teflon"?


Saturday, September 11, 2010

The South Stand Report : TFC v. DC United... or the team with chances and no finish vs the team with finishers and no chances

Now THIS is what I'm talking about. A nice day... coolish, autumnish. This may be the only positive thing to come out of this day. After another yet anemic performance against Chicago, hope is fading on another year of Toronto FC post-season ambitions. If only the 4pm kick-off wasn't a problem... how it could be, I don't know, but it apparently it can...

Predictions :
  • Bitchy will get loose and live out his dream of crapping on Peterson's head
  • Beer will be overpriced
  • Someone will be exposed as a fraud
  • 0-0 draw but the lights will be shot out
Starting XI

Garcia - Cann - Attakora - Hscovisciscisciiscicisc
Gargan - DeRo - deGoo - Saric
Mista - Maicon

Other predictions were 3-0, 3-1 and 2-0, all pro-Toronto.

0:10 - Gargan's down and hurt. Just quick, that's all.

2 - DeRo tries to find Saric in an ambitious pass across the front of the DC goal, but it gets cut out. Strong start.

3 - Victoria is staring me down. Kinda flattering, yet kinda creepy.

6 - DeRo beats five DC United defenders, but not that left post. Fleeting moments of magic.

16 - United are contributing to the sh*t finishing on the pitch with a good opportunity wasted.

18 - Hscavicsvicsivcscs blows a simple cross allowing it to go out of play under no pressure from the opposition.

22 - Mista free kick that almost gets to Cann's head, but it's caught by Perkins.

27 - Ro changes his prediction to 1-0 for DC. The tides are a changing...

30 - Hscaviscivicisivicisivcsc is having another howler of a match receiving passes as another one flies out. They're going to stop giving him the ball at this rate. Well, I would stop.

33 - DC has a counter attack bailed out by Attakora. Then Attakora clears another crossing threat. Outstanding work.

34 - Toronto on the aggressive push with a cross that ends at the surprised feet of De Rosario who whiffed on an opportunity.

38 - DC on a counter have a cute little give and go between Allsopp and King where Allsopp has his shot at close range foiled by a sprawling Frei.

40 - Hscoviscivsciviicisivicisivisicivsicvcvicsc is utter shite today. He needs to be off the pitch.

44 - Gargan throw in gets to Cann who misses the initial header but gets a second swipe at it but fires over the bar.

1 minute of extra time

Half-time mood : Slowly descending into madness...

45 - SUB - Hscoviscovicscscscscsccscsccscsccscvivscsvicscs off, Labrocca on. At least Preki isn't a complete moron.

45 - "Write this down, Victoria is a Jem", why Victoria always refers to herself in the 3rd person is a little arrogant...

46 - Toronto dodges a huge bullet with an apparent offside that all but exposed the reds paper defence... splendid.

Quote of the Match :

Oh my god, I just realized that Maicon Santos looks like Puck from Glee
~ Julie

53 - YELLOW - deGoo goes into the books for a stupid late challenge.

58 - The South stands ERUPTS in unison... over a couple in DC United garb. Seriously, there's a game on people. Leave them alone and take the abuse when we concede a goal...

62 - SUB - Saric out and Nane comes in. Depth - n. 1. Something Toronto FC lacks on the roster. 2. Absence of character in Mo Johnson.

69 - SUB - Maicon off (good idea) for OBW (bad idea). Preki, you cannot possibly know what you're doing.

75 - What's red, sad and is fading with every passing minute? Carrot Top. In other news, TFC are on the verge of planning for next year.

78 - Phil observes that if you ask the ref for a foul call, you'll get one.

79 - LaBrocca corner gets to Mista but his effort goes well over the bar.

81 - GOAL - Free kick gets to Julius James and a weak scramble puts into a wide open net. Frei had no chance.

89 - This. Is. Pathetic.

4 minutes of extra time

FULL TIME : Toronto FC 0, DC United 1

Man of the Match : Attakora for his rescue attempts

Goat of the Game : Hscoviscoviscivicisicivicisicvscvsicvcscs. Total magnificent crap.

Ref rating : 3 out of 5. Stayed out of the way for the most part but wasn't that good.

It took the supporters 3/4 of a season to realize that this is unacceptable. I don't think Preki's head should roll for this because he did a good job of making do with what he had. However the gross lack of depth on the bench has to be laid to someone. And that someone has had 4 seasons to come up with a new or better excuse as to the predicament we're in.

If Mo Johnston doesn't sack himself, he should be sacked at Gate 3 of BMO Field at the end of the last kick of the regular season. We're being charged premium prices for discount football. Give me something to be excited about or piss off and let someone else have a go. They cannot do much worse than Mo.

We were so angry with how the game ended, the lack of team cohesion, the lack of talent in the face of the abundant excuses without any sign of improvement or change. This is acceptable? If the fans had a vote on the board of directors, how long would the current board be employed? MLSE have a money tree and it bears the fruit of our money. Why shouldn't we be upset? Just because Leaf fans have more money than taste, doesn't mean Reds supporters do. Something must change.

We're waiting...

Friday, September 10, 2010

THE MATCHUP: TFC need to attack... 19th Century style!

Death of General Pike at York - nice place for a footy stadium!

BMO Field - Saturday 4PM ET

D.C. United comes to Toronto but a shadow of the league's glamour club they once were. In a sad way, their recent fall from grace has also been a loss for MLS. Any league is that bit much more fun when there is a superclub or a mutual villain for all other clubs to hate. D.C., the four time MLS Cup Champs, have missed the playoffs for the last two seasons and will do so again in 2010 but could their visit to Toronto pay off a 196 year debt?
In the midst of the War of 1812, American forces raided York (now Toronto) and infamously torched, pillaged and looted the town during "The Battle of York", which started not far from present-day BMO Field. In revenge for the ruthless raid, the British (Canadian) forces stormed Washington D.C. burning numerous public buildings including The White House. Has this sudden "demise" in D.C. United's form been a giant ruse to strike back at Toronto at our most vulnerable moment - the playoff push?! Those scoundrels!
Ok, maybe it's far-fetched, ok very far-fetched, but if Preki's Reds aren't ready to do battle, including offensive battling, then the seemingly toothless United could be ready to strike. The Capitalists did make the US Open Cup semi-finals and under interim coach Ben Olsen, are trying to preserve some pride. United are not without talent and TFC have to step up and attack aggressively as another 0-0 Prekiball show won't win the battle... or the war.
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "Battle of York 2010"
REDCOATS: Dwayne De Rosario, Stefan Frei, Maicon Santos
YANKS A LOT: Dejan Jakovic, Jaime Moreno, Branko Boskovic
- D.C. United "suddenly" breaking out of their 2010 funk: 3-1
- United travelling to Toronto on 19th Century warships: 2500-1
- Preki calling the British loss at York "unlucky": 2-1
- Mista still missing but Sean Penn lookalike seen at Toronto Film Festival: 3-1
- United sponsor Volkswagen wanted to promote their new sportscar around this season but have instead asked the club to push used 1960's VW Camper Wagons
- Washington's historically poor record at naming their sports clubs (i.e. Bullets and Redskins) almost led to United being named "AC Stinking Foreigners" or "UnAmerican FC"
- TFC politely asked United not to put their championship stars over their crest on Saturday in case Toronto fans "started asking questions"
- United has complained to the league that TFC supporter chant "Reds Go Marching In" is insensitive to their 1812 redcoat suffering

Thursday, September 9, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Educational courses at TFC Academy

" It just doesn't add up Einstein"

It's the first week back to school and students everywhere are getting their first look at the new curriculum. From the Ivy League to your Kegger-specialist institutes, jocks and nerds unite briefly to analyze their courses for the year. Toronto FC isn't immune from this either. The TFC Academy has an educational component as part of its training and we had to wonder - what would the courses look like if Mo Johnston and Preki designed the curriculum?
11. MEDIA STUDIES 101: Avoiding The Media
10. SOCIOLOGY: Making Contacts via The First Wave Agency
9. INTRO TO PSYCHOLOGY: Annually Manipulating Consumers
8. PHYSICAL EDUCATION: How to Shove a Cameraman
6. ADVANCED MATHMATICS: How to Destroy a Salary Cap
5. CAPITALISM 101: Introduction to Cheap Labour
4. WORLD GEOGRAPHY: Exploring Latvia and The Gambia
3. FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE: "Not Enough Defence"
2. WORLD WAR II: "History's 5 Year Plan"
1. CREATIVE WRITING: 1000 Synonyms for "Unlucky"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

AFTER 90: TFC two toppings short of a slice

"Hey - thatsa spicy LaBrocca no?!"

In the city where deep dish pizza pie is included in most wedding vows, it was clear tonight that Toronto FC are not a complete slice. I know what you're saying... "Hey Yorkies, you got your post-match drink on?" No... not yet at least. Just follow my pizzanalogy.
Preki's Pizzeria slice has a fantastic crust in solid, dependable, golden Stefan Frei. The defensive "sauce" is tasty if unspectacular - chunks of Cann and Attakora save the often tart and watery bits of Garcia and random ex-Soviet spice. The cheesy midfield is hit and miss but fills a hole - the expensive slices of JDG should mix better but the always hot and bubbling DeRo brings the flava! But... then there's the toppings. After 5 years of masterchef Mo's recipe, the best we could serve on top was the world's slowest pepperoni and an invisible onion that makes us cry.
Ok, I'm hungry now so I'll be fast. Tonight's "must-win" in Chi-Town was a very winnable match for TFC and if they even had an ounce of attacker better than the hard-working but over his head O'Brian White and the absolute ghost that is Jacob Peterson, they would have had 3 points. Yes, Preki's "unlucky" mantra will be upset over missed hand-ball fouls by the Fire but you can't win games waiting for favourable ref calls. You must score goals.
Chicago had their fair share of 2nd half chances, including a massive sitter missed by Freddie "Suddenly Elderly" Ljungberg, and the game did pick up to a frenetic pace, but once again TFC had no answer in the box. In the end, a single point each is a fair result but does little for TFC's playoff quest. Cheese pizzas are okay sometimes... but they never win trophies.
MATCH IN FIVE WORDS: Fiery. Scrappy. Handbally. Frustratey. Non-Playoffy.
TOTALLY FAKE POST-MATCH QUOTE: "Juust when I am aboujt to shuute the goal someone in der crowwd yell "Yo Freddie - IKEA sucks" - for the Swedish man, this hjurts very muuch and I miss!" - Fire midfielder Freddie Ljungberg on his embarrassing miss on goal
While I wait for my pizza, here’s a Chicago classic…

Are you listening TFC? "Get Busy"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

THE MATCHUP: "The Unexcusables" need to raid Windy City

La Brocca, Mista, Harden and Peterson take practice seriously


Toyota Park - Wednesday 8:30 PM ET

"You wanna know how to get to the playoffs? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. They send one of ours to the hospital, we send one of theirs to the morgue. That's the Chicago way! And that's how you get to the playoffs. Now do you want to do that?" In a perfect world, Toronto FC's head coach would be like The Untouchables' "Malone" and give a pre-match speech like that. Instead, TFC has Preki.
For a man who seems like such a hard nut with the media and his players, Preki sure has seemed like a whiny excuse merchant lately. Of course it's part of his job to soothe the player's wounded egos but it's time for some hard truths on the road. One win away from BMO Field all year cannot be glossed over any longer with post-match comments such as "unlucky" "fatigued" "working hard" and "teamwork".
Make no mistake, if TFC can't grab points in Chicago on Wednesday it will be a major blow to the very slim hope The Reds have at post-season play. With Chicago right behind Toronto in the standings but with two games in hand, this match definitely falls under the "must win" category. Luckily, with the Canadian Internationals returning, the excuses should be at a minimum. However, if this season does sputter to an end like the past three, there will be many calls for Preki's excuse laden press conferences to be a thing of the past.
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "The Playoff Prohibitioner"
AL CAPONE'S VAULTS: Freddie Ljungberg, Nery Castillo, Brian McBride
MO JOHNSTON'S BASEMENT: Dwayne De Rosario, Julian de Guzman, Stefan Frei
- Preki calling the team "unlucky" : 2-1
- Preki hailing "The great atmosphere in the locker room" : 2-1
- Preki promising that TFC will "continue to work hard" : 2-1
- Preki wondering aloud "what the f*** Mo Johnston has been doing for 5 years?" : 1000-1
- Chicago Fire were once again listed in FIFA's "Top Ten Clubs named for human suffering" finishing above San Jose Earthquakes, FK Rapid Bloodloss and FC Hi-Speed Lokomotiv Collision Moscow
- Brian McBride's announced retirement has upset Illinois newspaper editors who fear they will miss out on the headline "Always a McBridesmaid, never a McBride" if Chicago fails to reach the MLS Cup
- Did you know that Chicago Fire won the MLS Cup in their first year of existence? Did you know that TFC's fourth season will be considered a "major success" if they simply reach the playoffs?
- Chicago's form has improved greatly since the firing of ex-coach Denis Hamlett who loved Windy City cuisine so much that he insisted that the club's water bottles be filled instead with blended Chicago deep-dish pizza

Post-match Preki: Adding to The Windy City