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Saturday, October 2, 2010

AFTER 90: A Tale of Two Cities

At least we have that...


It's really not the result that aches in the Reds supporter's belly today. Honestly, so few of us expected any different when one of MLS' all-time worst road teams visited one of the league's harder destinations. It's not even TFC's impotent and clumsy showing - by now we're used to it and have seen it all before. No... that gnawing in the pit of the stomach, while an ML$E ticket renewal notice sits in the inbox, is looking at what the Seattle Sounders have become in half the time it has taken to destroy Toronto's football dream. As Reds fans taste their fourth official playoff elimination in four years, falling at the hands of a club which has so much more, makes it all the more bitter.

  • While Toronto FC supporters have had to endure corporate press releases and "feel good" stories of long-term goals and "5 Year Plans", Seattle has built a club from scratch (they didn't retain their USL squad) in half the time and has qualified for the playoffs in their first two seasons while appearing in the US Open Cup Final in 2010 and 2011
  • Seattle has a responsible private ownership that has tried, and continues to try, to listen to supporters concerns and build a proper football club. It has people in their ownership group who were football supporters long before owning the club and not a collection of hockey-centric "board members" whose only goal is profits for their shareholders
  • Sounders have managed to assemble a young, quick and exciting core with their best years ahead of them with players like Sanna Nyassi, Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani. Meanwhile TFC now has to rebuild through a group of sub-par "grinders" such as Nick Garcia, Jacob Peterson and Martin Saric - the results of a club with no scouting system and a dubiously cozy past relationship with a single agency
  • While Toronto FC decided to give the keys to the club to a Scottish circus ringleader on day one and not build an infrastructure around him... Seattle decided to build a front office from the ground up and then hire the best available MLS manager there was in Sigi Schmid. This was before they ever kicked a ball. No doubt big names, like today's Ciro Ferrara rumour, will circulate around TFC's head coach opening but those will only last as long as season ticket renewal season does
  • Seattle signalled their intent as a "big club" in the first year by signing DP Freddie Ljungberg and acquiring Fredy Montero. When things weren't going good enough this season they dispatched Ljungberg and replaced him with the superior and exciting Swiss International Blaise Nfuko who has lit up the league since his arrival. TFC in comparison waited for 2 1/2 years before signing a seemingly reluctant DP in Julian de Guzman who is a good player, but wasn't the right player for TFC. Four years of big "emergency" signings such as Laurent Robert, Rohan Ricketts, Carlos Ruiz and now Mista have been one disaster after another.
  • Perhaps, saddest of all is seeing their fans. While much of their organized support does seem canned and a touch corporate, there is no denying the fun and excitement on their faces safe in the knowledge that their best days are ahead. We had that in Toronto too, but four years of anti-Seattle club mismanagement tends to knock it out of you

MAN OF THE MATCH: Blaise Nfuko (SEA)
GOAT OF THE MATCH: The suits eating caviar at the Leafs pre-season match

MATCH IN FIVE WORDS: Big. Loud. Green... with envy


TOTALLY FAKE POST-MATCH QUOTE: "Hey, comparing Seattle to TFC is apples and oranges. We've had four years to get this bad - they could still catch us." - ML$E VP Tom Anselmi uses his favourite produce-based line

Tired of hearing "we're never giving up", tired of Seattle, and like irony? Enjoy...


  1. If I could frame a blog post (especially the rad video) this would be it. SO sad how far this franchise has fallen.

    Cornwall Red

  2. From strength to strength sir. I like the 2 years v. 4 years summary.

    It's like comparing... red delicious and granny smiths... except the other usual flavours are switched.

    Yeah, your Rick Astley/Nirvana mashup is still better.

  3. The sport, most unfortunately, has become tracking the Charlie Brown-like inevitability of TFC collapse after collapse. Schadenfreude at my own, as a season ticket holder, expense. Cruyff, Zidane and Pele could not set this team aright. Reading blogs like this is much more enjoyable than watching a TFC game, even after several pints.

  4. @ Anon 9:13

    Not only do you, sir or miss, know your football (as witnessed by the correct spelling of Cruyff) but you become the first person to use the word "Schadenfreude" on our humble website. Kudos to you, honourary Yorkie.

    Thanks for classing up the joint!