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Monday, October 31, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Major League Soccer Playoff promotional slogans

MLS 2021 Playoff brackets are set... Go Oklahoma!

We have never made any bones about it - we don't like playoffs in football... unless you're trying to get promoted to the Premiership (hello West Ham). Playoffs that decide a "champion" after a long, hard season is wrong on many levels but such is life in North America. It's better than nothing, we know. And by nothing we mean no local football... just hockey. So, barring the miracle of UEFA buying Major League Soccer we live with the wacky world of playoffs while waiting for Don Garber to expand the league to 64 teams in 8 regional divisions. With the playoffs still being the jewel of MLS' eye, we thought we'd suck up our bias and help the league with some needed promotional campaigns...
11. "Where the cream rises to the middle!"
10. "Like the FA Cup - but stupid"
9. "Rewarding 8th Place finishes with a shiny trophy!"
8. "Toronto-free for 5 Years"
7. "Where Colorado vs. Kansas is a thing"
6. "You can't spell F*** Off without Playoff"
5. "Henry vs. Beckham: 2003 is soooo jealous!"
4. "Ignoring the wishes of football fans - knockout style!"
3. "Who needs Single Tables when you have musical chairs?"
2. "Our commissioner’s name is almost Dong Grabber"
1. "Making regular seasons redundant since 1996"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Final report cards at Aron Winter Total Technical Institute

"Cafeteria?" Left at the windmill, right at the clogmaking class"

It has been a school year of change on the shores of Lake Ontario. After Preki Junior High was shut down last year, with crusty Dean Mo Johnston run out of town, many wondered what new curriculum would be brought in. When it was announced that the Winter Technical Institute was to open in PJH's place - the dumb jocks knew their days were numbered.
Under the tutelage of Dutch master Aron Winter and his wacky P.E. teacher Bob de Klerk, education in the Football Sciences was turned on its head. Many new students enrolled in 2011, some excelling while others dropping out after finding the lessons impossible to comprehend. But alas, the school year has ended and the dreaded final report cards must be sent home....
JOAO PLATA B+ : Like watching Webster and Pele's love child
DANNY KOEVERMANS A - : After 5 years, the first true striker
TORSTEN FRINGS A : A true captain. Best football mind on the pitch
RICHARD ECKERSLEY A - : Heart, skill and grit. Thanks Burnley.
JULIAN DE GUZMAN B - : Best year at TFC... but wa$ it enough?
ERIC AVILA B : Great addition with upside - traded for spare parts
RYAN JOHNSON B: Useful. Needs more Bob Charlton, less Bob Marley
NICK SOOLSMA B - : Slowly became valuable depth. Just loves cats.
STEFAN FREI B : Still our # 1. Deserves to start 2012 in goal
MILOS KOCIC B - : Solid back-up but handling and distribution shaky
PERI MAROSEVIC C + :Good young depth with great attitude
ANDY IRO C - : Looks like John Barnes, defends like Priscilla Barnes
NATHAN STURGIS C - : Played like he never wanted to be here
MIKAEL YOURASSOWSKY C - : Versatile but too reckless and a diver
TY HARDEN C - : Not starter quality. On the hook for too many goals
TERRY DUNFIELD C : Scant minutes but gung-ho veteran presence
DANLEIGH BORMAN C : Decent on wing, often atrocious on defence
GIANLUCA ZAVARISE C - : Outshined by young American additions
JAVIER MARTINA D : What a player! (Valid for one match only)
EDDY VIATOR D - : File under "Emergency Buy". Out of depth in MLS
DONEIL HENRY C - : "Oh Henry" tends to melt under the heat
ASHTONE MORGAN B - Set "The Tone" for future Academy grads
MATT STINSON C+ : "Cowboy" Matt Stinson must channel exuberance
OSCAR CORDON C - : Flash of potential but needs to eat more
MATT GOLD D + : "Ginger Quota" filled by Eckersley. Mostly invisible
ADRIAN CANN B - : Really, really good looking. Really, ugly injury.
DICOY WILLIAMS B - : Was coming into his own when injury struck.
ELBEKAY BOUCHIBA N/A :Mystery man who could doom JDG's job
NICHOLAS LINDSAY N/A : Lay off the winter sports son.
DEMETRIUS OMPHROY N/A : If Twitter was footy, he'd be Maradona
KEITH MAKUBUYA N/A : Robbed us of chances to yell "Booyah!"
LEANDRE GRIFFIT N/A : Most mysterious Frenchman since Clouseau
KYLE DAVIES N/A : Easily in TFC's All-Time Top 100 Kyles
ALEN STVANOVIC D - : Never met a teammate he wanted to pass to
DWAYNE DE ROSARIO C: "A" for play, "E" for drama = C. A shame.
NANA ATTAKORA D : Got bad advice, could still be on TFC defence
ALAN GORDON C + : Was almost "Yankee Dichio", sadly made of glass
JACOB PETERSON C - : Legend in his own mind. Anti-Canuckite.
TONY TCHANI C+ : The next big thing... for 17 matches
DAN GARGAN C - : Once a plumber, always a plumber
MAICON SANTOS C : Most overrated Red ever. Farewell Mike Sanders
DASAN ROBINSON N/A : "There's only one Robbo"... Carl.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

THE WORD: Out like a lamb, in like a Lambe?

All signs point to Toronto?

Toronto FC's season has barely gone cold but it looks like plans for 2012 (aka SIXual Healing) are already starting to heat up. According to reports out of football hotbed Bermuda and East Anglian metropolis/tractor hotbed Ipswich, former Ipswich Town and Bermudian international midfielder Reggie Lambe is on The Reds' radar.
The diminutive Lambe was on The Tractor Boys' books since his mid-teens before being released earlier this year. His time with Ipswich was mostly limited to reserve team appearances and culminated with a loan spell at Bristol Rovers. Aside from his club experience, Lambe has been a member of Bermuda's national team since he was 16 and has made 9 appearances, scoring 4 times. The triangle offence puns start here.
Lambe, who reportedly trained with TFC over the summer, was brought to Paul Mariner's attention through the same Caribbean network that saw him pluck useful MLS winger Khano Smith from Bermudan obscurity into New England's squad. Whatever happens with this rumour - Reggie Lambe officially becomes "The First TFC Off-Season Rumoured Signing". Huzzah!

Monday, October 24, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Rejected Toronto FC taglines for the 2012 season

"Tick-tock, The Reds won't stop"

Over the last few years MLSE has marketed their seasons with cute little taglines, often incorporating the season's numerical value within it. For example - "fOUR Season" and "Season fIVe" have been used over the last few years. Here at The Yorkies we have already branded next season as "SIXual Healing" of course, but that didn't stop the boffins on Bay Street from trying out a few of their own for TFC's sixth kick at the can...
11. "Year IV in a V Year Plan"
10. "We're Gonna Make You Six"
9. "Six Feet Under"
8. "Sheashon Shixsh" (Bob de Klerk's idea)
7. "The Dirty Half-Dozen"
6. "Do You Think We're Sixy?"
5. "2012 Angry Men"
4. "A Full Order of Frings"
3. "We Wanna Six You Up"
2. "Soolsma II: Electric Boogaloo"
1. "Sixy Times!"

Yes, we know Rod Stewart sang this but Tom Jones doing it is WAY funnier. Plus Tom Jones is Welsh. Carl Robinson is also Welsh. We miss Carl Robinson. Jeez why all the questions?

Hi Carl if you're reading.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT : Toronto v New England... Or a strong argument why relegation ain't a bad thing

Late October is a funny time of year.  Your first or second favourite club is now in full swing across the ocean, while your second or first favourite club is wrapping up their season with a game steeped in frivolity and mediocrity.  Toronto closes out their season against a side who was eliminated from the post-season sometime in mid-July.  Tonight mediocre vs mediocre in a battle for nothingness.

20' - GOAL - Koevermans slides a low pass to Soolsma who startles everyone (including himself) and puts it into the net.  Good start here.

23' - pretty chip by Koevermans onto Soolsma who stretches the keeper with his shot but can't beat him.  He bags a hat trick, and I'm leaving...

28' - SUB - Johnson comes off hurt for Avila

40' - GOAL - corner kick served up low, short and fast to find Zerka's glancing header past a caught off guard Kocic.

Half-Time mood : ummmmmm ok where did that come from?

46' - GOAL - Perfect start for New England as a fast ball on the ground through the box gets to the sliding foot of Caraglio and pops it into the net.

51' - our friend, the President of the Luton Town Supporters Club of North America is calling for an Andy Iro goal.

55' - SUB - deGoo comes off for Dunfield.

74' - SUB - Plata comes off hobbling, making way for Zavarise.

83' - GOAL - great cross misses Soolsma (thankfully) and finds Koevermans leaping to pop the ball in from close range.

85' - In an uncharacteristic strategy, the mighty robins are going for the throat on this one.  Iro is found wide a few feet in front of goal and smacks the ball off the crossbar.  This would be a greater talking point except we discovered he was offside when the howler took place.

Full Time : Toronto 2, New England 2

Man of the Match : I'm going with Morgan on this. He was an absolute bully back there and was everywhere.  Koevermans is a very close second with his touches and vision oozing class all over the place.

Goat of the Game : Though the urge to throw Soolsma under the bus is overpowering for being slow, unable to beat anyone in a foot race, his positioning in front of goal was incredible today... So long story short, no goat.

Ref Rating : 3 out of 5.  He wasn't calling fouls against Toronto but he wasn't calling fouls against New England either.  We've seen worse in this league.

Kocic 6.5, Stinson 6.5, Harden 6, Iro 6.5, Morgan 7.5, Frings 7, deGoo 6.5 [Dunfield 6], Johnson N/A [Avila 6.5], Soolsma 6.5, Koevermans 7, Plata 6.5 [Zavarise N/A]

The crowd was a little sparse today.  Between the major highway closure and the stupidly early kick-off, the constant trickling of people were to be expected... When Soolsma runs with the ball, it looks like 'bullet time' from The Matrix films... Watching these guys play you can't help but be optimistic for next season.  If you think I'm jinxing it, note that there are now about a dozen three-footed rabbits hobbling in the woodlands behind my brother's cottage... Being a TFC-centric blog, the paranoia of who we'll lose is driving me nuts, however, I do believe that either Kocic or Frei will be wearing another team's kit next year... The question on everyone's mind (by 'everyone' I mean the 6 lads and lass standing around me) was "where will the CONCACAF Champs League game be played in March".  Preliminary polls have a split 50-50 of BMO and the stadium formerly know as SkyDome... Zavarise and Stinson had a very slick passing play that ended up with Zavarise on the ground.  You'd swear they played with each other before... I wish you all the best in your holidays and though I'll find random crap to write about (like follow a Romanian 3rd division side for the winter), we'll see you at BMO/SkyDome sometime in March.

Until then, keep visiting the site for all your off-season randomness and frivolity. Cheers!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

THE MATCHUP: Ready for SIXual Healing

"Let's get it on, you Reds!"

After Tuesday night's potentially club-changing win in Champions League, Toronto FC finds itself basking in a rare glow as the season comes to an end. The atmosphere around this meaningless match could have been dull and rather miserable but instead, TFC fans are suddenly looking to brighter days ahead. Next season now looks like it could indeed be one of "SIXual Healing". With a year of rebuilding under their belts, Aron Winter & Co. will now have to deliver bigger and better in 2012.
The season-ending tilt against New England gives Reds' support one last farewell to the club until the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal in March, as well as a rare opportunity to look down at a club worse off than Toronto. New England has had a horrendous campaign and sits in the "wooden spoon" position coming in to Saturday's match. A TFC victory would cement The Revs in last while doing a solid for Vancouver who are no doubt whining over our CCL victory. Either way, the last match of 2011 feels like a goodbye to not just this season, but the four previous as well.
TORONTO: Eric Avila, Danny Koevermans, Joao Plata
NEW ENGLAND: Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Kenny Mansally
- TFC fans partying like its 1999 2007: 3-1
- "There's always next year" said without irony: 5-1
- Watching New England and realizing things could be worse: 10-1
With the sudden onset of ambitious feelings towards the club's sixth season, we have taken up the cause to brand 2012. The club has trotted our 'fOUR Season" and "Season fiVe" recently but in the spirit of giving back to us long suffering supporters, we urge the club to use the moniker "SIXual Healing" for 2012. If they need more persuading, here's a chant for us all to sing in the key of Marvin Gaye...
"Get up, get up, get up, get up
Let's go Reds tonight
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
'Cos the time right"
"Now that we're done rebuilding
We want SIXual Healing
SIX-ual Healing, baby!"
THE WAGER: 1-0 Toronto (2011: 23-23 with 7 exact scores)

Now... to get you in the mood...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AFTER 90: Biggest. Victory. Ever.

The Rides of March

For TFC supporters it felt as if this match was five years in the making. Half a decade of less than mediocre results and high drama off the pitch had the chance to be erased, even if only temporarily, if The Reds could grab a win tonight. Long suffering supporters would have the opportunity to see their success-starved club in the spotlight of the CONCACAF Champions League this March if Toronto could just eke out a victory in the less-than-rabid confines of FC Dallas' Pizza Hut Park. It would take devotion, discipline and heart if Aron Winter's rebuilt club were to restore a little bit of the TFC-fever that has been missing for far too long. A leap into future success on a grander stage... or another lacklustre TFC outing? 90 minutes like no other for The Reds.
29' - GOAL: Toronto - Danny Koevermans
'43 - YELLOW CARD: Andy Iro
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHT: De Koef showing his worth... again
FIRST HALF LOWLIGHT: The droning horns of Pizza Hut Park's pathetic crowd
58' - YELLOW CARD: Nick Soolsma
69' - GOAL: Toronto - Joao Plata
77' - YELLOW CARD: Julian de Guzman
80' - SUB: Terry Dunfield for Julian de Guzman
81' - GOAL: Toronto - Joao Plata
86' - SUB: Peri Marosevic for Joao Plata
90'+ - SUB: Nathan Sturgis for Danny Koevermans
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHT: Plata dancing away 5 years of cobwebs
SECOND HALF LOWLIGHT: Sour grapes we can hear from Vancouver
It just seemed so deserved. When you saw more fans at a single Toronto bar than seemingly the entire stadium in Dallas - it just seemed right. Sure Dallas could have won and moved on in Champions League, but who would have cared? In Toronto, where a die-hard fanbase has been so nearly beaten into submission, it was simply cathartic. For tonight at least, five long years of frustration washed away with the dancing of a pint-sized Ecuadorian. Best. Win. Ever. For so many reasons.
On the pitch, it should not be lost in the euphoria of such a major victory that this team has evolved. It may have taken a little longer than many expected, but Aron Winter's rebuild has started to change the face of Toronto FC. No they have yet to turn into Ajax Canada, but TFC are now a team that is capable of fighting, persevering and on the odd evening, making their supporters remember why they fell in love five years ago.
PLAYER RATINGS: Milos Kocic 7 / Doneil Henry 6 / Ty Harden 7 / Andy Iro 6 / Ashtone Morgan 6.5 / Torsten Frings 6.5 / Julian de Guzman 6.5 (Terry Dunfield - ) / Ryan Johnson 7 / Nick Soolsma 6 / Danny Koevermans 6.5 (Nathan Sturgis - ) / Joao Plata 7.5 (Peri Marosevic - )
TALKING POINT: Is it too early to wait at SkyDome for March? Discuss.

Monday, October 17, 2011

THE MATCHUP: Biggest. Match. Ever.

TV: GOL TV -----RADIO: FAN 590
Yes the hyperbole machine is once again churning out platitudes at full strength - but this time it's for realsies! TFC's penultimate match of 2011 is arguably the biggest in five years’ worth of variously less important fixtures. With a simple win, and only a win, The Reds can take an eraser to much of the malaise that 2011 has generated and propel themselves to their half-decade zenith.
The match is the truest test of how far Aron Winter's club has developed. Is it still the unpredictable club that failed to score on Dallas in a game-and-a-half during the tornado-stained home fixture? Or, is the "new" TFC the resilient, tougher version we saw against Philadelphia and New York? Only their best will see them past a good and equally spirited Dallas. With no major injuries, and a fairly rested First Team - their only excuse will be lack of heart.
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "The Stuffed Crust Conundrum"
FC DALLAS: Daniel Cruz, Daniel Hernandez, Brek Shea
TORONTO FC: Torsten Frings, Ryan Johnson, Danny Koevermans
- Aron Winter's 2011 record forgotten in an instant if TFC qualify: 2-1
- Toronto winning... $59.99 "CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTERFINALISTS" T-Shirts for sale at BMO Field by Saturday: 5-1
- Tauro FC managing to qualify at Toronto's expense; MLSE still crowing over a massive "TFC win": 20-1
By now, most supporters have grown used to hearing how this is TFC's "biggest match ever" but The Reds aren't the first Toronto footy squad to play in a massive fixture - their predecessors had their share of huge matches too:
- METROS-CROATIA fought off rebels to seize Zagreb's main bridge
- TORONTO LYNX survived a mauling by an actual lynx
- TORONTO SHOOTING STARS vs. The Decepticons (indoor)
- TORONTO BLIZZARD successfully sued Dairy Queen
- TORONTO CITY/G.I.JOE Selects vs. Cobra 11

THE WAGER: 0-0 Draw (2011: 23-22 with 7 exact scores)

Cobra 11 - what a midfield!

THE STARTING 11: Bonus CCL Quarterfinal qualification incentives

You can really taste the Plata!

Every season, Toronto FC has had at least one match dubbed as "The Most Important Match of the Season". There have been at least three already in 2011 - but this time they mean it! A win (and only a win) on Tuesday night at FC Dallas' Pizza The Hutt Park, will propel The Reds into uncharted territory - namely the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. The prospective home-and-home match will take place in early March with the home fixture possibly being held at SkyDome (yes, we know it has that other name). If playing under the big top... er, big roof... isn't enough to spur on The Torontos tomorrow, maybe these extra incentives will...
11. Ty Harden has promised to get CONCACAF Champions League trophy tattooed on his ass
10. Ticket packs could turn out to be the perfect Valentine's Day gift... for men trying to end relationships
9. Exposes TFC to the lucrative Belize TV market
8. Toronto area Taco Bells have promised to develop a line of mini-TFC-burritos called "Joaplatachangas"
7. Gives MLSE time to develop "Thermal Sombreros" to sell to cold visiting supporters
6. Bitchy The Hawk to fight BJ Birdy during SkyDome halftime show
5. Gives TFC supporters 4 months to save up the $300 ticket price MLSE will undoubtedly be tempted to charge
4. TFC gets their picture on box of Guatemalan "Wheaties"
3. Quarterfinal opponent can market match as "El Frostbitito"
2. Reds get free trip to Nicaraguan Disneyland!
1. Taco Buttys

Saturday, October 15, 2011

AFTER 90: Punchy Reds give Philly’s finest a Rocky ride

A Red takes Philly's best on the chin

The only real curiosity going into today’s match at PPL Park for Reds’ supporters was what kind of line-up Aron Winter would trot out. With the official “Most Important Match of the Season” coming up on Tuesday in Champions League, would the first-year manager opt to play it safe with a B-Squad - or, would the Dutchman’s competitive streak best the coach and see him go for three points against Philly, risking stamina and injury? A plucky Rocky I where TFC fights hard and gets a moral victory in Philly? A Rocky II where a finely tuned TFC upsets the favourite? A Rocky III where a bloated and lazy TFC gets knocked about and Union tells their wives to “go home with a real man”? A Rocky IV where Maxim Usanov returns and kills TFC’s best friend? Or those other Rockys where… you know… no one watches…

42’ - GOAL: Philadelphia - Sebastien Le Toux
44’ - YELLOW CARD: Andy Iro

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHT: Frings defending “like a boss”
FIRST HALF LOWLIGHT: Harden assisting on Le Toux’s goal


55’ - SUB: Nathan Sturgis for Torsten Frings
59’ - GOAL: Toronto - Ryan Johnson
60’ - SUB: Gianluca Zavarise for Joao Plata
69’ - SUB: Kyle Davies for Doneil Henry

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHT: Leaving Philly with no injuries
SECOND HALF LOWLIGHT: Realizing that Freddy Adu went to Europe to eat ALL the pies


It will be a surprise to many that a match where so little was expected from the underdog TFC ended up being so competitive. So… a bit of a Rocky I in the end. Undermanned and heavy on youth, The Reds showed a lot of determination and what they lacked in technique, they made up for in heart. They went toe-to-toe with the superior Union in the First Half and were only punished by a defensive mistake of a goal. The Second Half was perhaps even more impressive in that TFC not only managed to tie the match but keep their form with the introduction of three seldom used subs. Not quite a knockout of Clubber Lang - but a definite improvement over the doughboys punching meat last time these clubs met. Now if we can just be Ivan Drago to FC Dallas’ Apollo Creed.

The match left us feeling like: watching the sequel

PLAYER RATINGS: Milos Kocic 7 / Doneil Henry 5.5 (Kyle Davies - ) / Ty Harden 6 / Andy Iro 6 / Ashtone Morgan 6.5 / Torsten Frings 7 (Nathan Sturgis 6.5 ) / Matt Stinson 6 / Eric Avila 6 / Nick Soolsma 6.5 / Ryan Johnson 7 / Joao Plata 7 (Gianluca Zavarise 6 )

TALKING POINT: Season VI may me better than Rocky VI. Discuss.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

THE MATCHUP: "Shmell Ya' Latersh"

"I'm de DJ, he'sh the rappersh"

TV: TSN -----RADIO: FAN 590
Saturday's match against the high flying, second-year (cough, cough) Philadelphia Union really only holds one point of interest for TFC supporters - will Aron Winter swallow his pride and field a B-Squad in order to rest up for next week's Champions League do-or-die? Since there is little other consequence other than predicting a 2-0 loss, The Yorkies bring you a special Philly-inspired musical interlude by The Reds' # 1 Dutch hip-hop sensation Bob "De Fresh Prince of Amsterdam" de Klerk...


Now, thish is the shtory all about how
My life got flipped-turned upshide down
And I'd like to take de minute
Jusht shit down shlow
I'll tell you how I became the Prinsh of a Field called BMO

In wesht Amshterdam born and raished
On de pitch wash where I shpent mosht of my daysh
Chillin' out, shmokin', relaxshin' all free
Shootin' free kicksh by Ajax Academy
When shome Feyenoord dudesh
Who were up to no good
Shtartin’ making trouble by de coffee houshe
I got in one little fight and mama shcreamed "Go!"
She shaid 'You're movin' with Aron Winter to BMO'

I begged and pleaded with her day after day
But she packed my shuitcashe and shent me on my way
She gave me a kissh and then she gave me de ticket.
I watched Rutger Hauer in-flight film and shaid,
'I might ash well kick it'.

Firsht classh, yo thish ish not bad
Drinking peach schnappsh out of de champagne glassh.
Ish thish what KLM Firsht Classh ish like?
Hmmmmm, thish might be alright!

De plane landed at Pearshon and when I came out
There wash Jurgen Klinshmann shtanding there with my name out
But I ain't trying to play voetbal yet, I jusht got here!
Sho I shprang with quicknessh, en like de Ruud Gullitt job - dishappeared

I whishtled for de cab and when it came near
De lishense plate shaid Ontario and it had Maple Leafsh in de mirror
If anything I can shay dat thish cab wash shlow
But I thought 'Bob forget it' - 'Yo homesh to BMO'

I pulled up to de shtaadt about sheven or eight
And I yelled to de cabbie 'Yo homesh shmell ya later'
I looked at BMO Field
I wash replashing Mo
To shit on my throne ash de Prinsh of BMO

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT: Canada v Puerto Rico... or This is not the soup you're looking for

I don't think this is what Hart had in mind...

It was a nice night out at BMO, but deja vu was in the air.  The last time a team in red played a team from the not-quite-a-U.S.-state, it was a group-stage clincher-type set-up where the visitors put 8 defenders in front of their goal and got the result needed to wreck everything.

Seriously, the parallels are there.

The game featured much of Canada controlling the ball quite nicely everywhere, except in the penalty area, followed by Puerto Rico getting a little counter that ends up doing nothing.  Josh Simpson working his ass off but creating little.  Jackson and Occean always just being a little too far/too close to head the ball on the crosses.  deGoo doing step over after step over.  DeRo trying to create some space.  Everyone holding on to the ball a little too long.  The absence of a right winger.  The overpopulation of the left wing.  These were the prominent themes of the beautiful October evening ruined by a lack of courage to shoot the ball.

Late in the match, Tyler Wilson gets through the solid back four and launches a shot that hits Hirschfeld right in the chest. Sadly, this was the best opportunity for either side all night.

When it was all said and done, the match ended in a grossly unsatisfying 0-0. The fear of taking chances did more to harm the scoreline than any opportunities.

However, through the Bobby Lenarduzzi School of Soccer Things, we have uncovered the pattern (Dan Brown's got nothing on this narrative). It turns out that the Canadian Men's National Team can't handle the pressure of playing in the media and financial centre of the country.  Here's the facts:

St Lucia4-17-0
Puerto Rico0-03-0
By this math, Canada's aggregate away is 10-0, but at home it's a paltry 4-1. So we at The Yorkies can safely speculate that:
St. Kitts & Nevis3-216-0

I don't have the exact methodology, but trust me when I say that the science is good.  These are your scorelines

Man of the Match : Josh Simpson was everywhere.

Goat of the Game : Most of the team was mediocre at best.

Ref Rating : 3 out of 5, as they called just about everything good and bad.

Am I the only one who finds it amusing that St. Kitts and Nevis are coming up here on the cusp of winter?

Monday, October 10, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Strange moments during TFC's Thanksgiving Team Dinner

Never forget.

With a coaching staff and a number of players far from home, it's always a nice touch to get everyone together for a bonding holiday meal. When Toronto FC sat down for their holiday supper, it was the first taste of a North American Thanksgiving for many of The Reds. The club no doubt wanted a special day for all involved but just like any family gathering, a few things went awry.
11. Club announces after dinner that 30 people showed up for the meal even though it was obvious that only 18 were in attendance
10. Audible giggling every time Bob de Klerk said "Tankshgivingsh"
9. Leftovers quickly rushed to BMO Field - put between buttered bread and readied for sale at next home match
8. Turkey out for 6 months with ACL tear in drumstick
7. Mysterious giant Tupperware container at end of table with "Property of C. Samuel" written on the lid
6. Danny Dichio dressing up in a pilgrim costume - giving Jim Brennan smallpox
5. Jacob Peterson going on Twitter from San Jose just to insult Canadian Thanksgiving
4. Aron Winter proclaiming dry poultry "a pity"
3. Belgian Mikael Yourassowsky offended by "racist" Brussels Sprouts
2. Bread rolls being passed down the table - slipping easily between the outstretched hands of Ty Harden and Andy Iro
1. Bitchy The Hawk... not seen since morning

Friday, October 7, 2011

"Get stuffed!" - Thanksgiving with TFC

Not a Chip Butty in sight

It's that time of year when loved ones gather to give thanks for all they have received over the past year. While some Reds' supporters may have not reaped the harvest they expected in 2011, there are still some morsels worth savouring.
Yes, an autumnal playoff bounty is beyond our reach once again, but hopes of a winter (or Winter) seeding gives supporters a light ahead for spring. Considering this time last year we were still picking Mo-furkey from our teeth - it could be worse.
So, tuck in your speculative Champions League Quarterfinal napkin (on sale now at RealSports for $57.99) and sit down for a specially prepared BMO Field Thanksgiving dinner, made from the finest ingredients that TFC managed to cobble together this year.
THE TURKEY: Despite five years roasting in its own self-worthy juices, MLSE is indeed the big dried-out bird. Tough to chew on and often hard-to-swallow, this carcass won't stop telling you how much better it will taste next year while constantly gobble-gobbling at your purse strings.
THE STUFFING: The only thing that made the poultry edible this year was the hope that the stuff inside was planning to add some flavour. ARON WINTER and BOB DE KLERK added the "total" spices to the few breadcrumbs that PAUL MARINER could rustle together. Definitely needs some off-season peppering.
BREAD ROLLS: Solid and filling despite being buttered with shots all year long, STEFAN FREI and MILOS KOCIC are the unsung heroes of the meal and surprisingly not too crusty after being left to bake alone so many times.
SWEET POTATO: Nothing filled the middle of the plate like the sugary staple DWAYNE DE ROSARIO. Always good for a tasty turn but not at his best flavour without the added sugar he wanted. TFC dubiously shared their portion with friends to the south where he aims to keep bringing sweetness until American Thanksgiving.
MASHED POTATO: Just what you need to fill the void - a big hearty portion of Bavarian-style TORSTEN FRINGS. Sturdy, solid and while he may not have the dash of a sweet potato, a TFC feast without him just doesn't satisfy.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS: The robust yet frustrating vegetation in the middle of the plate is undeniably JULIAN DE GUZMAN. You're hit-or-miss with your portion and even though you know it's good for you, it still often leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
TURNIPS: They are awkward, misshapen and you don't know quite how they got there. TY HARDEN and ANDY IRO are indeed the two root vegetables stuck in the middle of the meal. Dress em' up any way you can - they still don't taste quite right and are disastrous in pairs.
CRANBERRY SAUCE: A big dollop of angry red garnish on the side can only be RICHARD ECKERSLEY. Unexpectedly adding zing, this imported delicacy has often been the only flavour in a bland offering - has quite a bite too.
BABY CARROTS: Often a little too raw, but you just know if they are given the time to simmer to perfection ASHTONE MORGAN, MATT STINSON and DONEIL HENRY can be a staple for years to come. Something grown in your own backyard just tastes that much better.
THE GRAVY: Even when the offerings seemed dry and tasteless in 2011, a pint-sized gravy boat in the form of JOAO PLATA added just enough sauce to liven up a BMO Field meal. Smooth and sometimes a bit spicy, he was often the "shake and bake" that made things more palatable.
PUMPKIN PIE: A late edition but a great way to end the meal. Looking great in orange and delivering a reliable finish is a big slice of DANNY KOEVERMANS. Baked fresh late in the season, this Dutch treat may just be the most dependable meal finisher this table has ever seen.
We give thanks for the few scraps on our table this autumn. But... we still expect a bigger, better cornucopia in 2012 - and a season that ends closer to American Thanksgiving. If not, Bitchy the Hawk might start looking tasty.

Monday, October 3, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Toronto FC Philadelphia match preparations

Pictured: Fresh Prince (R), unnamed jazz musician (L)

With Major League Soccer's 2011 regular season winding down, TFC's players can look forward to the end of long pre-match preparations and training. However, before they can plan their holidays and look ahead to the 2012 Season (aka "SIXual Healing) their final MLS away match is on the horizon. A weekend trip to second-year, high-flying (don't get us started) Philadelphia Union. Philly is always a tough town for a visiting club in any sport and takes some special preparedness if you hope to steal a victory. How are The Reds getting ready?... "Yo homes to Chest-er!"
11. Blasting free kicks at Santa Claus
10. Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
9. Aron Winter will row the club to the match across the Delaware River in a powdered wig
8. Shooting some b-ball outside of the school
7. Bob de Klerk sings Duran Duran's "Union of the Snake" during every team meal
6. Getting in one little fight - scaring moms
5. Making Ty Harden dress as the Philly Phanatic
4. Moving with aunties and uncles in Bel-Air
3. Running furiously on treadmill with delicious cheesesteak dangling just out of reach
2. Pulling up to their houses around seven or eight - yelling at cabbie "Yo homes smell ya later!"
1. Watching Rocky III - running along Cherry Beach in slow-motion with Carl Weathers

Wow, de Klerk was a real looker back in '84!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT : Toronto FC v New York Extreme Beverage... or Highlander Henrys, there can be only ONE!

Now this is the weather that I expect with my football.  Cool, clear, crisp, fall conditions.  Our beloved Robins are on their way to winding up their season in "mediocre"-ith place, and Extreme Beverage is grasping at straws while the MVP-fueled antics of one Dwayne DeRosario is leading the almost impossible turn-around of DC United into that last spot.  Those of you "meRo" haters, just remember... he's not even DP worthy.

Aside from waning fortunes, there's a game with semi-important ramifications at stake tonight.

For the purposes of length, I'm only going to highlight the highlights, and not just every time Plata does a step-over or Iro screws up at the back.

-3' - Before kick-off, a gaggle of 5 and 6 year olds were providing us with more winning quotes than we could ever imagine.  This included the gem "whore monkeys!" and "Go fuck your mothers New York Red B*ll"

[Note : I'm asterisking the nick name of New York, as we're not going to promote their beverage (unlike Throwback Pepsi, bring that back!) but I'm not asterisking the cuss word because it's damn funny in this example]

38' - Kocic makes a brilliant low diving save from a Rogers attempt 10 yards out.  The counterattack and Avila lays off a pretty ball to Koevermans who turns his marker into Jell-o but fires just over the bar.

HALF-TIME MOOD : Exciting and entertaining.  End to end stuff and TFC looks to be in control for the most part.

49' - GOAL - Johnson leads a counter and cuts the defense apart with a little ball through to Koevermans who sneaks it under the New York keeper.  The villagers then rejoice accordingly.

54' - Quote of the Match:
Keeper! I'm your fuckin' father!
~ a 6 yr old behind us
Ah, youthful vigor!  My heart swells with pride even in the face of the space-time continuum.

63' - Great looping cross ends up just a little too high for Marosevic as he can't quite get behind the ball to head it forward.

65' - SUB - Soolsma in for Marosevic.  Strange as we felt that Marosevic was doing fine tonight.

Then we came up with this future terrace classic:
He likes chicken
He likes liver
Soolsma, Soolsma
He delivers
We've also taken up meowing at Soolsma.  Man, we're gonna miss him...

68' - Those kids are at it again with this golden nugget:
Hey referee, go home and suck some dicks!

71' - SUB - Koevermans off for Borman. Ummmm... OK... would like a better explanation why

75' - Why are we turtle-ing with a one goal lead?

84' - Kocic comes out for a big stop but Rodgers gets to it first, then does a dramatic flip over Kocic to prevent a collision.

85' - SUB - Finally, the showdown the footballing world has been begging for... Johnson comes off for Doneil Henry.  FINALLY THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!!!

88' - GOAL - *sigh* there is only one.  Thierry Henry takes a ball on his right side, loops it to his left and buries it past Kocic.

FULL TIME : Toronto 1, New York 1

Man of the Match : We're going with the kid Avila.  He was everywhere tonight.  Kocic is a very close second.

Goat of the Game : whoever decided to over defend up a goal, and pick Soolsma over any other forward.  Perhaps one with pace.
Ref Rating : 4 out of 5.  Blew one or two calls but were perfect foils for the kids behind.  Bless.

Player Ratings : Kocic 8, Stinson 7, Harden 6, Iro 6, Morgan 7.5, Frings 7, Dunfield 6, Avila 8, Marosevic 6.5 [Soolsma N/A], Koevermans 7 [Borman N/A], Johnson 6.5 [Henry N/A]

What tactical genius holds up for the remaining 15 minutes while in control of the flow of traffic?  Better question, if Koevermans is talismanic, shouldn't his replacement be as influential.  Soolsma is not of influence, neither is Borman and neither is Henry... speaking of people on the pitch with similar names, it should be noted that Theirry Henry didn't do anything of note until the goal.  Otherwise, he was invisible... The south stands wasn't too sing-y and flag wave-y tonight, and that's OK.  I think people are starting to actually watch the game and it was a good game to watch.  Well, the first 75 minutes anyways...  Next meaningful match of the year (unless the cards fall correctly), is Champions League on Tuesday the 18th v. Dallas... By the way, Tauro can advance provided they win and Dallas v Toronto ends in a draw.  Also fun fact, UNAM Pumas can be eliminated if they lose and there's a result in the other match.