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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"The Gents" with Stan Bentley - "Sweet and sour pork with a side of chips"

Welcome to "The Gents" with Stan Bentley - The Yorkies' regular advice column for our valued readers. Bring your modern day problems and have them answered by the most valued voice - a 1950's journeyman footballer. "Back of the net!"
Hi Stan,
My wife has a bad habit of making big decisions around our home without consulting me first. How can I get her to change this?
Rick - Dundas, ON
Well Richard, me old duck, a strong partnership with good open communication is a hard thing to come by, believe me! I had a lovely partnership with striker Sammy Chung at Watford. Funny little bloke he was... Half-Chinese and Half-an-Englishman... who ever heard of such a thing?! Great right foot though. We combined for 5 goals one night against Blackpool - magic stuff. Sammy had me over to his place for some grub after that one - never forget it. We had sweet and sour pork with a side of chips! Now that's a partnership that works! Glad to help.
Hello Mr. Bentley,
I'm a TFC season ticket holder and a huge footy fan. I want to get my 5-year old son interested in the sport but he doesn't seem too keen - what can I do to get him involved? Kevin - Brampton, ON
First of all Kevin, if you're this lad's father, he should do what you say. Children should be seen, not heard. Man up, boy! My dear old Pa gave me and my brothers a choice: work on our football, join the army or get down the mines before our 12th birthday. Did us no harm - look where I am today! Same goes for my brothers Colonel Roy Bentley and wee Frankie "Black Lung" Bentley... God rest his soul. Kids are people too! Make them work.
Hi there Stan,
I recently broke-up with my girlfriend and now can't help think that I may have lost "the one". How do I get over it? JR - Toronto, ON
Well "JR" (what you are junior of I don't know), Old Stan lives by one iron-clad rule... NO REGRETS! Don’t look back lad, look forward to new adventures. If this relationship was "the one" it wouldn't have turned into an old worn boot. A bit like my best pair of football boots. My dear Ma bought them for me when I was on trial at Barnsley. They were a perfect fit for me. We went everywhere together, it's like they understood my every move. I had the best times of my life with them... I loved those old boots... should have never given them up. Oh, how I regret that. All the best Junior.
Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send Stan an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue

TFC deck the Hall with new defender... leave Borman exposed to Re-Entry Draft

Soon to be heading in the same direction

Toronto FC got into the holiday shopping mood on Tuesday with the acquisition of defender Jeremy Hall. The 23-year old Florida native arrives from FC Dallas after previous MLS stops with Portland and New York. Primarily a right back, Hall was the 11th overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and provides The Reds with a little more depth on the corners of their back line.
TFC sent their 2013 SuperDraft 2nd Round pick to Texas in exchange, a move which would surprise few Aron Winter observers. The year-old management team has made no bones about putting most of their development eggs in the Academy basket which in turn makes the MLS draft something of a bonus. If TFC's Academy can continue to produce solid MLS players then draft picks like this 2013 2nd Rounder can be exchanged for ready-made pieces from clubs who aren't as advanced in developing their own talent without the aid of the NCAA.

The club also announced later that the only player on the current squad who will be made available in this year's MLS re-entry draft is Danleigh Borman. Considering Jeremy Hall and Borman play similar roles, it isn't a stretch to believe that the affable South African and his International roster spot are endangered in Toronto. No word if Borman's insistence on listening to Boyz II Men or watching Cosby Show re-runs affected the decision.

Monday, November 28, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Gameday differences between Toronto FC and Montreal Impact

That's one delicious seat cushion

Bienvenue à la "401 Derby"! With the new improved Stade Saputo (aka L'Emporium de Fromage) under construction and the bones of the squad starting to come together via the MLS Expansion Draft, TFC's natural rival, Montreal Impact, are inching towards life in the big leagues. The derbys between Toronto and Montreal will no doubt be some of the fiercest contests in the league. Due to the many layers of the provincial rivalry, comparisons between the two clubs will be rampant, including how the gameday experiences match-up...

11. Impact supporters sections outnumbered by smoking sections

10. Early-season frostbite in both official languages

9. One section of stadium constantly threatening to separate and start their own club

8. Tons of inflammatory chanting proclaiming St. Hubert's superiority over Swiss Chalet

7. Instead of Bitchy the Hawk, a dude named Claude sits on Stade Saputo's roof and reads angst-filed poetry at pigeons

6. 40% higher reports of baguette-related assaults

5. $10 glass of red wine

4. Referees often replaced by wacky cast of "Just For Laughs Gags"

3. After scoring the first goal, fans plan on showering the pitch with empty Jos. Louis wrappers

2. Scotts' Turf Girls replaced by mime troupe pushing imaginary lawnmowers over pitch

1. Le Butty Poutine

Friday, November 25, 2011

THE RUMOUMETER - November 25, 2011

Welcome to The Yorkies' regular off-season rumour roundup - "The Rumoumeter". Too busy to keep your TFC ear to the ground every week? Just stop by the site and we will quickly show you what rumours are hot - and which ones have hit the back burner. Some of the rumours have weight - others little more than whispers; we take their temperature with... "The Rumoumeter"...


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

TFC waive goodbye to Unmagnificent Seven

It was the best of times... it was the only times

A hectic day in MLS continued after the Expansion Draft ended, with clubs announcing what players they had waived from their 2011 rosters. Only Columbus, Dallas, Philadelphia and Salt Lake had no names to add to a waiver list that now includes players like John Rooney and Jefferson Goncalves. It will come as no surprise however that the team who ended up waiving the largest number of players was our very own Reds.
After a season that put the heave in upheaval, TFC continued its evolution by officially jettisoning a dozen and one of their fringe players. There was no surprise when the names Matt Gold and Demitrius Omphroy appeared on the list tonight, as the two youngsters had let it slip on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. The remaining five players represent a mixed bag of playing time and results in 2011:
KYLE DAVIES: the very late season defensive waiver pick-up made a cameo appearance for the club but didn't make enough of an impact on the coaching staff to warrant a longer look
LEANDRE GRIFFIT: will forever be a trivia side note for TFC fans as the least useful piece of the De Ro triangle trade. If Tony Tchani develops, that deal could look awful
JAVIER MARTINA: looked so promising in pre-season and incredible during the home opener. Few would have believed it would go so rapidly downhill from that afternoon vs. Portland
EDDY VIATOR: the Guadeloupean is a prime example of an emergency buy. TFC was in the midst of a defensive crisis when Viator happened to look good at the Gold Cup. Was never MLS ready
GIANLUCA ZAVARISE: seemed like he could be a feel-good story early in the season - Canadian journeyman coming home. In the end, Zavarise was erratic at best and looked like a poor man's version of Chris Pozniak
And so the face of TFC continues to change with the subtraction of these names. While it gives stays of execution to the likes of Danleigh Borman, Elbekay Bouchiba, Nick Soolsma and Nathan Sturgis - there can be no doubt, we are in for more changes this winter. But really, what's a TFC winter without a lot of "heave"?

Bienvenue à Montréal - où est Brian Ching et la bibliothèque?

Jacob Peterson wrote "Return To Sender" on the back

A rival is born! Well... re-born at least... but this time in MLS form! Toronto FC's true natural rival, Montreal Impact (L'Impact du Montreal to their amis) took a major step towards building the club's nouveau lineup for their debut in Ligue Majeure de Soccer during today's Expansion Draft.
Joey Saputo's Fromage Wanderers had a couple of days to browse the wares made available by the league's 18 existing clubs then retreated to their prosciutto-laden bunker deep under a bibliotheque to announce their selections. While we know here in Toronto that Expansion Draft rosters don't last too long (Memories of Paulo Nagamura isn't a President's Choice marinade), la première équipe for Montreal in 2012 will evolve from this core...
Brian "Le Retirement" Ching - HOU
Zarek "L'Amour" Valentin - CHV
Justin Mapp - PHI
Bobby Burling - SJ
Jeb Brovsky - VAN
Collen Warner - RSL
Josh Gardner - CLB
Sanna Nyassi - COL
James "Trade That Irish Name" Riley - SEA
Riley traded to Chivas USA for Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen
Seth Sinovic - SKC
Impact also traded Allocation to Seattle for Tyson Wahl
So there you are, these are the players that Toronto fans need to start making hilarious songs about. However, considering the # 1 pick has openly declared that he'd rather end his career than play in Quebec - we may want to hold off. Impact did manage to draft some quality pieces that they may very well keep or trade away for futures. Either way, a few of these lads will no doubt enter the magical world of Joe Louis', Pepsi-Cola, cigarettes and peelers that never quit.
From a TFC angle, the club managed to hold on to everyone with Impact unsurprisingly refusing to poach from their arch-rival. Sadly, L'Impact extended that to ex-Reds and chose to ignore The Yorkies' #PetersonAvecImpact campaign which wanted to see Canada's # 1 Tourism Ambassador Jacob Peterson selected to play in La Belle Province. You win this round Peterson... but you just wait until Real Regina enters the league.

"The Gents" with Stan Bentley - "A bit of an old exhibition"

Welcome to "The Gents" with Stan Bentley - The Yorkies' regular advice column for our valued readers. Bring your modern day problems and have them answered by the most valued voice - a 1950's journeyman footballer. "Back of the net!" 
Hello Stan,
I'm the captain of a struggling house league soccer team and we need your help! Our starts are awful, can you tell us how you prepared for a match? Love your column! Nick - Oakville, ON
Soccer? I didn't see a French or Yank postage stamp on this letter... but I assume you mean football, boy. Already down 1-0 Nicholas - but all hopes are not dashed. Best pre-match preparation Old Stan ever did was during my glorious time at Crewe Alexandra. Half an hour before a match I'd lift 5 Foot 4 forward Bert Llewellyn on my shoulders and we'd sprint down to the local bakeshop. After stopping to throw some rocks at local ne'er-do-wells, me and wee Bert would buy a box of meat pies and munch on them on the sprint back to Gresty Road. Meat pies... Jewel of the North. Love a bit of an old Melton Mowbray to this day - they've got gelatin inside! Made from ground up animal bones, you know! Best of luck at your... soccer.
Mr. Bentley,
My wife and I recently went on vacation with a couple who were very "open" in public. I wasn't too keen on it really - how do you feel about exhibitionism? David - Rochester, NY
See here David, you are being quite the old stick in the mud aren't you? What's wrong with a bit of an old exhibition? Why you'll find Stan every spring at The Royal Gentleman's Belt and Suspender Exhibition at the Crystal Palace. All of the latest advances in masculine trouser fastening are made very "open" to the public! Why would anyone be weary of such a genteel day out? Bought myself a belt made from swordfish once - talk about looking "sharp"! Have fun laddie!
Hi Stan,
Now that TFC's season is done I'm back to watching hockey. Problem is, when I visit the in-laws they never have the game on. Is there a polite way of putting it on? Go Leafs Go! Gus - Oshawa, ON
I am utterly confused - where exactly are your leaves headed? (By the way lad, your Queen's grammar needs some work) Run-ins with the in-laws is nothing to be sneered at me old China, but surely your father-in-law, being from the male race, would understand the importance of listening to a big match on the wireless. Why you would be getting so worked up about Field Hockey though is beyond me. Dandys faffing about on a lawn with table legs wearing short pants. It is a rather popular sport on the Indian sub-continent though. Then again, they are fond of Bengal Tigers down that way as well - they'll eat your face faster than a Geordie on a Mars Bar. Best of luck removing your leaves!
Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send Stan an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue

Monday, November 21, 2011

Protect yo self before you wreck yo self

Seriously, you'll never guess which one was protected...

Less than 24 hours after Galaxy lifted the MLS Cup, it's back to business at Don Garber's Playhouse. Aside from the Cup Final, it has been a busy few days for league administrators with a few major announcements: future MLS Cup Finals to be held at the home of the highest seeded finalist (Good); a tweak to the playoff structure (Meh); and, the introduction of a conference-heavy unbalanced schedule (Fugly)
Today's paperwork however, was the release of the Expansion Draft Protected Lists with each club shielding certain players from L'Impact du Montreal avec le Bibliotheque’s grubby, petite, Joe Louis-grabbing fingers. Of course, our beloved Dutch-Anglophone Toronto FC were part of the gang aiming to shield their wares and protected the following:
Eric Avila
Terry Dunfield
Richard Eckersley
Stefan Frei
Torsten Frings
Ty Harden
Andy Iro
Ryan Johnson
Milos Kocic
Danny Koevermans
Joao Plata
A curious list that answers some questions but raises many more. First of all... the Ty Harden love-in continues? That dude must have some gnarly pics of Winter and de Klerk in Amsterdam. Mark us befuddled but the reasoning could be to hold on to as many defenders as possible in the thinking that Montreal won't take a flyer on the unprotected Adrian Cann and Dicoy Williams who both suffered major injuries in 2011.
Other notables left unprotected include: Julian de Guzman (for the second season running) whose massive contract is seen as a no-go in expansion drafts; Nick Soolsma who became a useful depth attacker but whose international slot makes him an unlikely choice; and, Peri Marosevic, a youngster with some potential who could very well be tempting to Les Bleus et Noire.
On a positive note, the protection of Joao Plata and Richard Eckersley, both on loan from their parent clubs, could be a positive signal that TFC is making progress in their permanent signings with The Reds. The only other minor protected surprise is Terry Dunfield whose passport may have made him tempting. Overall the only real point of discomfort is a gnawing feeling that Iro and Harden could still be lined up next to each other come March. As for the rest... vous êtes les bienvenus pour les Montréal.

THE STARTING 11: Other Beckham effects

Jeez, get a room

There are still a few negative types out there in North American football who claim that David Beckham's five-year affair with Major League Soccer was a failure. Long before he raised the MLS Cup last night - this simply wasn't the case. Did he play his best football with LA Galaxy, far from it. But, is the league a markedly stronger one as his star fades from Carson, California? Definitely. While Goldenballs brought many very visible positives to MLS' image, not everything about his time on our continent made headlines...
11. Sexy silhouette of Bruce Arena added to his tattoo collection
10. Helped heal broken Los Angeles sports fan's hearts after the departure of Luc Robitaille
9. Resisted temptation to name baby girl "Homedepotcenter"
8. Turned down opportunity to buy MLS club New England after name change to "David Beckham's Revolution Pour Homme" was rejected
7. Galaxy's training gear long replaced by exotic matching sarongs
6. Whenever Man United visits the USA, Sir Alex Ferguson invited to drop by and throw hairdryer at Landon Donovan
5. Victoria always allowed to spray her fragrance over Columbus before away matches to Crew
4. Got Chad Barrett to believe in himself as "The Wayne Rooney of the southern Los Angeles suburban regions"
3. Successfully blocked California adult film producers from releasing XXX video "Boned It Like Beckham"
2. L.A. street gangs have replaced coloured bandanas with thin, European headbands
1. Totally got Don Garber into skinny jeans

Friday, November 18, 2011

THE RUMOUMETER - November 18, 2011

Welcome to The Yorkies' regular off-season rumour roundup - "The Rumoumeter". Too busy to keep your TFC ear to the ground every week? Just stop by the site and we will quickly show you what rumours are hot - and which ones have hit the back burner. Some of the rumours have weight - others little more than whispers; we take their temperature with... "The Rumoumeter - Confusing Americans with the letter U since 2011"









Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"The Gents" with Stan Bentley - "Lovely bit of pancake"

Welcome to "The Gents" with Stan Bentley - The Yorkies' regular advice column for our valued readers. Bring your modern day problems and have them answered by the most valued voice - a 1950's journeyman footballer. "Back of the net!"
Dear Mr. Bentley,
I am a bit worried about my finances and investments. What are your views on the European Debt Crisis? Wondering if I should diversify. Thanks for your help. Edward - Stouffville, ON
Well, well questions of international finance are quite the dill pickle aren't they chappie? Old Stan is no stranger with European markets you know! Played a friendly in Holland against De Graaf-something-or-other when I was with Oldham Athletic. Wanted to go out for a post-match booze-up but stubborn player-manager George Hardwick said we'd only be paid in Dutch Guilders. I said "I'm not using this Continental funny money" and stormed out. Only place that would take my shillings was a coffee house in the red-light district. Lovely bit of pancake, can't remember much else. Keep your chin up moneybags!
Hi Stan,
I'm cooking my first meal for my new girlfriend and I'd like to make it something really special. You seem to know a bit about the ladies, does a risotto and some chardonnay sound good? Dean - Peterborough, ON
What's this lad? Rossetti on Chateux-what? Sorry, old Stan doesn't watch French League football too often - too much faffin' about. I got pissed with Peter Bonetti off of Chelsea once if that's what you meant. As far as this meal goes... first of all you got your words mixed up - it said YOU were cooking for your lady. Obviously that's not right - so, I recommend telling your new fancy piece to cook you up a nice meat pie and slice you up some oranges for when you're halfway through the night. Finish it off with a brandy and a sugary tea. That should keep you limber for a full 90. Here's to the fairer sex.
Hello Stan,
My best friend and I had a stupid argument that has spiralled out of control. I say Torsten Frings is TFC's best player while he says Danny Koevermans - can you settle it for us? Frankie - Brampton, ON
Never good to have a spot of bother with a mate, Franklin. Still haven't forgiven Brentford's Gerry Cakebread for breaking my best shaving mug. Don't care if he did score 20 goals in the FA Cup. You can only really trust man's best friend... dogs. My Alsatian for instance, Douglas, now that is a mate. Yes he smells a wee bit eggy but no bother. Dogs... bloody marvellous creatures. Soviets sent one up into space you know. Lada or something. Can't speak for you Franklin, but I don't know of too many other cosmonauts knocking about! (Looking at you Gerry Cakebread) Glad I could settle things for you boys.
Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send Stan an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue.

Monday, November 14, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Overlooked details in MLS' "State of the League" address

"Looks like the Golden Frank will be the decider!"

Every year during the lead-up to the MLS Cup, the league Commissioner holds a "State of the League" press conference. The speech is usually a self-congratulatory pat on the back detailing all of the ways the loop has improved over the past season and hints about what direction MLS plans to take in the future. Most of the continent's media treat the conference with the reverence usually reserved for big news stories like water-skiing squirrels and gay penguins, which means that more than a few details are missed by time the story hits the presses...
11. Club with best regular season record to get "nice bouquet of flowers" to mark occasion
10. All future shirt sponsors must be "BIMBO"
9. Future annual "Best XI" team competitions to include talent and swimsuit portion
8. Not enough time in the season to have a balanced league schedule... meaningless midseason friendlies upped to 8-12 matches per club
7. David Beckham offered Columbus Crew, FC Dallas and New England Revolution as part of contract extension offer
6. Future Extra Times to be decided by competitive hot dog eating
5. Canadian clubs forced to wear inflammatory "evil Mountie" costumes when playing in the US
4. Despite lack of stadium, NY Cosmos will enter the league - home matches to be played on Staten Island Ferry
3. Re-alignment will see MLS split into 19 Divisions - winner of each division qualifies for playoffs
2. Automatic 3-Game suspension for any player or coach who "accidentally" refers to MLS Commissioner as "Dong Grabber" during interviews
1. Starting in 2012 - Los Angeles and New York get annual bye to MLS Cup Final

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"The Gents" with Stan Bentley - "Salacious mojo malarkey"

Welcome to "The Gents" with Stan Bentley - The Yorkies' regular advice column for our valued readers. Bring your modern day problems and have them answered by the most trusted voice - a 1950's journeyman footballer. "Back of the net!"
Dear Stanley,
I have been married to my wife now for seven great years but I'm suddenly haunted with the fear that she may me cheating on me. Should I approach her with my worry? I'm at a loss - what do you think? Thanks. - Neil, Pickering ON
I say, Neil old lad, you watch where you throw those labels around! Branding one a cheater, a charlatan or a rogue can open up quite the proverbial worm-can. I remember being on a tour of Malta with Huddersfield Town back in 1954, me and useful poacher Terry Cavanagh ended up playing cards in a Valletta gambling emporium one night. Suddenly this one swarthy, fat Malteser bloke starts yelling at a skinny foreign lad about cheating and before you knew it - chopped his thumb right off! That digit flew across the room and landed in some old boy's soup. Put me off Minestrone for ages... and sausages for that matter. Hope that helped lad.
Hey Stan,
Going through a rough patch in the bedroom department at the moment - just can't seem to get my mojo going like it used to. Ever happen to you? - Nick, Vaughan ON
First of all boy, one starts a proper correspondence with "hello", "salutations" or in a stretch "cheerio". I say "hey" to my dog. Wonderful Alsatian named Douglas, great canine - smells a bit like egg. This bedroom rough patch you talk so eloquently of - I assume you mean you are having difficulty with some type of renovations? Argyle wallpaper I say, or in a pinch a nice pine siding - a bit like the dressing rooms at Derby County's Baseball Ground. If you, for some reason, meant anything more salacious with this "mojo" malarkey... then do some deep knee bends and buy some medicated balm. Cheerio!
Trying to get a jump on Christmas shopping this year. Can't decide whether to buy my girlfriend Toronto FC season tickets or something a bit more romantic. What would you recommend? Cheers - Aaron, Toronto ON

Oh lad - a lady at the football? You are the jovial prankster aren't you? Well done chap, you gave me a chuckle. First of all, Christmas isn't supposed to just be about gifts - it is a remembrance of a far greater gift. On that cold winter's night, wise men gathered under a star to witness a miracle... me slotting a 89th minute winner past Doncaster Rovers' keeper Harry Gregg in the FA Cup 2nd Round. King of kings! As far as your bird goes, you can never go wrong with saltine crackers or an iron - if you really want to push the boat out, I saw a replica 1990 England Chris Waddle shirt in the High Street. Magical ball skills - hair like a wet peacock. Glad to help.

Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send Stan an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Galaxy not far, far away

Keane: Will appear pending wife's approval

While the Los Angeles Galaxy will have their sights set squarely on the MLS Cup Final in a couple of weeks, TFC are more concerned with their following fixture. This afternoon, somewhere in the lilywhite, corruption-free bowels of CONCACAF's New York headquarters, the draw for the Champions League Quarterfinals was made and The Reds will indeed face their MLS counterparts Galaxy.
There are a few ways at looking at the draw from a Toronto perspective. On the negative side, LA doesn't offer that "special" continental attraction of a team from outside our league. Besides familiarity, there is also the argument that LA could be considered MLS' strongest side right now - if they don't win the MLS Cup, it will be an upset.
On the other side of the peso, Galaxy are on a relatively fair playing field with TFC and do not come with the overall skill level that Santos Laguna and/or Monterrey may have offered. Also, early March (when the fixtures take place) will be during the MLS pre-season and Galaxy, along with TFC, will not be in mid-season form while likely bleeding in new faces. The advantage may go to the club who does a better job of preparing themselves during the off-season.
Whether Galaxy provides the "big name" opponent that MLSE may have hoped for if they choose SkyDome over BMO Field is another question. While LA will still boast the likes of Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and cough, cough, Chad Barrett - they will probably be without David Beckham who looks most likely to join Paris St. Germain or Tottenham Hotspur in January. Not likely a draw that will put 50K into SkyDome unless MLSE drops ticket prices to $10 (we hear you laughing) but much more importantly, a draw that gives TFC a fighting chance to progress to the semifinals against the Seattle v Santos Laguna winner. We'll take an away leg to Carson, California over Mexico any day.

Monday, November 7, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Parting gifts for released Toronto FC players

"Oooh your manbag is so moody - it must be a Laurent Robert!"

Autumn is a time of transition. Where the once promising blooms of spring must wither and make way for Winter (Lazio 1992-1996) and the eventual dawn of a new re-birth. Oh, the circle of life - love it when this blog goes all Robert Frost. Anyhoo... it's also the time of year when MLS clubs start cutting players. TFC is no different, with Demitrius Omphroy and Matt Gold (As Seen on Twitter) the first go. However, The Reds don't let their former charges leave empty handed - there's always some final parting gifts...
11. Left-over gold embossed Maurice Johnston 5-Year Planners
10. A lovely hand-written note from management... asking if you'd be willing to take Ty Harden with you
9. A leather European manbag from "Laurent Robert Pour Homme"
8. Martin Saric comes by to help "clean out" your apartment
7. Andrea Lombardo lets you borrow his Metropass so you can get to the airport
6. Jim Brennan makes you one last Cafe Latte
5. Joao Plata dances around you like a medieval jester as you leave BMO Field for the last time
4. A mini Voyageurs' Cup filled with old Halloween candy
3. Torsten Frings sings you a few bars of Wayne Newton's "Danke Schoen" as you wait for your cab
2. A year's supply of "Rice-A-Roda JC... The Eredivisie Treat (TM)"
1. A copy of "TFC: The Board Game"

Saturday, November 5, 2011


"From this day on - we will only play on Twitter"

The post-season tinkering, or SIXual Healing preparation - depending on your view of time and space, is under way at BMO Field. While still awaiting official word from the club, two young Reds, Matt Gold and Demitrius Omphroy, took to their media of choice - Twitter - to announce that their days in Toronto were done.
Both players were part of TFC's 2011 SuperDraft crop, a series of player selections which were made in the infancy of the new Winter/Mariner management era. Of the entire draft selection, only Joao Plata emerged as a player with any real value for Aron Winter... and he's not even fully TFC property yet. Whether this is the first step in illuminating Toronto's move away from the Draft while putting all of their development in the Academy basket remains to be seen but the collegiate selection is a very foreign object in the Ajax-esque structure being installed around these parts.
Neither Omphroy nor Gold had many opportunities outside of the Reserve League to prove their talents in TFC red. Omphroy, the brave young man who battles MS while pursuing his football dream, seemed to have the technical skills that a Winter team could use but perhaps lacked the physicality needed to survive the rough and tumble MLS world. Matt Gold, "The Ginger Un-Ninja", did see some garbage minutes over 2011 but would have been completely invisible if not for his shock of copper hair and freckles.

Both players may be able to carve NASL careers for themselves with Omphroy still having an outside chance at an MLS stint. If not, there's always the Pro Twitter League, where these two would be Maradona and Pele. #goodlucklads

Thursday, November 3, 2011

When in Dome, do as The Domans do?

"Drugs are out at SkyDome? BMO Field it is."

Next Tuesday, in the gleaming controversy-free halls of CONCACAF's New York headquarters, the draw for the Champions League knockout phases will be held. Our beloved TFC will be entering this stage for the first time and as reward will face one of two Mexican powerhouses - Santos Laguna and Monterrey, or, star-laden MLS rival LA Galaxy. There is little The Reds can do about the draw itself, but where the home leg of the quarterfinal is played is a different question.
The match will take place on March 6, 7 or 8 - the tail end of Toronto's notoriously craptacular winter (the season, not manager) which gives rise to a venue conundrum. Does TFC stick to "Our House (TM)" on the barren, windswept Exhibition grounds, or, opt for the concrete elephant, the Eighth Wonder of 1989, the Artist Formerly Known as SkyDome - Rogers Centre? While our knee-jerk reaction after the win in Dallas was to #occupySkyDome, sober thinking urges us to weigh the pros and cons...
This one is a given - SkyDome (yeah, we're gonna be that way) could potentially cram 50K into its concrete bowels while BMO Field is limited to its low 20K's maximum. However, considering CCL fixtures have rarely been a hot seller, is this really a big deal? It's slight, but ADVANTAGE: SKYDOME
The only way SkyDome can win this is if 50K rabid TFC supporters and whatever number of Mexicans fill the joint. Even when 30K show up at the Dome, it is a cavernous and dead venue. Anyone who knows what BMO is like when its rammed and fired up will agree, ADVANTAGE: BMO FIELD
SkyDome is not MLSE's house. If TFC are dropped in, will the Bay Street Bankers have the ability (or smarts) to make it feel like "Our (Bigger) House (TM)"? Can fans count on MLSE to do the little things like put all the supporters' sections in one place, stick all the away fans together and concentrate their ticket sales together rather than spread attendance over large areas? Forgive us for not having faith in the ownership on this one. BMO Field may have some downsides including chilled fans and chilled bathroom pipes but ADVANTAGE: BMO FIELD
This one is a great unknown with the owners. MLSE is very Jekyll and Hyde in these cases and it could go either way. We would expect nearly similar pricing if the match is at BMO but SkyDome could go one of two ways. MLSE could do the right thing and mimic Montreal's famous CCL match in The Big O by papering the stadium with cheap seats, thus creating an electric event; or... their evil side will be too tempting to resist and they will try to cover the extra expenses (stadium rental, loss of concession revenue etc.) by jacking up prices to "special event" mode (see Real Madrid friendly). Too early to know thus ADVANTAGE: EVEN
BMO Field is possibly the most extreme weather stadium in MLS. The lakeshore locale in the middle of the CNE Grounds means that over the course of a season, supporters are treated to: Arctic chill, sleet, sideways rain, monsoon gusts, almost-tornadoes, searing heat, locusts, biblical lightning, a return to Arctic chills - dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! On the other side of the coin is SkyDome's publically-funded convertible lid. Eff you winter (again season, not manager) at the push of a button means ADVANTAGE: SKYDOME
You don't need to hear MLSE crow on any more about how awesome BMO Field's grass is... despite the shameful lack of "Scotts' Girls" in 2011. It is a lush, emerald carpet with under-soil doo-dah's that keep it somewhat living (like an arborist zombie) during the winter. However, it has its sub-zero temperature frailties and may not be ready for cleats as of early March. However, SkyDome is no treat in this category - a fairly crappy Field Turf built for the Blue Jays and Argos is a footballer’s nightmare and changes the way the game is played. Trucking in a one-time use real grass pitch would mean MLSE putting Southern USA grass on a truck and shipping it in - a cost the fans would cover in the end. With the weather being the great decider, this one is ADVANTAGE: EVEN
Many fans take the view that forcing Mexicans (or Los Angelinos) to play outdoors on a harsh Canadian winter's day would be a great advantage to TFC. While it is true that our Latino pals would think they had arrived in Bizarro Hell, there aren't that many impact Reds who will have experienced those conditions either. Even those used to Northern European winter fixtures won't have felt the potential -15C windchill coming off Lake Ontario. The likes of Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata and Eric Avila will have no advantage in freezing conditions and a hard pitch - nor dare we say will most of the "native" Canadian players. SkyDome turns into something of a "neutral venue" for TFC tactically as training time at the Dome would be somewhat limited. ADVANTAGE: EVEN
One of the biggest arguments for putting the match into SkyDome is to give "new fans" a chance to experience TFC in a grand event. Even if MLSE can manage to do everything right and also fill the Dome with cheap seats, will it really "build the TFC brand"? There is a valid counterpoint that says a packed BMO Field buzzing with an electricity seldom seen since the heady days of seat-cushion tossing may have an equally valuable impact to the club's image. Bringing back the feeling that BMO Field is THE most exciting place to watch live sports in Toronto again could be quite the coup for TFC.It definitely beats the potential of 23K fans having their voices lost in "The House That Tax Payers Built". After all, freezing or not, BMO Field is "Our House"... ADVANTAGE: BMO FIELD
In the end, the variables will outweigh the emotions. The financial impact is really a push for MLSE so the decision will likely come down to technical logistics. By a slim margin, we have to think that BMO Field is the better choice and who knows, Mexicans tripping over themselves as Danny "Snowshoes" Koevermans puts an orange ball past a frozen Latino keeper could just be the stuff of legend.
Tell us how you feel below and whether either venue would affect your attendance.