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Friday, January 31, 2014

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT - Toronto v Orlando... or What do you mean goaltending is illegal?!?

As a season ticket holder of Toronto FC, I have been afforded many privileges: Embarrassing officiating, failure at understanding why de Guzman was a big deal, and being told to get used to it, to name a few. Last night, another perk fell into my lap, tickets to see a professional basketball contest.

I was assured that this basketball was the best Toronto has to offer, and if I know anything about "the sports", the local sides have a history of lastminutedisappointus which isn't contagious.

On to the match:

1' - GOAL - Toronto hits a long range effort that evades all defenders and finds its way into the net

1' - GOAL - What resilience! Orlando immediately marches up the pitch and pulls a goal of their own right back. Tiki-taka stuff that left the defenders wrong footed.

2' - GOAL - We're in for a classic! When play resumes, Toronto runs right through the defense and after the first attempt hit the woodwork, another Robin was there for the tap in.

5' - GOAL - This is just absurd right now. As I was writing down what happened, more goals were pouring in.

OK, my hand hurts. This is stupid. How does anyone write a proper match report for this bouncy netball?

Half Time : Toronto 55, Orlando 40  Mood: Understanding it.

34’ - GOAL - Amongst other things, this one was remarkable as Lowry sends up a huge high cross right into the penalty area and Ross is there to slam it home. Fantastic stuff.

39’ - OK seriously ref, that one guy has fouled just about everyone in the last few minutes and you’re not even going to book him? At least their gaffer would be wise to sub him off.

Basketrugby is a funny game. No seriously, it's f***ing weird.

Apparently if the Robins score 100 points or more, everyone in attendance gets free pizza. 2:30 remaining. This is good as done.

46' - um... ok, next possession.

47' - two misses. Oh well, there's injury time. Can't seem to find the 4th official’s signage. #PanicBall?

48' - another near attempt. Still at 98 points.


Full Time: Toronto 98, Orlando 83

Man of the Match: This Lowry kid has the presence of a Laba and creativity of Osorio, but I'm gonna give it to Valanciunas. He blocked a pile of shots, wasn't afraid to get up the pitch and contribute. Second and third efforts were rewarded and stood his ground. Young defenders can learn plenty from this leader.

Goat of the Game  I didn't understand why the manager put the reserves out there at the end denying the faithful a piece of well earned pizza.

Ref Rating: 5 out of 5. No blown calls, no favoring the visitors, no blown tackles.

I Am Not The Gaffer But: how do you manage when you can make so many substitutions? It seems so schizophrenic.

Crowd seemed genuinely interested in the game until the one drunkard tried fifteen times to start a wave. Sadly he succeeded... As a fan of team sports, I was pleasantly surprised how well the Raptors played. It’s not like we have a precedence of how egos ruin a team... It doesn’t get said often enough at the field, but it needs to be said that the ACC staff, as well, are awesome... I saw really nice Raptors scarves worn by some of the fans but didn’t see it in the store... I thought I recognized Neymar’s mom in the crowd tonight but then I realized I don’t know what she looks like... Damn, is it footy season yet?

Player Ratings : Ross 7, Johnson 6.5, Valanciunas 8, Lowry 8, Vasquez 7, Salmons 6, Hayes 6, Novak 6.5, Stone N/A, Hansbrough N/A

@ignirtoq knows the hooperjamball. As a kid, he supported the Utah Jazz and though he checks the standings to see how they’re doing, it’s always with fond memories of Stockton-to-Malone. And fuck Michael Jordan and his damn “fever” story. He should’ve learned to share some NBA championships with other teams just as he did for Pippen, carrying him his whole career.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Touch-downer! Argos sale to MLSE to mark the end of BMO Field as soccer specific stadium

Why is this man smiling?

That thud you heard this morning was TFC supporter's hearts collectively hitting the ground. A TSN report claiming that the Toronto Argos are on the brink of being sold to MLSE and/or Larry Tanenbaum brought home the worst fears for many of The Reds' faithful. The Argos are moving to BMO Field.

When (not if) this long-rumoured deal comes to fruition, there will be no more "will they or won't they move here" - it will be a done deal. The little, imperfect yet genuine soccer stadium we have taken more-or-less for granted will be gone. In its place will be a new, multi-purpose facility. "This Is Our House" will be nothing but words on an outdated poster.

Don't be fooled TFC supporters - in the very near future you will be tempted with dazzling architectural diagrams of BMO 2.0 with a roof, retractable seats and the kicker... a pristine soccer pitch. Do us a favour and take a piece of chalk and draw in fully faded CFL markings over this pitch to see the eventual reality.

Fear-mongering and over-reacting you say? Well show us one single gridiron/football (real football) groundshare that works on actual grass (or hybrid for argument's sake) where the football team plays on a smooth, gridiron-line free surface. We're not talking a Wembley Stadium that hosts one or two NFL matches but a full season of linebacker pounding.

Some hopeful types trot out the fact that some UK football grounds share with a rugby tenant. A fair argument but leaning towards apples and oranges. I have yet to see a rugby match with lines every ten yards, a Toronto Sun logo in the centre circle, coloured end zones and Rona ads in every quadrant. Rugby also has more horizontal movement as opposed to gridiron's "up the middle" motion. Also, there is a far deeper purist sentiment in the UK that would not put up with a marked/destroyed pitch. That level of concern from MLSE would be surprising.

This issue has been a thorn in TFC fans' sides for seven long years and their fears are genuine - not irrational. Looking at the concerns and how MLSE will attempt to appease fears will be the dominant controversy of this season and likely many going forward.

THE PITCH: Tim Leiweke has been downright adamant that grass will stay at BMO Field and that apparently some amazing new peel-off paint science is available. Uh-huh. Show us where Tim or are we to believe that MLSE has a team of scientists working on a completely unknown technology? Amazing! Hot air too. As for the pitch, we give it half-a-season of Argo-sharing before the choice to move to at least a plastic hybrid is no longer a choice but a necessity.

THE INTIMACY: Another area where #LeiwekeLeaks has made bold promises. The "soccer experience" will only be enhanced... apparently. As citizens of the South Stand since 2007, we know that maintaining our current distance to the pitch while housing a CFL end zone would have to include retractable seats. This would mean a complete tear out of the current South Stand and concourse, a major excavation and re-build and the likely diversion of Princes' Blvd. We are talking a construction of that section alone that may rival BMO Field's original cost. In other words, the first likely candidate in cost-overrun chopping.

A ROOF: Hard to argue. Any TFC supporter who has suffered through extreme cold then extreme heat then extreme cold again over the course of a season wants one. Too bad we weren't important enough to get one without the Argos. This is what you will be sold on - if being dry and watching footy on gridiron lines is your thing - you'll be pleased.

With all this being said, we are not organizing a bonfire night for your season tickets yet. Everyone has to ask themselves what they are willing to put up with. If they day comes where you show up for an August TFC fixture and you can't quite tell where the penalty box is due to CFL paint then it is entirely up to you if you want to stay. We will not be there - we tend to believe quite a few of you won't be back either.

We desperately want to be wrong about these worst-case scenarios but fear we are not. Suddenly the big signings that breathed life into this corpse of a football club seem a dark, cynical ploy to appease us, get us to renew our season tickets and then drop a bomb on us.

Prove us wrong Tim Leiweke and MLSE. There is no "oops it didn't really work" once you have shoehorned in the Argos into "Our House" - just an MLS franchise akin to an expensive NY/NJ MetroStars that many notoriously "top level or nothing" Toronto fans will turn up their noses at.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Putting the red in Red Bulls - Eckersley sent to New York for pick

Surely you're not that shocked Richard...

Ginga Ninja we'll miss you. Your salary... notsomuch.

TFC confirmed the inevitable today as they shipped one of the few long-serving (ish) Reds to New York Red Bulls in exchange for a 2017 4th Round Pick. Is there a rule in MLS that you have to get something back? Seriously, that is the proverbial bag of balls.

Dealing Eckersley - also TFC's reddest-serving Red - was of course not about getting anything in return but rather setting his hyper-inflated salary adrift. Through no fault of his own, Eckersley was signed to a naive permanent contract after becoming a fan-favourite during his original loan-spell. In MLS math, he was never worth what he was making and his deal has been hampering salary cap movement ever since.

That being said, Eckersley didn't make loud noises about moving from Toronto until the very end, and that was after an odd late-season freezing out under the guise of "injury". We can't help but feel a sensible new contract could have been negotiated but there was something more to it. Did he fall out of favour with Nelsen? Is he one last piece to be exorcised from "the old era"? Until we get to read Jim Brennan's shocking future tell-all book "Beyond the Soul Patch", we may never know.

Eckersley will be looked upon favourably by many TFC supporters but despite his protestations to the opposite, he was "just an ordinary" fullback on a more than ordinary contract. It seems as if Ryan Nelsen and Co. have turned the page on "old TFC" and have decided Ecks was a footnote best left in a bad chapter.

THE STARTING 11: TFC criminal investigations

TFC "Club Escobar" 3rd kits - get 'em while they're hot!

There was a fair share of hand-wringing in TFC land when the name Bradley Orr was linked with a move to the club. After all, Orr did serve actual jail time in 2006 for an "incident" outside of a Bristol nightclub. Possibly the Club Escobar of West England. But before us Eff Cee'ers get all high and mighty about a man's past mistakes, let's not forget that other Reds have had brushes with the legal system as well. While all but one of these escaped conviction, TFC is no stranger to the 5-0... (cops and scorelines)

11. Sexual harassment claim made by two seagulls against Bitchy the Hawk

10. Mista's three-and-a-half month long robbery

9. Raivis Hscanovics' attempt to illegally smuggle vowels out of Canada and on to the Latvian black market

8. Jacob Peterson's hate crime charges against TFC for exposing him to the Canadian National Anthem on a regular basis

7. Accusations against Justin Braun for impersonating a professional striker

6. Jim Brennan's haircuts (fashion crimes)

5. The Carlos Ruiz missing person report

4. Preki's 2nd-Degree scowling charge

3. Chad Barrett: Multiple shots fired into crowd

2. The time Ali Gerba murdered Nick Garcia's birthday cake

1. Mo Johnston: Assaulting a football club resulting in grievous harm

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ifs ands Orrs and Butts

Less than a week after the BBC reported in earnest that Blackburn Rovers' defender Bradley Orr was set to join TFC, it has become official. While it's not necessarily another #BloodyBigDeal it could plug up one of the few glaring holes left in The Reds' starting eleven.

While there are still depth questions at the centreback position, the rightback role was looking like it would have to fall to MLS novice Mark Bloom by default. On a team that has invested so highly on the offensive side of the pitch, that was a leaky risk to take. Bloom showed bright spots last season but depth suits him best for now. Orr is an upgrade.

In Orr, TFC definitely acquires grit. The 31-year old Liverpool-native has certainly been through the football wars. Spending the lion's share of his career patrolling the workmanlike back fours of the English Championship, Orr definitely knows how to bump n' grind (not in the R. Kelly sense). The knock on Orr of course is that his "rough round the edges" style tends to get him in trouble - on and off the pitch.

By now, most of you are aware of Orr's past troubles; the attempted headbuttery of a Bristol City TEAMMATE during a match seeing him sent off, followed days later by a criminal conviction for a nightclub incident which saw him spend a short time in jail. This is where TFC supporters may hear justifiable alarm bells.

On a club stressing the importance of a new era and a solid dressing room to go with it, the introduction of potential volatility is a concern but may be neutered by past relationships. A boyhood kinship with TFC captain Steven Caldwell and a former teammate as manager in Ryan Nelsen will hopefully do the trick to harness Orr's "enthusiasm" in the right direction.

Coming in on a loan arrangement, Orr should be able to concentrate on performing on the pitch without the albatross of a big contract that dogged his predecessor - the soon to be departed Richard Eckersley. If Orr plays at a solid English Championship clip it will work out well. If not - don't let him near Club Escobar.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Young Reds gettin' Hammerheaded

We always think of TFC as more of a fat halibut than a hammerhead but some of The Reds' youngsters will soon be swimming with "The Sharks". No, it's not a terrible halftime promo for the Ripley's Aquarium ("Who can do the best monkfish accent guys?") but rather a partnership with Wilmington Hammerheads FC of USL pro.

This is a positive and absolutely necessary affiliation which will see a minimum of four TFC youngsters loaned out to Wilmington this season. The Reds have a crop of young players who will not see important minutes in 2014 and the potential for them to get first team football could be a great benefit to their development.

With the MLS Reserve league being a mish-mash and the proposed Hamilton NASL club being of equal hodgepodgery at the moment, the one-year deal suits TFC well. It is too early to say who will be spending 2014 in North Carolina but the likes of Emery Welshman, Manny Aparicio, Jordan Hamilton and Nick Hagglund may want to get their waterwings inflated.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pickin' Ain't Eze

Too Eze...

Unlike Superman II, SuperDraft II was not an improvement on its predecessor. With a pool of Generation Kangaroos (A running shoe with a pouch!) players who failed to get drafted in the first two rounds and a complete lack of Terence Stamp - it was an expectedly bland afternoon.

We think it was carried live on PBS. Probably after that art guy with the white afro.

For their part in this increasingly useless exercise, Toronto FC drafted Kene "My Nickname Should Be Simple" Eze - a 6' foot 2 senior forward (university senior – not elderly) from Rutgers University. What can you say about a guy we will most likely never see after training camp? Good for you lad? High five?

Hmm, what to say to make this exciting... umm... Oh hey! Did you know that Kene Eze was once a finalist for the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year? BOOM! Also, did you know that Raivis Hscanovics was once a finalist for Riga Latvian State-Production Farms Beet Beverage Player of the Year? No? Well it filled out this paragraph nicely didn't it?

You can go now. I'm sure it won't be "hard" for you! LOLZ!

I meant "Eze"! Damn I hate the off-season.

Monday, January 20, 2014

#LeiwekeLeaks needs your money

In our promise to not bang on about the inevitable Argos to BMO move (it's happening - get used to it) we bring you the latest story courtesy of the Toronto Star. Followed of course by Barry the LeiewekeLeaks ass.
Barry here... 


THE STARTING 11: Things overheard at last week's press conference

"Did you hear the one about the bloody big eel?"

It has been just over a week since MLSE attempted to give us a 7-year brainwipe with the grand introduction of Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley. While the hubbub from the beer and branding bonanza has just begun to subside, TFC will hope that the merriment from the day carries into the season. Of course amidst any cheery din are always a few sentences that are overheard floating amongst the crowd...

11. "Why is Raivis Hscanovics sitting behind De Ro?"

10. "It's been two hours and no one has mentioned our secret Argos plans sir! It's working! IT'S WORKING!!!"

9. "Mr. Defoe, this is the Raptors Dance Pack... "

8. "This is just like being at a match! The same chants, a bunch of drunk dudes and Reggie Lambe has been completely invisible!"

7. "Mr. Samuel! Step away from the buffet. Step. Away. From. The. Buffet."

6. "Oh that's Michael Bradley? Thank God, I thought Lex Luthor had escaped from prison!"

5. "It's about time TFC gave us something for free! Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go order four more season tickets and buy these new Jermain Defoe jerseys!"

4. "For the last time Mr. Lombardo, the double decker bus is not the Dufferin 29..."

3. "Funny how much more flavour Budweiser has when you remove the $12 dollar part."

2. "Hey... that's not Willem Dafoe!"

1. "If these guys think this is a bloody big deal, wait until they see the price of their 2015 season tickets!"

Saturday, January 18, 2014

THE WORD: Good Orr bad?

Oh, you're a happy fellow...

Have you ever wanted to climb onto the pitch and attempt to give one of The Reds a headbutt?

Do you feel that TFC lost their prominence in the league's important bar-brawl statistics since Miguel Aceval left town?

Do you enjoy red cards?

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions then TFC may just have a treat in store for you! If the BBC is to be believed - and "indeed why not my good sir?" (read that in a posh voice) - then The Reds are getting set to bring in 31-year old English right-back Bradley Orr on a season-long loan deal. That's where the fun begins.

For those of you not victims and/or not aware of the Blackburn Rovers' defender's past, it is well... erm... turbulent. One of his career highlights was being sent off for trying to head-butt HIS OWN teammate while with Bristol City in 2006. Three days later his season got better when he was sentenced to 28 days in jail for an "incident" outside of a Bristol nightclub. No word if the club, "Romeo Browns", is the "Club Escobar" of west England.

Since his "golden years" at Bristol he has had permanent stops with QPR and Blackburn but those have been off-set with loan-spells, most recently at Blackpool. Make of that what you will.

Looking at TFC's depth chart, RB is indeed a spot of weakness with Mark Bloom as the only real option at the moment. While Bloom showed some promise last season, it is premature to see him as a MLS starter. Orr would indeed bring a lot of experience to that position but it will be his personal intangibles which will prove this potential deal good or bad.

For a club trumpeting a positive atmosphere, that may be a big "Orr".

Thursday, January 16, 2014

SuperDraft 2014: The Quest for Pieces

Flipping picks can be tricky business

With his planet on the verge of destruction, the brave and selfless space politician Jor-El put his only Draft in a capsule and launched it into outer space. That Draft would travel through the galaxies (Not LA Galaxy) only to crash into a Philadelphia convention center where it lifted a car off of Don Garber or something. As Terence Stamp's General Zod would say if he had MLS season tickets: "Bring me this... Super... Draft!"

The theme of the 2014 SuperDraft seemed to be teams trading each other MLS funny money to move draft position. Toronto FC was no different, shuffling up to 10th spot after cha-chinging the pants off of Philadelphia Union. With the # 10 pick now in hand, The Reds opted for 22-year old centreback Nick Hagglund.

The Xavier senior is considered to be a blunt instrument kind of defender with decent size, speed, strength and sharp elbows. The most important scouting report you need however is that he looks like Ryan Nelsen's long-lost illegitimate Ohio love-child. Make your own conclusions. Pervs.

Moving on to the 2nd Round, famous for its Generation Birkenstock talent pool, TFC used the 5th pick (24th overall) on midfielder Daniel Lovitz from the not-quite-Ivy League Elon University. We could get excited about "I don't care! He's Lovitz!" chants and Jon Lovitz gags but seriously - we'll probably not get the chance.

Time to fly!
Get it?
Oh you're too good for that now?

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's some kind of deal! TFC unveil Jermain Defoe AND Michael Bradley

"You new here too?"

Remember that mumbling, rather serene press conference in the BMO Field press room the last time TFC introduced two DP's? That day it was Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans taking on the roles of TFC Messiahs 1 & 2 but compared to the show at RealSports Bar in Downtown Toronto today... that was a bloody small deal.

From his arrival at Pearson yesterday, the full page ads in Toronto dailies this morning and to the trail of potential WAGS strewn through the 416 - the whole football world knew that today was "De-Day" - Jermain Defoe's Debutante Ball. However in what must have been a Tim Leiweke erotic promotions fantasy - that wasn't big enough. No... like the finest wrestling card, American midfielder/trainee Super Villain Michael Bradley appeared from backstage and joined the fracas! Mic drop.

Live from the back of a double-decker bus, here are some of our favourite observations:

- A return to supporter good times chanting "This Is Our House" from the RealSports upper deck. Doubt that beers cost $15 bucks in their actual houses.
- Tim Leiweke speaking in front of rowdy crowd and largest media presence in TFC history aka "one off his bucket list"
- Leiweke saying all the right things such as "nothing is won today" and "why can't we be great". Managed not to say "btw - you may want to re-mortgage house before 2015 season tickets go up"
- Jermain Defoe comes out to a raucous cheer. Scans crowd for glamour models in the house. Makes mental notes. Sits down.
- Defoe: "I'm a winner"; "To win trophies - that's what it's all about"; "I'm the new Jeff Cunningham LOLZ!" (He may not have said that)
- Back to Leiweke who missed a good opportunity to introduce the "surprise" guest in wrestling ambush style...
- Michael Bradley emerges dressed in all black to do nothing but concrete his image as a James Bond Super Villain.
- Bradley a man of few words - the ones he does say sound amazingly like Breaking Bad's Jesse Pinkman. It will be our goal to get him to say "Yo TFC bitch" this season.
- Ryan Nelsen says a few words - just realized he finally has a reason to say "Juh-main" a la Flight of the Conchords. Prisint.
- Floor opened to the media... and the first question in this international presser goes to... a kid from Seneca College?! Umm... was a dying boy's wish granted or something?
- There are Drake questions up the wazoo. No mention of Maestro Fresh Wes or Joey Jeremiah of original Degrassi. Shameful.
- BREAKING: Former TFC GM Mo Johnston is holding a live event in his kitchen where he will introduce BOTH bologna and cheese to a sandwich.
- T-Bez danced his best around a question on the status of Matias Laba. We say not looking good.
- Then a bunch more crap about Drake...

And with that, TFC's underwater Bloody Big Eel event ended. Or something like that. There are some grumps and naysayer's out there today (stop stealing our gig newbies) but for all the sizzle, it really is a fun day to be a TFC supporter. That's for you, rain-soaked fan who never said "I don't feel like going to watch them lose..." You're about to have more company in the stands, but that house will always be yours.

And... Since it's Monday and we are legally bound to bring you this... here is your Starting 11!!!


White Hart Lane: The BMO Field of North London
THE STARTING 11: Other features of the Toronto FC - Tottenham Hotspur Agreement

Part of the Jermain Defoe (hey, did you hear Drake called him?) official confirmation was the added caveat that TFC and Spurs had entered into a "marketing agreement" with each other. The deal includes a mid-summer friendly, Spurs merchandise sold at MLSE properties and other stuff like TFC having to RT and LOL all Spurs tweets. But, as with all deals there is always the small print where more details are found...
11. BMO Field to change name to "Great White (North) Hart Lane"

10. Toronto Raptors must throw every game against San Antonio

9. TFC get first refusal on any Sergei Rebrov transfer
8. A long-term community employment commitment from both clubs by hiring-and-firing managers on a bi-annual basis. (DONE)

7. David Ginola to open men's hair salon at Downsview training facility

6. The two clubs to share custody of the label "Champions League hopefuls"
5. Toronto FC-based Arsenal supporters forced to feel dirty about themselves

4. Jurgen Klinsmann available for both clubs during emergency crisis management situations (DONE)

3. Drake on loan to London until March

2. Bitchy the Hawk replaced with angry fighting cockerel

1. Our top prospects to be sold to Spurs just as they become integral squad member who will sell that player to Real Madrid just as he becomes an integral squad member


Friday, January 10, 2014

Reds and Spurs go jingle-jangle

Well that kind of takes the climax out of the spit take. But it's still a bloody big deal... just a bit more bloody money involved.

Both Toronto FC and Tottenham Hotspur have officially confirmed that Jermain Defoe is indeed on his way to the Great White (Hart) North. However, that wasn't quite enough for two clubs that love a bit of the old marketing now was it?

On top of announcing that the 31-year old striker will join TFC on February 28th, 2014, the two clubs have also entered into an "Advertising and Marketing Rights" agreement. This deal will see Spurs merchandise flogged at MLSE properties and likely the odd bit of website cross-promo. In addition, Spurs have also added Toronto to their North American tour this summer, playing TFC in a friendly on July 23rd.

In the long run, this "partnership" will be unlikely to involve much more than a few Spurs kits in RealSports shops and a lot of huffing and puffing around the friendly. Hand-wringing that TFC become "Spurs' Jr." is anxiety of an unnecessary level. Spurs have similar agreements with many international clubs that don't amount to much more than merchandising opportunities.

We will have more on Defoe as his unveiling looms on Monday. For TFC supporters, this shouldn't be a day to worry about corporate tomfoolery but to look forward to watching the best striker the club has ever had.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It's a bloody big De Ro

Yeah... let's just pretend that didn't happen

A few weeks back, the prodigal return of Scarberian superstar Dwayne De Rosario was the talk of TFC Land. Yesterday, Jermain Defoe happened. BOOM! De Ro was now the side dish of off-season signings. A few hours later... BOOMIER! TFC was/is in the middle of trying to snatch Michael Bradley away from AS Roma. De Ro thus became the whipped cream on a Double-DP Buster Parfait. And that is perfect.

The return of De Ro to his hometown club after his first spell ended rather acrimoniously was a polarizing announcement to TFC support. For now it seems firmly "love him or hate him" (although much hate will subside after the first stutter step goal celebration methinks) and some fear that things may not turn out well again. However, this is a different player coming to what may be a drastically different club.

Re-unveiled again today as the newest member of TFC, De Ro is indeed coming back as the aforementioned whipped cream. Unlike his original spell, he won't be "the man", he won't be expected to do the heavy lifting, and he won't be the face where the local media's cameras turn to first in good times or bad. Again - that is perfect.

Instead, De Ro will have every opportunity to successfully return home for what is likely his final professional stop on a great career. Together with the club, he can heal or hopefully erase many old wounds and help turn the heavy page on a long, miserable 7-year chapter. On the pitch, he can attempt to prove the old dog has a few tricks left in him and do what he does well - thumb his nose at doubters. If successful at most of these goals, TFC will be the benefactor.

Make no mistake, De Ro's return may end up as a footnote when this off-season's history is written. Defoe and (likely) Bradley will be the big deals but there is no risk apart from finances to those signings. There isn't a team in MLS that wouldn't take either of those players but many would balk at bringing back a player with such a turbulent past with the club. It will never be the "bloody biggest" deal of 2014 but it may very well be TFC's bloody boldest.

In case you didn't now, Thursdays are "Buy One Scarberian, Get the Second Free!" at TFC. A nice little story was slipped in before DeRoPalooza began as TFC announced that they have signed homegrown academy product Jordan Hamilton. The 17-year old Scarborough-native becomes the ninth homegrown player to graduate to The Reds' first-team.

Hamilton has impressed during his time with TFC Academy and the Canadian national program but there were a few questions about whether or not he would be signed by the big club. A change in academy direction, with Thomas Rongen departing, may have meant a different analysis of the young forward who will hopefully be loaned out to get minutes as he works towards a TFC debut in the future.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

THE WORD: Hey Defoe's coming! Wait... Bradley? Whaaaaaat?

We have the same look on our faces.

Taylor Twellman did to Toronto FC supporters what he used to do to us as a player - make us shake our heads in disbelief. This time however it wasn't dissecting a TFC defence with a cheeky pass but via the keepie-uppie of the internet, Twitter...

Read it once. Read it twice. Go on - thrice it. It's apparently true and being backed up by more than a few sources close to the US Soccer program. Not yet in the world of "imminent" but many using "in the works" to describe the rumoured 7M Euro transfer of the 26-year old American midfielder from AS Roma to BMO Field.

On a day that was going all Jermain Defoe (see following post) things have taken a shocking and unexpected turn. Could this still all end up as nothing but transfer window coocoo-kaka? Sure. It happens. But to say that TFC is being quite audacious in their attempt to flip this club upside down is an understatement. If of course this is true.

This rumour obviously has a lot of smoke attached to it but a deal of this scale is not going to pass easily. There will be salary negotiations, the mysterious world of MLS DP transfers and also the itchy reminder that (with Defoe) TFC will already have their three Designators. Shenanigans will have to ensue for this to go through but grabbing the US National side's midfield maestro would turn TFC's off-season from evolution to full-blown revolution.

That was not a Taylor Twellman pun.

UPDATE (January 9th, 2014)
Things are moving at a very rapid clip surrounding all things Bradley to TFC. The midfielder was first left off of AS Roma's squad today which was followed by reports that his agent has called the deal to Toronto "complete". More reading on potential baldness sightings here...

Fancy a right ol' knees up me china? 'Ave a butcher's hook as TFC release Defoe teaser!

Put an 'at on yer barnet - you're off to Canada chappie!

You lot ain't gonna Adam & Eve it! We've been Hank Marvin for a bit 'a good news for ages but it finally looks like Toronto FC pulled their finger out and put up the dosh to half-inch Jermain Defoe off the Lilywhites. Oh the look on your boat race! It ain't no porkies love, by Monday you'll 'ave yer mincers on The Reds' new bit of all right!

As seen below, Toronto FC went to the same "Big Book of Stereotypes" that the British tabloids used when they photoshopped a Mountie's uniform on Jermain Defoe, to tease the locals. But all daft videos aside, the obvious nod to the confirmation of what will be the biggest signing in club history is quite monumental and an admitted coup for TFC.

We will hold our breath on details just in case there is an almighty asterisk to the announcement (such as Defoe not arriving until summer or returning to England on loan) but for once, a #TFCMajorAnnouncement might actually be major. So we sit back and wait until Monday... with a lovely cuppa the 'ole Rosy Lee.

Monday, January 6, 2014

THE STARTING 11: De Ro contract demands

Just do it already. Don't wait for Raivis to help you!

We know transit in Scarborough is bad but this is getting goofy. In what is turning out to be the slowest prodigal son return in ages, former and (99% sure) future Red Dwayne De Rosario is inching towards a new TFC contract. Now we all know the man knows how to sign things with a flourish so what demands could be holding back the formal announcement?

11. Annual fully-paid trip to Glasgow... no questions asked

10. Bestowed the title "Archduke of Scarborough" - baron of all lands he surveys eastward beyond Victoria Park Ave.

9. Andy Iro, Danleigh Borman and Leandre Griffit to perform as his backup dancers during every post-goal celebration

8. Allowed to make ironic contract signing at press conference using Tom Anselmi on all fours as a table

7. All past bad blood between TFC and De Ro to be brushed aside to media with phrase "we were on a break"

6. Any fixtures currently scheduled for SkyDome to be relocated to the food court at Scarborough Town Centre

5. A separate Wall of Honour dedicated to all of his past hairstyles

4. Argos to Malvern

3. TFC Academy teams to be re-branded as "The Below 'Sarios"

2. Gets Wednesdays and every second weekend with Drake

1. Five minutes locked in a soundproof room with Mo Johnston

Thursday, January 2, 2014

#LeiwekeLeaks putting our security at risk

"So many microphones... sweet, sweet microphones"
Just when TFC supporters thought they could have an off-season full of optimism about a bright future, the Foghorn Leghorn of sports executives went at it again.

Tim Leiweke just can't stop.

In his ongoing intense, steamy love affair with any open microphone, Leiweke was bathing in the Winter Classic success that was the Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings in Ann Arbour, Michigan on New Year's Day. His epiphany? To expand BMO Field to a monstrous (MLS monstrous) 40,000 seats by 2017 to host that year's version of the game and perhaps even... wait for it... a Grey Cup.

How conveeeeeeeenient! CFL football at BMO Field! Why it's almost as if the 40,000 seats in this "big, big money" (big, big public money) expansion were to cater to a financially floundering, soon to be homeless local CFL team and has absolutely NOTHING to do with the current and original tenants.

Tim Leiweke just can't stop.

But we must. We have written about this Argos to BMO garbage since 2007. We will never be positive about it. (just click the tag TORONTO ARGONAUTS or ARGOS at the bottom of this piece for reminding) It is a terrible idea with only one group paying the penalty of the folly - the TFC supporter.

Instead, we recommend you read these two interesting pieces (here and here) for more in-depth analysis of the latest flurry of #LeiwekeLeaks.

Tim Leiweke just can't stop.

So, until there are concrete things to talk about on this truly never ending story, we will simply offer nature's embodiment of Tim Leiweke seeing a hot mic.

Just one heads up Mr. Leiweke, no amount of Jermain Defoseses will ever cover up CFL markings on a ruined BMO Field pitch. We will leave. Many others will too. You will patronize with words about "not declaring war" on TFC supporters but it is just words because if you think we are so incredibly stupid to believe an expansion costing more than the stadium itself is for our benefit... we must not have your respect.

(Pictured above.)
(What did you think we meant?)