The Yorkies' Regular Features

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

Friday, July 31, 2009

Match Preview: New England And Some Old England Too

Gillette Stadium ("The Best a Man Can Get") - Saturday 7:30PM EST

Personally, I'm partial to the old version of England. New England... it's like New Coke. Travel tips aside, it's time for The Reds to once again invade Boston (see what I did there?) as TFC take on The Revolution. A key matchup with major playoff implications against a team who is trudging through mediocrity much like Toronto. The Revs should really be a major rival to TFC but its never really felt that way. Oh well - TEA PARTY!!!

NEW ENGLAND REVS -6-5-5 23 pts - 5 in EAST (11th Overall)
The Revs have had a slow start to the season much to the chagrin of manager Steve Nichol who is truly one of MLS's all-time great managers. They have managed to steer the ship in the right direction lately and are in the midst of a streak that has seen them not allow a goal in 352 minutes. That's 3 shutouts for the solid GK Matt Reis and a strong showing for the back four. TFC might catch a break as NER has caught the injury bug and will be without offensive force Taylor Twellman who has concussion isssues as well as a possible miss for talented MF Shalrie Joseph. Without those two, the Revs may very well depend on that scoreless streak.

TORONTO FC -7-5-7 26 pts - 4th in EAST (9th Overall)
So far, the week that could "make or break" TFC's season is breaking - and not in a cool Electric Boogaloo way. Losses to Columbus and the dreadful mess against Puerto Rico have exposed big holes in Toronto's defence and offence. Oh, and the midfield and goalkeeping are shaky too. major worries then. Chris Cummins must find a way of making Ali Gerba the hitman for this team and pick an offensive strategy once and for all. If not, the mid-season wall is going to make us East Berlin. Attakora, Serioux and Guevara will all be game day decisions. Julian De Guzman will not be dressing for the Reds - until he is 33 years old.


In an aside from the silliness that is this site sometimes, The Yorkies would like to briefly make note and honour the passing of Sir Bobby Robson. The great manager was a true giant of football and passed away at the age of 76 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

------------------------Sir Bobby Robson 1933-2009 RIP

Pulling De Wool Over De Eyes?

There was the temptation to sub-title this article as "Breaking News" but it really is not. For as long as the "Julian De Guzman to Toronto FC" rumours have been out there - the possibly subversive truth behind them has always existed in equal measure. When the first rumour appeared on The Yorkies' "The Word" a while back, the possibility of a mutual "using" of each other between TFC and the De Guzman camp was explored. It is increasingly difficult to dismiss the possibility.

Mo Johnston has officially quashed the possible signing to the press by announcing that De Guzman "wanted to stay in Europe". Mo Johnston - you are the king of the obvious. "It was about playing against Real Madrid and Barcelona,” (a minor MLS shot?) said the always forthright Scot about the player's choice; "we did everything we could do as a club to bring him home". Part of that "everything" was hosting De Guzman to a game at BMO and producing a professional, glossy magazine trumping the club and the player's potential role in it. Wow, TFC's big recruiting program is watching the New York Red Bulls and making a booklet that a graphic designer and an afternoon at Kinko's could produce. Big time stuff MLSE...big time.

De Guzman's North American agents claim the process with TFC was first class but "time ran out" on TFC's offer as the player awaited contract offers from Europe (Of course, because TFC is signing so many players). The agents claim that "TFC is his first choice in MLS" - well, thanks - that's like being the tallest midget. It is the obvious patronizing of TFC and MLS from De Guzman's reps that makes anyone with half a football brain wonder what the whole dog and pony show was all about.

It is fair to entertain the thought that TFC/ MLSE knew from the very beginning that there was no way that a European based, DP-worthy player in his mid 20's would come to Toronto at this stage of his career. It is also fair to believe that De Guzman's camp also knew from the beginning that TFC was only a last resort. The attention and the story were perfect for both parties. TFC could fool it's less thoughtful supporters into thinking they were "really" trying to sign a big name player while De Guzman's camp raised his profile and price with potential suitors in Europe. Everyone is a winner - except for the supporters as usual. Mo Johnston claimed he has "no doubt he'll sign here one day" - so...when he is 32 or so? Very little solace.

So Julian De Guzman will no doubt sign for a European club very soon (hopefully Getafe and their Burger King kits!), and TFC's extensive DP "search" will continue. The second most fruitless hunt since OJ searched for the "real killers". Mo meanwhile, claims he will only sign a DP who is 28-29 years old and that he should be Canadian. That is a very, very short list. Make your own conclusions. One last very telling thought about this drama: Why would TFC have a deadline to sign De Guzman if they aren't in the hunt for another DP? Would they not just wait it out, or were they afraid that De Guzman might get desperate and call their wealthy bluff?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

TFC Media League - Round 3

CONCACAF Champions League may be hanging by a thread but there's no reason not to check out the TFC Media League! The Yorkies' league, which tracks the quality of local media coverage of TFC, is heating up! The Toronto Sun takes a slim lead this round, pipping its arch rival the Star by 1 point. The mid table is tight and "The Teds" aka Rogers Sportsnet along with The Fan 590 had strong showings. Keep an eye on the table by scrolling down the right hand side of the site.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The South Stand Report : Toronto VS. Puerto Rico or... The Most Important Game Ever Played Ever Anywhere... Ever

-------------------Because honestly, my logo is better than theirs
-------------------------------------and that's the mockery

A lovely humid, yet cool night at New Fort York. The precipitation has held off and there is some nice cleavage in the 6th row a lovely pink and orange painted sunset peeking behind the clouds.

For those that don't know, this is the most important game this club has ever played, which will eventually be overshadowed by the second leg rematch next week. CONCACAF Champions League qualifier has the mighty Reds up against the mighty Oranges of Puerto Rico. The Islanders, much like all other USL clubs, are not as crap as you may think. Last season, the Islanders took Cruz Azul to penalties in the SEMI-FINALS of the tournament. Still think they're sh*te? After finishing first in the USL, they had to play the final on the road due to ground unavailability and lost to Vancouver on the other side of the continent.

TFC are fresh off the all-too-familiar 'final five minutes collapse' against our faux arch rivals Columbus. But Puerto Rico should be a walk, no?

Serioux, Guevara and Attakora are out with varying injuries and Velez is on the bench. Oh well.

Predictions are 2-0, 2-1, 3-0 pro TFC and what can only be described as a pro-Islanders 2-2. Onto the match...

1st minute - Steele just fires wide in a highly ambitious start. The one kid in front of us gasses a ripe one... Warned to take a sh*t before game time.

5 - Arrieta heads the ball across the goal and just over the bar unmarked. Oh dear.

6 - Cronin fires his first shot just left of the net.

10 - Vitti undresses defenders and passes off to Cronin. Someone needs to inform Vitti that his role as a forward is to shoot. I can't imagine Vitti's contract has a no-shooting clause. Actually, that would explain alot...

13 - Garcia stops a PR attack without concern. Seriously, ice through his veins sometimes. I wonder how he reacts when he's under pressure.

20 - Vitti undresses a defender twice, loses the ball and a counter filled with pretty passing results in Kendall Jagdeosingh firing just left of the net. Vitti must have an undressing defenders clause too...

26 - The Chad with a flawless cross on to the head of DeRo and just puts it wide.

35 - Defender loses his shoe which results in a Toronto attack, Gerba's first shot doesn't miss by much.

HALF TIME : Antsy.

Note : It must be said that at this point, we've had nothing but praise for the Puerto Rico back four. Their discipline is surreal. Think Greece from Euro 2004.

47 - Gerba. Missile. Wide. Two supporters injured... probably.

52 - The Chad shoots forcing the keeper to make a glove deflection for a corner.

54 - DeRo throw, Cronin half-volley in, Gerba header, off the bar. Gargan and another defender start a pushing and shouting match. I think "oh, this is the end of the Islander defensive trap"...

Ro : "The Chad is a better midfielder than he is a forward" after a pretty run that causes some confusion in the defence.

61 - Cronin curls a ball just wide of the opposite post. Best touch he's had all game, but to be honest, the wrong guy is taking all the shots.

Dom announces that he has got to get some eggs after the game and encourages me to write it in. Either he's lacking Omega-3s or he's desperate for some blog time. There you go Dom. Now the world knows you have an egg fetish.

65 - TFC Corner. Dom feels that "this is it!".

66 - Another corner. Dom still feels that "this is it!".

67 - GOAL - Frei comes off his line, gets caught out and Jagdeosingh rifles a rocket into the net at a difficult angle. It was the kind of mistake that every goalie makes now and again so it's forgiveable. The goal came off a free kick against the run of play that, for all intents and purposes, was a great strike.

I guess that was it, huh?

71 - Build up has Gerba laying the ball off for Cronin who skies the ball.

74 - SUB - Barrett off, O'Brien White on. This was agreed as the wrong substitution to make as Barrett was playing really well. Should've been Vitti for Dichio and it should've been 15 minutes ago.

77 - Gerba gets called back offside after believing he beat the trap and embarasses the PR keeper. So close, but the right call.

78 - DeRo and the PR goalie clash. Goalie embellishes for too long, then has the audacity to take too long in his kick. Ref finally books him after three verbal warnings.

85 - YELLOW - Robinson does, um, something.

85 - SUB - Robinson off, Dichio on. 30 minutes too late.

89 - Dichio boxes out his marker to set a clear shot for a Brennan laser beam -PR goalie makes a lunging save.

90 - DeRo cross sends a diving Dichio header and an even BETTER diving save from the PR goalie. If it wasn't for the unsportsmanlike bullsh*t, I'd not only consider naming him Man of the Match, but I'd consider putting his name in... but I won't.

90+? Gerba pops up a strange shot that ends up almost chipping the keeper but allows Dichio to hammer into him. If the only justice we get tonight is the poetic kind, then so be it.

FULL-TIME TFC 0 : Puerto Rico 1

Man of the Match : DeRo. Gomez with an honourable mention.

Goat : No member of the TFC side was particularly bad. In fact they were good, if not, very good. However, Chris Cummins, beloved manager and the genius behind the 4-3-3, gets the nod tonight if only for waiting too long to bring on Dichio.

We understand that with any substitutions there's the whole "what if" scenario and second guessing. Given that the Puerto Rico back four were all 10s (if we were so anal to rate all the players, but we're not so just take our brilliant words for it), playing the flattest perfect deep trap I've ever witnessed, it was too long before Dichio came on and do what he does best : be big, strong, immovable and create much needed space up front.

Also note, we are not sycophants who believe that Dichio is the modern day answer to greatness (like Winston Churchill, Richard Simmons, James Brown to name a few). However, we do acknowledge what his role is and what he's good at : being the classic English-style number 10. I firmly believe that Dichio is the answer to solving the Puerto Rico riddle. But what do I know.

Ro would like to point out a giant WTF at the 4th official and the tannoy announcer for no mention of time remaining in the match. Puerto Rico made a substitution, but no sign indicating time added on returned. Boo discount refs. Boo.


Ref meter : 3 out of 5. Didn't really screw up any calls and would've got a 4 had he booked the delaying keeper the second time he took the goal kick. Solid crew. Thanks for coming.

Poor-T.O. Rico

What do the writers of "Lost" and TFC have in common? Neither have an idea of how to successfully kill off Islanders.

It was offensive. Just not in the right way. TFC beat themselves in their first ever appearance in international play with an utter lack of attacking teamwork. The team have not found a way to integrate new striker Ali Gerba into the line-up and paid the price as they lost to Puerto Rico 1-0 on home turf. Islanders get a win and the all important away goal after striker Kendall Jagdeosingh hit a cracker on PR's only real shot on goal. Toronto now has a massive hill to climb as PRI are very solid at home and TFC will need 2 goals to win at least. If you are thinking TFC "Miracle II", Islanders won't roll over like the Impact did. PR's keeper Bill Gaudette won't let that happen and either way, Chris Cummins still has to fix the sputtering attack.

Very little to cheer for at BMO tonight but a small silver lining goes to Toronto's 18 year old Gambian defender Emmanuel Gomez who looked extraordinarily composed in his debut. A dart tonight though for the crowd, as the midfield (see expensive) seats were half empty which is disappointing for TFC's continental debut. Full no doubt next week against Real Madrid - a game with absolutely no importance compared with tonight. Stay connected for tonight's "South Stand Report".

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Match Preview: Escaping The Island(ers)

BMO Field - Wednesday 8:00PM EST

Who's wants to sing the song? "THE CHAAAAAMPIONS!" Just like UEFA - but poor. It's CONCACAF Champions League! Wednesday is the night where Toronto FC and their supporters finally get to feel what its like to be Sparta Prague or FC Copenhagen. Champions of their nation - but not a good enough nation to get past the doorman and go straight into the party. It's the ever dangerous preliminary round - a home and home matchup where anything can happen. TFC will take on the bright orange Caribbean menace that are Puerto Rico Islanders at BMO Field with the return date scheduled for August 4th at PR's Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium. Winning the two game series would be the beginning of an exciting continental trip - like a footballing National Lampoon's Vacation. However, if TFC underestimate PRI like a USL weakling (see Vancouver), it could be a terribly sad and unfulfilling trip - like a footballing National Lampoon's European Vacation.

USL side Puerto Rico showed a great affinity for Champions League play in the 08/09 tournament marching all the way from the preliminary to the Semi-Finals only to lose to Mexican powerhouse Cruz Azul in extra time. Currently sitting in 3rd place in the USL, the Islanders are a very solid team with a definite flair for offensive play. PRI's manager is Northern Irishman Colin Clarke, most famous for his spell as a player at Southampton where he scored 36 goals. Clarke took over PRI in 2008 and brought in a host of new faces whom have gelled quickly. The danger-men that TFC will have to keep in check include ex-Lecce defender, Italian-American Christian Arrieta who leads the team with 7 goals playing from the back; Northern Irish hardman midfielder Jonny Steele (also possibly a superhero alias) who is PR's version of Carl Robinson; and very solid goalkeeping in the form of American Bill Gaudette, formerly of Columbus Crew and apparently on Team USA's radar. Definitely not a USL also-ran and a foe that could prove much harder for Toronto than Vancouver or Montreal.

Well, here it is. The boys have grown up and are leaving the friendly confines of North America and tread gingerly into their first continental competition. Manager Chris Cummins and the players who have been in Europe will understand the pitfalls of international cup play and will know that they need a far better performance than they put out in the last two MLS matches. Things won't be made easier with injuries to Amado Guevara, Adrian Serioux and Nana Attakora. The defence, without Serioux and Attakora is especially suspect but perhaps former Islander Marco Velez can narc his old team and shine in a great chance at redemption. This is not the right time to criticize Mo Johnston's team building. However, I am not feeling fair - Mo, you should have seen this coming. If TFC can get past PRI and make the group stage, this club's roster is not deep enough to handle another six matches. Let me guess - you're trying to loan a River Plate player you saw last week right? For now, The Reds' attack has to say "ola" to the net a lot and pray to Saint Andrea of Lombardo that Islanders don't get any away goals.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Editorial: All For One...Dollar

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. They giveth and they taketh away. Then they try to taketh some more. Don't blame those poor old men in pinstripes though, they just can't help themselves. Give credit where credit is due, the money-hungry misers who feed our footy obsession, like Harry Rosen-clad crack dealers, are very good at what they do. They have become masters at camouflaging promotional events under the guise of community building and they rarely let the opportunity to sell some more wares pass them by.

The 2009 season has seen Toronto FC's owners come perilously close to pushing the club's rabid supporters to the edge of supportive acceptance only to reign them back in at the last moment. Just when you think the great unwashed are ready to rise up against the Maple Leaf Machine once and for all - a carrot is dangled that is usually lapped up by enough of the crowd to calm things down again. MLSE has become very, very good at this game of cat and merchandise.

The Real Madrid friendly fiasco almost broke the camel's back this year. There was palpable rage and the taste of revolution in the air at BMO when supporters realized that watching the Nu-Galacticos would cost them a small mortgage rather than being the promised free friendly. Soon after that announcement, TFC held another open-practice, charging a crowd made up mostly of school kids $6 Dollars to watch Paul Winsper make men run around on green carpet for a couple of hours. Merchandise and refreshments available on the concourse level of course. Community outreach on TV news - TFC shirts, hot dogs and drinks bought by the parents in attendance. This type of public and media manipulation is very well orchestrated by the Bay Street Bunch and is also extremely distasteful. Would they even notice the tiny dent in the books if they had done the right thing and made it free? The bad taste in the mouths of TFC supporters at that point wasn't just Chip Butty - it was the dawning realization that MLSE saw Toronto FC as "Leafs On Turf".

Then, just as the BMO kettle was boiling, the announcement came out that River Plate was coming as the free friendly match. Little did anyone realize how poor a match it would turn out to be - but some anger was settled. It still felt like a sad consolation prize. It was the actual team who did MLSE the biggest favour. Anger was still raging when The Reds managed to pull off that miracle win in Montreal. Suddenly the good vibes about the actual football poured cold water on the flames in the stands. Management then bit it's tongue and did themselves a huge favour by quietly announcing that the Champion's League qualifier against Puerto Rico would be included in the season ticket package. Surely some of the money-men were crying over lost revenue but someone with some foresight knew how to fully end the fan revolt before it really lifted off.

Some elements of the support thought that their attempts at being angry had worked. Management had listened - they even signed us a real life striker! Did you hear that they REALLY want to sign Julian De Guzman? It's true! The real truth though, is that MLSE did what they do best. They manage expectations to the lowest possible ebb and keep the love affair flickering just enough. Just enough so that they could have the audacity and greed to revert back to their old ways and charge $15 dollars to watch Cristiano Ronaldo and the Gang (they're no Kool & The Gang) run up and down the one-day-only real grass. It's not hard to see why fans who were priced out of the match may want a chance to see the Spanish megastars jog for an hour but the PR work that made it possible and somehow acceptable is just as visible and no less vile. If it makes you feel better, $15 Canadian Dollars is about one quarter of what Cristiano Ronaldo will make for every second he plays in La Liga this season. Didn't millionaires used to pay poor people to dance for them, not the other way around?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

2 Games - No Cup

The best news for TFC this week is that Montreal is still being considered for MLS membership. The sooner we don't have to consider Columbus as our main rival - the better. Don't get me wrong, going to Crew Stadium with a couple of thousand Reds' supporters is fun but there is one problem with this rivalry. That problem you ask? We can't beat them. Two and a half seasons of futility.

It was a roller coaster match tonight which saw TFC squander a 2-1 lead to the Schelotto-less Crew. In 1st half action, Columbus' Eddie Gaven opened the scoring after some sloppy TFC defending but the Reds marched right back and tied it on a Dwayne De Rosario blast. The second half couldn't have started better when Ali Gerba opened his TFC account with a class finish. It was a very scrappy half but with a quarter of an hour to go the MLS Champs turned up the pressure and TFC couldn't hold them off. Greatest American Hero lookalike Steven Lenhart tied it in the 76th and in extra time Jason Garey broke TFC's back with a strong finish that keeper Stefan Frei had no chance on.

In one fateful half, TFC lost the match, dropped dangerously low in the playoff hunt and have lost their second meaningless trophy in three days - this time the Trillium Cup. A slight silver lining was Gerba's goal but it is tempered by Amado Guevara having to leave the game due to injury. Chris Cummins' substitution of Marco Velez for Guevara highlights the still paper thin bench of Toronto. Healthy players and more focus will be needed against Puerto Rico and in the oncoming league matches if TFC doesn't want late-July to be this year's wall.

The always improving Columbus crowd did offer an unintentional comedy moment in the second half when they started a raucous "USA! USA!" chant. It was as if The Iron Sheik had come in as a sub for Chad Barrett ( Sheik available?). I'm sure Toronto's USA national team members like Marvell Wynne were bemused. Are you happy Mr.Obama? Invite these guys over for a picnic and they think they're "America's Team". Is Joey Saputo ready yet? The "401 Cup Trophy" design competition starts here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Match Preview: "The New Soft Derby"

Crew Stadium - Saturday 7:30PM EST
TV: Rogers Sportsnet Ontario -- Radio: The Fan 590

If you gave non-partisan football fans the chance to see one derby in the world, many would choose "The Old Firm" derby of Glasgow. Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC would rank a little bit lower. Sometime after TFC's first season, MLS' brain trust and others decided that Columbus and Toronto would make convenient rivals. The Trillium Cup (not exactly pictured above) was invented for the two clubs to "compete" for and it now ranks slightly higher in relevance to the Carlsberg Cup. Making a non-local derby from scratch isn't as easy as inventing a trophy.

Things changed however after that fateful home opener in 2008 when TFC's supporters invaded Crew Stadium in very large numbers. The previously unseen display (in MLS at least) rightfully put Crew supporters’ noses out of joint but did seem to unite them for the first time. Their biased opinions about all things Toronto wouldn't agree, but their support has been much better since. The matches between the two clubs are hard-nosed and away support (except this weekend!) on both sides has become regular.

The rivalry's true tipping point may be coming soon though. If Toronto can get past Puerto Rico in the CONCACAF Champion's League preliminary, they will be grouped with none other than the Crew. Those kind of matches, not fabricated floral-named trophies, are what creates true rivalries. Not quite Glasgow yet but "The New Soft" may be ready to evolve.

COLUMBUS CREW: 6-9-3 27 pts - 3rd in EAST (6th Overall)
Not much can be said about Columbus Crew without mentioning talisman Guillermo Barros Schelotto. The talented Argentine/ 80's rock star look-alike who enjoys being horizontal on grass, is putting up MVP numbers again but could very well miss this game due to a nagging hamstring injury. Crew have decent depth though and will look to young forward Steven Lenhart to pick up the slack. He will be easy to notice as he looks like Scott Baio's friend "Buddy" on Charles In Charge. The Ohio Players are coming off a 3-1 win over RSL and have not been beaten at home in an astounding 18 matches. If that's not enough of an advantage they just met President Barack "West Ham" Obama at the White House and mascot Crew Cat was just successfully de-wormed. "Yes We Cat"

TORONTO FC: 7-5-6 26 pts - 4th in EAST (8th Overall)
The Reds have a lot on their minds right now. The devastation over the Carlsberg Cup loss to River Plate will still be fresh in their minds - oh the humility! What may actually take their eye of the yellow though is the impending CCL preliminary with Puerto Rico next week. The match against the Islanders is arguably the most important in the club's young history and manager Chris Cummins will have to get the lads to focus on the task at hand. TFC are coming off a tepid 1-1 draw at home against Houston but will have Ali Gerba and his mini ZZ-Top-esque beard at their disposal. O'Brian White may or may not make an appearance based on his fitness while Adrian Serioux will test out his knee before the match. Young defensive stand-out Nana Attakora will not travel with the club due to a hamstring, not good news for a club who have yet to beat Columbus two and a half years.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The South Stand Report - Toronto v. River Plate... or... The Battle Of Who Could Care Less

I initially thought "Awesome self, I'm not going to write a report for this one..." but I reneged because I had a damn good reason to be excited.

Gerba and O'Brien.

Oh sure, one looks like Jesus and Superman wrapped up in a Canada kit and the other one is the wonderkid that we wondered if we'd ever see.

The Carlsburg Cup is a bullsh** marketing ploy to make a sponsor happy a much anticipated fixture on the TFC calendar.

Onto the match:

12th minute - Boca Supporters show up in 113.

14 - As if it were chemistry class, we discover how to co-exist with their fervent rhythms and our played out songs. To this, the old idiom rings true...

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Then we have the quote of the match when trying to determine who and where Gomez came from.

Ro: Who's the guy we got from San Jose?
Me: Oh, the defender with the generic Spanish name.
Ro: Yeah... Lopez.
Me: Just because it's Spanish and generic, doesn't mean you get to guess which generic Spanish name it is.
(a few seconds elapse)
Both: ¡Garcia!
28 - Gerba does this crazy leaping trailing foot in an attempt to score the goal of the century off of a DeRo cross and just misses it.

37 - Ro tells me to look up Getafe's new kit

Oh. My. Lord.

41 - Vitti beats and fights his way through to get a cross in. Robinson heads down and the River keeper makes an incredible diving glove save.

42 - YELLOW - Gala with a deserved booking on a mistimed challenge.

44 - Gerba with a great shot. Keeper with an even greater save.

HALF-TIME : Just fearless.

46 - SUB - (follow along here) Dichio, White, Attakora, Barrett and Garcia on for DeRo, Gerba, Brennan, Wynne and someone else.

That was the least confusing one.

53 - Barrett takes a free kick and gets it on target. Felt the need to mention that.

54 - Cross, Dichio header, Robinson just misses with his own header and a dangerous boot to his skull

58 - Velez with a beautiful cross has Gala putting the ball just over the bar.

61 - SUB - Brennan, DeRo on, Robinson, Guevara off. This isn't a typo, I swear it happened.

76 - SUB - Wynne for Brennan, Vitti for DeRo. It's just that stupid.

81 - SUB - Gerba for Attakora.

84 - Vitti turned TWO defenders inside out with ONE TOUCH. So pretty.

90 - Gerba chips one defender, chips a second but that lands in the hands of the keeper.

To the other MLS clubs (you too Philly so pay attention, I don't care if you're new): You are all on notice. We have Gerba and we're not afraid to use him.

So in the Useless Cup V (Villa, Benefica, Independiente and Pachuca before this), after 90 mins we go to penalties.

So here's the chart:

TFC - GOAL (Gerba)
TFC - MISS (Dichio)
TFC - MISS (Vitti)
TFC - GOAL (The Chad)
TFC - GOAL (Lopez... erm, Garcia)
TFC - MISS (Velez)

And TFC lose on penalties 3-2. Toronto were the better side.

Man of the Match : Vitti

Goat : To say Gomez wouldn't be fair as he had a few rough misses early, but recouped well. So nobody was outstandingly bad.

Ref rating : 4 out of 5. Few missed calls, but didn't screw up any calls that he did make. Good job.

Notes : Dear Mr. Cummins,

We are not relatives of Gabriel Gala, nor do we have a vested interest in him other than supporters.

This kid needs a few more appearances off the bench. He has heart, determination and with better service, I'm sure he could produce.

He is my favourite kind of apple. He should be yours too.

Warmest regards,

The Yorkies.

Carlsberg Cup Parade Cancelled - City In Mourning

Toronto FC fans are crying themselves to sleep tonight as the club has lost one of the most prestigious trophies in football - The Carlsberg Cup. Rated as one of the world's Top 100 Meaningless Beer-Related Football Promotional Trophies, the "CC" is highly sought after. The Reds lost out to Argentine so-and-so's River Plate who will surely dismiss all of those pathetic Argentine Championships they own, now that they've captured the mighty CC!

The match, which saw absolutely nothing happen at BMO Field for 90 minutes, was decided on penalty kicks with Toronto losing 4-3. The Reds' penalty takers did manage to put a couple of balls into Lake Ontario though, so not all was lost. Supporters who previously believed Danny Dichio could walk on water must be questioning their place in the universe as the Patron Saint of Balding/Soulful House Music, was one of TFC's less than stellar kickers. That's two years running now that teams have come in and stolen what is rightfully ours. Don't they realize how much Carlsberg we drink at BMO? For the love of Andy Welsh -give us the fake trophy - we only have one other!

If you have managed to wade through that Samuel-load of sarcasm but still want a proper match recap - sorry. Mid-season friendlies are the bastard child of football schedules. If you are really concerned about what happened on the pitch tonight - seek medical help. Ok, one hint for your kind patronage - nothing. The only interesting tidbit was when the PA announcer declared that Pablo Vitti was Man Of The Match (!!!) - he went on to thank Vitti for his hard work and service while with TFC. I don't know about you, but that sure sounds like a sentence that continues with "...your locker needs to be cleared out in 20 minutes, there's a flight to Buenos Aires at 9." Maybe not, but hey - stranger things happen, who could imagine River Plate would be 2009 Carlsberg Cup Champions? Argentina must be partying tonight.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Strike While The Plate Is Hot

Friendly matches. They are a bit like marriage. Men pretending to be interested, very little contact and any scoring usually happens by accident. Now and again, the friendly offers up something new and interesting that makes it worthwhile - kind of like when the wife has too much to drink.

Wednesday evening Toronto FC host those wacky Argentines - River Plate, in this year's Carlsberg Cup. Ah, the Carlsberg Cup - up there with the great awards like the FA Cup and the Jules Rimet Trophy - but we digress. The Reds are indeed offering up something new to their supporters. What the BMO Field faithful will get to see is a glimpse of TFC's striking (as in goal scoring not handsome) future. Not one but two new forwards will take part in the otherwise meaningless match. Strikers eh? Just like the bus. You wait for ages for your stubborn Scottish Director of Football to drive up in one - then two come along!

Indeed, Ali Gerba will make his on-field debut with TFC fresh off his strong showing at the Gold Cup with Canada and a solid 08/09 campaign with MK Dons. The very strong Cameroon-born tank will be a welcome crash-and-bang style forward in the style of Danny Dichio except able to move sideways. Gerba is a known quantity and will surely bulge the onion bag on a regular basis.

The other debut is the unknown quantity. O'Brian White, the newest member of TFC's "Scarborough Massive" is the club's top draft pick this year and comes out of the NCAA with all of college's highest football honours. He was scoring goals at a great clip and was headed towards being the 1st overall pick when he suffered a bad ACL injury. His hometown club could not resist his potential though and drafted the injured forward, immediately putting him to work with TFC's top-notch training team. The rehab is ending and the local boy is ready for the big-time.

Fans will need patience with White but he and Gerba may very well be this team's strike force for the foreseeable future. Now the questions can begin about the existing strikers. Player of the Week award aside, Chad Barrett is no better than an off-the-bench sub. His scoring ratio is simply not good enough but he comes cheap and is locked up long term. Pablo Vitti's time is simply running out. His hustle and raw talent are admirable but the numbers aren't there. Few goals and a hefty (MLS-hefty at least) wage makes the Hairy Hitman a target for the pink slip. Mo Johnston is surely thinking of sneaking him onto River Plate's plane home like a sleepy B.A. Baracus on The A-Team. Finally, the bald Messiah himself. Danny Dichio is due to hang up the boots after this season and ride off into the sunset - at least as far as Etobicoke. His future off the field with TFC seems assured - possibly team barber/ DJ.

So, on an otherwise forgettable Wednesday night by the lake, Reds' supporters may finally be getting a glimpse of the strike force they so desperately want and need. Let's just hope they are as good as former wrestling tag-team "Strike Force". In the words of Tito Santana and River Plate - "Ariba!!!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

THE WORD: De Guzman II: The Guzmanning

When this rumour first appeared in The Word a couple of weeks ago, it was assumed that it would disappear rather quickly. Here we are though, the Gold Cup is over for Canada and Julian De Guzman is still sans club.

TFC has been very vocal that a substantial DP offer is on the table if De Gu wants to come home. Director of Football Mo Johnston even joined the broadcast team during Saturday's match to push the point home. "I think it's down to him to decide if he wants to come in or not," was what manager Chris Cummins added about the rumours after the match.

De Guzman has been forthright about his desire to return to Europe, particularly Spain, but are the offers coming in? Names like Celtic, Portsmouth and Spurs had also been floating around but it all seems to be quiet. Will De Guzman really choose Spain if the only offers are from the likes of Valladolid and Xerex? Will the sudden spending power of MLSE tip the scales in favour of a life on turf? Either way, TFC is at least entertaining the thought of bringing in a player who could potentially be the best in MLS.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

The South Stand Report : Toronto v. Houston... or... Торонто v. Хьюстон

Yes, that is made to look like Dynamo Kiev and yes, that is how you spell Houston in cyrillicToday, an experiment in sociology. The effects of alcohol on atmosphere. We will study if the fabled TFC supporters will be as fired up for this game without the alcoholic stimulate. Hypothesis : forcing the subjects to watch the game will result in melancholy and indifference, including the realization that the calibre of play isn't worth singing over.

You see, the stadium had their alcohol license suspended for one game due to an infraction of some indiscriminate nature. Now, no beer. How will MLSE subsidize the cost of their designated player? I'm kidding, we don't have one...

The mighty reds are coming off of a 3-1 victory over the hapless Earthquakes. Vitti and The Chad scoring. Even in the face of thinking this is a conspiracy, MLSE names one of the player of the week. Must be my shite karma...

Houston are in a bit of a skid and are missing "Twitter" Ching who's on national team duty. You know, who cares about Houston Dynamo 1836 Athletic F.C. On to the match...

4 - Houston's Kamara breaks into the box and fires right with the most rediculous mohican ever. It looks like a cross between a spartan helmet and The hair style Chris Tucker rocked in Fifth Element. Oh, and the shot, he missed.

6 - The Chad gets into the 18 and just fires it over the bar.

7 - DeRo breaks in the right side of the box driving the ball low right forcing a diving stop from Onstad. Good shot, gooder save.

8 - DeRo heaps on the class by putting a ball 50 yards across the pitch to find Brennan just misjudge it. Just gorgeous.

Whew, all this action so early, I could use a beer. My choices are A&W or Barq's. Mmmm... Root beer jokes.

"fuck, fuck the dynamo"... Our capo will never be nominated with drivel like that. Fun fact: 95% of our chants have "Toronto", "love", "allez" or "fuck" in it... Save the two Dichio songs. Its that annoying that it makes the report.


11 - Vitti serves a ball into the box that DeRo gets a head to, but redirects it to just over the bar.

12 - Brian Mullan with his first shot beating everyone but the crossbar. Helluva shot, but the ricochet offered nothing and the reds clear.

19 - Guevara passed on a shot just right of the keeper to lay it off to Vitti who doesn't miss by much into the side netting.

Seriously, it takes the signing of a new forward for our old ones to start launching balls CLOSE to the net, and in some extreme cases, INTO?!

24 - YELLOW - Vitti for diving (apparently) after getting hauled down outside of the box. A weak call at that.

27 - TFC is starting to look rough keeping the play in a third of the pitch. What makes no sense is that it is the LEFT THIRD.

29 - The Chad run into a ball from Guevara and only misses by 1 or 2 yards. Barrett's getting closer...

34 - After a previous clash, Serioux goes down a second time in 3 minutes and is not going to get up in time to meet the count. It appears to be the end of his day.

36 - SUB - Dichio for Serioux. Now we're in 4-3-3 mode... which leads us to a...

37 - GOAL - Wynne threads a pass that Dichio dummies through his legs to DeRosario who puts it low and left and into the net. The dry villiagers rejoice.

45 - Wynne gets taken down with a hipcheck after having the whole right side to roam freely like the buffalo once did. No yellow for that action.

45+2 - Kamara and Robinson get tangled up which the ref awards a Houston free kick 5 yards outside of the Toronto box. While Kamara is hamming it up for the television audience by rolling around like Honduran stalling for time (more on that later), his flailing legs get tangled up in Robinson's legs and he starts throwing punches. Fists start-a-flying and someone gets a booking... no idea who.

HALF-TIME. Mood : Content with wavering between melancholic and euphoric

47 - Guevara free kick headed on by The Chad, saved by Onstad. He's getting closer...

50 - DeRo loses his man, looping the ball over the central defender only to have a maurading Dichio getting a weak knee to the ball and putting it over the bar.

I repeat : DeRo wins championships.

55 - YELLOW - Garcia goes into the books for holding on to the Houston forward in a tackle. Yes to foul, no to card.

59 - Oduro gets a low bullet off at Frei, that he stopped but bobbled a little between his legs. You can feel the shift in momentum.

63 - Dichio lays a ball off for the Chad, shot blocked by Onstad but bouncing towards the net, only to be cleared off the line from Boswell. Outstanding play by the defender. The nice words for him end there.

69 - TFC reverts to that familiar-yet-unnecessary 9-0-1 formation that usually results in...

74 - GOAL- Boswell bags a chippy and clumsy goal after a scramble in front of Frei. Can't take that sucker back, can ya?

80 - SUB - Ibrahim for Barrett. The Chad pulls up with a cramp. It is cramping season, you know. Arguably, the substitute for shaking things up was about 10 minutes too late.

85 - Guevara free kick just shanked wide by Attakora sliding into the play. Oh Nana... would've been a stellar goal young man.

Quote of the match: (in respone to the 50/50 draw jackpot of $4400) "$4400, man, that's a lot of lube.", "Yeah, that is a lot of loot..."

90 - SUB - Velez for Vitti. Too. Damn. Late.

FULL TIME: TFC 1 - Houston 1

Man of the Match : I'm picking Attakora. He played wonderfully and no one could beat him. Very very very solid left back. Well done sir.

Goat : Umm... I'm going to go with nobody here. We did miss Cronin though but that's not to say someone else played poorly.

Ref meter : 2 out of 5. He kinda ruined his reputation with two unnecessary yellows. He started off strong, but just got worse.

So the sociology experiment results are as follows : No alcohol = decrease in atmosphere.

I suppose the atmosphere would've been better if there was alcohol, but the necessity for alcohol to improve atmosphere goes as follows: If TFC played better, so many people wouldn't need it to distract them from the notion that the quality of MLS is not that good. If somehow you could play the Canada Gold Cup team in MLS, it would win the league hands down. The class is spectacular. However, though there's only one DeRo, there is ONLY ONE DeRo. The other ten are not in the same class as him.

If MLSE needs alcohol to keep the illusion that this mediocre display is "just like in Europe" or whatever sales pitch they need to fool the rest of the stadium to "come to the party", then crackdown on alcohol served because it wasn't worth half-assing it... atmosphere and in the pocket books and in customer satisfaction with causing people to wait 25 minutes to get into the ground.

It was great that an email was sent to "get here early", but more could have been done to service the glut that was two pat-downs to discover nothing. And if you're going to make it a dry game, by force or otherwise, try turning it into a positive: Mothers Against Drunk Driving, cheap(er) beverages, give out samples of Pepsi bottled tap water Aquafina. Also checking the script of "if you've been drinking, don't drive" comments only seem to patronize the responsible 90% of the beer purchasing population.

That being said, our neighbour has received some excellent customer service in the form of printed tickets for his next games. Talked to his ticket rep about a busted printer, rep told him to text him when he got in the ground, did so and delivered his tickets right to his seat. Outstanding work guys.

See, I'll give props when they are warranted.

Now for the Honduran comment. Canada crashed out of the Gold Cup and did not deserve to go out like that. Canada played hard, with integrity and probably should've given one of those diving morons a few studs in the calf. If you're going to roll around like you're that hurt, you should BE that hurt. De Guzman played outstanding. The ref, while calling an otherwise good game, blew the only call that mattered : a "hand ball" on Stalteri that went off of his head. Not fair at all.

Aside from the usual cheap tactics employed by Honduras, it was disrespectful to the game but then again, I'm not writing anything that we don't already know and something I should've remembered long before. I'd rather lose with dignity than win at any cost.

Canada showed resolve. Just relentless attacking by the real reds and put Honduras to work. Never gave up at all. But brilliant footy Canada. Just brilliant. You missed some of the prettiest football you may ever see by lads in a Canada shirt.

So very very proud.

If we gave a crap for our soccer in this country, they should receive a heroes welcome.

But they won't and that's more wrong than the blown call or the Honduran national cheat squad.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

TFC Media League - Round 2

The TFC Media League is really heating up as we enter the second week. For those of you who are new to the site, the league ranks the local Toronto media based on their coverage of Toronto FC. You can find the original article in the archives for more details of how the clubs will challenge for the Graham Leggat Trophy.

The second round sees The Toronto Star grab hold of top spot while AM640, expected to be a minnow in the league, jump up into the thick of the table. TSN is still showing poorly, cemented at the bottom of the league - and it's not even hockey season! You can follow the league anytime by scrolling down the right side of the page where the table is always listed. Until next round...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Match Preview: Enter...Dynamo!

BMO Field - Saturday 1:00PM EST

Not quite as frightening as The Running Man (see above picture) but the mighty Houston Dynamo, or Dynamo Hustyn as they are called in the Ukraine, come to town with the best record in MLS. The Reds finally return to BMO after a road trip with mixed results but with a record that puts them in the upper half of the league. Last time the two clubs met, Dynamo laid down an electrifying beating scoring 3 goals to TFC's 0 only for The Reds to be then shot down a tunnel in a bobsled and hunted by vicious killers including Jesse Ventura! Wait, I may still be mixing football and The Running Man. Is Richard Dawson manager of Houston?

TORONTO FC: 7-4-6 25 pts - 2nd in East (6th Overall)
TFC is fresh off a solid win against minnows San Jose and are sniffing around first in the East. They will need a much better performance than they put on in Houston earlier in the year if they have any hope of points. Slight possibility that first round draft pick and Scarborough Massive newcomer O'Brian White could make his long awaited debut but no other injury concerns exist. Sam Cronin and Ali Gerba are still away with USA and Canada respectively at the Gold Cup, with Gerba hopefully netting a couple past Honduras later on Saturday. TFC are still without De Guzman, Figo, Zidane, Pele and the ghost of Ferenc Puskas.

HOUSTON DYNAMO: 9-4-4 31 pts - 1st in West (1st Overall)
It's fair to say that the big orange machine are the best MLS club over the last 3 years. They have found their form this year but have sputtered a bit in the last 5 matches. Dynamo have been hard hit by Gold Cup call-ups with their two best players Brian "Twitter Fine" Ching and Stuart Holden off with USA. With 9 goals between them, its quite a power shortage for Houston. The Texan Tangerines will have to look to Kei Kamera to pick up the slack. Brief ex-TFC defender Richard "The Prime Minister" Mulrooney is out of action with injury and Pierre Trudeau is suspended for sexy cravat wearing. Richard Dawson is no longer manager. "Who loves you and who do you love?!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Signs Of The Apocolypse #714: Chad Barrett is MLS Player of the Week

Umm...congratulations? Two goals and the "Poor Man's Rooney" goes from goat to player of the week. The Chad has always been a favourite whipping boy on this site but for one night only...congrats. There, it's been said. Let's move on now and go back to missing easy chances.

In other news, flying pigs are being blamed for the recent temperature drop in hell.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

3.1 on the Richter Scale

The kids were all right. Toronto's young forwards did their job last night putting 3 goals past adult film star Joe Cannon as TFC dominated San Jose 3-1. It seems like two weeks off and some California raisins was just the tonic for The Reds' poor away form.

Chad "The New Pele" Barrett opened the scoring in the 5th minute, powerfully converting an amazing De Rosario standing bicycle cross which put Cannon on his back like a scene from "Keepers Gone Wild". Pablo Vitti got what turned out to be the winning goal in the 54th with a solid workman's header in the box. Vitti's second goal of the season - neither from his feet. Someone tell the Argentine that you are allowed to kick in MLS. Barret added his second of the night in the 69th (dude!) after capitalizing on a San Jose defensive miscue. Nice to see The Chad put away some easy chances but still could of had a few more. The oncoming Gerba and White factor may be lighting a fire under Barrett's previously impotent heels.

San Jose's only reply came from Darren Huckerby. The should-have-been TFC winger was about the only bright spark for the second year club. It does make you wonder what Toronto's flank could have looked like with his silky passes in the squad. Thanks Field Turf. Although, you have to think Huckerby looks at The Reds and wonders "what if?" as well. Finally - poor Frank Yallop. Suffering with the flu on the sidelines, the smart manager does look like he's preparing for "The Big One". And that's a pink slip - not an earthquake.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Match Preview: Saturday Night's Main Event: The Mighty Earthquake

Buck Shaw Stadium - Saturday 10:30PM EST
TV: Rogers Sportsnet / Radio: The Fan590

Toronto enters the unofficial second half of the season with a trip to Northern California. If TFC can break its away form hoodoo it would have to be in the old 1970's stomping grounds of Georgie Best. That being said, the ghost of Best wouldn't be caught undead at the glorified high school field that is Buck Shaw Stadium. Lots of new stadium plans were promised when San Jose was "re-franchised" a couple of years ago but not a shovel has been seen. Why this town keeps getting football teams beats me. If TFC can't beat them though, the rest of the road trip only gets worse.

TORONTO FC: 6-4-6 22 pts - 4th in East (7th Overall)
The Reds are coming off one of their most miserable losses, a truly dire 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake two weeks ago. Hopefully a fortnight's rest and the California sun will rejuvenate the lads and see them play more than 15 minutes of football. There was a concern that leading goal scorer and assist man Amado Guevara would be out due to political conflict but the midfielder managed to escape his native Honduras like a young Rambo III. Sam Cronin is away on Gold Cup duty and defender Nick Garcia may miss a chance to tackle ex-teammate Darren Huckerby with a slight groin pull. Dirty dog.

SAN JOSE EARTQUAKES: 3-4-8 13 pts - 8th in West (13th Overall)
The Tremors (not their real nickname but what a great movie!) are having a tough sophomore season and find themselves floundering near the bottom of MLS. There is quality in that there Silicon Valley though. Huckerby and former Reading man Bobby Convey are still top quality and one gets the feeling that this team isn't quite as bad as their record. They are also strong in goal since acquiring goalkeeper/ adult film star Joe Cannon...ladies! No football fan in Canada can ignore the fact that the Quakes manager is still Frank Yallop. The poor record in San Jose has whispers circling about his future but he was still the best Canadian National coach (despite being cut off at the knees by the CSA) and many Reds' supporters would love to hand the former Ipswich man the keys to TFC's garage. Now if Toronto can just defend against George Best's ghost. "Bustin' makes me feel good!"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TFC Media League - Round 1

Welcome to the inaugural week of the TFC Media League. The race for the Graham Leggat Trophy has begun and so far it's the Toronto Sun in the very early lead. The Sunshine Boys have their arch-enemy Toronto Star right behind them and The Score not too far behind. Will the Sunshine Boys, Blue Star Toronto and The Sharmen be this season's big three? Check back regularly for updated tables.

1. -Toronto Sun------ 6
2. -Toronto Star----- 5
3. -The Score-------- 4
4. -CBC Sports------- 2
5. -Sportsnet---------2
6. -The Fan590------ 2
7. -AM640------------ 1
8. -Globe & Mail----- 1
9. -National Post-----1
10. TSN--------------- 1

THE WORD: De Gu to De Ro! Is Julian De Guzman going to be TFC's DP?

The one and only buzz around TFC this week are the rumours circling around Julian De Guzman. Some stories have the deal as much as 90% completed while others seem to be taking it with a pinch of salt, especially supporters.

The story does seem to have some holes in it. Why would a 28 year-old in the prime of his career, a starter at Deportivo La Coruna in Spain's La Liga, suddenly drop down the equivalent of two divisions? Would he really make the jump to MLS for a big pay cheque? Does he miss Scarborough that much? Does he want to be called De Gu?

The whole story could be a very well orchestrated publicity campaign to up De Guzman's value in Europe. Meanwhile, MLSE could be happily joining in the game to show the supporters they are "trying" to sign a DP while knowing all along it won't happen. If De Guzman was 32, the story would seem plausible. With potential suitors in England, Spain and Scotland still sniffing about - it does not. Prove us wrong MLSE...please.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Yorkies Present: TFC Media League 2009

Regular readers of The Yorkies' site know that one of our aims is to shed light on the fairly poor coverage of Toronto FC in the local mainstream media. In order to illustrate this, and positive coverage as well, we are set to unveil The Yorkies' "TFC Media League".

The league will be a year-long tally featuring local media outlets vying to win the prestigious Graham Leggat Trophy named for the Scottish pioneer of Canadian football broadcasting.

Readers will be able to follow the Media League on a regular basis as the table will be posted here on the site illustrating how well, or poorly, the individual media "clubs" are covering The Reds.

Points will be awarded based on the amount and quality of coverage.

1 point will go to a "club" for a match-related preview, recap or highlight package occurring on or around match day. Minor reports such as blogs and web-only features are also only worth 1 point, the same for regularly scheduled soccer shows.

3 points will be awarded when a "club" produces coverage of TFC which isn't directly match-related. For example, if an article or piece is produced mid-week pertaining to a transfer rumour, player profiles or general investigative journalism relating to TFC, 3 points will be awarded. The piece must appear in the outlet's main coverage, not only in an online version.

The "clubs" involved will represent major media outlets and all of their various arms including websites and blogs. Specialty channels such as GOL-TV will not be included as their football-only coverage skews their content. It is the regular daily media that reaches Joe Public, and can do so much to propel TFC in the city, who will play for the trophy which will be awarded at year's end.

The "clubs" for the 2009 season are:

The Toronto Star
The Toronto Sun
The Globe & Mail
The National Post
The FAN 590
AM 640
Rogers Sportsnet
CBC Sports
The Score

The opening table will be posted soon so stay connected to The Yorkies and follow the TFC Media League 2009!