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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Toronto City Hall legalizes grass

Toronto FC and BMO Field took a giant step forward in their progression towards complete football legitimacy today as Toronto City Council, led by season ticket holder Mayor Miller, approved the installation of delicious, real, green grass in time for the 2010 season. The plan still has to pass provincial and federal watchdogs due to their original contributions to the stadium construction but that is not considered to be a major concern. If all goes well, construction will begin as soon as TFC's season ends and will be ready by late-March 2010. As part of the agreement, MLSE will be retrofitting Lamport Stadium with the winter bubble as well as adding Field Turf at the Lakeshore facility in Etobicoke. Construction on both facilities will also begin soon.

Apart from TFC supporters who will see that luscious grass next spring, the happiest group in town must be the players themselves. The days of unnecessary nagging turf injuries from training and playing on what has become green concrete are nearing their end as are the strange bounces and skidding passes. The excuses will have to be rolled up with the turf as well. Bad play because of turf; bad training because of turf; players refusing to sign because of turf; all of these issues will have to be put away for New England Revolution to use. TFC will be the full real deal now and will have to match their performance to their pitch.

It is not a stretch to say that many in this city, ourselves included, were very skeptical that this would actually happen. Kudos have to be given to MLSE for coming up with a good plan to present to the city which addressed the concerns over community usage and profit loss. MLSE are very good at these kind of business deals but will actually be putting their hands in their pockets to the tune of 5 Million Dollars-plus. Don't pity the Bay Street Bankers too much though - a few more high profile friendlies, like this season's Real Madrid match, will pay for the grass many times over. It is ironic that the Real match which caused such a stir amongst supporters, likely opened the owners' eyes to the potential profit grass could bring and in a roundabout way got us the pitch we yearned for. That match's influence and likely some cash from the club's first big transfer, Maurice Edu to Rangers, made our horticultural dreams come true. Thanks Maurice, maybe you'll be back here soon for an Old Firm friendly to play on the grass you helped buy.

TFC supporters beware end of "Miller Time"

Politics and football have long been uncomfortable but necessary bedfellows. Throughout the last 100 years of history, "the world's game" has been used as a propaganda tool, a way of placating restless populations and a powerful ally to political ambition. In turn, football clubs have often used these intimate connections to further their own ambitions and indeed their fortunes. North America is of course the exception to this phenomenon as football has never had that level of influence north of Mexico. How strange it has been then for one of the continent's biggest cities to have a football-mad mayor who wears his Toronto FC kit around town and proudly uses his season tickets not for show or political image, but because he loves the club. Recent polling suggested that 80% of respondents wanted Toronto Mayor David Miller replaced and many saw his recent announcement that he would not seek re-election in 2010 as a result of this. If the poll numbers are true, it would mean 8 out of 10 fans at BMO Field want to see the back of the mayor. However, TFC supporters should put aside their civic political opinions aside for one moment and realize that maybe you should be careful what you wish for.

Despite any individual political feelings towards David Miller, no football supporter in this city can deny that he has presided over this city's recent football renaissance. He has been a firm supporter of Toronto FC from day one and equally important, he was a strong voice at City Hall when the push for BMO Field's construction was being argued by both sides of council. Miller's decision not to run next year could very well have both short and long term effects on the face of football and furthermore TFC in the future. In the short term, the BMO Field "real grass" debate could have gone from being a quiet issue passed easily through council to one that was a political hot potato, high-jacked by councillors looking to get some media exposure in the run-up to 2010. Some of the right-wing elements of council such as Denzil Minnan-Wong and Rob Ford must have been tempted to seize on an opportunity to "fight" for the turf to stay for "public use" but luckily, the groundswell of support for real grass at BMO scared off any potential self-serving circus acts. In Canada, politicians like to cozy up to the "hockey dad" crowd to gain points. The immigrant and second generation Canadian crowd who follow football rather than "good 'ol Canadian boy" hockey isn't seen as a sexy group with whom you can create a political base with. Football has after all been historically more comfortable with the left side of politics as opposed to conservatives despite a few fascist leaning clubs in the past.

There is one particular outcome of the Miller fallout that may have severe impact on the long term health of TFC. The current favourite to replace the mayor is former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader and former mayoral contender John Tory. However, it isn't necessarily Tory's right leaning political career that is the concern, it is one of his other former posts - Commissioner of the Canadian Football League. Although it may seem far fetched at the moment, is it really impossible to picture “Mayor” John Tory doing everything in his power to aid his old friends the Toronto Argonauts and their potential move into the city-owned "soccer" stadium? Before you think that MLSE would balk at the move, consider their greed if Mayor Tory offered some city cash to fund an expansion to the stadium. MLSE would love a free expansion to fill BMO with what they see as the everlasting well of "sucker" TFC supporters. Sadly, as Toronto footy fans know, a couple of games with CFL markings on the pitch means good-bye marketable "atmosphere" and good-bye big crowds for real football. Far fetched for now, but it always depends on what politician is trying to score what points with whom. One thing that is likely though - we have seen our last mayor for a long time who is chanting in the stands at BMO wearing his or her kit for the love of the game and not for a photo op. Whether you have liked him or not, David Miller will always be the first mayor of Toronto FC.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

TFC a McBridesmaid, never a McBride

That's about it then right? Enough now with the endless quest for the playoffs? Toronto had to leave Illinois with three points tonight but could only grab one from a match that saw TFC start with a frenetic energy and end with most players about to collapse. The 2-2 result was probably fair for both teams who both showed a lot more in the way of mistakes rather than skill. The biggest mistakes though seemed to come from the Toronto bench and its often baffling tactics.

Interim (by necessity) manager Chris Cummins started a very similar line-up to last week's team with Julian De Guzman playing a bit deeper than his previous match. It wasn't the DP who shone for TFC though, it was Dwayne De Rosario who was a man on fire for most of the night and grabbed the reins immediately. In the 6th minute, De Ro capitalized on a Fire defensive lapse and struck his 11th goal of the year putting The Reds up early. Ali Gerba looked dangerous and healthier and TFC looked dominant for the first 10 minutes, even Chad Barrett looked sharp (I hurt my hand typing that). However, disaster struck in the 14th minute when Rent-A-Defender Nick Garcia put a very weak own-goal past keeper Stefan Frei. The OG from the Earthquakes cast-off (!!!) deflated TFC's momentum and they lost their way, losing their composure for most of the remaining half.

Halftime reflections were frustrating as Toronto headed to the locker rooms on the wrong foot. Jim Brennan's rapid decline seemed very evident in the half with broadcaster Craig Forrest even openly pondering whether the captain should retire at season's end. It was nice to hear a broadcaster say what many of us are thinking. In the very least it was better than going back to the studio to hear Rob Faulds refer to the team as "FC" over and over again. That's so 2007! Luckily, former Blizzard supporters were spared any footage from Chicago's "Soccer Bowl '84" anniversary celebrations at halftime but it seemed as if the civic one-upmanship may have sparked The Reds in the locker room. That, or former Juve and Blizzard maestro Roberto Bettega called Chris Cummins.

Either way, pigs briefly flew over Chicago as TFC came roaring out in the 2nd half and Chad Barrett (ouch my hand) connected onto a De Ro cross and put Toronto ahead 2-1. It looked like "Blizzard's Revenge" but Chris Cummins decided that turtling for a whole half would be the best way to preserve the slim lead. Our old favourite negative tactic - Torontonaccio, came out and TFC put 10 men behind the ball. The useful Gerba was shockingly replaced by the still injured defensive midfielder Carl Robinson and The Reds began ball watching as Fire grew more confident. The all-out defending wore down Toronto in a hurry and they began to drop like flies through exhaustion and injury. Inevitably, Chicago patiently found its moment and Brian McBride schooled Nick Garcia and tied the game with a clinical finish. At that point, Cummins decided that offence was once again important and brought on O'Brian White but with most Reds collapsing on the field, the match was over apart from a lucky escape in the last second where Chicago could have taken all three points.

Chris Cummins, the former Luton youth coach and full-time Mo Puppet seems like a really nice guy but as the season has got down to the nitty gritty, his tactics and decisions have become less and less effective. Who knows if he has full control or if there is a Scottish puppeteer pulling strings from above (just what did John Carver know?) but the interim label looks like it should stay attached to the affable Englishman. The playoff hunt looks well and truly dead now as New England got their 3 points tonight jumping well ahead and TFC's end of season record will only end up being marginally better than last year's. If this season was indeed as important and promising as sold early in the season, would it have been that hard to find a truly qualified replacement manager by mid-season? Of course then Mo couldn't have a new manager to fire this time next year and all eyes would be on him instead. Perish the thought.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Match Preview: Soccer Bowl '84 Part II aka The Bumblebee Analogy Preview

Toyota Park - Saturday, 8:30PM EST
TV: Rogers Sportsnet

Well if it wasn't bad enough that NASL nostalgia has brought back Sounders, Timbers, Earthquakes, Whitecaps and no doubt Cosmos, Chicago Fire has decided to make Saturday's game an anniversary celebration of Soccer Bowl 1984! The festivities will celebrate the Chicago Sting's victory over Toronto Blizzard in the dying days of the NASL. What is involved in the celebration apart from halftime salutes and autographs is unsure. Are the crowds expected to dress circa 1984? Will Brian McBride be reading passages from George Orwell's 1984? Will Kenny Loggins and Lionel Richie sing the national anthems? Oh the fun! Rubik's Cubes for everyone! As our part in the celebration, although we would have preferred a Blizzard win, we will lace this match preview so full off Sting-esque analogies your head will be buzz-ing! See what I did there? Let's bee-gin. I know... amazing.

CHICAGO FIRE - 10-10-6 40pts - 2nd in EAST (4th OVERALL)
Fresh off of a 2-2 draw against yellow-and-black Sting wannabees the Columbus Crew last week, Chicago Fire is looking to build on their solid season so far by continuing their float up the MLS East table. The Fire have been playing fairly consistently through the summer and their efforts are pollenating into a strong late season. The squad has been stung by injury this week and could be without Mexican Killer Bee Cuauhtemoc Blanco and another midfield stalwart in the form of Sith Ifrican John Thorrington. Despite the potential loss of those two key pieces, Fire can still create a hive of activity up front with the dual striking prowess of Brian McBride and Chris Rolfe. Queen Bee... I mean manager, Denis Hamlett seems to have Chicago playing as a team and has kept their wings clipped as far as overlooking Toronto towards the post-season.

TORONTO FC - 9-7-10 34pts - 5th in EAST (11th OVERALL)
If Toronto wants to send a message (in a bottle... I know, different Sting) to MLS and their fans that they are serious about the post-season then they must be aggressive - B-E-E AGRESSIVE! The road performances of late that have seen The Reds only take 1 of a possible 12 points must end immediately if their already slim playoff chances hope to survive. Once again the key will be making the front line a hornet's nest and making a beeline for goal. It seems as if Chad "I Can't Bee-lieve He's Playing" Barrett has a season ticket for starting up front so don't expect too much until Chris Cummins subs him out in the 60th minute again. Adrian Serioux is still questionable with a nagging neck injury and Carl "The Welsh Wasp" Robinson (come on - it could stick) will be a game-time decision. This game may very well bee the last opportunity for TFC to fly into the honeypot that is the playoffs but if they leave Toyota Park without 3 points they may as well make like all good bees in the winter - roll over and die. I hope they never have these NASL celebrations again, Bee analogies are not fun after three paragraphs. My creativity is frozen... like in a Blizzard. Eh? Blizzard... get it? Never mind. Metros-Croatia to you and your Jumpin' Jim Brunzell.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Editorial: Time to end kid gloves for TFC

Most parents will tell you that if you coddle a child for too long then they will end up spoiled. Now it's unsure how long "childhood" lasts for your average MLS club but three years seems to be at least "young adult". Why then, is Toronto FC being treated so gingerly by most observers - both on the inside and the outside of the club? The second half of the 2009 season has been truly awful. Yes, there has been the good news of Julian De Guzman's signing and the faint smell of real grass in the air, but on the field, this team's position in the table has only been saved by the mediocrity of the teams around them. The difference between TFC and the other clubs however is that the others are not using tired excuses like being a "young" club but rather calling it like it is - "a bad season".

There are some very glaring weaknesses that The Reds have shown since their first season which most supporters would have expected to be long gone by late season 2009 but have nonetheless remained. Production from TFC strikers is as impotent as it was on day one in 2007 with no signs of improvement, especially with the stubborn inclusion of Chad Barrett and the misuse of Ali Gerba. The other major roadblock to improvement is the shocking lack of production on the road. After last week's loss to Galaxy, the club's recent road tally was 1 point out of a possible 12. It was after that game that the "kid glove" treatment of the team reached maddening new levels. There were absurd comments from manager Chris Cummins that TFC "dominated" the play but were beaten by some bad luck. Apart from the TFC staff, the broadcast team on Rogers Sportsnet called the loss "a good effort" despite the 2-0 scoreline and lack of good Toronto scoring chances. The running corporate line throughout the season from Mo Johnston and MLSE is that they are "building something special" in the long-term, but near the end of three seasons the excuse of being a “young team” surely has to end now.

This mythology was further propelled this week by the team's star Dwayne De Rosario who appeared on SUN TV's "The Grill Room". When asked about the season's lacklustre results the "only a third year team" line was trotted out by the Scarberian. The fact that De Ro said his decision to come to TFC was "the right move at the time" was unfortunately not probed further but his body language of late and the sheepish answers from most other Toronto players seems to illuminate a lack of real answers. The new DP Julian De Guzman has said the right things such as the "playoffs are now" for TFC but surely there must be unhappiness in the dressing room that a playoff struggle is the best this club could achieve. Bluntly put, three years is enough time for any club with the financial prowess of TFC, in any league, to build a winner. It is not too much for Toronto supporters to expect more than a "squeaky bum time" (thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson) win in the Canadian Championship and a humiliating crash out of Champions League. While it is true there are some positive moves for next year, the time for "young club" excuses is over. There should be no fear from inside or outside of the club to call a spade a spade and simply say "this has been a bad season". A bad year is not the end of the world but propelling weak excuses from one year to the next must end before we start hearing about the woes of "only a fourth year club".

TFC Media League - Round 6

The actual MLS playoffs may be around the corner but the race for the Graham Leggat Trophy is still in mid-season! The Toronto Star still holds a slim lead over its rival Toronto Sun but it was Rogers Sportsnet who made the big jump in the table this round. "The Teds" may make it interesting but the two dailys look like they may be the Celtic and Rangers of this league. Scroll down the right side of the page to see the table and follow who is Toronto's most TFC-friendly media outlet.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

THE STARTING 11: Possible future Canadian MLS expansion clubs

First came Toronto FC, then Vancouver Whitecaps got an expansion team and now Montreal L' Beckhams are trying to join MLS. Throw in further interest from Ottawa and Major League Soccer has a sudden influx of Canadiana! Don't tell our friends to the south that a whole list of possible expansion clubs are lining up as we speak...

11. Eh! C Manitoba

10. FC Lokomotiv GO Train

9. Sparta Poutine

8. TimHortons Hotspur

7. Iglooventus

6. Notting-Craig Forrest

5. Beerussia Molsongladbach

4. Dynamo Nunavut

3. Roughriders FC/ Rough Riders FC (tie)

2. PSV Eindhoser

1. Real Regina

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Late-night re-runs on TFC TV

If BMO ever decides to pull their sponsorship from Toronto FC, we'd like to make a suggestion - Nyquil. The nighttime syrup has nothing on a TFC road match for helping you get your Z's. The Reds went to Los Angeles on Saturday night knowing that all of their close rivals for the post season had dropped points earlier in the day. Add to that, the exciting debut of the club's first DP - Julian De Guzman! Surely this was the night that TFC would finally break it's road woes and stick it to Beckham & Co. right? Right? The line-ups were announced... the excitement was buzzing... Chad Barrett was starting. WHAT THE F**K?!!!

So the coaches' pre-game meeting went something like... "we just signed a great new distributing midfielder... how can we totally nullify his contribution? Yes, # 19 will do nicely." We are really tired of beating on Chad Barrett but a striker with 4 goals in 25 games is absurd. Chris Cummins claims that no one works harder in practice than The Chad, but hard work isn't always enough. You know what else works hard? Mules. But you still wouldn't enter a mule into the Kentucky Derby. Barrett wasn't the sole reason for tonight's 2-0 loss to Galaxy but his constant, useless inclusion is a symptom of what has become entirely inept management by Cummins (aka Mo Puppet) and his team.

TFC managed a decent start and De Guzman did show glimpses of his passing quality but then a beautifully crafted goal by David Beckham in the 9th minute changed the tone of the match completely. The Reds looked immediately deflated, lost what little shape they had and degraded into a bunch of guys with no form and no chemistry chasing after a ball. The 1st half petered out and the 2nd half only had a brief flash from Ali Gerba to rouse the viewers back in Toronto. As a reward, Gerba was a victim of Chris Cummins' sudden rash of confusing substitutions which added nothing, but did manage to confuse the formation that much more. The manically used subs also made it impossible for a cramped De Guzman to leave the game - brilliant. Galaxy controlled much of the play and Edson "I Could Still Be A Red - Idiots" Buddle scored the second goal late to nail TFC's Hollywood coffin shut.

Somehow, Toronto are still not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs which is more of a detriment as sane supporters will still have to hear phrases like "playoff push" for another week. Not to worry though, another road game next week, this time in Chicago, and no doubt another Barrett start, means that the math will inevitably catch up to this baffling squad. If you, like many of your Toronto compatriots, fell asleep in the 2nd half only to wake briefly at the end to hear Dobson and Forrest enthuse that TFC put in a "good" effort - its not true. After three years and countless line-up changes, "good efforts" would equal more than 1 out of 12 points on the road during a so-called "playoff push". I need the jumbo-size Nyquil so I can sleep through the next road match too.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Match Preview: T-F-C aims for Hi-Score on Galaxian

Home Depot Center -Saturday, 10:30PM EST
TV: Rogers Sportsnet

Toronto FC makes its annual trip to Hollywood, unless you count Chivas USA - which is Mexican Hollywood, to play the Nu-Cosmos, aka LA Galaxy, aka David & The Beckhams. This may be the last time us Torontos get to see The Beckham Show, barring a post-season miracle, as the tattoo/ coiffure enthusiast looks likely to drift out of MLS this off-season. That is of course if he doesn't become Le David du Beckham a la ownership du L'Impact avec le Fromage Saputo. The ownership rumour surrounding Goldenballs and Canada's second city still has a few frog legs but we would prefer to wager a real Nu-Cosmos (as in New York II) would be Beckham's likely fancy if ownership is in his future. Montreal just seems to lack a certain je nais c’est big.

As an aside to the usual pre-match banter, we are a little miffed with Toronto Mayor and TFC season ticket holder David Miller. With the Toronto International Film Festival in town, our fair city is currently home to a large chunk of Hollywood royalty. Surely City Hall could put a call into Los Angeles City Hall with a loosely veiled threat to, well let's just say, detain their precious celebrity commodities unless our boys leave with 3 points in tow. Just saying. They do worse in South American football.

LA GALAXY - 9-11-5 - 38pts - 2nd in WEST (4th OVERALL)
Up until last week Galaxy were easily the hottest team in MLS. They had only lost once since the end of June, not entirely coincidental to the return of David Beckham from his European loan excursion. However, it all came crashing down last week when LA allowed a club recorded 6 goals against - en route to a 6-3 drubbing by FC Dallas. That result was likely a blip on the radar as Galaxy have been a much improved team under manager/ Huckleberry Hound impersonator Bruce Arena this season. Beckham has been solid in his 7 games with the club this year but it is the somewhat unsung hero Landon Donovan who has been carrying the club with 10 goals and 5 assists. Donovan has always found a way to hurt TFC and will be as dangerous as ever. Two ex-Reds are in the team news this week as Alecko Eskandarian is out with a head injury (insert headgear jibe here) while Edson "Why the eff was he traded" Buddle returned from injury to immediately score a goal. Galaxy are definitely more of a unit this season than the collection of individuals of the past couple of seasons.

TORONTO FC - 9-7-9 - 34pts - 4th in EAST (10th OVERALL)
The Reds are coming off a sorely needed win over Colorado last week. The 3-2 victory was a scrappy, sloppy affair but still gave TFC a shot at the playoffs. To truly contend for the post-season though, the team must find a way to get some road wins. During the recent road swing, Toronto managed a paltry 1 out of 9 possible points. With a date in Chicago on the horizon next week, the road woes must be fixed now. The big news in this match will be the debut of the club's first DP Julian De Guzman. The former La Liga star will be well aware of David Beckham's midfield wizardry having played against him when they were both in Spain. Miracles can't be expected from De Gu but having him arrive at the same time that Carl Robinson has gone down with an ankle injury is a Godsend. Adrian Serioux is questionable with a neck injury so Nana Attakora will have to play a bigger role. Perhaps his confidence will be buoyed further after his first ever goal last week. Chris Cummins will still have a decision up front and I for one am tired of expecting him to bench Chad Barrett only to see him in the starting line-up every week. Does The Chad own incriminating videos of someone? Considering O'Brian White did more in two minutes last week than Barrett has done in 7 games we can hope for change. If not, someone better call the mayor's office fast.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

MLS changes are a schedule for success

Sometimes the least glamourous of announcements end up having the best long-term effects. Major League Soccer has made some really poor choices during its short history, especially on the competition side. Just ask those early year strikers taking running penalty kicks in their ridiculous kits! Yesterday however, league commissioner Don Garber announced a change that could very well stabilize the league for years to come while taking a further step towards international legitimacy.

The Don told the gathered press yesterday that starting in 2010, MLS would be adopting some significant changes to the schedule. You could probably hear the combined yawn of the media attending - MLS schedule announcements don't stir the sports editors of North America to stop the presses. Despite the lack of sex appeal, the announcement that MLS will finally be switching to a balanced schedule and will also be taking a break during next year's World Cup group stage is very welcome news to any MLS supporter. The balanced schedule will see every club play each other twice, home and home, and will hopefully serve up an easier roster of matches to follow on a weekly basis. Meanwhile, the World Cup break will not make the MLS schedule become a very weak stepsister to the opening round of the behemoth that is the Coupe De Monde.

Hopefully, from a Toronto perspective, the ownership will embrace the new balanced schedule and not try to tinker with it too much to coddle the supporters in early April and to allow big money friendlies to have prime dates. Yesterday’s moves will likely be a blip on most North American football fans’ radars but it is a great step forward. If more changes are introduced to further the league’s move towards the rest of the world’s leagues then it will only be stronger for it. Of course, when you give real football supporters a little crumb, we just want more. Surely Mr. Garber’s email inbox is already full of questions about a single table. With a balanced schedule, it’s the next stop on the road to true legitimacy in the supporters’ eyes. Kudos to MLS for this move - now don't go and try to introduce a "Three Pointer" goal from outside the box!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

THE STARTING 11: David Beckham's shocking demands before joining Montreal's MLS ownership group

TFC travel to LA this weekend to take on Galaxy and their hairstyle enthusiast / Milanese loan arranger David Beckham. However, over the past week Goldenballs has been rumoured with another Canadian club. Monsieur Beckham is apparently interested in joining the "Montreal to MLS" ownership group avec le Joey Saputo but before that happens, he has a few demands...

11. "Nasal Cockney" must be added to Province's official language act

10. Sir Alex Ferguson is invited over once a year to throw a hairdryer at the Montreal player of his choice

9. Victoriaville, Quebec must be immediately handed over to his wife

8. New Montreal away kit: just Calvin Kleins

7. Must be allowed to produce hilarious French-Canadian film "Bend It Like Bloc Quebecois"

6. Demands time to grow sexy new Samuel De Champlain hair-do

5. If Quebec separates from Canada, they have to take his wife too

4. Saputo Foods to market new line of "Beckham's Own Salami"

3. Cartoon snowman "Bonhomme De Neige" must live in the attic year-round for his sons' amusement

2. Montreal subway system to be re-named "METRO:Sexual"

1. Province's new name? QueBecks

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

With De Guzman comes De Questions...

For once there is a Toronto FC story that has no negative spin attached to it nor the nagging suspicion that there must be something evil lurking behind it. The Designated Player signing of Canada's most talented national team member, Julian De Guzman, is truly great news for the team and supporters alike in a year where good times have been rare. The only negatives being directed towards the signing have been from elements of support who would have liked to see TFC sign an aged star from Europe a la Luis Figo or Christian Vieri. Frankly, these views are entirely ignorant and show a lack of knowledge about football and usually come from casual "soccer" fans who only watch the World Cup or might watch The Reds for one half when they play against Beckham. However, despite all of the positives, a major signing does not come without repercussions and De Guzman's arrival will indeed create some questions that will need to be addressed in the near future.

The other shoe has to fall in the wages department. While it is true that only a share of De Guzman's salary goes against the cap, it is still Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment signing the cheques and they will want to trim some fat. With four midfielders making a healthy MLS wage, one of the two veterans Carl Robinson or Amado Guevara seem to be endangered species. With the emergence of Sam Cronin as a useful, and much cheaper, holding midfielder, the hard-working Welshman Robinson could be headed out of town. There would be a lot of steel if TFC played both Robinson and De Guzman together but Robbo's age and large wage seems to work against him.

This question could directly influence or be the result of the above question. If one of the other pricey midfield pieces is moved out then De Guzman will fall into that spot. The Canadian national midfielder has terrific versatility and can play anywhere in the middle of the park. In his years with Deportivo La Coruna, De Guzman was the stalwart holding midfielder responsible for shunting the attacks of such juggernauts as Barcelona and Real Madrid while with the national team he has been an effective attacking midfielder capable of spraying pinpoint passes and getting open in channels. His positioning will likely be a product of someone else's departure but it would be a very strong midfield if all the pieces were kept for at least one more season.

De Guzman alone does not possess the skills to single-handedly transform TFC, but few players in the world do. Toronto is in a logjam of other very capable squads vying for the last playoff spot and The Reds have been inconsistent to say the least. De Guzman will be a great presence in the middle but five games is a short time to integrate into a new system, mesh with teammates' styles and take on the leadership role that his stature demands. His familiarity with Dwayne De Rosario and the other Canadian nationals will accelerate the process but he alone can't solve the often porous defence and the unreliable strikers. Making the playoffs will have more to do with a combined team effort as opposed to De Guzman doing it alone.

For the first time in the club's history, one of the players on the squad is making a lot more money than anyone else. Other DP situations in MLS haven't seemed to be an issue with the rank and file but who knows what happens behind closed doors? It can’t be the easiest situation for De Rosario who arrived in the off-season as the all-conquering hometown boy making good, only to be trumped in the same season as the big star. The truth is De Ro will score more goals than De Guzman which will cement his stardom amongst the supporters but hopefully the chasm between their wages, and the wages of other veterans on the team, won’t make the green-eyed monster raise its ugly head.

Anyone who watches TFC faithfully realizes there are a few more holes to fill than just a star midfielder. As mentioned previously, there is a need for talent in the back four and the desperate need for a clinical finisher. It will be interesting to see if Mo Johnston rests on his laurels of this signing or if the sudden star power of TFC attracts a few more quality signings. Additional players arriving also depends on the appetite of the MLSE Board to spend further, but not adding to the puzzle would almost negate De Guzman’s worth.

With Vancouver set to join MLS and Montreal likely close behind, the pool for quality Canadian talent will shrink in a hurry. It will be very interesting to see if Whitecaps or Olympique du Montreal (we can hope, no?) will go out and immediately try to snap up other top Canucks. There are a couple more players out there worthy of big bucks but De Guzman may be the only one who could demand DP money. Toronto could very well try to corner the market on hosers before Vancouver starts signing.

No matter how you slice the De Guzman signing, it is good for TFC and good for Canadian football. Questions will always arise from such a massive shift in football culture so Toronto supporters can only enjoy the ride with De Gu and hope that one good step leads to another. Oh… and work on growing a Scarbo-Fro for next season.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

3 Points to the Future

Whether or not TFC make the playoffs, and it is still an uphill battle, one thing was evident in today's 3-2 win over Colorado - the future is near. In the stadium, on the broadcast and most importantly on the pitch - change is in the air. That change is going to be necessary if this club is serious about moving forward and many of the pieces showed their potential today. However, much of the team's established baggage showed why it is time for deeper, potentially difficult, transition.

In a week where TFC celebrated the retirement of one hero and welcomed it's latest, today's scrappy win illustrated the need for a dedication in the off-season to trimming the fat. It was the players who have joined the club this year who showed all the determination and heart today and were directly responsible for the victory. It was some of the established players who nearly threw it away with lazy, uninspired performances.

Dwayne De Rosario, the club's true on-field leader, dragged the team through the 1st half, eventually scoring a great goal in the 19th minute making his tally 10 on the year. The match continued to be scrappy as the half wound down with Ali Gerba showing the best flashes and having one of his most solid physical showings as a Red. The two clubs went into the dressing rooms at 1-0 but as the 2nd half begun it seemed as if the usual TFC let-down had returned. The lethal Conor Casey equalized early for Rapids and sucked the air out of BMO before most of the Chip Butty Brigade had returned to their seats. Colorado continued to dominate until Chris Cummins went with a youth movement bringing in O'Brian White and debutant Lesly Fellinga in as subs. White barely had a sweat on before scoring a beautiful poacher's flick and putting TFC ahead. Young standout defender Nana Attakora added the third with his first ever MLS goal and despite some sloppiness and a second Rapids goal, Toronto grabbed an essential 3 points.

While the young dynamic Reds were making all the difference and De Ro was leading the charge, some veterans simply didn't show up. Amado Guevara gets some sympathy for just returning from international play but he simply disappears too many times for this team. His often selfish, lazy play and mock frustration at his teammates' supposed shortcomings has grown tired. All or nothing performances are not needed on this team. Captain, Jim Brennan is an undeniable favourite but seems to be losing a step every match. His once assured crosses are gone and defenders are getting by him with regularity. In the "Beat a Dead Horse Department", Chad Barrett amazes. He amazes by somehow making it into the starting line-up every week. It is not an effort problem with the Welfare Rooney but the fact that he has so little football intelligence as reflected by head-down runs and idiotic fouls like those witnessed today. There has to be some addition by subtraction this off-season with superior replacements.

The last glimpses of TFC 2010 came courtesy of the CBC TV broadcast. MLSE's Tom Anselmi was enthusiastically pumping the corporate "plan" to install real grass in time for next year. He glossed over the city council vote though and we prefer to stick with De Ro's assessment of "...believe it when I see it". The other choice peek into BMO Field circa 2013 was Danny Dichio plainly saying that after getting his coaching chops he'd "want to be manager of this club one day". That no doubt got a lot of Keegans in a twist in Toronto but hopefully it will only be when he is truly ready. 3 points then, a little closer to the playoffs but better is needed if TFC truly wants a shot at post season. If they fail in that quest, let's hope that today's optimistic signs are embraced fully and not with the usual half-baked off-seasons of the past three years.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Match Preview: Colorado II: Return To Sea Level

BMO Field - Saturday, 4:30PM EST
TV: CBC -- Radio: The Fan 590

Hey Colorado - do you like the circus? Well, let's hope so because without putting up the BMO Winter Bubble, the big top is definitely in full effect. The only thing not happening around TFC this week is talk of how poor they have played lately! Since we last met Rapid Colorado (apologies to Vienna and Bucharest etc.) The Reds have forced their homemade legend and cult hero Danny Dichio into retirement; revealed their "plans" for bringing grass to BMO Field (believe it only if you smoke grass); and today, excuse me while I re-hinge my jaw, have signed their first Designated Player in the way of Scarborough Afro-cultivator and former La Liga star Julian De Guzman! So... how was your week Denverites? One thing we can say about Toronto FC under Chairman Mo's tutelage - they are rarely boring. True, the news is usually infuriating but sprinkled in the midst is sometimes a glimmer of hope which keeps us addicted like shaking Field Turf junkies.

TORONTO FC - 8-7-9 - 31pts - 5th in EAST (11th OVERALL)
Make no bones about it, Toronto FC must win this match to stay even remotely close to the playoff hunt. The club's recent form is shocking and it is surprising that after only one win in seven matches they still have the post-season opportunity. Thank the Baby Jesus for MLS parity. Last week's disheartening 1-0 loss to our back-to-back buddies Colorado had Dwayne De Rosario steaming after the match and questioning his team mates "commitment" to the cause. It is going to take a much improved display from Chris Cummins' men to get 3 points tomorrow and as usual, the problem will come from the impotent strikers. If Chad Barrett starts - switch the channel to pro bowling. The task will be made harder with a possible injury to Carl Robinson as well as suspensions to Adrian Serioux and Amadou Sanyang. Amado Guevara will be back from international duty but whether his mind and energy follow his body on to the pitch is another story. Whether or not brand new DP midfielder Julian De Guzman will play, depends on his contract and transfer being finalized by MLS in time as well as his fitness.

COLORADO RAPIDS - 9-6-7 - 36pts - 3rd in WEST (5th OVERALL)
What Toronto saw from Colorado last week in suburban Denver is what we will likely see again. Perhaps the outlook will be slightly defensive but if TFC goes cold early, expect Rapids to go for the jugular. The Maroons are creeping their way up the table and know that with a few more points they can secure a playoff berth. The steady results as of late may very well set them in good standing against TFC's off the field distractions. The toothless (literally and dentally not figuratively) Conor Casey will be the main threat once again as he shows his wisdom (see what I did there!) in front of goal. With 12 goals, Casey leads MLS and is on track for the golden boot. If only TFC could have signed him... oh yeah... never mind. Pablo Mastroeni is still serving suspension so midfield duties will fall to the pinpoint passing skills of Mehdi "The Blues Brothers" Ballouchy with Omar Cummings helping out up front. If Rapids can ignore the circus then they can shoot TFC's season out of the proverbial cannon.

BREAKING NEWS: De Guzman joins "Scarborough FC"

TFC (aka Scarborough FC) finally landed the international star that the team's fervent supporters have felt they deserved for a long time. The biggest surprise is that instead of splashing the cash on an aging European striker with two bad knees and former glories, the club went out and got a really good footballer. Instantly one of MLS's best midfielders, Julian De Guzman enters the league at the peak of his career at the age of 28. The local lad, better known in Spain than Scarborough has become the club's first Designated Player and pending league approval, could be on the pitch with his new team mates as early as tomorrow.

The new # 6 will bridge the gap between the defence and the offence so that opponents will no longer be able to shut down TFC's midfield by simply double-teaming Dwayne De Rosario. De Guzman's pedigree as a La Liga standout with Deportivo La Coruna can only help the young midfielders who will play around him while his stature on the national team can only improve the club's image in Canada. The signing is an inspired one as the casual "soccer" fan would have rather seen an international "big name" star as DP but with De Guzman, TFC has potential leadership and quality in the centre of the pitch for years to come.

We will not praise MLSE for paying the "big bucks" as De Guzman's contract, despite its MLS heavyweight status, is more in line with a Leafs' third-liner or Raptors' end of bench centre. However, as hard as it is to do on this site, credit has to be given to Mo Johnston and his team for landing true quality and not spending the money on the Robbie Fowler's of the world. Julian De Guzman will make a better TFC, but still far from a perfect one. Huge holes in the back, on the wings and especially up front need to be filled and his signing may actually make some issues arise that will need to be addressed in the near future. For today however, TFC supporters can dream once again and what better way than by seeing what the richest domestic footballer in Canadian history had to say… "I'm very excited. I have always imagined this moment happening and here it is," "It is a celebration for myself and my family and I think good things are going to happen for me being back home and being able to play with Toronto FC. It's a dream come true to be able to play for my hometown team."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

THE STARTING 11: Surprising duties and perks of Danny Dichio's new role

11. Has to give Ali Gerba hairstyle tips

10. Not allowed to Wikipedia "Kevin Keegan"

9. Has to be Prom DJ at MLSE exec's kids' high schools

8. Must let Mo Johnston sit on his shoulders during all future press conferences.

7. Can challenge Pinball Clemons to a wrestle

6. Gets to live in CNE's Food Building

5. Forced to get things off of the top shelf for Chad Barrett

4. Welcomed to throw ceremonial "first punch" in South Stand before each match

3. Official supporters groups must go to his house every night and quietly sing "The Dichio Song" until he falls asleep

2. Dichio's Etobicoke basement: wall-to-wall Field Turf

1. All the Chip Buttys he can eat

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Final 24: Danny Dichio's playing career comes to a sudden end

From the first time Danny Dichio stepped on the field for Toronto FC you could see the difference. There was a fire in the belly of a man who was enjoying his football curtain call. Dichio didn't come to TFC for one last paycheque, he came here to prove to himself and to the football world that he was still the physical force that made him a fan favourite with such big clubs as QPR, Sunderland and West Brom. His short-term impact was immediate, steel in the line-up and of course the club's first goal that caused a cascade of seat cushions nearly three years ago. His long-term affect can be heard, like it or loathe it, sung out loud at the 24th minute mark of every home match TFC plays at BMO Field. Dichio reached a level of affection and recognition in this city where such love is usually reserved for the most rare of professional athletes - fewer still, those who don't wear skates to work.

The hulking striker was destined to be a hero in Toronto. An immigrant, English with a mix of Italian, like the multicultural mixed blend of so many here. The size, power and true blue collar work ethic Toronto fans love in any sportsman. The fact that he loved the city right back and brought his family here to live, and become Canadians, sealed the deal. The truth on the pitch is that Dichio was a fair striker on a bad team. His size and target man skill was never utilized enough due to the rotating door of poor striking partners he was offered. Like with so many big men in football, the knees and the back began to fail. The grueling wear put on his aching joints was multiplied largely by the state of BMO Field's truly embarrassing pitch and this year it was obvious that time had caught up to him. Surely the proud but shy man would have liked to see the year out as a player but in true "team-first" style, he hung up his boots early so that his club could apparently move forward.

Dichio has accepted an immediate role as a TFC roving coach where his emphasis will be placed on Academy duties while he learns the coaching trade and also as a team ambassador, something he already was whether he knew it or not. His selfless act of early retirement may well pave the way for Julian De Guzman's signature which may be the most valuable assist Dichio could add this season, again the sign of a team-player. At times, the London native seems almost uncomfortable with his level of adoration from TFC supporters and in fact it does go over the top at times. Dichio never asked and never expected to be this team's messiah but that is just how fan favourites are made. Star players, blessed with an overabundance of skill are expected to do great things - they also have a tendency to come and go. When a guy comes along who has to work hard to make the most of his chance, the supporter can see themselves in him. Add to that mixture a fiery pride in the name on the front of the shirt and a devotion to the city and indeed you have the makings of a team legend.

Supporters and teammates alike will miss Danny Dichio on the field but one gets the feeling that the past three seasons were Chapter 1 of his Toronto story. His quest to become a fully-trained coach is admirable and hopefully the temptation to thrust him up the ladder like a Canadian Kevin Keegan will be avoided by TFC brass. No one will be surprised if Dichio becomes manager of this club one day, it seems like a foregone conclusion, but supporters won't want to see him parachuted in during a desperate stretch much like Chris Cummins has been and be doomed to failure. The one slice of poetic justice that may come out of this is the snowball effect on Mo Johnston. Mo needed a favour from Dichio and offered him the coaching role to soothe sore feelings in the player and in the fans. However, in a not-to-distant future, a time may come when Mo's job is finally on the line and suddenly MLSE realizes they have a man who knows football and that the fans adore. Mr. Johnston you may have just created a monster. Keeganstein if you wish. Happy retirement Danny, we will be seeing you around for a long time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Bald Of Confusion: DD, De GU & DP's

Does Mo Johnston take vacations to active volcanoes? The surly Scotsman sure does love watching a good blow-up doesn't he? News in TFC-world this afternoon is that a press conference has been called for tomorrow where any number of things may be possibly announced. The two most valid rumours swirling around involve striker/ bald messiah Danny Dichio and the other our favourite defensive midfielder/ afro enthusiast Julian De Guzman.

The Dichio rumour is that the team's original cult hero will announce his "voluntary" retirement from the game and subsequently begin his new role as a coach for the club. There has been an uncomfortable air around Dichio and his playing time for weeks now and this isn't necessarily surprising. It does seem that the forward has been gently nudged into an early announcement considering he was already planning to retire a month and a half from now. The timing of the announcement lends credence to the second half of this rumour and its necessary cap room involvement. The coaching job offer was a necessity for Mo Johnston in order to prevent mass riots at BMO Field if Dichio would have been released outright. Dichio could be a positive influence in TFC's coaching staff as long as he's not being groomed to be Toronto's version of Kevin Keegan.

The move to eliminate Dichio's salary is apparently to make room on this year's wage bill for the introduction of none other than Julian De Guzman. Reports have placed the Scarborough native and La Liga standout in Toronto and claim that a three year plus Designated Player contract has been signed and awaits MLS approval. If it goes through, De Gu will be suiting up for the remainder of this season and the three following ones. Reports are conflicting whether or not any concrete announcement about De Guzman will be part of Wednesday's conference. Whether the 28 year old realizes the club plays on spray-painted concrete is unknown.

The announcements have come out of the blue and in true TFC fashion, have occurred during some awful play on the pitch. What another DM, even one as talented as De Gu, does for a team who can't score is a question for another day. One thing that is safe to predict is that Dichio will not be the last of TFC's original core of veterans who are shown the door between now and next season.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Workers of the TFC unite!

With it being Labour Day (yes, our American friends, we spell it with a "u"), The Yorkies want to celebrate the true workers who have so far worn the Red for Toronto FC. Channelling the proletariat spirit of Karl Marx we offer you a starting line-up of the most blue collar, hard working and enthusiastic lads to run out on our Eastern Bloc era artificial turf. They may not be the most talented group in TFC's short history but this starting 11 would have definitely put in a harder effort this past Saturday night in Colorado. This is a line-up that could have started for SC Karl-Marx-Stadt (yes, they existed).

Manager: John Carver

G: Greg Sutton
D: Marvell Wynne
D: Tyrone Marshall
D: Andrew Boyens
D: Adrian Serioux
M: Jim Brennan
M: Chris Pozniak
M: Carl Robinson
M: Dwayne De Rosario
F: Andrea Lombardo
F: Danny Dichio

Talented, maybe not. Bust their humps for TFC? Yes. They would definitely beat the crap out of the Mo Johnston managed TFC Bourgeoisie squad featuring the likes of Laurent Robert, Rohan Ricketts and Jeff Cunningham.

Happy Labour Day Canada! Happy Labor Day USA! Happy Monday everyone else around the world! Happy Mondays Shaun Ryder and Bez.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

TFC season in Rapid decline... again

They have been told that there are only a few games left right? I mean, TFC didn't think this was another run out against a Saskatchewan amateur club did they? Another away match, same away form for The Reds as they never looked like they were interested in giving Colorado a match which they lost 1-0. There are really no positives to take away from this lifeless performance which sees Toronto slide that much deeper into the playoff abyss.

Once again, manager Chris Cummins (or a line-up faxed from Mo...whatever) could not create a formation that could create a goal. A good chance would have been nice. Chad Barrett played the whole game - that was special.

The reliance on the TFC cheap movement, sorry, youth movement, finally cracked as Emmanuel Gomez gave away a penalty (which Conor Casey missed) and Amadou Sanyang was red-carded with sloppy tackles. Adrian Serioux showed some solidarity with the young African by getting his own red card and dropping TFC to 9 men. By that point Conor Casey had already put Rapids ahead with a strong header which was met with zero resistance from TFC's "defence" and the rest of the team were wondering if Marley & Me would be playing on the flight home.

We may scoff at Colorado's mishandling of promotions and atmosphere but they have every right to scoff at our line-up tonight. Poor. The frightening aftermath of this result is the post-match interviews - especially Dwayne De Rosario's. You can practically see the regret of coming to TFC rising of the man. In his entire MLS career he hasn't had to deal with such a poorly managed squad. "You can't leave it to one or two guys..." was De Ro's explanation of a team who thinks scoring goals is kind of important sometimes. Danny Dichio's negative body language was telling as well but Mo Puppet (aka Chris Cummins) was still touting the keep your heads up and work hard philosophy which has seen TFC slump into mediocrity.

THE WORD: Deja Gu all over again

He's baaaaack! Apparently. The buzz around Toronto's television media is that Julian De Guzman is once again in the Toronto FC picture. According to some sources a contract has been agreed to but the sticking point is how TFC makes room in the algebra-like MLS salary cap. Scarborough's own would demand DP money and The Reds would have some hard choices to make.

The timing of the news gives it more credibility but would also make Mo Johnston's job harder - something he doesn't seem to take a liking to. The pro and the con is that the European transfer window has closed. The pro side is De Guzman didn't receive an offer of his liking in UEFA-World, the con side is that it would be impossible to off-load an asset to Europe (i.e. Carl Robinson). If this has any truth, and we are still weary here, Mo would have to find an MLS deal to free up some big money fast or give some veterans their outright release.

De Guzman would no doubt be a great acquisition but it would be a signing with repercussions. It may mean the unceremonious dumping of the likes of Carl Robinson, Amado Guevara and/or Danny Dichio. There are also questions around the move such as - does a team who can't score need a DP defensive midfielder and what effect would it have anyways with six games left? But we are getting way, way ahead of ourselves. Reds' supporters have been down De Guzman Street already and left empty-handed and it could happen again. Unless of course a wee Scotsman realizes he needs a major signing (or rumour of) to piggy-back his own contract extension. Funny how these stories seem to pop up when the play on the pitch collpases... again. Just saying.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Match Preview: Denver - The Last MLS Dinosaur

Dick's Sporting Goods Park - Saturday 10PM EST
TV - Rogers Sportsnet -- Radio: The Fan 590

It's one of those glorious little quirks of Major League Soccer that helps hold it back in the eyes of Eurosnobs and naysayers here and abroad. A back-to-back fixture against the same club. Nowhere else in the world of football does this occur in regular season. An absurdity that has to be fixed. Also needing a fix - Colorado Rapids. Is there a more tepid, poorly managed team (off the field) in MLS as the Maroons? While it's true they have rarely been world-beaters on the pitch, their image, as controlled by owner Stan Kroenke and his staff is poor. Soccer-mom baiting madness rules in Colorado with thundersticks, "Bring your dog to the match" type promotions and other useless corporate mush straight out of "The Big Book of American Soccer Leagues".

It was thought that building a truly beautiful stadium would change things but The Dick has the same atmosphere as Stan Kroenke's other club - Arsenal. Like a mini-Emirates Stadium, The Dick, on most match days, shares Arsenal's atmosphere that rates slightly higher than a library that is about to close. In a league where many original clubs have taken the baby steps towards acting like world football teams and not roller hockey franchises, Rapids have given no favours to real football supporters in the Denver area and their attendance and atmosphere are the proof. At least this week, TFC supporters can concentrate on the play on the pitch and not about a pissing match about who has the best fans.

COLORADO RAPIDS - 9-6-7 - 33pts 4th in WEST (6th OVERALL)
Rapids have been hovering around mid-table for most of the season and have been quite an enigma lately. Recently they suffered a humiliating 3-2 loss at Chicago after holding a 2-0 lead for much of the match. However, in their next match they answered the previous form with a solid 1-0 win over title favourites Houston Dynamo. Injuries and absences will make this match a challenge for Rapids with leading scorer, and brief Red, Conor Casey on national team duty while midfield talisman Pablo Mastroeni is out on suspension. Playmaking duties will fall to talented Moroccan Mhedi "Don't Call Me John" Ballouchy who will try to aim his pinpoint crosses at Jamaican forward Omar Cummings. Hopefully no Golden Retrievers will get involved in the play.

TORONTO FC - 8-7-8 - 31pts 5th in EAST (11th OVERALL)
The story continues for "The Road Worriers" and their western travels. Failing to get a result against an undermanned Rapids will be a huge blow to the club. With the large amount of clubs within 3 points of TFC in the standings, any combination of Toronto losses and close rival wins can severely damage the playoff hopes. The worry is once again up front where scoring has been a rumour for TFC. Which combo Chris Cummins will go with is anyone's guess these days although if Chad Barrett gets another start after last week at Seattle, many will be scratching their heads. To The Chad's defence though, Gerba, Vitti, Dichio (remember him?) and whoever else is added to the mixture up front has been equally useless or used incorrectly. The one plus out of the Seattle match was the ability shown by rookie Gambian midfielder Amadou Sanyang. Sanyang and his countryman Emmanuel Gomez have shown a great deal of composure and poise despite their age and sudden arrival from Africa. With an ankle injury to Carl Robinson and Amado Guevara away on international duty, Sanyang may very well get the call. Does The Gambia happen to have any strikers waiting around?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

TFC Media League - Round 5

TFC's playoff push, or ambush depending on your view, continues to roll on and the local media is keeping tabs. And, as usual it's The Yorkies keeping tabs on those keeping tabs. You know what drink I miss? Tab. Either way, it's Round 5 of the TFC Media League and there's been a change at the top as The Toronto Star aka Blue Star Toronto jump over rival The Sun. AM640 made a mid-table jump while TSN is speeding towards relegation. You can check the complete table by scrolling down the right side of this page.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

THE STARTING 11: Unusual MLS Ailments

Swine Flu. West Nile Virus. Monkey Pox. Athletes' Foot. As we have seen this summer by the quarantining of Galaxy star Landon Donovan, even elite footballers aren't immune to the new world of pandemics. However, few people realize that Major League Soccer has it's own specific list of horrifying viruses, diseases and ailments. Cover your mouth before you contract...

11. Dallas Burn

10. The Schelottos

9. Lung Berg

8. Expanded Saputos

7. Bad case of the Rapids

6. Massively Swollen Supporter Heads (Localized to BMO Field and Qwest Field)

5. New York Red Balls

4. Migraine / Hejduk

3. Tightness in Wallet (TFC ownership specific)

2. Beckham Fever (Nearly cured)

1. Columbus Croup