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Thursday, December 30, 2010

THE WORD: Toronto FC Front Office to become New New England Re-Revolution?

Cheers to that rumour!

It's far from mysterious when these sudden "good news" stories emerge mere hours after a PR disaster but numerous sources are hinting that part or all of TFC's front office mess could be resolved in the near future. First came the news this afternoon from England's south coast that ex-Plymouth Argyle boss and ex-New England Revolution Assistant Paul Mariner has left Plymouth with an eye on becoming TFC's bench boss. This half of the rumour isn't exactly shocking as Mariner has been haevily linked to The Reds lately but soon after came an addition that was a surprise.
Sportsnet's Gerry Dobson dropped a more than subtle hint that not only would Mariner be one piece of the TFC puzzle but his former boss in New England, Steve Nicol, would join him at BMO Field as well. Nicol's name has got tongues wagging locally as the possible "last-minute candidate" that was rumoured yesterday for the GM position. There is no arguing that Nicol and Mariner did some pretty remarkable things together under an ownership in New England that make ML$E look like the Salvation Army in terms of generosity. They also have a great working relationship together and would be quite the coup for TFC in comparison with what most of us still fear - an Earl Cochrane/ Jimmy Brennan/ Nick Dasovic braintrust.
Now before anyone goes making Mariner-Nicol banners we do have to take a breath and realize both sources do have more than a tendency to exaggerate and run with a story long before it is settled. It is also way more than curious that such rapid movement would happen in the midst of a TFC PR nightmare when so little has progressed in the past three months. We can dream that ML$E have had a sudden post-Christmas Ebenezer Scrooge moment... but lets not cook our goose yet.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bhoys Trouble: Possible fallout from "DeRoGate"

De Ro perfects the look most TFC supporters have

Remember a few weeks ago when Toronto FC Konsültant Jürgen Klinsmann was waxing on about the pre-Christmas signing of our new head coach? Ah... good times. While the future wasn't exactly bright (since Tom Anselmi and ML$E were still involved) it was at least something to look forward to. A shiny present to unwrap on Christmas Day from our German uncle. Well I hope you kept the gift receipt because Boxing Day delivered a box full of circus dung for TFC supporters.
Now Reds supporters are used to these absurd antics but rarely have we seen a crapstorm story like the Dwayne De Rosario-to-Celtic drama. Quite arguably, rarely in football do you see a saga that was so poorly handled - from all parties involved. De Ro and his management's "he said, we said" permission slips; Earl Cochrane's denying confirmation of confirming his denial about said permission; and even Celtic who have acted like it was the first time they had even heard of Major League Soccer or active contracts. It is a mess from top to bottom and the blame could still land on any doorstep but the long-term fallout from "DeRoGate 2010" will be felt long-term.
Let's take a look at a few best case and worst case scenarios for the main players in Toronto FC's latest (but unlikely last) three-ring-circus...
Best Case Scenario: De Ro gets his permission to train with Celtic and impresses the Glasgow outfit during the week landing himself a long-term stay in Scotland and one last decent payday
Worst Case Scenario: Celtic decides De Ro isn't up to scratch and the player must return to TFC and MLS as a pariah who has managed against all odds to turn a large chunk of the club's supporters against him. He would get a rough ride at BMO if he's not dealt to another MLS club first where his career would peter out quietly
Best Case Scenario: The permission for De Ro to train at Celtic goes through quietly and quickly and the whole mess is spun as a clerical and communications error with Cochrane seen as the upstanding "victim" in a mess beyond his control
Worst Case Scenario: The "Interim-ish" GM is exposed for the amateur he actually is who was too much of a rookie to handle the shark-infested world of sports agents. His fledgling GM career which looked certain until yesterday is cut short in an ML$E clean-up PR job
Best Case Scenario: The Glasgow giants like what they see in De Ro and get a cheap deal worked out with TFC/MLS quickly and don't get their reputation dragged through any "tapping up" talk or threats of action from Major League Soccer
Worst Case Scenario: Want to sign De Rosario (if this whole zoo hasn't turned them off him already) but get caught with their hand in the cookie jar in regards to his contract situation meaning they have to pay a higher transfer fee to avoid any legal wrangling
Best Case Scenario: Given a free pass to get out of De Ro's hefty DP salary request and replace him with an Academy player at 1/10th the cap-space all while avoiding the wrath of the fans who are too angry at De Rosario to notice. Also, get to cash in on an unexpected transfer fee, and... have a built-in excuse for when the 2011 season inevitably goes terribly wrong.
Worst Case Scenario: Having to sell De Rosario jersey's at 10% off
Best Case Scenario: ML$E, who seemed to be moments away from handing Earl Cochrane the full-time GM gig, will have their hand forced by the errors of their "amateur-hour" front office and be made to buy a top-level executive and head coach in order to spin the bad stench away from TFC... again.
Worst Case Scenario (yet most likely): The exact opposite of that and the introduction of the "Cochrane/ Brennan/ Dasovic - 5 Year Plan". Oh, and not having anyone who scores goals. That's bad too.

THE STARTING 11: Surprising reasons behind De Ro's desire for Celtic switch

Just two buttered slices away...

It's barely been 24 hours since the whole "De Ro to Celtic" drama began in earnest, but boy - doesn't it feel so much longer? I guess when you're a TFC supporter and the circus visits town so often, these things just get old in a hurry. At last word, Earl Cochrane has yet to be able to confirm if he denied his original denial confirmation or whether that denial had yet to be confirmed. He sure did learn from Mo Johnston well didn't he? What is for sure is that Dwayne De Rosario is indeed training with the Glasgow giants with an eye on a switch but apart from escaping the sinking "SS TFC-Tanic" what other reasons are behind the Scarberian's desire to join The Bhoys?
11. Just couldn't go to Columbus, Ohio one more time
10. Since Henrik Larsson left, Scottish League has been missing the "wacky hair-do factor"
9. The whole Catholic v. Protestant battle is easier than the whole 416/905 conflict
8. Loves how nickname is pronounced "DayRoo" in Scottish brogue
7. Horizontal stripes are flattering
6. If it doesn't work out at Celtic, old pal Mo Johnston can get him trial at Rangers
5. Had to try the Haggis Butty
4. There are great opportunities in the Scottish online poker industry
3. The thrifty Scottish can appreciate a good post-goal cheque-signing gesture
2. Glasgow is the Scarborough of Europe
1. It was his boyhood dream to one day play against St. Mirren

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is anyone in charge at TFC? De Ro joins Celtic after Cochrane rubbishes rumour

Earl Cochrane says the above picture doesn't exist

In perhaps the most shocking display that ML$E's brand new "braintrust" is as broken as the Mo Johnston era's, Toronto FC star (and best player all-time) Dwayne De Rosario has officially joined Glasgow giants Celtic on trial this morning. The trial isn't overwhelmingly surprising but what is a shock and a major black eye for TFC is that "Not-really-interim-at-all" Director Earl Cochrane denied the rumours of De Ro leaving for Celtic less than 24 hours ago! That means that while Cochrane, who is far closer to a PR man than a GM, was releasing a statement to Toronto media denying the trial, De Ro was relaxing in a Scottish hotel waiting to suit up this morning.
If the early morning rumours are true and De Rosario went to Glasgow without permission from TFC it will give plenty of fuel to the star's sometimes reactionary group of detractors in his hometown. However, even the biggest anti-De Ro naysayer has to agree that he is TFC's most important player right now and for Cochrane, who is obviously being groomed as the next GM, to not even know if he is getting ready to suit up with another club reeks of amateur hour. Whether or not Cochrane and TFC even knew about the trial is beyond knowledge at the moment but that is really no excuse. Yes, De Ro is an ambitious person who could have taken the trial on by himself but there isn't a "real" director anywhere in the world who wouldn't have heard about it first.
While so much more will come out and be written over the next few days about this supposed trial and whether it will lead to a transfer or a loan, it isn't the player movement that is really important. De Ro is a great player and losing him would hurt - but not ruin the team. The real ruin of this team is the amateur actions of a "new" head office run by Earl Cochrane who don't even have the football connections to hear about their star player suiting up with another club... while under contract! It does not bode well for the future. Many supporters have drifted into the "let's give Earl a chance" mode that ML$E wants you to eat up. But, take this as a BIG alarm bell that Cochrane is not ready for this stage and Toronto FC should not be where PR men get to "play" as Director and learn on the job. The spin from ML$E will be "bad De Ro, poor Earl". Don't buy it.

Anyone want to take odds on a TFC story announcing a new coach by New Year's today?

UPDATE: Toronto FC released an official statement reiterating their complete innocence and ignorance that their star player is training with another club. It's okay though - Earl's gonna give Celtic a call later if Tom Anselmi gives him the long-distance code. Read the statement here (if you want to be more embarrassed by your club...)

UPDATE II: "The Updatening": TFC continues to look under tables and chairs to see where De Ro is. Have asked Uncle Don to call those mean De Ro-stealing Scots. Read more here... if you're not bored by now.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas the night before Christmas - The Yorkies stylee

Gather 'round childrens... lemme tell you a story...

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the ground,
No supporter was stirring, nor making a sound;
The boot bags were hung by the lockers with care,
With hopes that Nick Garcia’s would soon be bare;

The players were nestled, all snug in their beds,
While visions of coherent passing danc'd in their heads,
And Tommy in his panda-fur pajamas, with supporters abused,
He’d settled his brains after leaving his customers confused.

When out on the pitch there arose such a clatter,
DeRo made a motion to make his wallet look fatter.
Away to the physio I flew like a flash
Chad was cramping up, Cann survived a mid-air crash.

O’Brien White, with his moves so slow,
Was traded to Seattle, currently part way through Ohio
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a rented Mercedes, and a two steins full of beer,

He was a little old diver, so cunning and German,
Tommy knew in a moment it must be Herr Klinsmann.
Tom was sure his club wouldn’t be lame.
Jurgen presented his managers and listed them by name:

“How bout Avram, or McLaren, or Nicol or Voller,
"Or how about Der Kaiser, I can give him a holler!”
“I got Allardyce on the phone, he’s my drinking pal”
“And Rafa just got canned from Internazionale”

As dry heaves of stress and a tear forms in his eye,
Tommy panics at the money he’ll pay and asks “Why!?”;
An overpriced manager the teachers won’t allow;
Jurgen unimpressed sighs aloud “so what now?”;

And then down the hall, some beeping and a ring;
A message transmitting on the fax machine;
It’s all in Spanish, but it’s something no one would wanna;
A resume in crayon from Diego Maradona;

Patience running thin and time running out;
And a half full roster leaving supporters with doubt;
Dreaming of more spin for the customers to be fed;
While another disastrous season is lying just ahead;

Jurgen warns Tommy “You must make a choice quick,”
“The season is in three months, you shortsighted prick!”
Tommy screams, “You can’t talk to me like that! I’ll give you a pink slip!”
Jurgen responds “That’s fine if you want, I’ve actually won a championship.”

With the truth of the failures all throughout MLSE
Tommy begs with forgiveness “I’m so sorry...”;
Rushing through the various Curriculum Vitae;
Tommy’s deeply frustrated as he only knows hockey;

Doesn’t know the difference between League and FA Cup;
Understanding offside makes him dizzy and throw up;
His lack of comprehension is starting to show;
He relies on his instincts to ‘go with what you know.”;

With only one option that could seemingly do the trick;
“On Wednesday we’ll announce Cochrane and Dasovic!”’
Remove the “interim” from their titles and some media spin;
Minimal expectations for the pair of them to win;

“we trust them, they’re Canadian, they know the game...”;
“and most of the supporters won’t think the move is lame!”;
“That’ll give us a year and some change, perhaps”;
“Until we have to explain finishing well behind the Whitecaps”;

Jurgen facepalms himself as he believes there’s no hope;
And wonders if Tommy will hang himself if he gives him enough rope;
He shakes his head but still knows he is blessed;
His failings won’t be reported because no one follows MLS;

Jurgen sprung into his Mercedes as the door closes with a slam;
He moves to his new crisis club, Feyenoord Rotterdam;
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-
“Be thankful that there is no relegation fight!”


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

All's not bright with Reds' Silent Nights

Brennan, Cochrane and Anselmi scout the Bethlehem Second Division

While Christmas was never set in stone as some kind of due date for Toronto FC to address its front office woes, many supporters had this time of year earmarked as the point where all would be settled. With barely four days left before Santa arrives (Claus, not a Roque Santa Cruz DP rumour) barely a thing has changed in TFC's front office since Mo Johnston and Preki were dispatched late this past summer. The time it has taken to replace those "masterminds" has been lengthy by any club's standard but is the delay due to patient consideration or misguided lack of urgency?
As Reds' supporters know, club owners ML$E decided to hire Jürgen Klinsmann and his company SoccerSolutions as "consultants" during this latest rebuilding phase instead of hiring a new front office staff immediately. Now many clubs choose similar due diligence before making major hirings but as time has gone on, the role of Klinsmann & Co. has become questionable. What seemed to be a mission to put the right people in place for a bright future has been muddled by talk of finding "philosophies" and "club identity". While those are important aspects of a club, they usually happen organically and can't be bought quickly, unlike the right people. In a recent interview, Klinsmann mentioned that a new coach would be in place by Christmas. It was this comment that upped the fans' expectations of pre-Yuletide action but will also make them fairly question Klinsmann's actual input with the club if nothing does materialise.
Even if supporters treat Toronto FC with the most delicate of kid gloves (and they usually do) the fact that January is less than two weeks away is definitely cause for some alarm. Now, ML$E could turn around and flip everything on its head tomorrow but as of right now, the silence from BMO Field leads many fans to believe that a form of the status quo will continue. Interim Director Earl Cochrane has been portrayed as worthy of being non-interim for some time and many familiar faces remain in place. There would be heavy disappointment but not a great deal of surprise if, after all this waiting, TFC 2011 didn't look much different than the version that ended 2010.
Much would be forgiven if ML$E decides to open the purse strings and put the right, experienced people in charge soon. There would be a level of goodwill and patience given to the team not seen since year one. But, time is indeed running out. When LA Galaxy were a shambles a couple of seasons back they took two weeks to hire Bruce Arena and a new backroom staff which changed their fortunes rapidly. TFC in comparison is now passing the three month mark of being seemingly rudderless. With the January transfer window, the SuperDraft and training camp on the near horizon the clock is ticking loudly. Even if (deep breath) they do hire the right people soon, a bright 2011 is hanging on by threads.

Monday, December 20, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Best loved Toronto FC TV Christmas specials

"Another successful Town Hall meeting"

One of the nicest treats of the holiday season are all of those children’s Christmas specials that play on TV. Most TFC fans can think back to their childhood years and remember the annual parade of claymation and poorly animated half hour specials that filled our screens as we waited for Santa to arrive. Kind of like watching TFC TV today as we wait for a new GM to arrive. A new GM is make-believe? What?! Anyways... Toronto FC never misses a beat when it comes to marketing, and a line-up of these Reds-specific TV specials could be coming your way this Christmas! The new GM? Not-so-much.
11. “Jacob Peterson’s Down Home Amish Holiday”
10. “Jurgen Klinsmann’s Efficient Bavarian Kristmassen Philosophy Programmen For Das Kinder”
9. “A Very Unemployed Glasgow Christmas” starring Mo Johnston
8. “Nick Garcia Puts Gifts Down the Wrong Chimney”
7. “Earl Cochrane’s Very Interim Holiday”
6. “Yo-Yo-Yo! De Ro’z Getting’ Paid In Da Holidayz!”
5. Collin Samuel in “Who Ate All the Christmas Pies?”
4. “Maicon Santos’ Sexy Lambada Christmas”
3. Danny Dichio and MPP Brad Duguid present “Ontario’s Green Initiative Mega-Juggernaut Christmas Show”
2. “No New GM’s Are Comin’ To Town”
1. “How The Anselmi Stole Christmas”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Das Falsche Konsültant Journal: Day 42 - We like to rock der pärty!

6:30 AM: Rising und shining early today. Must travel to Kanada for MLS und Ë Kristmassen Pärty for FC Toronto. Awaiting mein driver Franz for transport to Los Angeles Flughafen und flight to Toronto mit Luft Kanada Airlines - it is poor man's Lufthansa. Enough time for der bowl of München Muesli mit smoked herring und nackt yoga session.
8 AM: Franz delivered me to LAX Flughafen and we depart mit kiss to both cheeks. Say goodbye to mein precious kitty-kat friend Karl-Heinz who came for ride in mein luxury stretch Opel.
8:30 AM: Schiesse! LAX Flughafen crowded liken zie first day of Hannover Gherkin und Offal Meat Festival! Yankee security measures strict und invasive - excellent. Opt for full pat-down body search. Reminded of schöolboy days at Göppingen Schulefaktöry for Jungen Boy Education und Emotional Discipline. Thorough.
9:30 AM: Await boarding Luft Kanada fleugzeug, send texten message to Herr Anselmi und asken if I must bring gift to die pärty. Rapid reply from Anselmi before boarding - "At least 3 changes of clothes LOL!" Never ünderschtand das Kanadian humour. Wunderbar - stewardess looks like young Ursula Andress!
11 AM: Das turbulenz makes flight more unbearable than poor excuse of Luft Kanada "breakfast". Was ist die maple doughnutten?! Bumpy flight making muesli mit herring angry. In-flight televisual machine ist poor. Not enjoy das dokumentary on vater of eis hockey spieler Wäyne Gretzky nor programmen of Kanadian Mounted Polizei fighting zie crime in Chicago. Thankful I have download into mein iPäd hilarious new German gameshow "For Money, Your Wife und der Grizzly Bear". Must rest for pärty .
2 PM: Oh mein Gott! Awoke startled from strange aviation-based nightmären! Dreamt Luft Kanada piloten vas former Engerland international Teddy Sheringham und he put plane into nosedive into hot tub full of cottage cheese und honey while yelling "We have arrived in Sexy Town USA!" Startled und sweating! Stewardessfrau offer moist toweletten. Asken for "die exträ” but forgot I am not on zie Lufthansa.
7:30 PM (Kanada Time): Arriven das Toronto. Kustoms official asken if “I have anything to declare”. I reply “I have appeared in three World Cups, have studied the inner workings of the late Hapsburg Empire und am disarmingly handsome”. In arrival zone, FC Toronto sent limosuinaüto to transport me to pärty at MLS und E secret bunker. Driver ist unemployed hobo. He tells me he is footballer Nicholas Garcia. I say “never heard of it.”
8:30 PM: Car disappears under concrete building into der massive cavern. Two women painted in die göld lead me to elevatorschaft. Pass pool of choppy water. War dass a shark!? Get in elevator... why ist feeling like ist descending rapidly? How ist dies possible? After 10 minuten, elevatorschaft doors open to pärty... oh mein gott...
8:39 PM: Der dwarf dressed as astronaut gives me drink mit smoke raising from glass. Tastes liken zie mixture of gooseberry und burnt Deutschemarks!
8:50 PM: Herr Anselmi und Earl of Cockrain willkommen me to pärty. Why ist Anselmi dressed as Roman Emperor Nero und Earl wearing die scuba gear? Ist that peacock fighting der chimpanzee on die trämpoliner?
9:15 PM: Nackt women offer me fingerlich food from between her milchkännken! Mmm! Delikat! I tell der nacktfrau it taste like smoked knackwürst but she läffs and I think she says “it is from outer space”. My Kanadian Englische must not be gut. Dvayne Der Rozario is onstage rap musiking about der “gin and juice”. I feel most dizzy.
9:40 PM: I tell der JimmyBee we must talk of konsültantwerk und he looks at me und screams “I am the lizard king!” Man dressed as Englander Kaiser Henry VIII announced “anyone with golden tickets come to the virgin chamber!” Go to der bar in confusion. Tränsvestite in der construction hat makes cocktailen he/she calls “Sex With Panda On The Beach”
--:-- PM?: A monkey stole my wätch! It vas der Timex given to me by Otto Rehhagel! Ist das Danny Dichio nackt on der tiny pony?
--:-- PM?: Must sit. Find die chesterfieldsofa und lay down. Achtung! Sofa ist un fat man in die schwarz fullbödy lederhosen! Why ist Nick Dasovic holding das handgrenade?
--:-- AM?: Herr Anselmi ist covered in red syrup... I am hoping. A giant Japanese woman asken me if I have ever “seen der tiger mate mit der Chevrolet?”
--:-- AM?: Four tiny Julian der Guzmans ist singing Boney M in Batman mäsken! I have lost all sense of touch.
--:-- AM?: Nick LaBrocca ist offering tax advice to der goat when tall Aryan man says “I am here to save you Jürgen, take the blue pill if you want to live” I taken zie pill and say “who are you lang blönde stränger?” I drift to slumber. I think the man said “Father Jacob Peterso...”

9 AM: Woke from dream where Teddy Sheringham was spraying me mit water hose in golden bikini but in reality it was mein kitty kat Karl-Heinz licking mein nose. Wat! How did I get back to Kalifornia? Texten message from Herr Anselmi: Hope you had a good time at da party LOL! Where you at? It’s been 4 days? Oh mein Gott!
“Das Falsche Konsültant Journal” does not claim to represent the words of any real Germanic person living, dead or miscellaneous. No goat was given tax advice during the publication of this falsche Bavarian diary. Danke

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Interim-ish Director has many holes after passing on Re-Entry Draft... again

Angel: The one that got away?

The second stage of the 2010 MLS Re-Entry Draft came and went Wednesday afternoon and once again Interim-ish TFC Director Earl Cochrane and his "braintrust" passed on any available players. In fairness to Cochrane, many teams passed on the whole draft process and for the most part, the available players came with potentially hefty wages and mostly hefty ages. Cochrane reasoned the Reds' inactivity post-draft saying “We are also in a transition process, where we can’t saddle the incoming coach or manager with key pieces that may not fit his vision. We have to be cautious with those types of signings.
The biggest splash of the day saw LA Galaxy actually make a trade to grab the 4th Draft position (one above TFC) to snag the rights to former NYRB hitman Juan Pablo Angel. Angel was arguably the biggest fish in the draft pool and it would have been interesting to see Cochrane's move if he had been available when Toronto's pick arrived. The Reds' impotent strike force could have used Angel if he was available - but well under his recent DP contract. However, LA has fears about its goal potential as Edson Buddle is trialing with Birmingham City and Landon Donovan is rumoured with a new European club daily so Angel fits their bill.
From a Toronto standpoint it seemed as there were a few useful pieces that could have been added considering the current roster is short 13 players for 2011. Cochrane did try to allay fears of yet another inactive off-season claiming there are 10-12 players TFC has "closely looked at", some of whose signings are apparently ready to go as soon as the new manager is in place. Insight into when and or if that mystery man is arriving were sadly not as forthcoming. Reds supporters had four seasons of hearing about "imminent signings" from the last inexperienced Director; Cochrane would do himself no favours if he doesn't back up these words with action. Soon.

Monday, December 13, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Hottest TFC-related Christmas toys

"Ha-ha-hee-hee Ticle Me MoJo is unemployed!"

With only a couple of weeks to go before Christmas, the malls are full of frustrated parents running from shop to shop trying to find their child that perfect gift. Kind of like the Arnold Schwarzenegger "classic" Jingle All the Way - except less depressing. And less Sinbad.

You may think that Toronto FC's usually jolly owners would be full of the holiday spirit but if there is one thing they hate - it's hearing cash registers ringing that don't belong to them. All those toys being bought without the ML$E brand name on it became so frustrating that the Grinches of the sports world have cashed in on one of their hottest brands and released a line of TFC toys just in time for December 25th...

11. The Easy Bake Butty Oven

10. Monopoly - Rogers' Edition (Coming Soon)

9. Scotts' Turf Girl Barbie

8. Jürgen Klinsmann's German Kinder-Philosophy Workbook

7. BMO Field LEGO Playset (Roof section not available)

6. My Little Dichio

5. Nick LaBrocca's Junior Accountancy and Tax Fun-Kit

4. Chia de Guzman

3. Tickle Me MoJo

2. Interim Transformers

1. Cabbage Patch Chads

Ch-ch-ch-Chia! de-de-de Guzman!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Das Falsche Konsültant Journal: Day Thirtyfünf - Who ist mein Secret Santa?

8 AM: Awoken by hausfrau using der vacüumen pipe und kitty kat best friend Karl-Heinz gently licking mein face. Sweet fuzzy dude! Must arise, expecting interrogation from Kanadian televsie journalistiche Jërry Daubsen und his sidekicken, Ipswich Town legend Craig Blackforrest. Must remember to mock Blackforrest without mercy about mein many fussball goals put past him in der Engerlander Liga.
8:30 AM: Breakfast: Two sunshine-facing-upwards eggs flanked dutifully by a squadron of Mörningwürst sausage und Baltic herring pate. Hunger vanquished und sent into retreat with blast of schokolade milk.
9:15 AM: Texten from FC Toronto Chancellor Herr Anselmi: Hey Jurgy, just tell those Sportsnet goofs what they need to hear. Say a coach before Christmas - they'll run with it! Watch out for Forrest - he used to play the soccer too. Just use that famous German charm. btw - MLSE Christmas Party - be there! Girls, gold, pandas, illegal acrobats, human hunting, games for kids, "The Adult Egg Nog Room" - we're drawing for Secret Santa later, let you know. Big A... Was ist der Secret Santa?
10 AM: Wunderbar! Mein Bavarian Advent Kälendar has arrived from mein Uncle Dieter in Paderborn! Ooh I love zie Advent Kälendar but so diffikult not to jump ahead! Ok, I treat myself to erste window... Super! It’s a mini pickle in hörseradish! German Kristmassen is der best!
11:30 AM: Exhaustische! Finish der interview with zie Daubsen und Blackforrest. They ask “when will TFC get a coach?” so I say “I played in 3 World Cüppen!". They say "what is the new TFC philosophy" und I say "I have Franz Beckenbauer on speed-dial". Daubsen asken "what about rumours that Earl Cochrane will be GM?" und I reply "Rudi Völler is terrific dancer". Craig Blackforrest attempts to get tough and asken "why things are moving slowly?" so I say "like you moved slowly when my Tottenhäms put so many goals past you in der Ipswich?" I gave them both die SoccerSolutions tank-top and informed them that interview has ceased to exist. Pleasant yet tiring Kanadians.
11:45 AM: Ok, ok, sekunde Advent Kälendar window... Verwunderlich! Der tiny panzer tank made completely mit marzipan! Mmm!
12:30 PM: Texten from Herr Anselmi: Yo Jurgy... you got Danny Dichio in Secret Santa. Maybe buy him a wig! LOL! OMFG! Was in der world is LOLOMFG?... Didn't Lolomfg play for Feyenoord in der 70's? Does Kanada have Nederlander heritage?
1 PM: Lunch: American tradition has succumbed to superior German occupation. Make the traditional Yankee hamburger but on der Kaiser Wilhelm roll mit delicious goose liver patty und topped with radish, pickled beets und hot Oktoberfest müstard. Now that ist der Hamburger SV! Das. Ist. Gut.
2:30 PM: Emailen der Earl of Cockrain und der JimmyBee. Asken if we should talk regarding der MajorLiga Fussball Re-Entering Draft. Earl of Cockrain says "nothing an 'interim' Director can't handle - hahahahahaha interim!!!" I am not understanding die joke from Cockrain. JimmyBee was occupied at hair sälon.
3:00 PM: Resistance is futile! One more Advent window... Rötten! Plain schokolade almonds. This kälendar has brought great shame to der holiday season.
3:15 PM: Disappointment from almonds is palpable. Must return to holiday spirit. Watch # 1 German holiday komedy filmen "Kris Kringle and der Eternal Struggle of the Union Movement in Post-Industrial Ruhr Valley" Ahh, ich liebe the classic kartoons.
6:45 PM: Oh mein Gott! Fell to sleep on my chesterfieldsofa during filmen! Had die strangest dream! Teddy Sheringham was dressed like Kris Kringle but with nicht pantaloons nor ünderpantaloons! He was doing das erotische dancing while stealing from mein Advent Kälendar. I yelled "No Teddy No - not mein festive nuts!" then he turned around und where his bälle should have been was instead face of Bastian Schweinsteiger! Then my father appears and says "Jürgen you have soiled der liederhosen". Why vater why? I awoke with a yell and scared poor Karl-Heinz.
7 PM: I am swearing, dis ist mein last visit to Advent Kälendar... Fabelhaft! Joy has returned to the holidays! I pulled out der crystallized marrowfat kandy kane! Yümmy!
7:45 PM: The Dinner: I feel terrible shame. My uncontrollable desire to open der Advent windows has made a pre-emptive strike on mein appetite. I can barely vanquish die third bratwürst link before surrendering. Mein eyes wurden bigger than mein belly.
8:30 PM: Do interweben shopping on German webbensite "Giftstheymustloveorelse". Bought great giften for Secret Santa Danny Dichio - der hilarious Rudi Völler wig and moustachen kit. I will use my konsültantwerk powers to make sure he wears it on FC Toronto bench.
8:45 PM: Erotische Zeit.
10:15 PM: Marrowfat kandy kane is in ferocious battle with mein intestinal tract. Take special Bavarian homeopathic mixture of minced garlic, potato skins, tripe und hot cocoa for mein belly und go to bed early. Snuggle mit Karl-Heinz until sleep.
3:20 AM: Aaaa-chtung!!! Another nightmare! Giant marzipan Craig Blackforrest saved mein penalty kick then had a cuddle mit mein father while thousands of Teddy Sheringhams danced in bikini in der stands! Must quit kandy habit.
“Das Falsche Konsültant Journal” does not claim to represent the words of any real Germanic person living, dead or miscellaneous. No ex-Ipswich keeper was scored upon in the publication of this falsche Bavarian diary. Danke.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Interim-ish Director passes at Re-Entry Draft

"Does this beard look too interim-y?"

Earl Cochrane took a step forward in becoming a "real boy" today by acting like all the other non-interim MLS GMs and Directors and passing on the Stage 1 Re-Entry Draft. Despite the available talent, the wage and transaction restrictions in Stage 1 made most MLS clubs, apart from Columbus and DC United, stay dormant, preferring for the added freedom that Stage 2 presents next week. Toronto FC will hold on to its sixth position in the draft order and there are still some interesting, if not older, names available such as Juan Pablo Angel, Adrian Serioux and Jimmy Conrad.
The second part of the draft will give Cochrane a chance to flex some more of his interim muscles as most of his duties have consisted of cutting 2010's dead wood from The Reds. Perhaps in a week's time the man who looks less "interim" by the day will put his stamp deeper on TFC 2011 than simply Nathan Sturgis.
If Jürgen Klinsmann is to be believed this week, a head coaching announcement will come before Christmas. Whether that head coach is a European style coach/manager will say much about Cochrane's status as the main man in the BMO Field front office. If the hire is simply an on-field coach, then you would imagine that Cochrane is the permanent Director. If however the new man leans towards the classic manager role then perhaps Cochrane will be kept as the nuts and bolts contract and finance guy while the new manager collects talent. Much like the players left in today's draft, the supporters just have to wait and see.

Monday, December 6, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Ways Toronto FC would change under Rogers

"Duddi-dum-dum" - Oh, you know the tune.

Last week, news emerged in Toronto that cable TV, wireless, internet, telephone, nuclear weapon and human sport-hunting giant Rogers Communications, wanted to purchase ML$E's sporting empire. The rumoured deal for the Teacher's Pension Fund's stake in the trophy-phobic sports franchises is reportedly worth well over a Billion dollars and is still making waves across the business landscape. Of course part of the package deal would be our dear Toronto Football Club which raises the question - how would things be different for Reds supporters if the The Ghost of Ted Rogers and his executive team took charge at BMO Field?
11. Stadium scoreboard to have giant PVR installed below
10. Season ticket holders to be constantly pestered by telemarketers
9. All matches to be broadcasted on The Women's Network
8. You can "bundle your package" at halftime
7. Team nickname changed from "The Reds" to "The Teds"
6. Matches scheduled on weekdays "anytime between 9AM and 5PM"
5. Nick LaBrocca moves from midfield to "Breakfast Television"
4. Desperately scouting Brazil for player named "Rogerinho"
3. Chip Buttys now wireless
2. Front Office replaced by offshore call centre
1. Dichio On Demand

Friday, December 3, 2010

Das Falsche Konsültant Journal: Day Achtundzwanzig - Who is Roger Cäble?

7 AM: Wunderbar! I love der fresh und crisp Dezember mornings! Things are finally going in the direction I command. Must go forward! I will let nothing destroy my pleasant mood today - nichts!
7:15 AM: Strange texten message from Herr Anselmi, Chancellor of FC Toronto: "if Rogers callz u - just don't answer. Gave them your # by accident! LOL!" Again mit the LOL - was ist LOL? Liverwürst On Liverwürst? This texten has made my tum tum mumble mit hunger.
7:30 AM: Breakfast: Fridge is not full to mein specifications! Delivery from German interweben food merchant "You Will Eat This and Enjoy It" is late! Not a breakfast mackerel nor morning gherkin in der sight! Be cool Jürgy... must keep Kalifornien gut vibes going. Ironically eat liverwürst on liverwürst. Hunger driven into the sea.
9 AM: Observe ocean from bird's eye view. One can never be too careful of die sudden nautical invasion. See korpulent child fall und destroy sand castle. Made me smile.
9:15 AM: Ocean observation interrupted by telefön. Someone by name of Roger Cäble asken me to "bundle zie package"! I am no dummkopf - this ist der crank call! I tell Herr Cäble to "shove der summer sausage where the sun is no longer providing light" und hang up. Mood shaken but not stirred... liken famous German moviefilm karachter Helmut Bondël in spy thriller "Der Spy Who Had Adequate Emotions Towards Me"
10 AM: Get down to konsültantwerk. I see that zie Earl of Cockrain and der JimmyBee have been busy. Der legacy of Mö Jaansten must be destroyed immediately. Tzar Nicholas Garcia has been removed from locker room power und I am pleased. I do not trust man in headband. Never since Gabriel Batistuta put knee in mein kugelsack during Sampdoria v Fiorentina!
10:30 AM: Another telefönen call from der Roger Cäble! Who ist zis man? Und nein - I am nicht interested in der free trial of der Roger Homeföne! Who is testing mein gut mood with such dark idiocy?
11 AM: Nackt Yoga.
12 PM: Took special kitty kat friend Karl-Heinz to Katzen Doktor for annual inoculations against feline diseases, der fleas und Dutch people. Stop at der Stärbucks und ask for Marzipan Frappucino. I am met with stüpid stare from der koffeestaffen. “You can get der Marzi-cino in München Starbucks” I yell. Force a smile to maintain cool dude Kalifornien mood.
2 PM: Strange texten: “Switch to Rogers Wireless today and receive 10000 free air miles!” Was ist this madness? Why is Herr Roger Cäble hunting me like die wolf in zie Black Forest? I don’t even want die air milen! I kollect Lufthansa Luftmetres!
3:30 PM: Speak to Herr Anselmi, ask him if mein Englische is not guten but I am thinking “interim” is meaning temporary. He seems very nervös und mumbling about “us all being interim if those teachers...” then he just grumbled und I think a tiger growled in der background.
5 PM: Checken zie emailen. Oh mein Gott!!! Nein! I don’t want zie Rogers Yahoo! emailen! How has das Roger Cäble gestapo found mein emailen?
5:30 PM: I am hiding in die Klinsmann Family Bibliothek from Herr Cäble. Try to read best-selling German komedy book “Moustachen und Beards of The Hapsburg Empire” but am in no mood for der giggles. Instead put on DeeVeeDee spy film of Helmut Böndel “Achtungpussy”.
7:15 PM: Roger Cäble will not halt calling der telefön! Was ist der PVR? Is this some type of landing vehicle? I rush to oceanview... still clear.
8 PM: The Dinner: Herr Cäble has not only ruined mein day but mein appetite! Und still no Bavarian food packages! I am forced to eat olden snack from last trip to Frankfurt - Chocolate bunny filled with minced beef. Delicious - yet mood is rife with defeat.
9:15 PM: Erotische Zeit.
10 PM: Enough ist enough! Roger Cäble und I get into a screaming battle. I tell them “to never come near me or der Klinsmann home or I will get Rudi Völler und his gang to teach them a lesson - East Berlin style!”. Mood has become light again. I will never have to deal with Herr Cäble again! Decide to sürf das interweben before bedtimen. Sürf to Toronto news zeitung Glöbben Und Mailen. Headlinen: “Rogers to buy MLSE”
10:03 PM: Schiesse.

“Das Falsche Konsültant Journal” does not claim to represent the words of any real Germanic person living, dead or miscellaneous. No package was budled during the publication of this falsche Bavarian diary. Danke.

Nick Garcia released - Earl Cochrane handed key to city

No Country for Poor Defenders

There are two possibilities of what is happening behind the scenes at Toronto FC. Either Interim-ish Director of Football Earl Cochrane is culling the wasted contracts of overpaid and undertalented players to give a new GM a clean slate; or... the Interim-ish GM isn't interim whatsoever and the now ten players who have departed and the one arrival is the beginning of Toronto FC being built in Cochrane's image. One thing is for certain, today's chopping block exercise included one name that gained Cochrane some new fans.
Yes, the most glaring "crony" signing of the Mo Johnston era, Nick Garcia, was dispatched from the club today alongside youngsters Fuad Ibrahim and Amadou Sanyang. The much-maligned Garcia had outstayed his welcome with TFC in the eyes of many fans by the end of his first season with The Reds but ironically had his most solid spell during 2010. Despite that, his image as an error-prone and slow defender, and more damning, the gleaming beacon of Mo Johnston/ First Wave signings, along with a hefty contract, marked the end of his Toronto spell today.
Garcia, unlike his two young African counterparts, can enter the new MLS re-entry draft - a result of this year's CBA negotiations, in the hopes of latching on to another MLS side. If he does, it will be at a far smaller wage and with diminished responsibility. The last couple of weeks have seen a clearing of Mo Johnston's "genius" signings leaving TFC with a decent core of seventeen players. While more could still depart all that is left to see is whether the new acquisitions (with names like Juan Pablo Angel, Jimmy Conrad and Adrian Serioux available in the re-entry draft) will be in the mould of a new GM or if Earl Cochrane is already in the midst of building "his" team.

"Too many own-goals friendo"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rogers offers to bundle their sports package

That's where they keep the Giant Laser

If Rogers Communications gets its way it could be "C'mon you Teds" at BMO Field in the near future. As reported first by the Toronto Star, the cable giant is in talks with the Ontario Teacher's Pension Fund to buy out their share of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's sporting empire in a deal worth well over $1 Billion Dollars. The apparent proposal would see The Evil Cable Geniuses wrest control of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies and our dear Toronto FC from The Evil Pension Fund and Miscellaneous Geniuses. The question on every Reds supporter's mind was immediately - good or bad?
The first impulse was to say "F*%k Yeah, it's not ML$E!" While some would prefer to take the "devil you know" stance, the devilish MLSE has shown that they don't know winning, so really - how much worse could it be under Rogers? Using Rogers' history managing the Blue Jays you can at least recognize a will to make positive moves and spend cash to chase wins as opposed to our current regime. And, while Rogers is indeed just another faceless corporation, they are at least a single entity as opposed to the many stakeholder factions that rule the MLSE Board. It is no secret that Rogers' interest in snapping up MLSE's teams is to further content for their many television and communications networks - one thing they do understand in that domain is that good teams equal better ratings. That could be the most hopeful positive.
On the other side of the dial (or home phone, cell phone, wireless network etc.) Toronto FC could end up being the very poor stepchild in a family with the Leafs far at the top of corporate attention. Supporters’ yells for improvements in any area of the club may face a much more distant journey in a corporation larger and with far more tentacles than MLSE. Investment into the "4th Franchise" of the Nu-Rogers Empire could be slow in coming with long-term projects like stadium expansion and the new training facility shelved for the foreseeable future. Also, despite assuming that TFC will have greater coverage on TV with a cable network as owners, they could once again be fourth in the pecking order for airtime. If Rogers does pull of this deal there will be a good year-and-a-half to two year transition period for TFC that could see the on-field product struggle from the changes in the front office.
There are far too many pros and cons both known and unknown to weigh up so prematurely. The deal as it stands at the moment seems far from done and there is the very real possibility that MLSE honcho Larry Tanenbaum could still make a legal powerplay to get control of most of the company's shares. The battle will no doubt be drawn out for a while longer but no matter what happens, it will be years not months before we see how The Reds, or Teds, are affected.
The original story from the Toronto Star

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Interim-ish" Director continues addition by subtraction

(Left to right) Nane, Nana (Right to left) Nana, Nane

In the continuing goal to erase all memory that Toronto FC's 2010 season existed, The Reds traded midfielder Joseph Nane to the MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids for a 3rd Round SuperDraft pick in 2012. The affable yet vaguely talented Cameroon native, who was drafted in the 4th Round of the 2010 Draft, was absurdly and mistakenly claimed as first team quality by "management". So much so that Sam Cronin (the highly touted 1st Round pick of 2009) was soon shipped to San Jose for little in return by mastermind/ unemployment impresario Mo Johnston. Surely the rumours that Preki's agent-brother represented Nane had little to do with his acquisition and play... surely. Only crazy people would run a club like that!

The big holding midfielder will be most fondly remembered for having no one be quite sure if his name was actually Nane Joseph or Joseph Nane for two months. Apart from his name game, the graduate of Old Dominion (the American university not an aging supermarket) will be a very raw blip on the radar of TFC's long list of overhyped and undertalented roster spot bodies.

Kudos to Earl Cochrane for managing to get a 3rd Round pick for a guy most Reds supporters wouldn't have blinked at if he had been released outright. Cochrane meanwhile continues to do the basics well, mostly subtracting the dead wood assembled by PrekiMo International Inc., however if his "Interim" label does get dropped, he may find the addition part more challenging.

Monday, November 29, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Failed re-branded Kansas City club names

Mixed in the pre-MLS Cup shuffle was the news that the absurdly named Kansas City Wizards (formerly The Wiz!) were being "re-branded" by their owner as the far more footballyer Sporting Kansas City. Opinion is split in MLS circles whether this was a necessary step in making Kansas City a more "respected and relevant" club or whether it was turning their backs on their, albeit young, history. Personally we think it's a massive improvement over one of early MLS's "roller hockey" names and a step which other clubs (i.e. Newton Heath to Manchester United and Dial Square to Arsenal) have made in their formative years. Apparently Sporting wasn't a home run though and there were a list of other worthy (or not-so) finalist names for the Nu-Wiz...
11. Kansas City City
10. Midwest Ham United
9. Olympique De Missouri
8. Kansas City Reals
7. Farma FC
6. Wizardhampton Wanderers
5. KFC
4. Kansas City Kaizer Chiefs
3. BBQ Hamburger SV
2. Corninthians
1. FC Kansaslautern

Friday, November 26, 2010

Das Falsche Konsültant Journal: Day Zwanzig - Der turkey und stüffing

7 AM: Why must das influenza deceive mein immunën system?! Herr Anselmi, Chancellor of FC Toronto begged und begged me to attend MajorLiga Pokal Final in Toronto auf Sunday nacht. He told me I must sit outdoorsën to “be seen on die TeeEssenToo”. Was ist das TeeEssenToo? Harsh Kanadian wind has given me sickness.
8:15 AM: Widerlich! Mein nose is dripping like damaged battleship at the Hanseatic port of Rostock! Dear kitty kat Karl-Heinz is giving me tender kisses but little can bring joy to mein impacted nasal cavity. Must arise soon - much konsültantwerk to be done... und must prepare for Yankee turkey sacrifice celebration of Danksagung.
9 AM: Breakfast: Mein tastebüden have failed me. How can man expected to werk das full day without die taste of breakfast sausage? This lingenberry juice has given me nothing. Nothing!!!
10:30 AM: Must inspect FC Toronto list of sacrificial players for MajorLiga Fussball Expansion of Territory Draft soon. Must rest more first. Bavarian kaffee und an episode of hit German morning TV show “Now Is The Time To Wake! Mit Nina Hagen” It is der special episoden live from Paul die Psychic Octopüsen funeral und feast.
12 PM: FC Toronto sacrificial list looks liken Bundesliga 3 squad Stuttgarter Kickers! I emailen mein suggestions to Earl of Cockrain und der JimmyBee on mein SchwarzBerry:
Protect Julian der Guzman, Dvayne Der Rozario und Stefan Freiberg. Stop. Eliminate rest of squad immediately. Stop. Nick Garcia must be neutralized. Stop. The eagle flies backwards at night. Over.
12:15 PM: Herr Anselmi texten me back: “Draft was yesterday. Don’t sweat it - we sold tons of tickets after you were on TV on Sunday! Booyah! T.A.” Oh mein Gott! I slept through der Wednesday? Why did I ingest doppel dose of German cold medicine NyKill? How could this happen! My konsültantwerk has been undermined by Earl of Cockrain! Und was ist “Booyah”?!
12:30 PM: My mood has grown dark like Black Forest nacht. Mein father would find me a disgrace. Why vater why?!
12:45 PM: Lunch: Influenza has stripped my appetite of vigour. Das konsültancy failures have made it worsen. Force myself to eat 8 linken of Spiced Leipzig Würst. Give remaining linken to dear Karl-Heinz. Radical fuzzy little dude.
1:30 PM: Urgent telefonën call from FC Toronto! Der JimmyBee wants to know mein thoughts on a NathanSturgis. I think it is type of British submarine? I inform der JimmyBee I will call back. Check on the Interwebën und best German website VikiPediaFile under “nathansturgis”. Achtung! He is a mittlefeldspieler at FC Seatllesounden! Call back JimmyBee and say he is solid like a VW Camper but do not spend too many Kanadamarks on him.
2 PM: Earl of Cockrain has given zie Vancouver WeissAlpen der First Round Pick in der MLS ÜberDraften for! He ist nicht der GM! I am due to konsült on new GM! My soul is blackened with rage and runny nose.
2:30 PM: I will only take half dosage of NyKill und lay on der sofa while hausfrau begins cooking of traditional Amerikan turkey sacrifice. Watch Thanksgiving traditional NFL-Germany gridiron match between Leipzig Bureaucrats und Wiesbaden Sullen Bears.
7 PM: Scheisse!!! Damn that NyKill! Why must you be so powerful? I have slept for hours! Der turkey is ready to be divided und conquered...
7:15 PM: The Dinner: Armed with mein ceremonial Bavarian sabre, turkey is cut in half und der flanks become separated from rest of unit. Resistance becomes futile as der noble bird is annexed region by region. Stüffing mit sage und nuts - delightful!
8:00 PM: Two texten messagen! Herr Anselmi says “Happy Thanksgiving, wanna give an interview about how great Earl is doing?” Scheisse. Then texten from gut friend Teddy Sheringham “Yo JK I’m in Vegas! It’s turkey day but I’m always a breast and thigh man! LOL!” I do not understand. Was ist lol?
9:00 PM: Erotische Zeit (mit extra gravy)
9:45 PM: Taken more NyKill. I must defeat das influenza... und then I must see to the demise of Earl of Cockrain. I am sure the HMS NathanSturgis was torpedoed in der Baltic...

“Das Falsche Konsültant Journal” does not claim to represent the words of any real Germanic person living, dead or miscellaneous. No turkey was conquered in the publication of this falsche Bavarian diary. Danke.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

TFC pays high price for Nathan Sturgis

Don't worry Nathan... it's just like an expansion team

There are definitely two sides to the coin in this afternoon's transfer of American midfielder Nathan Sturgis to Toronto FC from Vancouver. While most Reds supporters, including this space, have been crying out for better depth and "MLS quality" players, the price to achieve that - Toronto's First Round Draft Pick in 2011 - will have many scratching their heads. Especially for a player involved in the previous day's Expansion Draft.
Sturgis is a reliable, if not injury prone, holding midfielder who is definitely a step up from yesterday's released Martin Saric. The 23 year-old American has had stints with LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and most recently Seattle and is still a young talent despite six seasons in the league. "Interim-ish" GM Earl Cochrane made the argument that Sturgis represented better value than anything TFC could hope to draft in the 8th slot overall but some would disagree.
While any draft is a bit of a crap-shoot, the 2011 version is reportedly fairly deep and it does seem to outsiders that Sturgis could have been acquired for less. The truth of that will never be known but if Canadian rival Vancouver ends up turning Toronto's pick into a future gem, the egg will remain on The Reds' face for years to come. Few can argue that Nathan Sturgis is a step in the right direction for Toronto's depth charts but the move does once again raise huge alarms. If Earl Cochrane has the green-light to part with one of the club's biggest building blocks - surely he is the one doing the team building in the long-term. Of course, the other side of that coin is - if his hiring is inevitable, at least work is being done in November… not late March.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

O'Brian White(caps) moves (slowly) westward - TFC trims more fat

What could a Jamaican possibly like about Vancouver?

Going into the MLS Expansion Draft, Toronto FC dangled a couple of big names in front of Portland and Vancouver followed by a list of its various underachievers and also-rans. Looking at the list prior to the draft, most would have believed TFC would have a better chance of having its junk grabbed if it went through U.S. airport security. Badum-bum! Thanks, I'm here through the draft - try the butty.
With that said, it came as a mild surprise that Vancouver decided to draft former Toronto First Round SuperDraft pick O'Brian "Montego/Malvern Molasses" White in the 6th Round. White, who entered the league injured and never seemed to find his way back to full speed is a striker with some promise but also one with an increasingly questioned work ethic and a fairly sizeable contract. The recently capped Jamaican International marks something of a project for Whitecaps FC but if they can kick-start his career it will be an egg on the face of their Canadian cousins without the risk of taking on Julian de Guzman's DP contract.
The draft turned out to have a fairly deep field and the newly minted Whitecaps can enter the league with quality names such as Sanna Nyassi, Atiba Harris and sexy adult film star/ goalkeeper Joe Cannon. Timbers grabbed a few big names of their own today, snagging the likes of Dax McCarty, Robbie Findlay and Jonathan Bornstein. While many of the selected may end up becoming trade bait, it's more than disturbing to compare the similarities of these two first-year clubs and our very own local fifth-year offering and the unprotected "junk" still on its books.

Later in the day TFC "Interim-ish" GM Earl Cochrane and the club announced further ballast jettisoned from "Bad-Ship TFC". No less than five players, all of the scrap-heap variety, were released by the club and their contracts terminated. The players released include:
GABE GALA: The only man who wasted more time at BMO Field over the last four years was Mo Johnston
MARTIN SARIC: The Argentine-Croat version of Kevin Harmse will likely get a red card on his way to the airport
MAXIM USANOV: His Ivan Drago-esque need to "break you" and punching random things will be missed. His South End nickname "Maximum Uselessnov" will be remembered fondly
RAIVIS HSCANOVICS: So many consonants. So little talent. Gdbye swt Ltvjn frnd.
MISTA: You may have been a whiny, unsporting waste of money who didn't give a toss but your signing was a big nail in Mo Johnston's coffin. For that hombre, we salute you.

All in all it was a day where much fat was trimmed from the roster. The common thread? Apart from Gabe Gala, every departed player represents the worst of the Mo Johnston era. We're still waiting on Nick Garcia. Cochrane may be "interim-ish" but today was a necessary cull.

Vancouver Whitecaps sent O'Brian White to Seattle Sounders late Wednesday evening in a flurry of moves that saw them free cap room, gain allocation money and International slots. O'Brian White... more will be expected of you. Good luck.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

THE WORD: Bas Ent-ertainment? Dutch midfielder to Reds?

Very poor man's Rafael van der Vaart?

On the eve of the MLS expansion draft comes a rumour that Toronto FC has signed Dutch midfielder Bas Ent to a three-year contract. Haven't heard of Bas Ent? Not to worry, neither has most of Holland! However, if you were at this past season's TFC v Bolton Wanderers friendly you have seen him... you just didn't know it.

Ent has been playing in the USL PDL with the nationalistic Dayton Dutch Lions of Dayton, Ohio - obviously a hotbed of North American Dutch culture. (You should try Dayton's coffee shops!) While with Dutch Lions, Ent had a trial with TFC and actually dressed for a half with The Reds against Bolton. Previous to his stint in the U.S. Ent had bounced around the Dutch lower divisies with his career high being a 10 game stint with second tier FC Volendam. He is currently the property of Dutch powerhouse club (I don't know how to do Holland sarcasm) VV Katwitjk but may have done enough to impress TFC to garner a long-term deal.

If the move does get completed it does raise one major league alarm bell. Why is the "interim" GM making signings that will effect the 2011 roster? Yes, Ent's contract won't be guaranteed for 2011 but we thought they were still working on a "philosophy"? The rumour may come to naught but if it does materialise, isn't it about time we realize that the "interim" in front of Earl Cochrane's title is "interim" in itself. Colour us unsurprised.


Dutch man's Andy Welsh?

Expansion waste lines

You gotta try the "Chicken Frei Rice"

Less than a day after Colorado lifted the MLS Cup Trophy in Toronto, the league's clubs were back to work. Yesterday evening, all clubs released their Protected List thus exposing the "unprotected" to the 2011 Expansion Draft. The full league unprotected list is a mixture of over-priced underachievers, unwanted internationals and players who just haven't developed quite fast enough. For new league entrants Vancouver and Portland, it's akin to arriving at a Chinese Buffet ten minutes before closing. There may be one or two decent crab legs left but it's mostly soggy noodles and dried out egg rolls.
Toronto FC's offerings are a pretty thin menu indeed. To keep the unnecessary yet appetizing analogy going - mostly the bottom of the Wonton Soup and the bland Jell-O desserts. Except that is, for two tasty morsels that may tempt the palate of the Whitecaps and/or Timbers. Grab your moist towelette as we take a stroll past TFC's hot plates and see what's on offer.
CHAD BARRETT - One of the two big names that TFC didn't protect. Portland could be tempted by the hometown boy but a contract that will near $300K in 2011 makes him a big gamble. Price may be the reason TFC hopes the overpaid The Chad is snagged.
JULIAN DE GUZMAN - One of the biggest names in the draft. The DP hasn't performed solidly enough yet but his talent is indeed there. Surely TFC talked this move over with the star and his selection is unlikely unless Vancouver wants to make a massive splash.
GABE GALA - It looks like the young Canadian's days are coming to an end in Toronto. By all accounts he had the tools to make something of himself but is weighed down by a massive ego and poor work ethic. Maybe Vancouver pads its Canadian quota?
NICK GARCIA: Very little chance of Portland or Vancouver taking this piece of work on. Not unless they really want to up their "own-goal" stats or put a dodgy character in their locker room.
RAIVIS HSCANOVICS: Despite the awesome headline "Raivis tkn in expnsn drft" it is very unlikely. Not up to scratch in MLS, which doesn't say much for the Latvian League.
FUAD IBRAHIM: As soon as Ibrahim's Generation Adidas contract ran out, his time at TFC was likely going to follow. Still young but plays like a drunken baby giraffe. Recent inclusion in Team USA set-up may make him an attractive late prospect for Portland.
MILOS KOCIC: Keepers are a rare commodity in expansion drafts and Kocic looks like he has the chops to be a current MLS back-up. Could be an intriguing and cheap # 2 for either club.
MISTA: He came. He saw. He sulked. Can't imagine any clubs on either side of the Atlantic are too interested in a poor Sean Penn impersonator... and worse hitman.
AMADOU SANYANG: Definitely a tempting project, especially with the return of the Reserve League. Likely a numbers game for TFC on this choice but a bit surprising that he was unprotected before the pricier Jacob Peterson.
MARTIN SARIC: If Timbers or 'Caps are looking for that lucrative "Foreign Kevin Harmse" demographic then Saric is their man. One of TFC's infamous last-minute signings, the reckless Argentine-Croat isn't better than most available players in that position.
MAXIM USANOV: What club doesn't want a hilarious Russian with a penchant for punching stuff? What's that? Good clubs? Oh... right. Much like Ivan Drago's unbeaten record, Usanov's MLS career looks likely to it hit the mat.
O'BRIAN WHITE: The NCAA "can't miss" prospect has become the MLS "can't score" project. The increasingly slow (now) Jamaican International isn't likely attractive due to a hefty contract and a hefty mid-section. Likely back with TFC in 2011.
Whatever Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps do decide to pick up with the MLS Expansion tongs, it’s likely that many of these TFC leftovers will still be on The Reds' books on Thursday. Whether they are still on the menu at BMO Field in 2011 depends on Earl Cochrane… oh – I mean the big-time GM that is surely on the way. Uh-huh. Why do we get the feeling a stale chicken ball will be what we’re left with in the front office?

Monday, November 22, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Reasons Toronto fans left the MLS Cup early

Extra Time is just about to kick-off...

Poor, poor Toronto FC supporters. As if we don't have to put up with enough from our Goat-god worshipping, panda-eating, Cochrane-promoting ownership... today we're getting it in the ear from our MLS supporter rivals from around the continent!. Our fabled and over-marketed "BMO Field atmosphere" didn't live up to its own hype during last night's Cup Final with a mixture of apathetic crowds, empty seats and a mass exodus well before the 90th minute. Locally we know that supporters have been used and abused by ML$E and that had much to do with the lacklustre turn-out (so enough of your lip North America... you don't know our pain! Single tear) but there were still other reasons Torontonians headed for the exits early...
11. They stopped selling beer in the 75th minute... duh!
10. Had tickets for the 11PM showing of Harry Potter
9. Insulted that away supporters didn't know "The Dichio Song"
8. Thought there was a spontaneous 83rd minute walk-out to protest against ML$E

7. Stood up to get on TSN2's cameras so I could seen by dozens across Canada
6. Was sure that I bought tickets for Avalanche vs. Stars
5. I came. I gave Jeff Cunningham the finger. I left.
4. Only bought tickets to hear Garber's halftime interview
3. Chip Buttys only have a 68 minute shelf-life
2. No buffet car on the 11PM GO Train
1. Could no longer feel own ass

Buffet Car is in carriage 5. Try the salmon... exquisite!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

AFTER 90: Canadian Rocky Mountain High - MLS Cup Final 2010 Special Edition

Well it felt that way!

MLS Cup Final
After all the bluster in the weeks leading up to tonight's MLS Cup Final about possible fan boycotts and fears of an empty BMO Field, only bedtime ruined the night. A healthy-sized if muted (for BMO Field standards) crowd did end up attending the match but Major League Soccer's ridiculous scheduling on a late Sunday night killed what atmosphere there may have been. When the players so rudely decided to play extra time, a good chunk of the crowd decided not to join them.
It's a shame too. The match, which turned out to be very entertaining for the neutral, should have been enjoyed on Saturday or Sunday afternoon without the rush to get home for work or school in the morning nor fighting the freezing night temperatures. For two of the league's least "glamorous" clubs, Colorado and Dallas put up a good fight with both of their star players, Conor Casey and league MVP David Ferreira grabbing goals. A nicely wrapped 90 minute package would have been ideal but neutral supporters can't be expected to put up with conditions that were created by care for media outlets, NFL schedules and advertising revenue before fans. The league must fix this for future success.
Sadly, the on-field result came down to an own-goal mistake by FC Dallas' George John. The least they could have done was penalty kicks for the hardcores who stuck it out to the end. How rude of our visitors! In the end, Toronto's turn to host the MLS Cup Final will be a mere apathetic blip in MLS history. We could hold out hope that future league playoffs will turn out better but league commissioner Don Garber laid out plans for a ridiculous sound expanded playoff structure. "Great" said future TFC GM Earl Cochrane - "my job just got easier!"
Congrats to Rapids (despite your Arsenal leanings) and come back again to both sets of terrific sets of travelling supporters. Sorry about the frostbite. Hope you like the Butty.
MATCH IN FIVE WORDS: Long. Cold. Early GO Train.
TOTALLY FAKE POST-MATCH QUOTE: "H-h-h-ow d-d-d-do you p-p-p-eople live in th-th-th-these c-c-c-conditions?" - Jose, travelling (and chilly) FC Dallas supporter

Wynne: Congrats to a class act

Saturday, November 20, 2010

THE MATCHUP: On the outside looking in... MLS Cup Final Toronto 2010 Special Edition

The word "Toronto" near a trophy... so rare!

Back in those glorious, successful Mo Johnston-led years, Toronto FC owners, Maple Leaf Sports & "Entertainment", promised to bring a championship to the city within their famous "five-year plan". Well, they did it... and with a year left on the plan! The fact that TFC aren't anywhere near the Cup Final is a minor detail they'd rather us not mention.
Yes, The Bay Street Monopoly Tycoons persuaded Major League Soccer to hold their biggest match in Toronto... in late November... with dollar signs flashing in their eyes. At that time, TFC-fever meant that ML$E could put a red shirt on a monkey and charge $200 dollars but a disastrous 2010 season followed by gluttonous ticket price increases meant that MLS Cup interest disappeared in the city. On this realization of course, ML$E "gifted" the tickets on top of 2011 Season Ticket prices thus creating fan anger which has further fuelled local animosity towards the match. Sunday evening's 0 Degree Celsius weather forecast is just the karma cherry on top.
ML$E of course prayed to whatever secret sun/goat god they worship for a New York v LA final but alas they were "re-gifted" with the least glamourous final in MLS history. While the match may indeed turn out to be entertaining and will crown a first-time champion, it did nothing to create any "Cup Fever". In Toronto, the apathy is palpable and you get the feeling that ML$E would rather the whole potentially embarrassing event would just go away. Planned "fan events" and celebrations have been muted at best and Monday can't seem to come quick enough. Of course, that means ML$E must once again pretend to prepare for TFC to be in next year's final. But they'd rather we don't mention that either.
BURGUNDY BOREDOM: Conor Casey, Pablo Mastroeni, Marvell Wynne
FC DULL-ASSED: Kevin Hartman, Brek Shea, David Ferriera 

- Don Garber wondering aloud "where the league's best fans are?": 5-1
- Players succumbing to frostbite related injuries: 3-1
- ML$E still managing to make a massive profit: EVENS
- Sunday's match may be the coldest cup final since Dynamo Iqaluit beat Alert Wednesday in the 1992 Inuit Champions League Final
- BMO Field is preparing for the expected rush of visiting Colorado and Dallas supporters with 9 extra folding chairs on order
- ML$E are training their employees to keep Toronto FC supporters as far from the MLS Cup as possible, in order to keep expectations in check for 2011
RAPIDS FANS SAY: 2-1 Colorado
FC DALLAS FANS SAY: Huh? We have a soccer team? 14-10 Texas?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Das Falsche Konsültant Journal: Day Vierzehn - What is this Wendelclaärk?

8:45 AM:
Oh mein Gott! Have slept late! Forgot to programmen der awaken siren. It was the mistake to stay up and watch hilarious German komedy film "This Marriage Has Broken My Soul". Must arise schnell! Where are meine underlederhosen?
8:55 AM: Mein SchwarzBerry is full of texten messages from FC Toronto Chancellor Herr Anselmi. Keep forgetting about der time zonen difference! Dummkopf! WIll tend to der business but must feed beloved kitty kat Karl-Heinz first.
9 AM: Breakfast: Liberate herring and pickled beet omelette from plate. French cuisine made superior with der German ingredient occupation. Milk moustachen makes me look like old Rudi Völler!
10 AM: Great Beckenbauer's Ghostën! Another texten message from Herr Anselmi! Eagerly wants me to attenden zie MajorLiga Soccer Cup FInal in Toronto. Says ticket sales are "in the toilet". Why ist the tickets in der toilette? Dass is why Bee Moe Stadt will be empty? Was that ein German toilette joke? Kanadian humour escapes my reach.
10:30 AM: Need to relax. Hausefrau to give me seaweed und saurkraut massage followed by three minutes reminder that I am a disappointment to my father. Why vater why? Ready for the day.
11:30 AM: Talk to Maple Leaf Sportlich und Underhaltung Chancellor Anselmi and Kommandant Beirne for lengthy duration. I ask how they want FC Toronto to play like? They answer “like eis hockey Maple Leaves.” What ist der philosophy you want I say? They say “heart and der grit... like eis hockey.” I say was ist der player you would like? They say something like “der Wendelclaärk or Der Duggy!” Was ist der Wendelclaärk und Duggy? It is Kanadian machine for the excavation? Ich bin confused! I tell them I must call back later. Their idiocy has become tiresome and they have brought great darkness to my cheerful Bavarian personality.
11:45 AM: Nackt Yoga.
11:55 AM: Polizei knock on door. Complaint from neighbour due to Nackt Yoga.
1 PM: Lunch: Have retreated from plans to invade last evening's leftover Blood Sausage. Instead open can of German favorit "Chef Boy-är-Dieter" Noodle & Liverwurst flavor. Eat out of can und watch German satellite TV show "Late Night mit Gerd Müller" mit special guest Run Lola Runfrau.
3 PM: Call back Kanada. Interrupt MLEssen meeting. Herr Anselmi says not to worry - secret virgin ritual can wait for later. He asks if I have made new TFC philosophy. I tell him dass I am thinking FC Toronto should emulate style of 1990's Borussia Dortmund. There was long silence on telefon. I think I am hearing Herr Anselmi whispering - something, something "like leafenraptors" something, something "cheapest available" then I think I am hearing a goat... then something "Kokrane und Jimmy Bee" and then "replace him mit Dichio in July". Then Anselmi came back on der telefon and says "Great Jürgen, this Russian Door Mound Style sounds terrific. Our board will look it over and choose what works in this hard-nosed, low-on-talent but high-on-grit style you chose." I start yelling that “dies ist not what I say” but the telefon went dead.
5 PM: Have been sitting with Karl-Heinz in die dark. Was jüst happened? Why did Herr Anselmi not understand me? Is it mein poor Kanadian Englische? Why does he want all players on der klub to have das handlebar moustachen?
6 PM: Herr Anselmi texten again - really wants me at MajorLiga Pokal Final. I say “who is playing?” He answers "Colorado Rockies und Texas". Told him I must be in Vegas with Teddy Sheringham that night... and washing mein hair.
8 PM: The Dinner: Today's meeting angered mein appetite. Only eat 5 bratwürst, 2 pork schnitzel and barely touched mein potato & eel salat. Defeat is upon me.
8:30 PM: Time for "CSI: Frankfurt"
9:30 PM: Erotische Zeit
10:30 PM: It has been scheisse day! Something is rotten in Düsseldorf! Am I not das konsültant? Am I jüst der ticket monkey? This cannot be - I am World Cup legend! I want to fixen FC Toronto but was ist “the Anaheim Ducks method”? Today is boring me. Kraftwerk's Greatest Hits and Ovaltine mit Jagermeister will bring end to my dark day.
“Das Falsche Konsültant Journal” does not claim to represent the words of any real Germanic person living, dead or miscellaneous. No moustachen was handlebarred in the publication of this falsche Bavarian diary. Danke.