The Yorkies' Regular Features

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

Monday, August 29, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Toronto FC related CNE attractions

It's that wacky time of year again around BMO Field. Thousands come and go, there's screaming, laughing and crying, all while countless clowns and freakshows entertain for peanuts. No, it's not the MLS Transfer Window - it's the Canadian National Exhibition. Toronto's annual fair to celebrate and showcase the best in fried dough technology, the finest in men's leather belts, Sha Na Na cover bands and amusements "assembled" by some of North America's finest carnies. With Toronto FC being a permanent resident on the Exhibition Grounds, and with the club celebrating its fifth season, it was only appropriate that The Reds would be represented during the CNE's fortnight of frivolity. Grab your tickets and join TFC as they celebrate "5 Years of Rebuilding" with these Ex amusements...

11. Maxim Usanov returns to Toronto to tour the Horse Building - and to punch random horses

10. Preki seated outside BMO Field trying to break Guinness World Record for "Longest Consecutive Snarl"

 9. Aron Winter and Bob de Klerk sing the hits of Hall & Oates

 8. "Adrian Cann's Hall of Really, Really, Really Good-Looking People"

 7. Torsten Frings intimidates The Superdogs

 6. Dwayne De Rosario's "Guess Your Wage" booth

 5. Chad Barrett: "The Human Cannonball Who Shoots To The Left"

 4. "The Arctic Express (You've Been Traded To Canada)" Ride

 3. Collin Samuel eats your Krispy Kreme Hamburger

 2. "Tiny Joao Donuts"

 1. "Whack-A-Mo"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The South Stand Report : Toronto v San Jose... or game + nice weather = suspicion

This joke is kinda meta, as it's both a San Jose joke and a Clash/Big Audio Dynamite joke.
My apologies but this is the inner music nerd's idea of "crossover funny".

Seriously. Seriously. The weather huh? Seriously. If this were a bus stop and someone wanted to make small talk about the weather, I'd consider making a shiv with my house key and stabbing them repeatedly. However... talking about the weather at BMO is almost expected at this point. And it was with a dose of irony too since the last game was an epic electrical storm with threats of tornadoes, it was an absolutely perfect summer evening. Gorgeous even.

There is something to be said at a sporting event taking place in the middle of a festival. The magic, even in small doses, really adds to the spirit walking towards the ground.

Predictions came in at 1-1, 2-1 for San Jose and a 1-0 for the mighty Robins. Varied enough. Onto the match.

Pre-match had a moment of silence for a federal political party leader Jack Layton. There's only one...

5' - San Jose is starting to terrorize the Toronto back four. 85 minutes to go and not a lightning storm in sight.

8' - Julie informs us that the Human Cannonball just outside of the ground was totally worth it.

12' - San Jose lays the ball dead centre and Iro gets a leg in front to deflect the ball over the bar.

15' - Johnson patiently waits for a lane to lay a pretty pass off to Plata, cross to Marosevic is desperately deflected to stop the chance. These boys been reading that Total Football manual I've heard so much about...

29' - Collision with Eckersley and the Earthquakes keeper Busch has both go down, Busch gets up but is caught a little out, Marosevic has a go but ends up firing right at the keeper. Busch holds onto it, then collapses in a heap from the apparent "injury" he just suffered. If MLS hands out Bad Performance of the week because I'd totally vote for this one.

32' - GOAL - It starts with Marosevic getting sandwiched by two rough-looking tackles on the edge of the box, but the ball squirts out to Avila on the wing and one touch later, slots the ball coolly past Busch. Good call on the ref to play the advantage.

37' - Frings free kick loops behind the defence but just too far in front of Johnson. So close.

HALF TIME MOOD : Holy crap this has been really good so far!

52' - Frings turns a ball a little too far into a great chance as a sweeping left foot connects at close range forcing Busch to make a stop.

58' - SUB - Stinson in for Marosevic. Not sure, but Stinson is a work horse so we're good.

75' - Plata has a legitimate goal taken away after he beats the last defender, pushes the ball around the downed keeper and slots it into the empty net while the idiot linesman gets it very wrong.

Quote of the Match:
I'm gonna drug'em and sell'em on Church and Wellesley!
~ Lattes' reaction to the refs blowing the call

83' - Andy Iro proceeds to give most supporters heart palpitations with a patient, yet successful, clearing of the ball from within the box.

84' - SUB - Avila comes off for Viator and receives a nice round of applause.

86' - Kocic comes up with a very nice stop from 12 yards out. San Jose is mounting the final offensive.

87' - GOAL - Ugh. A throw in ends up on the back of the head of some random Earthquake and it lands at the foot of Wondolowski near the far post who puts it in. Tough to stop, any way you cut it.

90+3' - In a chase down the touch line, Iro and Luzunaris race for the ball but neither get to it before rolling out of bounds. Iro crashes into the signage and Luzunaris crashes OVER the signage. Both OK, but not the kind of thing you see around here unless there's ice on the ground...

FULL TIME : Toronto 1, San Jose 1

Man of the Match
: Eric Avila for being quick and calm to slot that ball in and for taking an absolute pummelling and staying in the match.

Goat of the Game : ummm... N/A. Yeah.

Ref Rating : 3 out of 5. They had a really good game but they blew a few massive calls that ruined their appreciation factor.

Player Ratings: Kocic 7, Eckersley 7.5, Harden 7, Iro 7*, Morgan 7, Frings 7.5, deGoo 7, Avila 8 [Viator N/A], Marosevic 7 [Stinson N/A], Johnson 7, Plata 7.5 [Borman N/A]

* not a typo he played a very good match

The patience and imagination for TFC was at the forefront tonight. You'll never confuse them for Barcelona, but for TFC standards, this was a huge step forward... Some of the kids in the system leaves me with much optimism for the near future. Hard to believe this academy could actually be the start of a real talent pool to draw from, and not just fill-ins and substitutes either... I marvel at the cast of misfits in our section (The Yorkies very included) and the personalities they bring, could almost make for a sitcom... This whole Ex thing is a beautiful thing and a crime as the healthiest thing you might actually get in the food building is the walk through it. I mean does a burger NEED to be served on a split Krispy Kreme donut or in between two grilled cheese sandwiches?

Friday, August 26, 2011

THE MATCHUP: Red-uce, Red-use, Red-cycle

Oooh, it comes in "San Jose blue"

TORONTO (17th) VS. SAN JOSE (14th)
- Is TFC's sudden lack of scoring a long-term issue or can they break out of their goal funk?
- Can the much needed Danny Koevermans return from injury?
- Which Quakes' ex-Red do Toronto fans miss most - Attakora, Cronin, Peterson or Gordon?
- How many negative messages on Twitter will Jacob Peterson post during the match?
- What would Frank Yallop trade to us for our whole defence?
TORONTO: Eric Avila, Andy Iro, Ryan Johnson
SAN JOSE: Bobby Convey, Jacob Peterson, Chris Wondolowski
- Jacob Peterson Tweeting that he'll only miss "Ty Harden and Tiny Tom Donuts" when he leaves Toronto again: 20-1
- TFC going down 1-0 only to be saved by a biblical flood, locust infestation or rivers of blood: 50-1
- Alan Gordon waving to the crowd - injuring wrist in process: 75-1
- A protest is planned outside of BMO Field by victims of last Tuesday's "Great Toronto Earthquake 2011" Nearly 1's of people were hurt in the quake that registered nearly 3 on the Richter scale by time it reached Toronto. Protesters are angered over the insensitivity of the San Jose club's name. Never forget.
- With the incredible amount of players that have suited up for both of these clubs, FIFA has voted Saturday's match as "Most Incestual Fixture - 2011"
- To help flagging attendance, MLSE is planning a halftime tribute to former Canadian pro wrestler John "Earthquake" Tenta. Never forget.
THE WAGER: 1-0 Toronto (2011: 19-17 with 6 exact scores)

God speed Earthquake. God speed.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

AFTER 90 (REPLAY): Lightning strikes twice as Reds lose to Dallas... again

Electrifying! Unlike TFC's offence.

Whatever god, deity or golden calf that MLSE sacrifices virgins to - really, really wants Toronto FC to become CONCACAF Champions. For the second time this year, Great Odin's Beard has caused the skies to turn upside down over BMO Field and wash away a 1-0 deficit in its biblical wake. The first time around, against Vancouver, us fans got to attend a make-up match weeks later but this time the match will be replayed at 10:15AM on a weekday.
It is great news for those who are paid to report on football and/or the terminally "alternatively" employed but for those of us not paid to report on the football men kicking their football goals (I know, you're shocked aren't you) we must follow via the wacky online world of social media and other internet machine gadgetry. Instead... today we decided to pretend that one of last night's thousands of lightning strikes hit The Yorkies' international headquarters and our report thus comes from a dimension where anything can be imagined... and coffee has yet to be digested.
1' - Literally 1's of supporters on hand with the match getting set to get underway. Three-man referee crew without two day’s worth of laundry have resorted to wearing a bathrobe, a rented Batman costume and a comedy hot dog outfit. Kick-off...
3' - Only major change to TFC line-up being exclusion of Terry Dunfield who decided to have the CNE Krispy Kreme hamburger for breakfast. Donuts and meat was a bad choice
10' - Concerns that FC Dallas' Brek Shea was hit by lightning last night diffused - his hair apparently always looks that way
13' - Peri Marosevic and Ryan Johnson putting pressure on Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman - first one to score gets a framed Def Leppard mirror
20' - Free admission to match at CNE means a heavy Carny presence in stands. Rubes are getting hustled this morning
27' - Gianluca Zavarise with a shot that bounces off the side of the Food Building, spins twice on a Crown & Anchor wheel, knocks a waffle ice cream out of a fat kid's hand and ends up in Kevin Hartman's hands. Furious action!
35' - Teams starting to look a bit winded. Replacing Gatorade with Deep Fried Cola not a bright idea
38' - YELLOW CARD: Torsten Frings decks Brek Shea. Give the German a stuffed toy unicorn
40' - Joao Plata pressuring Hartman's north end goal. Possibly being drawn by smell of Tiny Tom's Donuts... or genuine camaraderie with the height-challenged Donut mascot
45' - PENALTY: Richard Eckersley (YELLOW CARD) pulls down Marvin Chavez in the area. Daniel Hernandez takes the kick and... misses! Totally distracted by the smell from the Horse Building
45'+ - GOAL: MLSE forgot to give their god a peanut and FCD's Jack Stewart baffles Matt Stinson and slots the ball past Milos Kocic. Karma? Halftime whistle blown
46' - No changes for TFC. Halftime oranges replaced by pizza-on-a-stick - will it pay off?
50' - The MC from the Arctic Express ride standing in front row yelling "DO YOU WANNA GO FASTER?!!!" at Ty Harden
53' - SUB: Danleigh Borman out for Ashtone Morgan who just got off The Gravitron
56' - SUB: Gianluca Zavarise heads off to give debut to Leandre Griffit who sadly has to wolf down his first ever corn dog before running on pitch. No time to savour
67' - Sorry... was dreaming of the Better Living Building. Could have bought three Sham-Wows, a cheap leather belt and got a caricature of myself as an astronaut kicking a football past an alien resembling David Seaman. Still 1-0 eh?
71' - TFC looking more likely to win a midway ring-toss game than scoring a goal anytime soon
77' - Today's match being called "the greatest free entertainment at the CNE since Sha Na Na wrestled alligators live on stage at the bandshell back in 1987". God speed "Bowzer"... God speed.
80' - SUB: Matt Stinson out for Doneil Henry. Sure... why not?
82' - Where's a good tornado when you need one?
85' - TFC throwing the kitchen sink at Dallas. Ironically, kitchen sinks are on sale in the Better Living Building
88' - I need a deep fried vodka
89' - YELLOW CARD: Richard Eckersley acts petulantly and gets a 2nd Yellow for booting the ball into the stands which means... RED CARD. Dumb.
90'+ - Watching The Reds and the visiting the CNE had a lot in common today - you expect a day of fun but end up spending too much on food, getting a bit bored and leaving with a slight headache
While weather gods can do all kinds of magic, like giving you a second chance to prove you can't suck twice in a row, but at some point you have to do some work yourself. TFC, who came out flat last night (before the mini "End of Days") had every opportunity to reverse their CONCACAF Champions League fortunes today but could only respond with more of the same. Today's replay was such a gift for The Reds, one that could have put them in the Group C driver's seat, which makes their flat performance seem all the worse. The offence has once again fallen into sputter-mode and today's re-loss gifts FC Dallas a huge advantage in the group while putting TFC
PLAYER RATINGS: Milos Kocic 6.5 / Richard Eckersley 5 / Ty Harden 6 / Torsten Frings 6.5 / Danleigh Borman 6 (Ashtone Morgan 6 ) / Matt Stinson 5.5 (Doneil Henry - )/ Gianluca Zavarise 6.5 (Leandre Griffit 6 ) / Peri Marosevic 6.5 / Julian de Guzman 5.5 / Ryan Johnson 6 / Joao Plata 6
TALKING POINT: TFC would have won a third match. Discuss.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT: Toronto v FC Dallas... or My problems with that b**ch Mother Nature

Dallatasaray. If you don't know or get the parody, there's more football than just England, Italy, Spain and Germany.

You know what I like about the rain. When I'm indoors. I appreciate dryness, roofs, umbrellas, hats. They're brilliant. Really. This has to be one of the worst weather/luck scenarios at least in this team's history. Our first three games were unseasonably frigid, we've been "mother nature'd" twice. Hell, if it weren't for the mediocrity of the team, we'd be complaining about the weather this year.

Predictions came up all pro-Dallas with 2-0, 1-0 and 2-1.

Starting XI looks like this:

Eckersley, Harden, Iro, Borman
Frings,, Dunfield, deGoo
Marosevic, Johnson, Plata

Solid starting side.

3' - Prediction of Iro making only 2 mistakes all game. I would so have taken that bet.

14' - ball ends up at foot of the Brazilian Jackson inside the box but the next touch had Borman clearing the threat

18' - GOAL - Suspect defending shows Jackson's deft chip well over Kocic and dropping under the bar. The crowd erupts in an apathetic silence.

21' - The lightning. She gets closer...

24' - Toronto is quietly creeping back into this match. Quiet like most of the west stand.

26' - Eckersley and Jackson get tied up. Eck nearly hits a running bulldog but still ends up with the free kick.

27' - Frings gets on the end of a cross and pops it just over the bar from 8 yards out.

29' - Brek Shea fires a bullet that Kocic lunges to parry away.

At the 31st minute, the ref postpones the match for 30 minutes due to lightning

32' - The match resumes at 9:14pm. This begs the much overlooked question : How many of these officials have a degree in meteorology? Better question, can you actually get a degree in that?

33' - As long as the ref keeps facing south, he cannot possibly see the natural pyrotechnics behind him going off in the distance.

37' - Now the skies are opening up.

39' - This sums up my feelings.

41' - Executive decision, I'm going home even though I had the brains to bring a poncho this time.

Half-time mood : F*ck. This.

Last I've heard as of 11pm the braintrust are still considering finishing out the game... one of the ushers informed me that there were only 5,000-6,000 tickets sold for the match before game time. Any attendance figure higher than that would've been utter bullshit... While we're on the subject of tickets... I guess having that many empty seats didn't hurt the beer sales. Why else would you do the supporters a "favour" of having to opt-in for these tickets?... They ran a few ads for Canada v St. Kitts (September 2nd at BMO) at the match, and the ads look great. However, they ran when less than 500 people were in the ground... I'd like to give a thumbs up to the Voyageurs for organizing group ticket sales in the south end and Umbro Canada for ponying up sweet scarves as incentives for group ticketing. I'd find a way to bury the CSA in here, but they didn't botch this one up (so far)... to the regulars who didn't show up, I kinda sorta can't blame you, but to the people who were coming over anyways and filling their spots, you were totally weirding me out.

THE MATCHUP: Deep in the heart of "Ex"as

Exhibition match

TORONTO (1st) VS. DALLAS (2nd)
- Was TFC's recent upswing a carny trick or is their form closer to the performance put on in Chicago last Sunday?
- Will The Reds' "Whack-A-Mole" defence manage to avenge the 1-0 loss when Dallas last played at BMO Field?
- Can a CNE walk-up crowd help the often anaemic attendance for Champions League matches?
- Does Milos Kocic's recent fine form see him continue in goal?
- How long can broadcasters hold off before using the phrase "carnival atmosphere"?
TORONTO: Torsten Frings, Milos Kocic, Ryan Johnson
DALLAS: David Ferreira, Kevin Hartman, Brek Shea
- TFC forcing FC Dallas to use a CNE 'Hall of Mirrors as their dressing room: 20-1
- With the added CNE traffic, Toronto's notoriously late fans arriving at the match sometime around the 70th minute: 30-1
- Former Reds Ali Gerba and Collin Samuel holding an unofficial "autograph signing" in the Food Building: 50-1
- TFC apparently tried to have CONCACAF reschedule the match as they felt FC Callas would have an unfair advantage being surrounded by so much deep fried food
- Joao Plata has finally cashed in on his burgeoning fame as the new face for CNE favourite "Tiny Tom Donuts"
- BMO Field's regular announcer will be replaced by the MC from the "Arctic Express" midway ride who will constantly yell "Do ya wanna go faster?!" at Ty Harden
THE WAGER: 1-1 Draw (2011: 19-16 with 6 exact scores)

Monday, August 22, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Toronto FC delays at airport customs

"Anything to declare?"... "Yes, we're not very good."

When things go poorly for Toronto FC on the road, we often hear that "travel" has caught up with the team. It may seem like a handy excuse but any of us who have fought our way through airports know that it can be taxing at the best of times. With the added joy of getting to tour some of Central America's finest "Slightly" International Airports, The Reds can be given a little rope to excuse poor away form... but only a little. One of the most time consuming aspects of airport travel is waddling your way through customs. Nowadays, passing through this level of security can be akin to a Guantanamo-esque interrogation, which led us to wonder what happens when TFC meets up with border guards...
11. Bob de Klerk constantly warned that one more "air rage" outburst could get him deported
10. Always have to spend ages explaining to Canada Customs that they are a football team... which is a soccer team... which is like foot hockey
9. Team must declare Andy Iro as a dangerous weapon
8. Stefan Frei causes delay in line by always whispering to border guards if they know "which gate the next flight to Zurich leaves from"
7. Nick Soolsma always being detained when trying to smuggle his suitcase full of exotic international cheeses into country
6. Must produce documents showing Joao Plata's legal guardianship
5. Bags full of XXX Dutch DVD's always being confiscated
4. Have to explain how Rohan Ricketts ended up being a stowaway in the cargo hold
3. Ty Harden declared as an endangered species
2. Club always claims four years’ worth of baggage
1. When asked if he has anything to declare, Aron Winter replies "It is a pity"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

AFTER 90: Unbeaten Streak's Day Off

I had the same look on my face watching TFC

Rarefied air for Toronto FC as they fly into suburban Chicago's Toyota Park tonight. Not only are The Reds trying to extend an unbeaten streak that goes back nearly a month now but they also face a team lower than themselves in the MLS table. Fire have been sputtering this season and look ripe for the picking but TFC is on the bad end of a Central American round trip and are carrying some big knocks with them. Will The Torontos manage to shake the away form monkey from their backs? Will Dan Gargan score a hat trick against his old club? Are games in Chicago suburbs the same as John Hughes' suburban Chicago movies?
1' - A sunny night in suburban Chicago but no sign of any members of The Breakfast Club, Gary & Wyatt, or Long Duk Dong. Kick-off...
3' - Early pressure from Fire as Patrick Nyarko forces a save from Milos Kocic
7' - Young TFC bulldog Matt Stinson cracks a long range blast that forces a big save by Fire GK Sean Johnson
10' - No sign of Abe Froman - Sausage King of Chicago
16' - GOAL: Fire's Dominic Oduro gets on the end of a little TFC defensive pinball and slides the ball past a diving Kocic. Geeks, wastoids. dweebies.
22' - "Defence?... Defence?... Defence?..."
32' - Ryan Johnson breaks free and takes shot on Sean Johnson. Johnson v Johnson. Sean comes out Head & Shoulders above. I'm here all week. Try the knackwurst.
37' - Julian "de Bomber" de Guzman goes close on yet another long-range attempt. Feeling confident on those lately
40' - "Dominic Oduro moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss him."
44' - Marco Pappa doesn't preach but almost makes Milos Kocic lose sleep with a curling volley from just outside the TFC area. Big save by the lanky Balkan
45' - Ref blows to end the half - tells Ed Rooney to make sure Sloane is waiting outside Toyota Park
45' - SUB: Is that Abe Froman?! Oh, no it's just Nathan Sturgis. In for the underwhelming Javier Martina.
47' - Fire could have been up by two if Sebastian Grazzini hadn't fluffed a huge opportunity in front of Kocic
50' - de Guzman strikes a good right-footed shot that cracks the Fire post and Joao Plata barely misses putting home the rebound. Very close to equalizing
55' - Ball shot into stands. Caught by dapper teen and his two friends. Holds ball up to show the crowd.
60' - SUB: The effective de Guzman replaced on the hour mark by Belgian supervillain Mikael Yourassowsky
67' - Kocic forced to rush out of goal and crash into a charging Oduro to make a very crucial save
68' - GOAL: You are effing kidding me. Dan Gargan. Goal. Words do not exist.
72' - Frings & Iro: "Where's your brain?" "Why'd you kick me?" "Where's your brain?" "Why'd you kick me?" "Where's your brain?" "I asked you first."
77' - Ryan Johnson grazes the post with a header. TFC's main offensive threat tonight
80' - SUB: Ashtone Morgan seeing out the game for Danleigh Borman
90'+ - Ref whistles to end the match as TFC's bus driver becomes distraught when finding out that the miles aren't coming off the bus' mileage gauge by running it in reverse
"In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?... raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Aron Winter called this in 2011? Anyone? Something-t-a-l football. "Total" football."
PLAYER RATINGS: Milos Kocic 7 / Richard Eckersley 6 / Torsten Frings 6 / Andy Iro 5.5 / Danleigh Borman 5.5 / Matt Stinson 6.5 / Julian de Guzman 6.5 (Mikael Yourassowsky 5) / Peri Marosevic 6 / Javier Martina 5 (Nathan Sturgis 5.5 ) / Ryan Johnson 6.5 / Joao Plata 5.5
TALKING POINT: Too many "Days Off" this year. Discuss.

Friday, August 19, 2011

THE MATCHUP: Smoke... not quite Fire

11 starting Knackwurst and 5 subs! Game on!

CHICAGO (17th) VS. TORONTO (15th)
- With TFC unbeaten in nearly a month (I know!) can they finally shake that MLS away match monkey off their backs?
- Does Torsten Frings' return to the line-up put the steel back in the team that went missing during the 2nd Half against Tauro?
- Can Julian de Guzman continue to put in consistent performances?
- Will The Reds' game plan against Chicago be the same as all teams used to try against them - run all the offence towards Dan Gargan?
- If we beat The Fire are we officially "on fire"?
CHICAGO: Patrick Nyarko. Dominic Oduro, Marco Pappa
TORONTO: Eric Avila, Torsten Frings, Ryan Johnson
- Toronto looking disjointed and uncomfortable at rare occurrence of playing team lower in the table than themselves: 5-1
- Dan Gargan inevitably having a performance that makes him look like the next Franz Beckenbauer: 10-1
- Toronto to Panama to Chicago in 5 days causing players to take short midfield naps: 20-1
- Stagnating attendance at Chicago's Toyota Park has led to Saturday's "Earth, Wind and Fire Night" where fans get a match ticket, a bag of top soil and a tin of baked beans
- MLS is considering a ban on the local Chicago delicacy Knackwurst after elements of Fire's hardcore support started to use them as a replacement for league-shunned streamers
- Bridgeview, Illinois - home of Toyota Park - is a small western suburb of Chicago. Snagging the Chicago Fire as residents was first step in marketing themselves as "Mini-Chicago". Nicknamed "The Slightly Breezy City", Bridgeview is home to the 3-story tall L'il Sears Tower, has a Wrigley Field made entirely out of Wrigley's spearmint gum and was the location for the filming of dwarf versions of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Blues Brothers"
THE WAGER: 1-0 Chicago (2011: 18-16 with 6 exact scores)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

AFTER 90: Reds survive CONCACAF's finest

Just imagine it constantly going up and down

Sing with us... "The Chaaaaaaamp-pions!" While hardly the stuff of Internazionale visiting Barcelona at the Nou Camp, tonight marks the start of Toronto FC's journey through this region's premier club tournament. It's a trip as far south as possible without being in the Copa Libertadores as The Reds visit CONCACAF's other TFC - Tauro FC of Panama City. Dodgy pitches, unique supporters and exceptionally shaky officiating is at the ready as Aron Winter attempts to guide his Torontotal Football through Group C. It seems as if local legend David Lee Roth is ready to sing the national anthem so we head to the stadium that celebrates tank commanders and 80's shortstops - Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
1' - After an ugly incident with Sammy Hagar the match is set to begin in front of dozens of Panamanians. Not enough "mania" for my liking. Kick-off...
7' - Joao Plata with the first chance of the night as he steps around Tauro's keeper but the wee Ecuadorian's shot was sharp angled and hits the side netting
10' - TFC Eh causing problems in TFC Ole box as Danny Koevermans nearly connects with a ball skipped in front of goal
15' - After their last experience in Central America, TFC must be pleased that the grass isn't knee-high
20' - YELLOW CARD: Who else would invite the wrath of CONCACAF referees? Andy Iro for just being Andy
21' - GOAL: Ryan Johnson picks up on some sloppy Tauro defending deep in their own area and smoothly slots it past the TFC Ole keeper
23' - GOAL: Julian de Guzman has become "de Bomber" with his second recent long range blast. This one bounces past a hapless Tauro keeper while players look around confused at a whistle that emanated from the crowd
31' - YELLOW CARD: Richard Eckersley letting his Salford show. Rash tackles will never go unnoticed in CONCACAF
33' - Tauro putting on all the pressure in the last five minutes forcing Milos Kocic to be on his toes
37' - SUB: Debut time as Dasan Robinson comes on for the red card destined Andy Iro
38' - Kocic gets caught on a Tauro volley but is headed off the line by "The Ginger Avenger" Richard Eckersley
45'+ - YELLOW CARD: Cuban ref thinks that handing out yellows to Toronto is "sticking it to capitalism". Matt Stinson's turn for a "CONCACARD". Halftime
45' - SUB: Aron Winter puts Ashtone Morgan in to start the 2nd Half in place of fellow academy product Matt Stinson
50' - The Reds must have spent the halftime break watching a documentary about the Panama Canal because they haven't come out ready to play football
53' - Tauro's dominance leading to open headers in front of Kocic. TFC Eh are lucky TFC Ole doesn't have the chops to finish
58' - SUB: Mikael Yourassowsky makes a rare appearance as Koevermans ends a quiet night with a stretcher ride off the pitch. Didn't look too serious however
60' - 15 whole minutes without Toronto getting a "CONCACARD"!
64' - Tauro FC have decided to field the Panama Men's Olympic Diving team in the 2nd Half
71' - Another mystery foul gives Tauro a free kick that forces Kocic to smother it on the ground
73' - PENALTY: Julian de Guzman with one of the few fouls that was legitimate. Sadly it was in the TFC 6-yard box. PK taken by Tauro captain Lucho Moreno and GOAL
79' - Toronto leading Tauro in fouls given 194 - 2
81' - Traffic in Panama Canal grinds to a halt in shock as a Tauro player gets a yellow card!
84' - Tauro could easily have tied the match as shot whistles past Kocic's goalpost
88' - Kocic bowled over by Tauro (no call - shock) - Morgan clears ball off goal line. Close
90' - YELLOW CARD: Shock. de Guzman for nothing. Just stupid.
90'+ - Reds truly lucky that Tauro can't finish from open play as ref blows to end match. manages to do so without giving out a card
Most of us are used to the nuttiness that goes along with playing in CONCACAF but tonight's "officiating display by Cuban Marco Brea became comical. When the match ended, Toronto "out-fouled" Tauro by a whopping 30-11. When stupidity like this takes place, good football will never be the result and tonight's match won't be one for the CONCACAF highlight DVD. That being said, The Reds 2nd Half performance did them no favours as the team was flat, disorganized and withering. As mentioned before, if Tauro FC had any actual finishing prowess from open play, this match would have had a different result. In the end, 3 points away in Central America are valuable but TFC Eh will have to be much sharper in future CCL fixtures. Terrible refs or not.
PLAYER RATINGS: Milos Kocic 6.5 / Richard Eckersley 6.5 / Ty Harden 6 / Andy Iro 6 (Dasan Robinson 6 ) / Danleigh Borman 6 / Julian de Guzman 6.5 / Matt Stinson 6 (Ashtone Morgan 6.5 ) / Ryan Johnson 6.5 / Peri Marosevic 6.5 / Danny Koevermans 5.5 (Mikael Yourassowsky 5.5 ) / Joao Plata 6.5
TALKING POINT: CONCACAF referees may give you a yellow card for reading this. Discuss.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

THE MATCHUP: Panama! Pana-ma-ha!

"Please do the air splits for the National Anthem of Panama"

TV: SETANTA (Free View)
- Will Aron Winter trump his Toronto predecessors and take the CCL seriously or will it be a 6-game audition for 2012 jobs?
- How will the team react with its leader Torsten Frings out on a yellow card suspension?
- With ready-made excuses like humidity, wacky pitches and travel at hand, will The Reds have the fortitude to go for 3 points?
- Will Andy Iro need to wear a straight jacket to avoid the wrath of the always card-happy and overzealous CONCACAF "referees"?
- What happens to the space-time continuum when TFC meets TFC?
TAURO FC: Javier Dussan, Juan Perez, Temistocles Perez
TORONTO FC: Richard Eckersley, Peri Marosevic, Joao Plata
- Crooked CONCACAF referees unsure of which TFC they were supposed to fix the match for: 20-1
- Confused American broadcasters referring to the clubs as "TFC Ole" and "TFC Eh": 30-1
- David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar uniting to belt out Panamanian National Anthem - "Panama!": 50-1
- FIFA is rumoured to be interested in holding a bi-annual "TFC World Cup" featuring Toronto FC, Tauro FC, Toulouse FC, Torino FC and Fiji's Tavua FC
- The dodgy artificial pitch at Tauro's Estadio Rommel Fernandez almost caused CONCACAF to relocate Thursday's match aboard a tanker ship floating down the Panama Canal
- To entice fans, it is also "Noriega Bobblehead Night" at Tauro's ground. The first 1,000 fans receive the likeness of the infamous dictator - which is actually just a pineapple with a bendy-straw stuck in the bottom
THE WAGER: 0-0 Draw (2011: 18-15 with 6 exact scores)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

CONCACAF GEOGRAPHIC: The Travelling Supporter's Guide to: Tauro FC

"TFC!" (clap, clap, clap) "TFC!... hey, wait a minute..."

The Yorkies present "CONCACAF Geographic" - a three-part travel guide for those with the expendable funds, masochistic streak and strong stomach to tackle supporting Toronto FC away during the Champions League Group Stage. Our travel department has been hard at work to bring you this three-part bonus, non-pullout, section of The Yorkies. Pack your bags for Part 3 of 3...
You are watching TFC. No, not that TFC... that TFC. It's Tauro FC, the pride of Panama City, Panama. This is what it sounds like when doves cry. The Panamanian stalwarts are led to the rocky, humid pitch by the outrageously named Panamanian forward Temistocles Perez who could quite possibly be a part-time Greek philosopher. Founded in 1984 by the most trustworthy of businessmen - an Italian industrialist - the club is styled on Juventus and wears similar kits to their Turin cousins. Wait until they find out Toronto FC was styled after Swindon Town! One of the club's official nicknames is "El Mas Laureado" which translates to "The Most Successful". Of course that's "most successful" Panamanian club. Like being the tallest midget.
"The Gateway to Canal Pleasure" - Panama City, is home to Tauro FC. Located in the historic "Cholera District", Latino TFC play in the "olympian" Cancha Sintetica Rommel Fernandez stadium. "Cancha Sintetica" actually means "synthetic surface" while Rommel Fernandez was a hero of the American Panamanian invasion who was related to both WWII German tank commander Erwin Rommel and 1980's Blue Jays shortstop Tony Fernandez. If you have free time to venture around some of Panama City's sites before the match, we highly recommend Canal Street for a selection of fine knock-off watches, visit El Museo de Bizarro Coconuts, and see the statue of the man who wrote the nation's national anthem - David Lee Roth.
Panama City's Tocumen Slightly International Airport doesn't currently offer direct flights from Toronto but there are easy connections from Pearson Airport with stops in Kansas City, Missouri -Tallahassee, Florida - Port Au Prince, Haiti - San Salvador, El Salvador - an offshore drilling site and then directly into Panama City from there. Alternatively, you can sail down either side of North America and enter the city canally.
Panama's tourism slogan is "The Humidest Place on Earth" so we mostly recommend 5-10 changes of underpants per day. Suffering what the locals refer to as "canal sudarosa" (translated: "sweaty canal") can lead to an afternoon of very uncomfortable touring. If there is one thing Panamanians know - a leaky canal is cause for alarm. Dressing in tearaway 80's clothing in the style of local legend Senor Lee Roth is a widely accepted alternative to regular attire.
The most famous cocktail in this tropical continent-joining nation honours one of its most infamous figures. The "Noriega" is filled with a secretive mixture of American and local spirits and served in a hollowed out pineapple. Accompany a "Noriega" with the local delicacy of "Misterio Mezcla" which is only served to North American tourists in hotel bars. The locals love to watch "gringos" chow down on a big bowl and giggle happily as you do. So generous are the Panamanian in spirit that they would never even think of eating any, kindly saving it for visitors.
Experienced travellers will tell you that if it is your first time trying to enter a canal region, you should do it slowly and with care. Take your time and don't rush the experience, your travelling partner will thank you for it. It may seem like a difficult and unusual place to visit at first, but once inside, the lush wonders will have you wanting to come back regularly. If your wife ever lets you... you know, what with the price of flights and stuff.
"Por favor, no disparen - se que todas las palabras de Van Halen 'Hot for Teacher'!"
(Translated: "Please don't shoot - I know all the words to Van Halen's 'Hot for Teacher'!")
Now, please rise for Panama’s National Anthem…

Monday, August 15, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Derogatory Panamanian nicknames for Toronto FC

Panama: Hot canal action

One of the best things about Toronto FC's qualification into CONCACAF Champions League proper is the chance to meet new opponents. The finest of the finest Caribbean, North and Central American squads doing battle to crown the ultimate regional champion... like a battle royale... with midgets. TFC opens its group stage against... TFC. Yes, the other CONCACAF TFC - Panama's Tauro FC. This is what it sounds like when doves cry. While we always have silly things to say about The Reds' opponents - we wonder how Panama's press is cheekily referring to our TFC...
11. "Donut-eating Iceholes"
10. "Non-Continent joiners"
9. "Bunch of Steve's"
8. "Major League Gringos"
7. "North Mexicans"
6. "Fake Tauro FC"
5. "Equator Haters"
4. "Smooth grass softies"
3. Yankee hats"
2. "Tiny canal lovers"
1. "CONCACAF's tall white guy"

CONCACAF GEOGRAPHIC: The Travelling Supporter’s Guide to: Pumas UNAM

Pumas UNAM: It's a Latino puma! No, wait... a golden fist!
The Yorkies present "CONCACAF Geographic" - a three-part travel guide for those with the expendable funds, masochistic streak and strong stomach to tackle supporting Toronto FC away during the Champions League Group Stage. Our travel department has been hard at work to bring you this three-part bonus, non-pullout, section of The Yorkies. Pack your bags for Part 2 of 3...
Today we visit what will likely be Toronto's toughest away fixture of the CCL Group Stage - Mexico City's PUMAS UNAM. A traditional powerhouse of Mexican football, Pumas also have one of the greatest badges in FIFA which looks like a jungle cat - until you stare at it for a minute and it ends up looking like a golden fist. Like a Mexican 3D painting off of 1990's malls. Just less sailboat - more Latino punching. With the catchy nickname "La escuadra de la maxima casa de estudios" in hand, Pumas are led on to the pitch by Argentine goal scorer Martin Bravo and midfielder Diego De Buen (translated: Doug The Good).Celebrity supporters include cartoon mouse/ speed enthusiast Speedy Gonzales, inventor of the Chimichanga - Alejandro Campos III and Love Boat guest star Charo. Coochie Coochie.
The UNAM in Pumas' name stands for National Autonomous University of Mexico - the club's owners and site of Pumas' massive home ground, the 62,700 seat Estadio Olimpico Universitario. The stadium is located in the Ciudad Universitaria (translated: School Cafeteria City) area so visiting Canadians who are used to being stabbed, shot and beaten at Mexican resorts by rural banditos, can instead be stabbed, shot and beaten by educated Mexican co-eds. UNAM is one of Mexico's leading schools, famous for its research into the Jumping Bean Phenomena, Siesta Technologies and Advanced Burrito Engineering. For those venturing further afield into Mexico City, don't miss the hourly Mexican wrestling matches at most main intersections, the annual Festival De Pickpocketos and of course have your facial hair groomed into a swarthy handlebar mustachio by most local taxi drivers during traffic jams.
While there are daily direct flights to Mexico City from Toronto, for the thrifty traveller we recommend leaving a few days early and flying on a budget airline to San Diego, California or Laredo, Texas. While there, pretend to be an illegal alien, get captured, then sit back and relax as American authorities transport you for free across the Mexican border. It is only a 3-day donkey-trek form the border region to Mexico City. Ariba savings!
The seasoned Mexican tourist knows that travelling light is key. An empty suitcase, apart from two cases of bottled water, an anti-diarrhetic and some form of high-powered rifle (preferably with night vision capability) is all that you should need. That, and wads of American money to hand over to: airport customs, cab drivers, local police, amateur "pharmaceutical" teams, cock-fighting organizers, novelty sombrero salesmen, giant mice, random schoolchildren and priests.
There's a (loosely translated) phrase in Mexico - "If it's brown - drink it down. If it burns... you will die in approximately 36 hours" This ain't your daddy's taco bell. If you aren't used to spices that cause your testicles to recede into your stomach - be sure to ask for everything "Grande Gringo". This level of spice is equal to what most Canadians would consider "5 Alarm" but is the mildest available. To start your day, we recommend the mildest available breakfast of Jalapeno Cheerios with skim chili horse milk, toast with butter and paprika, an orange dipped in Tabasco and a Tequilacino coffee.
Mexico hasn't been the friendliest of countries for Canuck visitors over the last few years but a great majority of Mexicans are warm, hospitable and moustachioed. At least 3 out of 10 gunshot-sounds are simply fireworks being let off and only 48% of people wearing masks are robbers with the remaining being luchadors on their way to a match. Do be aware of a new scam however where the worm in the bottom of local tequila bottles somehow manages to extract all of your credit card info.
"No, no, yo no soy un turista canadiense - Yo soy un albino panameno!"
(Translated: No, no I am not a Canadian tourist - I am an albino Panamanian!")

Coochie Coochie!

Be sure to check back for our CONCACAF Geographic guide to Tauro FC coming soon

Saturday, August 13, 2011

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT: Toronto v Real Salt Lake... or fixing the terrible defense with a potent offence has to be bad

I'm ready to make a Real Betis knock-off but it cannot be anywhere as entertaining as this one...

Hey kids, you realize that our beloved Robins are in the midst of a 4 game unbeaten streak? Sure, two of those matches were against the sub-NASL calibre Real Esteli (and won both) but in a season polluted with bad news (DeRo leaving) and worse news (I thought YOU were supposed to be centre back tonight?), spin is your new best friend.

Real Salt Lake are in town to halt the little momentum this side has. They're currently sitting in 5th (like the Easter bunny and taxes, we don't believe in the divisions) in the table. It's hot, a little humid, but a nice summer evening out at the park.

And now a joke:

Did you hear Tottenham just signed a new Italian striker? Grabatelli (say it like "grab a telly")
~ President of Luton Town Supporters Club of North America


5' - Plata is just getting warmed up with his ritual of turning defenders inside out. He's gonna cause headaches again.

7' - Danny Koevermans (can I get some love for calling him DeeKay? No... discuss) has a go 25 yards out -  just left of the post. It's comforting to see players with shooting confidence.

8' - Plata gets onto a Borman pass, turns Russel out, lays it off to Marosevic forcing Rimando to parry it away.

21' - some quick ball movement lands at the feet of Borman who plants his foot on the confetti and WIPES OUT! HE WAS 12 YARDS OUT DEAD CENTRE! F*cking Minor League Soccer... I can deal with bouncy castles and playgrounds but this is the field of play.

23' - Beckerman has a go from the edge of the box pushed over the bar by Kocic.

30' - Espindola gets a pass from Wingert 12 yards out in front of goal with only Kocic to beat and Espindola smacks the cross bar. Shoulda been 1-0...

33' - Iro commits a howler as Espindola easily gets around him to have a go at goal but fires wide. Coulda been 2-0...

41' - Kocic makes a great leaping save from a rocket across the face of goal from 30 yards out.

Quote of the match
"Amy Winehouse *clap* *clap* *clap*clap*clap*" being sung to a very drunk girl 5 rows down.
"Whoa, wait, too soon"
"Hey, she's been sober for 3 weeks..."

We're full of comedians tonight. Brilliant.

Half-time mood : uneasy after the last 20 minutes

64' - SUB - Iro comes out for Ty Harden. In light of what we know, that's a very good move.

66' - We've made another terrace classic.

"He's quick! / He Serb! / His saves are quite superb! Kocic... Kocic..."

You're welcome.

70' - Kocic comes out and gets his hand on a very dangerous and would've-been-on-target cross to spoil a tap-in attempt. Very good awareness.

73' - Borman with an almost too long run, lays it off for Plata who blasts one that Rimando has to push over the bar.

74' - SUB - Koevermans off for Martina. We were speculating exhaustion.

77' - GOAL - Plata lays a low cross that skips past two defenders and his target... and Rimando as well, smacking off the back post and rolling in. Happy accidents and all that.

78' - SUB - Stinson off for Henry. Stinson played a very promising game, well done sir.

89' - Salt Lake earns a corner after a badly played back pass from Henry. Ensuing corner sees Schuler comes flying in for a header but puts it over the bar. Too damn close.

90+1' - Salt Lake pouring it on as Kocic comes off his line but a strange deflection sees him caught way out - Henry calmly clears the ball off the line.

90+3' - I apologize for the following lack of description. All I wrote was "Kocic outstanding! Two MASSIVE saves!" and remembering exactly that, but I assure you, that was accurate.

FULL TIME : Toronto FC 1, Real Salt Lake 0

Man of the Match - Kocic played outstanding. He is a solid keeper and I believe he has the goods to start in this league without question. Well done Milos.

Goat of the Game - Confetti. I know MLSE and MLS endorse this stupidity because baseball, football, basketball and hockey do it ALL THE TIME, but it adds nothing to the game. Honestly. It's a mess and it's embarrassing for MAJOR League anything.

Ref Rating - 5 out of 5. He didn't call any real howlers, and when Toronto was up he wasn't swinging bias against them as it seems to usually happen (or maybe my memory is messed, I mean when was the last time Toronto had a lead at home going into the 80th?)

Kocic 9, Borman 6.5, Iro 8* [Harden N/A] Frings 7, Eckersley 7, DeGoo 6.5, Stinson 7 [Henry N/A], Avila 6, Plata 7, Koevermans 6.5 [Martina N/A], Marosevic 7

* Iro started with a 10 out of 10 and lost a point for every howler committed. He would automatically lose the 10 at any time another penalty was conceded at his fault. Below is a sign that was prepared to be unfurled in the event of another Iro penalty, courtesy of the President of the Luton Town Supporters Club of North America

Did we mention Kocic was outstanding? He was... I did feel a bit for Frei, who was injured with a leg problem. He's worked his ass off this season and has a goals allowed number undeserving of his talents and a clean sheet for him would've been nice... It's safe to say that some of these academy kids are growing into their own as Stinson and Henry looked like they belonged on the pitch... tonight was a combination of good luck for us, bad luck for them with a pinch of due karma thrown in, but I will happily take it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

THE MATCHUP: Real-ity check

Kyle Beckerman: "Is it Reds boy day?"

- Can TFC continue its unbeaten streak against an opponent far superior than the last four clubs they faced?
- Is the recent offensive output a fluke or can The Reds continue these multiple-goal results?
- Can Andy Iro regain his confidence after his terrible night out against D.C. United?
- Will the dreadlocked wonder that is Kyle Beckerman be tired after his midweek showing in the US Men's squad friendly vs. Mexico?
- Will the Utah Royal Family be in attendance?
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "The Monarchist League"
TORONTO FC: Eric Avila, Richard Eckersley, Torsten Frings
REAL SALT LAKE: Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Alvaro Saborio
- TFC still being referred to as "the new look Reds": 10-1
- Travelling RSL supporters mocking Toronto's Lake Ontario for its "lack of salt": 20-1
- Kyle Beckerman offering TFC's "white boys" an egg roll: 50-1
- To battle drooping attendance figures, MLSE has marketed RSL as "Utah's Real Esteli"
- Security at BMO Field will be upped as there have been concerns that right-wing extremist Mormon sects are considering Julian de Guzman's goal last week as a sign of the apocalypse
- Bob de Klerk was fined by Major League Soccer for his innocent Dutch-accented pronunciation of RSL hometown "Shalt Lake Shity"
THE WAGER: 1-1 Draw (2011: 18-14 with 6 exact scores)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CONCACAF Geographic - The Travelling Supporter's Guide to: FC Dallas

Bobby Ewing: Good dream sequence, crappy airport

The Yorkies present "CONCACAF Geographic" - a three-part travel guide for those with the expendable funds, masochistic streak and strong stomach to tackle supporting Toronto FC away during the Champions League Group Stage. Our travel department has been hard at work to bring you this three-part bonus, non-pullout, section of The Yorkies. Pack your bags for Part 1 of 3...
First up, in an alphabetical sense, is FC DALLAS. The most familiar of TFC's three group stage amigos; we will have played the Texan MLS club four times by season's end. Known locally as "The Hoops", "Los Gringos de Futbol" or "We have a soccer team?" FCD are led by dynamic young midfielder Brek Shea as well as bovine club mascot Tex Hooper. Celebrity supporters include J.R. Ewing, death-row inmates and cattle.
Pizza Hut Park in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas - the top-ranked pizza-themed football ground in mainland USA. Frisco, or "The Gateway to Obesity" as it is known in tourism circles, is one of the United States' friendliest yet most rotund suburbs. Founded in 1970 by the inventor of Frito-Lays, Frisco was meant to be an urban oasis designed on the shape of a ridged potato chip but is now mostly famous for the downtown Rodeo Clown Memorial and the State parole board's "Electrocution Wednesdays"
There are regular flights from Toronto to Dallas-Fort Worth or you can attempt to grab a cargo flight into Frisco's new Bobby Ewing Non-International Airport. It is recommended to rent a 1970's Cadillac with longhorns attached to the hood during your stay as the only local public transportation includes chuck wagons and $3 piggybacks on the shoulders of illegal immigrants
To paraphrase The Matrix - "You're gonna need guns. Lots of guns." Yes, in Texas, a sidearm is a way of life and in most major hotel chains you will be expected to "take down" your breakfast before it is deep fried for you. Chaps, a tool to add holes to your belt, a right-wing Christian agenda and knowledge of sauce are also recommended.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Texas, take a defibrillator. Honestly, you can eat anything you like in Texas as most of it arrives deep fried, or, in the case of Tex-Mex, wrapped in a casing ending in "ita"... then deep fried. We recommend fasting for three days for every meal you plan on eating. And remember, when you order your eggs "scrambled" - that means scrambled with a burger and fries and wrapped in a pizza... then deep fried and served in a burrito... usually brought to your table in a bowl of chili.
While no more dangerous than your average American suburb (so actually, very dangerous) there are precautions to take in Frisco. Be sure to look into the sky regularly as guns shot into the air do tend to drop their bullets recklessly; If you take the Lord's name in vain... that's a shootin'; If you can't finish your steak... that's a shootin'; and if you besmirch the name of any Bush... that's a shootin'. Also... steer dung.
"Howdy y'all, I sure do like them there (pick one) shotguns/ chimichangas / Republicans / Hooters girls / anti-abortionists / hats / evolution debunkers." Follow this with two pistol shots in the air or into dirt.

Be sure to check back for our CONCACAF Geographic guides to Pumas UNAM and Tauro FC coming soon

Monday, August 8, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Other Ex-TFC Hat Tricks

Like my new hat? Got it in Malvern!

It's Murphy's Law in football, as in many other pro sports, that an ex-member of your club inevitably comes back to haunt you. Saturday night was Dwayne De Rosario's turn. Arguably the best player ever to don the TFC kit, De Ro of course left Toronto under a cloud of "he said, Mo saids". It came as no surprise that the Scarborough native lit up his former club for a hat trick - it almost seemed destined to be. It did make us wonder though - what other ex-Reds could prodigiously tease TFC with a vengeful hat trick suited to their own specific careers?
11. CHAD BARRETT: Kicks ball straight at goalkeeper on breakaway - Shanks ball into crowd - Gets a cramp
10. DANNY DICHIO: Watches TFC Academy lose - Headbutts Academy prospect - Attempts to bite said prospect
9. MAXIM USANOV: Signs with Siberian 3rd Division club - Encounters a polar bear - Punches polar bear in the head
8. CARLOS RUIZ: Threatens a triumphant return to BMO Field - Doesn't show up for 5 weeks - Loses interest and leaves
7. PREKI: Invites Gargan, Harden, Peterson and Garcia over for a party - Hosts the most boring BBQ in history - Blames Canada
6. JIM BRENNAN: Falls into a plum new job - Grows dodgy facial hair - Gets coffee
5. GABE GALA: Scores another fluky goal against a big European club - Believes that he is an amazing player - No one else agrees
4. ROHAN RICKETTS: Gets a trial with Montreal Impact - Plays great for two games and Tweets about it - Gets lazy and is released
3. ANDREA LOMBARDO: Waits for Dufferin 29 bus - Heads to BMO Field - Sells the most popcorn in his section
2. MO JOHNSTON: Hired by Raith Rovers - Worried as "5 Year Plan" stymied by no draft in Scottish football - Calls Barry MacLean
1. COLLIN SAMUEL: Jogs slowly - Attempts to kick ball - Eats your chip butty

Saturday, August 6, 2011

AFTER 90: Who else would it be?

Dwayne right? Thought we recognized you.

Days after successfully qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League group stages, Toronto travels to the nation's capital - that nation, not this one. Optimism has slowly started to creep in to TFC land as the new additions from Aron Winter's "Super Summer Transfer Blowout" have started to show their worth. Whether or not the recent positives can be parlayed into a successful string in league play remains to be seen but road matches have never been The Reds' forte. An old friend (or foe depending on your outlook) awaits as TFC heads into nobody's favourite stadium, RFK in Washington D.C.
1' - D.C. United are still here in "The House That Duct Tape Keeps Up" with no new home in site. Their great fans deserve better as does the team that was once MLS' "Big Club". Oh look - it's that Dave De Romario guy - he's famous! Kick-off...
6' - Red card for D.C. United keeper Bill Hamid who undercuts Eric Avila outside of the box with the ball far from Avila's feet. Back-up Steve "Not Sam" Cronin forced in for United. Potential game-changer for The Reds
13' - TFC yet to impose their man advantage as United hold possession
15' - Eric Avila getting himself noticed in TFC debut as he hits the post with a long range effort that had beaten Cronin
18' - GOAL: You just knew this would happen. Dwayne De Rosario given acres of space and curls 30 yard effort past Stefan Frei. Subdued celebration - not a cheque in sight
22' - Very sporting of TFC to be playing as if they are the team who is down a man
29' - De Ro forces a big save from Frei. Man-advantage TFC bordering on infuriating as United have been superior since going down a man
35' - If TFC can manage to grab a goal, chances are Richard Eckersley will have something to do with it. He's a ginger spitfire tonight
43' - JFK got a kick-ass Space Centre and all RFK got was this broken-down stadium? That's what the Oval Office will do for you. That… and Marilyn Monroe.
45' - After going down a man early, TFC looked... what? They didn't? What do you mean D.C. was a man down?... Never mind
45' - SUB: Aron Winter goes all Rocky V and says "Go for it" as Doneil Henry comes out at the half for Peri Marosevic. Offensive... in a football sense
50' - SUB: Strange move as seemingly best TFC player on the pitch Eckersley comes off for young bulldog Matt Stinson
52' - GOAL: Talk about making the best of your opportunities as Peri Marosevic flicks home a rebound off of Steve Cronin. Smooth move Super Sub
54' - SUB: Someone pissed in Winter's halftime cornflakes as he uses all his subs within 10 minutes of the 2nd Half. Julian de Guzman in for Terry Dunfield
57' - The Goalblerone forced to punch out a dangerous delivery that De Ro rose to meet
63' - GOAL: Andy Iro makes a meal of a block that drops to (who else?) De Ro's feet who easily slots it past Frei. Iro will wear the goat horns if the score ends this way
65' - Iro getting an ear bending from the coaching staff
69' - GOAL: What a time to get his first. Julian de Guzman scores his first ever in TFC red. A scorching free kick taken in controversial circumstances that sees United coach Ben Olsen sent off
70' - United coach Pat Onstad losing his mind on sidelines. Dangerous for senior citizens to get so worked up in the heat
75' - United still unafraid to test TFC's shallow defence
80' - Andy Iro's tough night continues with very shaky decision making
85' - GOAL: Poacher. That's what Danny Koevermans was bought for. The Dutchman slips his marker and pokes it past Cronin
86' - PENALTY: Oh TFC. United walk down the field and eat TFC's defence alive, Iro forced into an ugly foul. GOAL: Who else? (Again) De Rosario buries it.
87' - Started to breathe again
89' - De Ro (yes, again) almost makes it four goals. Missed by inches.
90'+ - United throwing kitchen sink at Frei
90'+ - A crazy match comes to a halt with the feeling that either team could have left with 3 points. Only United can be pleased with that.
Like so many ex-Toronto star athletes before him, Dwayne De Rosario showed up to put the sword into his former club. A truly wild match that would have been great for a neutral, ended up being frustrating for Reds' supporters as TFC snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The early red card to United's Bill Hamid should have been pounced upon much earlier by Toronto but they allowed D.C. to control the 1st Half and take the inevitable lead. The 2nd Half offensive performance showed some good heart, especially with so much travel recently, but the defensive horror show was bad - even by TFC standards. And Iro had the worst possible night he could and we hope it's not the norm for the likeable back but with just over a week to go in the transfer window, it's a fair guess that Paul Mariner's phone is currently charging.
PLAYER RATINGS: Stefan Frei 6.5 / Richard Eckersley 7 (Matt Stinson 6) / Doneil Henry 6 (Peri Marosevic 7) / Andy Iro 3 / Ashtone Morgan 5.5 / Terry Dunfield 5.5 (Julian de Guzman 7) / Eric Avila 6.5 / Torsten Frings 6.5 / Joao Plata 6 / Danny Koevermans 7 / Ryan Johnson 6
TALKING POINT: How big a cheque do you ask for after a hat trick? Discuss.