The Yorkies' Regular Features

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Monday, April 30, 2012

THE STARTING 11: Positives of Toronto FC's 0-7 record

"Oh Bob, we didn't need you after all"

Times are indeed tough in the land of the Torontos. Supporters of the local side have had more than their fair share of heartbreak over the last six years but this time around just feels... well, sad. Last year's poor results were forgiven for the most part in patience for the inevitable improvement that was to arrive under Aron Winter's system but as we all know too well - it hasn't really worked out. While being on the very bottom of the league (again) is shameful for such a well-supported club, being the bottom-dwellers does have a few advantages...

11. Aron Winter's "Total Possum" system is succeeding by making all other clubs not take us seriously

10. Mo Johnston's fragile self-confidence has really been repaired

 9. MLSE will easily be able to market next year's 70% ticket price increase but comically switching the digits in hilarious promotion

8. Supporters get to debut their new chant "The 'O' Face"

7. Big new shirt sponsor "Dollarama" about to be lined up

6. Liverpool would have never wanted to play a 1-6 club

5. Club can finally stake a place in the Guinness Book of World Records without making Bob de Klerk wear that beard of bees

4. You can't spell "Soolsma" without a bunch of O's

3. TFC received a lovely bouquet of flowers and a glazed ham from the 1999 Kansas City Wizards

2. Owners can now market club as "The Record-Breaking TFC"

1. BMO Field was too crowded anyway

Sunday, April 29, 2012

AFTER 90: Real tough to swallow

The (Stockton) shorts end of the stick

Will Toronto FC leave Utah with as dubious record holders?
Remember back in 2007 when RSL a bigger mess than us? Yeah.
Can Torsten Frings return balance to the midfield?
Do The Reds have the firepower up front to breakdown RSL?
Is Aron Winter brave enough to stick with his system?
Does Steve Nicol get GOL TV?
How do I look in these 1987 Utah Jazz shorty-shorts?
7' - GOAL: Real Salt Lake - Kyle Beckerman
18' - PENALTY: Torsten Frings PK saved by Nick Rimando
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHT: Richard Eckersley looking like he wanted to stab Adrian Cann in his handsome face
FIRST HALF LOWLIGHT: Torsten Frings becoming the first German footballer in history to miss a penalty kick

48' - GOAL: Toronto - Eric Avila
57' - GOAL: Real Salt Lake - Richard Eckersley OG
59' - SUB: Doneil Henry on for Richard Eckersley
68' - SUB: Joao Plata on for Terry Dunfield
76' - SUB: Logan Emory on for Ashtone Morgan
77' - GOAL: Toronto - Doneil Henry
80' - YELLOW CARD: Torsten Frings
90'+ - GOAL: Real Salt Lake - Jonny Steele
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHT: Eric Avila giving his all
SECOND HALF LOWLIGHT: The inevitability of the winning goal
PLAYER RATINGS: Milos Kocic 6 / Richard Eckersley 4.5 (Doneil Henry 7) / Adrian Cann 5 / Miguel Aceval 6 / Ashtone Morgan 5.5 (Logan Emory N/A) / Terry Dunfield 5 (Joao Plata 5) / Julian de Guzman 5.5 / Torsten Frings 5.5 / Reggie Lambe 6 / Ryan Johnson 5 / Eric Avila 6.5
If you were told that TFC was going to have a "record breaking" season in 2012, this wasn't likely the record you would have guessed at. Yes, your beloved Torontos take their place in the record for worst start to a MLS season at a lusty 0-7 with little in the way of optimism that things are going to improve soon. Supporters can now legally say that 2012 "couldn't have started worse".
The Reds did show some fight against RSL but the technical frailties, especially in defence, are still the stuff of dreams for their opposition. While we aren't yet on the "Fire Winter" train, those calls will justifiably grow louder. A few days after giving fans his 100% playoff guarantee, the affable Dutchman still hasn't found a way to make these players work in his system. A heartbreaking ending indeed but in all honesty, the 1 point would have only soothed souls temporarily and put a band-aid over a deeper wound.

Friday, April 27, 2012

THE MATCHUP: In a Real tough spot

If there is one place Toronto FC would have chosen to avoid while trying not to tie the record for worst start in MLS history, Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto Stadium may be it. The notoriously difficult Utah ground will be an extra obstacle in Aron Winter's "100% Playoff Guarantee" despite all signs that the Dutch head coach is about to shake-up his stuttering side. It looks likely that Bavarian talisman Torsten Frings will return to his natural midfield position in an effort to kick-start the offence and stabilize the midfield while new faces may inhabit the porous defensive line. Only a 90 minute effort (with far fewer mistakes) will help overcome the strong Western Conference table-toppers "Jason Kreis and his Latter-day-Saints".
REAL SALT LAKE: Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio
TORONTO FC: Adrian Cann, Torsten Frings, Reggie Lambe
THE ODDS:- Aron Winter only being 98% sure of making the playoffs in post-match comments: 3-1
- Reds deciding to replace back four with sister-wives: 10-1
- Jamaican International Ryan Johnson publically offended by Kyle Beckerman's natty dreadlocks: 25-1
Real Salt Lake's impressive ground Rio Tinto Stadium is located in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy, Utah. The booming town of Sandy was founded in 1981 after a visit from actor Gary Sandy, most famous for his portrayal of radio station manager Andy Travis on the hit sit-com WKRP in Cincinnati. The show had a massive underground following in Utah where its "racy" clips of rock n’ roll music and Loni Anderson’s cashmere encased assets were deemed "unholy" by the state’s conservative religious leaders.

Gary Sandy’s impromptu visit (actually a prolonged flight connection) is said to have helped break down Utah’s strict religious stranglehold and the new town of Sandy was developed to honour this occasion. The modern town is famous for its 23-foot statue of physician Dr. Johnny Fever and is an export leader in multiple-wife-management systems, tabernacles and John Stockton’s shorty-shorts.
Since today is Friday, we STILL need a good dance and "surely something good has got to happen", we present to you a tune from one of Utah’s most famous musical acts…

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Not in a friendly mood

Jogging Liverpudlians - free with $50 purchase!

Bafflingly, Toronto FC could spark their second "perfect storm" of supporter discontent in three years. Few need to be reminded of the ill feelings churned at BMO Field for 2009's Real Madrid friendly where TFC supporters, in the midst of yet another terrible season, were asked to pay through the nose to watch Cristiano Ronaldo do step-overs for 45 minutes. It took a long time to heal the anger of many who felt used by MLSE over that match and for many it was the final straw in supporting the local side.
Fast forward three years and the ownership may be stumbling daftly into the same folly. With results on the pitch reaching new lows, timing couldn't have been worse to announce the latest expensive side-show to hit Toronto – Liverpool FC. For many it smacks as yet another attempted distraction, almost telling TFC’s long suffering faithful "yes, the season is a disaster but just ignore that and come see this famous Premier League team! Oh... and pay for it please". While MLSE is feigning innocence at their "invitation" to play at Rogers Centre, most season ticket holders have been around long enough to know this song and dance.
For some, the money issue isn't even the biggest sin in the scenario. The ownership's happy acceptance of changing an existing MLS fixture to make room for this meaningless match is worse. For a club whose goal is apparently (just) making the playoffs, pushing the original fixture against Chicago to the crowded latter portion of the season is a slap in the face to the importance of the league to TFC's fans. Add to the equation that these mid-season friendlies (despite being worthy of shipping in real grass) have the tendency to leave tired MLS'ers injury-prone and it adds up to the feeling, rightly or wrongly, that the owners have returned to the quick "cash-grab" game.
Of course, there is a way that MLSE could smooth over these ill feelings. In a stadium with a football capacity near the 47,000 mark, the club could supply the 16,000 or so loyal season-ticket holders with a free ticket to the match and still leave more than 30,000 tickets left for general sale. Of course, MLSE will say they aren't the organizers of this friendly - but we are pretty sure their corporate credit card could handle treating those who line their pockets every other week of the year. This will of course not happen and some TFC fans, who voiced anger after Real Madrid in person, will instead this time show their displeasure with apathy and future absence.
There is no blame towards local Liverpool fans (including those who support TFC also) who want to shell out to support their Merseyside heroes - it is a rare treat. If the London club I was born into supporting was coming to town, I would do the same. However, I would not expect the person who sits next to me at BMO Field, and hates said club, have to pay to watch his TFC play them. Like in most other MLS cities, a free seat should be the minimum thanks a season ticket holder gets. More so in a city where that season ticket holder has yet to witness a playoff match.
The optics aren't good on this one so far. There will always be a handful of people who say that playing "a bigger" club is great experience. But many, including some players, are exasperated at the return of these midseason circuses. Toronto is a proven football market with fans that have gotten over watching European clubs work out their summer rust and instead only crave success for their local side. This match will not aid that cause and could even hinder it. As a popular Twitter hashtag trend exclaimed yesterday, Toronto FC should be seeking #TrophiesNotFriendlies.

Monday, April 23, 2012

THE STARTING 11: Even more depressing moments at BMO Field

"Why so glum chum? Here, have a mocha latte."

Let's not beat around the bush - things are bad at BMO Field. Toronto FC are shattering marks for futility and are one loss away from being record-breakingly bad. Aron Winter's Oranje Revolution seems to have gone the way of Dutch pancakes, players are openly butting heads with management and even ownership has crawled out of its hole to tell us what we already know. However, as bad as the vibes may have been at the Exhibition Grounds post-match, it can always be worse! You know, like the time that...
11. ...Chad Barrett took a shot on goal - leaving dozens in the top row with massive injuries
10. ... Tom Anselmi publically smacked Jim Brennan for bringing him a cappuccino when he clearly ordered a mocha latte! A MOCHA LATTE!
9. ... MLSE's imaginary accountant bounced De Ro's imaginary cheque
8. ... Julian de Guzman's gym bag full of cash couldn't fit in the back of his customized Lamborghini
7. ... Edson Buddle was traded after it became clear to Mo Johnston that he'd never be a successful MLS striker
6. ... Maxim Usanov punched a mirror after getting into a violent argument with his reflection
5. ... delays to the Dufferin 29 bus ended Andrea Lombardo's career
4. ... Raivis Hscanovics' new shirt caused a global shortage in iron-on consonants
3. ... Collin Samuel was rushed to hospital after eating one of the stadium's Pizza Pizza billboards
2.... Jacob Peterson wrote to the United Nations claiming that Canada Day was infringing on his human rights
1. ... Suarez Soolsma was neutered

Saturday, April 21, 2012

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT : Toronto v Chicago... Or There REALLY is Nowhere To Go But Up.

This is the LAST team to get a mock-up logo.  Its been bad luck, really.

Overcast Saturday afternoon.  Fresh, yet not cold.  Props to the scheduling gods for picking a kickoff closer to the train schedules.  Don't have to wait an hour before the match, won't have to wait 45 mins after it.

Chicago is 1-1-2 and Toronto has neither earned a point nor scored a goal at home.  The preview isn't my schtick... so onto the match!

Predictions were 3-1, 1-0, and a few 2-1s for the Robins, a 1-1 and a scoreless draw (that one's mine).

Quote of the Match
He must have been paid off by the Mexicans.
~ Julie on Julian de Guzman

0:25' - GOAL - No. Way.  Seriously?  Ugh... Oduro gets free, 1 on 1 with Kocic and he slides it under the sprawling keeper and in the back of the net.
Robins 0, Waterboys 1

11' - Oduro gets another 1 on 1 with Kocic.  Kocic lunges to make the stop.

14' - Lambe gets fed a nice ball and forces Chicago's Johnson to leap to make the save.

24' - YELLOW - Cann delivers an elbow to the neck.

28' - Dunfield leads a counter and slots a nice ball through to Lambe who puts one on net, forcing another stop from Johnson.

36' - GOAL - After some positive possession in the Chicago third, the ball finds its way to Lambe who does two step overs and launches a rocket from 25 yards out.  Brilliant!
Robins 1, Waterboys 1

39' - GOAL - OMG! Johnson crosses a great low ball for Stinson who's marker takes him out, and Lambe pounces on the wide open goal and buries it!
Robins 2, Waterboys 1

41' - GOAL - Dammit no!  We just got the f'ing lead!!!  Cross comes to Sagares, who loses his marker and heads it past Kocic from 5 yds out.
Robins 2, Waterboys 2

Half Time mood : Thrilling, frustrating, amusing and depressing all at once.

58' - GOAL - Nyarko breaks free of his marker (and the hearts of the faithful) and outraces Kocic to a loose ball near the edge of the box, walks around the fallen keeper and pots it.
Robins 2, Waterboys 3

59' - SUB - Dunfield makes way for deGoo.

68' - SUB - Stinson is out for for Silva.

70' - YELLOW - deGoo for a careless late challenge.

71' - Cross for Plata way too high.  If he only had a vertical leap like Spud Webb did.

75' - Awesome gaff by the pyro people who fired off the confetti cannons after a Toronto shot attempt rolls past the post.

77' - Johnson gets a great attempt off and hits the post, but no confetti for his troubles.

80' - YELLOW - Eckersley for a late "challenge" which shows that he never came close to touching Oduro.

85' - SUB - Avila makes way for Burgos Jr.

88' - Frings pushes his way into the way of a cross from Johnson and knocks into the keeper's hands.

5 minutes of extra time.

Full Time : Toronto 2, Chicago 3

Man of the Match : Aside from being the marker for the Sagares goal, Reggie Lambe was outstanding.

Goat of the Game : The worst player on the pitch was likely Stinson, but that's not to say he was "bad".  So nobody is the goat.

Ref Rating : Started out as a 2 out of 5, then was working his way back up, then plummeted back to a 2 out of 5.  When the game started getting chippy, if Chicago had a tough tackle, he'd let the next Toronto challenge go... but if it was Toronto to go in hard first, instant foul.  And he missed a few hand balls.  Failure.

Tweet of the Tie : "That's the best substitution of all time at BMO Field. Puppo for Pappa. Love it." courtesy of @SNGerryDobson

Ryan Johnson needs to learn the idea of a volley or a half-volley and that they are legitimate techniques to be used on the pitch.  Yes, they tend to be wild attempts, but you take advantage of the out of position defense by having a go with the advantage presented before you... Plata could attend those classes too as when he's trying to get that last bit of ground advantage, that last touch he takes gives the defenders the cue to close him down and the resulting pass/cross/shot is weak and panicked... Is the restaurant sensation of "boneless chicken wings" just a means of selling chicken fingers to an adult audience?  Stupid TV ads... If there was 19,000+ people at the game today, I make $95,000 per year as a graphic designer... We floated the idea of doing a podcast with the Yorkies regulars.  We just have to convince someone that being a host is a good idea (and it is).  Making the four of our regular readers happier is what it's all about... One of the questions floated was, "if you were the money man at TFC and you had to offer deGoo a fair contract based on his performance since he arrive, how much would that be?".  The response was "$100k, $200k at the most".  I had him $3-400k area... Originally, Frings was rated at 7.5, but that first goal was a howler.  Still thrilled to see him back.  Once they figure out where he'll play, it'll be even better.

Player Ratings
Kocic 6.5; Eckersley 7, Frings 6.5, Cann 6; Stinson 5.5 [Silva N/A], Dunfield 6 [deGoo 6], Avila 6 [Burgos N/A], Morgan 6.5; Lambe 8.5, Johnson 7, Plata 6.5

Friday, April 20, 2012

THE MATCHUP: Fire in "The Hole"

It seems like yesterday. Well the record does.

Every TFC supporter remembers it. Back in 2007 the little expansion team that couldn't score a goal, was bleeding goals against and showing few signs of improvement hosted Chicago Fire. That fixture will always be remembered as "The Dichio Game" where the journeyman striker scored the club's first goal and was rewarded with a cascade of seat cushions. Little did any of us know that there would be few memories since that top that day.
Fast forward six years and here we still are. A completely different Toronto FC but one with a shocking amount of similar problems. Last in the league, can't score to save their lives and cracks of discontent forming. Can The Reds' current journeyman hero, Torsten Frings, return to action and breathe life back into the club like Dichio did that day? A sense of unwanted (and much undeserved) deja vu awaits as TFC attempts to end a slide that shouldn't be happening 6 AD (After Dichio). At least the club aren't trying to assuage us with a summertime friendly like those early days.... oh... never mind.
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "Seat Cushion II: The Cushioning"

TORONTO: Adrian Cann, Torsten Frings, Ryan Johnson
CHICAGO: Cory Gibbs, Jay Nolly, Dominic Oduro
- Dan Gargan returning to score a hat trick - single cushion tossed from upper deck in anger: 10-1
- Every time Chicago scores a goal, BMO Field's scoreboard flashes giant graphic for TFC v Liverpool: 20-1
- In their first game together, Adrian Cann and Torsten Frings collide in a rare dual-career-ending ACL-on-Hamstring Contusion: 50-1
Chicago once again has a kit sponsor on their shirts, this time in the form of cereal giant Quaker Oats. Far from being a one-time sponsorship, the instant oatmeal/ nuclear weapons monolith has attempted to do cross promotion in Illinois by renaming some of its most famous breakfast flavours after Fire players. Sadly, the flavours - "Marco Pappas & Cream"; "Raisin, Date & Gargan"; and "Maple & Corben Bone Sugar" have, for some reason, not resonated with consumers.
And finally, since it's nearly the weekend and we could all do with a dance while enjoying the finest in early-90's computer graphics... "We bring you..."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Ooh look over there!" Liverpool friendly marks return of shiny distractions in Toronto

Suarez: Non-feline, sometime-racist version

"We're haven't won a match in 2012... grumble, grumble"
"OMG it's Steven Gerrard for 20 minutes!"
"This rebuilding process is going nowhere fast"
"Yahoo we get to sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' poorly!"
"TFC has no depth at forward or on defence!"
"Is that Suarez?"
"My kitty cat?"
"No Soolsma - the sometimes racist Uruguayan!"
That's right, much like the early days of Toronto FC's existence, the sad state of the club is being promotionally ignored with a big, shiny, mid-season, absolutely meaningless friendly. Where the likes of Aston Villa, Benfica and Real Madrid once stepped, along comes those other Reds - Liverpool FC, in a match soon to be made official.
Unlike the previous friendlies, this one will be held in SkyDome on July 21st in a fixture that the club will carefully state is being organized by the good people at Rogers - and not them. Somehow TFC are innocent victims in this profit-making scheme which may help answer angry questions lobbed their way about their acceptance of changing a pre-existing fixture in order to open this slot. The fact that the MLS fixture is rescheduled to a date during an International break later in the year where many Reds (the Toronto kind) will be absent is none of your business. Did we mention Liverpool?
These mid-season friendlies - that always mange to injure someone for the season - are simply bush-league in a market like Toronto. Sure it was fine in the early days in order to build the club's popularity, but weren't we supposed to be way past that? Instead, it harkens back to the bad old days of Mo Johnston where we were expected to ignore the utter garbage of our weekly MLS existence because we'd have the honour of paying through the nose to watch Cristiano Ronaldo do keepy-uppies for 45 minutes.
In a season that has started off in as calamitous a fashion as possible - these shiny distractions may make a few ex-pat Merseysiders forget that TFC can't win a game but it does nothing to help the club. Watching Danny Koevermans tear his hamstring against a Liverpool reserve squad defender isn't going to make any new MLS fans out of Liverpool die-hards in attendance nor will it help develop a TFC team who may be looking at six years without playoffs. There is only one reward that Reds fans who brave BMO Field all year deserve, and it's not listening to other Reds fans pretend that SkyDome is Anfield.

Monday, April 16, 2012

THE STARTING 11: Chivas USA re-brands

When he watches football... he likely doesn't watch Chivas USA

While we are no fans of changing team identities unless absolutely necessary (i.e. Sporting Kansas) sometimes you just have to admit things are stuck in the Roller Hockey era and need a different approach (i.e. Crew, Revolution, Rapids, Impact) While not lumbered with a 90's Nike-infused identity, Chivas USA were branded in a way that alienates Los Angeles football fans who have a built-in hatred for The Goats' parent club Chivas Guadalajara. Despite a history of mostly under-par performances on the pitch, it's in the stands, where attendance is thin at best, where the worry must lay. Could these changes in identity be enough to get fans down to Home Depot Center? When Galaxy isn't playing that is. Oh... and when it's not a school night.
11. FC Zenit San Andreas
10. Borussia Monchihuahua
9. Pachuca North End
8. Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Club in the World"
7. Sheffield Miercoles
6. Santos Laguna's Little Helper
5. Deportivo De La Carson
4. Galatacoray
3. FC Girondins de Border Patrol
2. Club UnAmerica
1. IFK Goatborg

Sunday, April 15, 2012

THE TABLE FIVE REPORT : Toronto v. Chivas... or Can you do a match report of a match you didn't see?

This will be the weakest report ever written.  With our principle author slumming it up in England watching some non-league footie, no doubt, and yours truly had to give up his tickets for a wedding (congratulations Rob and Shannon), it was necessary for some kind of report since the others weren't really up to it.

My prediction was a 1-1 draw with the belief that we must learn to walk before we can learn to run.

With my forensic research abilities, this is what I've been able to piece together.

6' - WEDDING - Seated at Table 5 with a bunch of people I don't really know.  Time to check the score on the phone.  No goals yet.

20'- Kocic makes a great stop a Ryan Smith rocket after it takes a deflection off of Aceval.

31' - GOAL - Minda takes the ball from a Bolaños corner and heads it down to the pitch bouncing up into the top left corner. 

Robins 0, Los Whiskeys 1

32' - WEDDING - Phone says the Robins are down by one.  Heading to the bar, coming back double fisted with rum and cokes.

34' - WEDDING - Nice!  Alcohol isn't watered down.  Feel bad about giving the bride and groom a stack of 15% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupons since I doubt we'll ever use the 25% off ones...

37' - WEDDING - Here comes the wedding party being introduced to the hall.  The MC is left to be desired but what do I know, I'm a smart-ass.  Everyone should be coming into this if you're going to strut like that. #mandatory

44' - Zemanski has a go from 20 yds out and Kocic does his best superman impression to save it.

Half Time Mood : Girlfriend is pissed.  "Why do you keep looking at the phone when we can talk about our wedding?" That's why I keep looking at the phone.

47' - Johnson has his shot blocked at the end of a maurading run down the right side of the pitch.

56' - SUB - Aceval makes way for Doniel Henry.

66' - YELLOW - Lambe gets booked for something.

69' - WEDDING - This clam and potato dish is rather tasty.  There's certainly some cheese mixed into the crust and it's served on a clam shell-shaped plate.  So cute.

70' - Plata turns his defender around and puts a cross into the box and Koeverman's blind touch can't beat Kennedy.

71' - SUB - Silva comes off for Avila.

79' - Avila floats a brilliant ball across pitch to Johnson who beats Kennedy but it cleared off the line by Kennedy.

81' - WEDDING - I always understood a speech is something that you prepare and don't just make up on the spot.  Turns out everyone involved with making a speech are familiar with this definition.  Seriously, if you're going to go off the top of the head, "Ummm..." should not come up more than once per sentence.

84' - Johnson is the unluckies bugger ever, a great cross and Johnson heads it back across the face of goal but just wide of the post.

89' - Counterattack long ball finds Plata who lays a perfect ball to Koevermans and his shot is stopped by Kennedy.  The frustration is visible.

90+2' - WEDDING - Got up to sing a song for the bride and groom to they could kiss. Sang the Danny Dichio song.  Groom asks my "why that song?" and I responded "well, you chose to keep the wedding date after the schedule was released... so there's some payback"

Full Time : Toronto 0, Chivas 1

Man of the Match : Consensus was that Johnson was worthy of the honours.  From what I saw, honorable mentions need to go to both Kocic and to Kennedy.

Goat of the Game : Consensus was "everyone else was bad".

From Dom, "the game, awful dude, just awful". RohanKoomar postulates about the match "I don't think our midfield is good enough.  We have good individual players but don't seem to click". 

I'd like to give props to Toronto FC's "Game In Six Minutes" for letting me experience the pain and discomfort in 1/15th of the time.

I'd like to apologize for this attempt and I did what I can.  Not much insight, to be sure, but regular service will resume this weekend vs. Chicago.  Promise.

Friday, April 13, 2012

THE MATCHUP: No tempers flare as Canada FC faces Club UnAmerica"

Can't we all get along? Oh and...Ariba!

Outside of Rick Martel and Tito Santana's 80's wrestling tag-team "Strike Force" uniting both sets of fans - these two teams have about as little to do with each other as any in MLS. They probably like us a bit for knocking Galaxy out of the CCL and for playing against Santos Laguna, but outside of that? Meh. Do they miss Preki? No? We have that in common. See! He's good for something after all!
TORONTO: Julian de Guzman, Joao Plata, Luis Silva
CHIVAS USA: Juan Pablo Angel, Nick LaBrocca, Heath Pearce
- Juan Pablo Angel still scoring against TFC at will: 3-1
- Nick LaBrocca stopping match to remind us about filing our taxes on time: 10-1
- With Montreal now in the league, fixture losing official title of "Most Un-American MLS Match": 20-1
There can be little argument that Chivas USA are one of Major League Soccer's weakest links. Did the bright ownership not stop to think that they may alienate all of the Mexican expats in the LA area who weren't Chivas Guadalajara supporters? Would Toronto-area Chelsea, West Ham or Spurs fans have supported Toronto Arsenal FC? Uh-huh. But not to fear... Chivas’ white knight could very well be David Beckham who apparently has the clause to buy an MLS club at the end of his contract. Whispers in the LA football/fashion industries say Becks wants to transform the club into "C.D. Hombres USA" and stack the club with handsome and hunky Latino underwear models.

Monday, April 9, 2012

THE STARTING 11: Strange Toronto FC insults from Impact supporters

"Thanks... was that so hard?"

With the first MLS meeting between Toronto FC and Olympique du Fromage behind us, it is safe to say "The 401 Derby" is here to stay. There is very little love lost between the red clad fans on this end of the highway and the bleu clad on the eastern end. With so many Montreal Impact fans on hand in The Big O to "welcome" TFC and their supporters it was no surprise that things got a petit bit testy. While some of the overheard chants and insults were clever, and others were just... well insulting... some must have been lost in translation.
11. "Monarchist Dichio-addicts!"
10. "Non-Smoking De Ro danglers!"
9. "Ungrateful Laurent Robert deniers!"
8. "VIA-riding Sutton users!"
7. "Deodorant-happy Mitsou haters!"
6. "Parliamentary poutine smugglers!"
5. "Bibliotheque-searching Hardenites!"
4. Swiss Chalet swallowing Carlsberg guzzlers!"
3. "BMO-stealing Gerba wasters!"
2. "Ketchup covering French Fry abusers!"
1. "Leafs fans!"

Saturday, April 7, 2012

THE SOUTH COUCH REPORT : Montreal v Toronto... or Derby Day is weird when no one has won a game yet

I love a traditional looking logo.  You're welcome.

Game 1.  Well, it is really game 4, but unlike the start, right now, the league is the sole focus.  No more players out due to suspension or cup ties.  Just the usual injury drama.

Montreal are ahead of Toronto in the league standings, however in five attempts, they've got a point.  So this may be the only period of the season where the Cheese Makers are ahead of our beloved Robins.  We hope.

Prediction is 1-1.  I'd ask my pets but I do not have any.

Onto the match.

16' - Soolsma does this crazy cut into the box with the ball, settles it and just misses the inside of the post.  There needs to be an investigation regarding Soolsma 2011 and 2012.

18' - GOAL - Bad passing between deGoo and Dunfield causes the ball to be coughed up to Neagle, who steals it right from in front of him, and lays a ball off to Ubiparipović who rockets it from 18 yds out for the bottom left corner.

Cheese Makers 1, Robins 0

28' - Cheese Maker counterattack as Nyassi just takes off and has a go from 20 yds out, forcing a good save from Kocic and better protecting of the deflection from the backtracking Eckersley.

29' - YELLOW - Eckersley goes into the book for upending Corradi, ass over tea cup.  Looked accidental but meh.

36' - Great point-blank stop from Ricketts off of a header from Kovermans to deny the big man a spot on the score sheet.

Half-Time mood : unimpressed.  Is unimpressed a mood?  If it isn't, it should be.

52' - SUB - Plata off for Silva and Eckersley off for Henry.

59' - YELLOW - deGoo goes for a careless foul and gets booked for his troubles.

65' - RED - Nyassi breaks past Screech and Screech takes the legs from behind. Foul on the edge of the box, but straight red for the kid.

66' - Ensuing free kick from Nyassi sends one dipping for the upper corner but Kocic makes a great save to tip over the bar.

68' - Johnson sents a cross into the box where Ricketts beat Koevermans to the ball in the air, but Koevermans scrambles to the loose ball and has it get cleared by Thomas before any damage could be done.

71' - Utter madness, Johnson to Koevermans crosses looking for Silva, but it hits a defender and bounces towards goal only to have it cleared off the line by a defender

72' - SUB - Soolsma comes off for Lambe.

78' - Mapp has a go from long range foring Kocic to make a diving stop.

81' - GOAL - The counter attack game for Montreal finally pays off as Mapp hoofs a huge ball for Wenger to pick up, beats Harden and slides it past Kocic.

Cheese Makers 2, Robins 0

88' - GOAL - Finally Danny Koevermans!  Lambe crosses the ball in front of the 6 yd box and Koevermans loses his marker to head it down past Ricketts. 

Cheese Makers 2, Robins 1

3 mins of Extra Time  

Full Time : Montreal 2, Toronto 1

Man of the Match : Kocic. The only guy who seemed to be playing a consistent game.  Ecks and Screech ruled themselves out with their bookings and Koevermans bagging his first didn't help the three or four misses he had earlier.

Goat of the Game : Dunfield's marauding movements forward were ill-timed and ill-positioned.

Ref Rating : 4 our of 5.  Felt they didn't blow and calls and there were a few they could've easily made a bad day worse for TFC.

Was it me or was the first half kind of 'meh'? And when Screech was sent off, the game went end to end for the duration of the match.  Toronto should consider playing with 10 men more often... and while I think of it, Toronto should treat every MLS team like a CONCACAF Champions League match from here on in.  They'll finish the season 30-4-4... Clearly still disappointed with deGoo from Wednesday as every touch that did nothing, disappointment washed over me... Ty Harden will continue to remain employed as a starter.  He has to have a massive mental lapse before Winter will so much as sub him, let alone move him to the bench... Even though Soolsma is not the fastest winger, it is still amazing to watch him turn defenders inside out... Emory was having a pretty good game until the tackle.  That had to be the weakest straight red that was a legitimate call ever.  It was still the correct call but looked almost over-killed for the sending off.

I'm watching these KickTV things with ex-pro Jimmy Conrad and the video entitled LA Galaxy 2012: Biggest MLS Flop? The Mixer and the part where he runs down the KC Wizards for being the biggest flop and then throwing to his first MLS goal is true comedy gold.  Also the open letter to UFC supremo Dana White who ran his mouth running down soccer a while ago is totally worth watching.

Kocic 7, Morgan 6, Emory 5.5, Harden 6, Eckersley 6 [Henry 6], deGoo 6, Johnson 6.5, Dunfield 5.5, Plata 6 [Silva 6], Koevermans 6.5, Soolsma 6.5 [Lambe N/A]

Friday, April 6, 2012

THE MATCHUP: Wretched are the cheesemakers

Finally, after years of teasing each other in the Canadian Championship, our "real" league derby is on tap. No offence to Columbus... but, yeah... not-so-much. With the centuries of socio-political, geographical and... ugh, yes hockeylitical, disputes between our two great cities far too deep to chronicle (despite this being a serious news website) - let's just say it will be massive. Arguably, there will be no rivalry in MLS with as much historical emotion attached as "The 401 Derby". The massive crowds, home-and-home Canadian Championship date on tap and you know... Toronto being an awesome city and all that... likely makes this fixture as good as it gets in Major League Soccer.
MONTREAL: Davy Arnaud, Sanna Nyassi, Donovan Ricketts
TORONTO: Julian de Guzman, Richard Eckersley, Ashtone Morgan
- TSN taking Leafs vs. Habs comparisons into the thousands: EVENS
- "Qu'est-ce que vous chantez" chant ironically done in English: 10-1
- Impact fans outdoing Toronto's Dichio seat-cushion phenomenon buy tossing Saputo brand provolone slices at Patrice Bernier: 25-1
The historic city of Montreal was founded in 1567 by the infamous brie smuggler and pirate Mo Riel. The city has grown to be the largest French-speaking metropolis outside of France and is the perennial leader in the UN's moustache-to-toque ratio. With a bustling cultural scene featuring Mitsou and Bonhomme du Neige, Montreal has shaken it's industrial past as Canada's poutine and withering looks leader to become a cosmopolitan centre in line with Auckland, Brussels and Minneapolis. See also: strippers; cigarettes; Jos. Louis

Thursday, April 5, 2012

THE SOUTH COUCH REPORT : Santos Laguna v. Toronto... or Do you remember that Cup run in 2012?

What a damn ride.  With every step after Dallas, "impossible" kept getting downgraded a little bit further.  And for 45 minutes, our dearest, at-times-dysfunctional, Robins made those of us who were watching that the world was ours for the taking.

Prediction : survive.  That's all.

No notes were taken during the match.  Too much excitement to remember to write things.

Onto the match:

15' - GOAL - OMGPLATA!!!!

31' - GOAL - Herculez Gomez

43' - GOAL - PLATA!!!

45' - GOAL - Herculez Gomez

Burrito Bhoys 2, Robins 2

Half-time mood : My mind is blown.  My heart is racing.  My nerves are almost shot.  Whatever you think my mood is, you're probably right and probably a doctor.

54' - Gomez is left alone from a corner and shanks a perfect opportunity for bagging his hat trick.

55' - PENALTY - Suarez was attacking on the inside of the penalty area threatening, but causing no immanent danger.  deGoo decides to run him down, tripping him up from behind without an attempt to get the ball.

56' - GOAL - Rodriguez converts.

Burrito Bhoys 3, Robins 2

59' - SUB - Dunfield comes off for the returning Stinson.  Dunfield took a few knocks during the game so not a bad substitute.

63' - PENALTY - Oh no... Aceval goes for a diving header to clear the ball from the box and heads it down to the ground, bouncing to his flailing arm.  A legit call, but a bit eye-rolling.

64' - GOAL - Rodriguez converts.  Again.

Burrito Bhoys 4, Robins 2

65' - SUB - Plata makes way for Lambe.  A little confusing as Plata was a bit of a terror for the Santos back line for much of the match.

66' - GOAL - Peralta scores.

Burrito Bhoys 5, Robins 2

69' - SUB - Aceval makes way for the returning Henry.  If Toronto are going to fight this to the bitter end, a change at the back was necessary.

3 minutes of extra time

90+2' - GOAL - Luduena seals the deal.

FULL TIME - Santos Laguna 6, Toronto 2

Man of the Match : Plata.  Why not.

Goat of the Game : I'm going with deGoo and here's why : Your captain should never ever do such a garbage tackle in your own penalty area when you're in the second leg of a tournament that you're a sniff away from the final.  That felt like the catalyst for the change in fortunes and really undid the hard work of the other ten players on the side up until that point.  Call change or not, that call being changed would have never had happened had the captain opted to think it through.

Ref Rating : 4 out of 5. The question of the ref calling for a corner and the linesman overturning it to a penalty is troublesome.  Didn't think that could happen, but I am not a ref.

Kocic 7, Harden 6.5, Aceval 6 [Henry 6.5], Eckersley 7.5, Morgan 7, Dunfield 6 [Stinson 6], deGoo 5.5, Silva 6, Johnson 6.5, Plata 8.5 [Lambe N/A], Soolsma 8

Now that the nerves have settled, it is depressing to think that though Toronto were, on paper and statistically, out of their element, that they were so close to the final.  35 minutes close.  The thing to truly be taken away from the disappointing result is that this side is not far away at all from being a genuine threat in MLS.  Perhaps a signing or two?  Perhaps some more time to develop?  It would be challenging to think of anything short of "bright future ahead" for Winter and his side.

The MLS season now officially starts this weekend against the dreaded Cheese Makers of Montreal.  We'll see you then.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

THE MATCHUP: The Miracle Workers


Estadio Corona, Torreon - 8pm ET

Well, here's what you need to know.  Santos came here last week and tried to play their game, by slowing the pace and rolling around on the ground looking for a shred of respect. The plan backfired when they didn't get the respect they apparently felt was deserved and were continuously run over during the course of the night. The team tactic of "no we're not kicking it out to touch every time your player goes to ground" was firmly in place and sadly weren't rewarded with a result for their fair play.  Now Toronto gets to go to hostile territory and hope the tactics which worked so well in the first round can carry them for the following 90 minutes.

MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "Battle of the Burrito-Butty"

TORONTO : Reggie Lambe, Ryan Johnson, Milos Kocic
SANTOS LAGUNA: Herculez Gomez, Oswaldo Sanchez, Daniel Luduena

- Toronto players getting "bagged" by the locals : EVEN
- Toronto players getting revenge by throwing the supporters Nick Garcia : 15-1
- Half-time brawl with run ins from Rick Martel and Tito Santana : 75-1

Apparently the drama of the first leg has lit the fire of the local side, offering deep discounts on tickets and commemorative empty urine bags for every 2 tickets purchased.  Santos Laguna has had rather the fortress on home turf where they've won the last 6 in all competitions.  Nothing is easy, but leave it to Toronto to take the difficult route.

POST MATCH HEADLINE:  "¡Me pellizco, que estoy soñando!" (Pinch me, I'm dreaming!)

The usual guy is on holidays so I just want to do his work justice.

Monday, April 2, 2012

THE STARTING 11: Changes to Montreal's Olympic Stadium for Impact matches

Don't wave so hard - the roof can't take the breeze!

Canada has a checkered history with domed stadiums and football (proper football, not Flutie Egg football). BC Place was, for many years, the Metrodome's poor cousin until its recent orange-seated, drop-top "renovation" made it "good" for Whitecaps matches. Toronto's SkyDome of course was an engineering marvel that people were in awe with for at least 15 months before it became an unfashionable white elephant. It's still a bit of fun when full - but that's only on Blue Jays opening day and when TFC shows up. 

Most maligned of all is Montreal's Olympic Stadium. Sneered at in both official languages by Montrealers, "The Big O" is a concrete eyesore and a long-term financial disaster. With L'Impact du Montreal avec le Fromage having to wait for summer to play in revamped Stade Saputo, changes were made to make "The House That the Rest of Canada Built" a decent home.
11. Non-Smoking section expanded to two seats in upper deck
10. Security frisk you to the sultry music of Edith Piaf
9. Le Butty Provolone
8. Water fountains only feature Pepsi-Cola
7. Seat cushion giveaway actually just a bag full of stale Jos. Louis snack cakes
6. Players randomly replaced by actors from "Just For Laughs Gags"
5. Stadium ushers are the 1987 Expos
4. The St. Hubert Chicken takes a dump on a Swiss Chalet quarter-chicken dinner during halftime show
3. Fans hold referendum during second half to decide whether Impact should separate from MLS
2. Giant stripper pole behind away goal
1. Roof collapses reduced by 20%!