The Yorkies' Regular Features

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

THE MATCHUP: Friday Night Blights

RUMOUR: Crazy Mouse to TFC

As if the eternally screaming tannoy, ear-cringing racket of promotional thunderstickery, live musical patio cacophony and doofuss-baiting shirt cannons aren't enough to Yankee-fy the TFC "match-day experience" - we have been gifted a Friday night fixture. Like a middle finger with "High School USA" written down the middle, we trudge through the CNE on a day never meant for (real) football. The "passion" couldn't be at lower ebb.

Having this fixture during the CNE also drives home another very raw point - summer is ending and TFC has not improved to any meaningful level nor do they look all that poised to tackle 2014. Even Kevin Payne seems to have tempered his optimism that the revolution (not Revolution) will be realized, as quoted in this article that "We want to be a playoff team next year, 2015 by the latest...". Wow, aiming high there chief. After a poor draft, a transfer window high on talk/low on quality and the reality that winter only makes available the likes of the Robert Earnshaws of the world, the Food Building isn't the only thing causing nausea on the Exhibition Grounds.

"The Exhibitionist"

TORONTO: Joe Bendik, Ashtone Morgan, Alvaro Rey
NEW ENGLAND: Diego Fagundez, Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves

- Maxi Urruti getting a full 90 Minutes: 10-1
- Maxi Urruti getting a 45 Minute run-out: 5-1
- Maxi Urruti standing in line at the Polar Express during match: 2-1

Every year, TFC supporters have to trek through the madness that is the Canadian National Exhibition for at least one corndog-scented fixture. This year, the CNE has been dogged by food violations and worse - bouts of gastroenteritis in patrons. TFC would like to remind fans that none of their concessions have fallen prey to the CNE-bug however and the following food stands have been added to handle the Food Building's overflow:



And... since we have no choice....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

EDITORIAL : Toronto FC Fan Council : Fill out this survey to better saturate you with advertisements!

Sometimes I wish I could get the PA announcer at the stadium a mute button.  Perhaps I am in the minority, but this season, more so than before, I feel way too marketed to when attending a match.  Every message is delivered like it is of utmost importance when it is just drivel.  There is very little news that comes out of the tannoy during any match.  Percentage-wise, it cannot be higher than 20%.  It’s terrible.  It’s noise pollution.

I’m not sure if anyone else is aware of it’s existence, but there is a group that is calling itself the Toronto FC Fan Council and on a once-per-month basis (or there abouts) I receive an email requesting my time to fill out a survey.  This month’s survey arrived last Thursday and the preamble read as follows:

As a member of Toronto FC Council, we want your feedback on everything related to Toronto FC. This month, we are asking you all about Toronto FC's marketing partners.

With the faintest of hopes, I thought that this would be the opportunity to provide feedback about how this club is marketing itself and its over-exposed “partners”.

What I was actually subjected to was a 15 minute reinforcement of what I despise the most.  Paraphrasing, the questions were postulating “which of these partners can you name which are part of the game day experience”, and “which of these brands do you feel you are most knowledgeable”, and “can you identify which partners...”

I accept that Toronto Football Club is merely a brand that is designed to make money by providing the service of entertainment, which I pay them so that I may watch the entertainment in person.  I accept that the sporting aspect of this “club” is, at the very least, secondary, as evidenced by every property its parent organization, MLSE, touches.  Their marketing genius is displayed in their efforts to have all of their fans believe that the on-field/ice/court success is the primary focus, when their bottom line indicates otherwise.  (I don't doubt for a second that this marketing strategy isn't unique to Toronto, but nobody does it better)

I also accept that my desire for footy to be as successful as hockey (or a fraction of), I must do my part.  Providing feedback, to a voluntary survey group, felt like one of those things one must do. However, that they would ask their fans how successful their advertising campaigns are, indirectly to that same audience, insults my intelligence.

At the end of the survey, a little box asking for feedback is available.  Here is a snippet of the six paragraphs submitted:

Dear "council", the supporters, a.k.a. customers, are over-marketed to.  Here's the thing: I don't support the sponsors.  Some because I am not a fan of their product, some by design.  I take my money and spend it before I get to the ground and I tend to avoid many of the sponsors listed because they, as well as the advertising people, have been ruining my game-day experience.

Aside from goals, subs, and cards, name a single part of the game that ISN'T "brought to us by" something?

If the nearly complete saturation of sight and sound isn't at the threshold of decency, I get the 'convenience' of being overcharged at the concession stand.  Why would I want to give Coke, or TFC, $3.75 for, at most, is a $1.50-valued soft drink because "that's what the market will bear"?!?! Why would I want to eat a pizza that reminds me of its existence all too often in the 2+ hours I spend at the stadium?  Or, mass produced beer brand trying to tell me that their beverage is worth around $12 for a can?


This entire exercise has allowed me to draw this conclusion: stripped down, customers who care about this team are seen and used as nothing more than people with too much disposable income that can be fooled to endure excessive amounts of promotion. The end game is to get those same customers to part with more of their disposable income than what is fair and convinced that this practice is perfectly acceptable regardless of the quality of the product.

@ignirtoq hasn’t been supporting the sponsors of Toronto FC for quite some time as it makes no difference.  He drives a Jeep, prefers Pepsi “throwback” (when available), uses Telus, owns a Canon camera, prefers his local pizzeria Mickey’s, drinks Patron tequila and Somersby cider, owns an XBOX 360, lives in an apartment so lawn care and home improvements don’t affect him, banks somewhere else and would prefer to refer to the home ground as “New Fort York” due to the proximity of the old one.

Monday, August 26, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Toronto FC-related CNE Attractions

"Hawk! 11 O'clock! ABORT! ABORT!"
For those of you who have been reading this site for the last few years... A) Thank you. B) Seek immediate medical assistance. C) You have been expecting this Starting 11.

It is once again that time of year when ice cream and waffles join in an unholy alliance; men's leather belts are half-price; Def Leppard mirrors have been shined to perfection; and, some of North America's horniest carny-folk are hitting on your sister. Yes it's the Canadian National Exhibition - Toronto's venerable lakeshore salmonella symposium! As usual, we couldn't let the fair pass without letting visitors know that one of the Exhibition Ground's permanent tenants - Major League Soccer anti-playoff activists Toronto FC - have their own set of exciting attractions...

11. The Better Living Next Year Building

10. Reds' midfielder Michael Thomas wanders through the crowd with complete anonymity

9. Watch Danny Koevermans complete his re-hab in the Food Building! (5 Times Daily)

8. TFC Transfer Window ride "The Bi-Polar Express"

7. "The Get Used To It'... 2-hour line-up to nowhere in particular

6. "The Jeremy Hall of Mirrors"

5. "Motherz Talk" Tim Leiweke & Kevin Payne perform the hits of Tears For Fears

4. AIR SHOW EXCLUSIVE! Bitchy the Hawk vs. The Snowbirds

3. The "Guess Your Age, Weight or Allocation Game"

2. Collin Samuel personally "disposes" of your tainted Cronut Burger

1. "The President's Choice Superdogs" vs. AS Roma

Now this is a "vocal minority" we can get behind!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

AFTER 90: D.C. United vs. TFC is brought to you by The Yorkies... "Ask for us by name"

What did you expect, a tiny dog?

For those who have been attending TFC matches since 2007, you have probably noticed that the usual intrusive in-stadium product placements and audio-visually grating promotions have been ramped up to a maniacally ear-splitting level this year. Club management theory (thanks for the questionnaire about your corporate partners by the way - time well spent) seems to be "One second of silence is one second of promotional opportunity wasted". It is bordering on sociopathic.

However, The Yorkies' website is nothing if not a money-making juggernaut and we have to admit being a little envious of the green. So, since TFC are on the road we will pick up the Mad Men slack tonight with a little shameless shilling. Refresh the page at will... every click pays!
FIRST HALF: Brought to you by COLT .45 MALT LIQUOR "Let's Get this Party Started"
KICK OFF: Presented by the SCOTTISH TOURISM BOARD "Scotland, Someone's Always Kickin' Off": It's a beautiful summer night at the rapidly decaying yet MLS trophy-laden RFK Stadium. Can't help but feel it needs a corporate sponsor name
2' - Jeremy Brockie making his final TFC appearance (for now) before heading back to Wellington Phoenix. His departure paid in part by AIR NEW ZEALAND "One-way Tickets to New Zealand. We said One-Way Jeremy."
5' - Bobby Convey fires a set piece way wide of Bill Hamid's goal. Proceeds from his set piece support the CANADIAN OLYMPIC ARCHERY ASSOCIATION "On Target Every Four Years"
7' - Dwayne De Rosario attempts a spectacular bicycle kick brought to you by MONEY MART "Cashing Cheques 7 Days a Week"
10' - GOAL: D.C. United: De Ro with an absolute screamer from 30 yards out. Promotional consideration for this goal paid for by SCARBOROUGH DIVORCE LAWYERS "You'll Be Better Off Without Them!"
15' - Reggie Lambe dispossessed badly in midfield. CANADIAN PORK COMMISSION "So much better than Lambe"
24' - Joe Bendik forced into a big save off Nick DeLeon shot. If Joe Bendik had been wearing his all-green kit then the save would have been brought to you by the good people at BICK'S PICKLES "Dill With It."
28' - Andrew Wiedeman close to making it level but shot misses by a couple of feet. That was tonight's STARBUCKS Extra Shot of The Night "Starbucks and TFC, making you pay so much for so little"
34' - SUB: Darel Russel comes on for Jonathan Osorio who is possibly ill. Brought to you by THE CNE CRONUT BURGER "What Did You Really Expect?"
42' - The 42nd Minute brought to you by TSN "Change the channel, we're probably talking about hockey"
45' - De Ro forcing yet another big save as the half comes to an end. Player walk-off brought to you by 'TIME TO SETTLE' INTERNET DATING "Get Used To It"
HALFTIME: Brought to you by WHISKEY
"Mmmmm... Tastes like Forgetting. Whiskey"

SECOND HALF: Brought to you by GIN "Making Underwear Vanish Since 1705"
45' - Second half back up and running. Don't forget to stay tuned for match highlights brought to you by HILROY DAY PLANNERS "Now Available in new 5 Year Format!"
55' - SUB: Robert Earnshaw in for Andrew Wiedeman. Earnshaw's entrance furnished by DODGE CARAVAN "Driving soccer moms and screaming children to an empty BMO Field for years to come. Dodge."
58' - Former Red Luis Silva down after a hard tackle. This hard tackle reminds you that TORONTO ARGONAUTS ticket flex packs now on sale!
60' - GOAL: Toronto - Bobby Convey gets on the end of a Lambe cross. Goal brought to you by THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION FOR RELIGIOUS APPRECIATION "Miracles can happen. God - ask for him by name"
70' - Doneil Henry's frantic defending brought to you by the TORONTO ZOO "Come see a clumsy Giraffe run around - samesies!"
77' - Toronto FC defensive shell proudly presented by PETSMART "Your Turtle Superstore!"
80' - Robert Earnshaw's 2013 performance sponsored by FLIGHT CENTRE'S 'MARCH BREAK EARLY BIRD SALE' "Because who wants to do anything after March?"
83' - TFC do nothing with free kick opportunity on cusp of D.C. box. This missed opportunity brought to you by DEPENDS UNDERGARMENTS "The freedom to sh*t your pants anytime, anywhere. Depends."
88' - SUB: Alvaro Rey on for Bobby Convey. Substitution brought to you by CARAMILK "Unlock the Secret of TFC's Transfer Window Mystery!"
90'+ - Extra Time brought to you by NYQUIL. "Make your own damn joke... NyQuil"

"Brand Name Fashions and Irony"


"We Put this Sh*t Out Every Match"
Joe Bendik 6.5 / Richard Eckersley 6.5 / Steven Caldwell 6 / Doneil Henry 6.5 / Ashtone Morgan 6 / Reggie Lambe 6.5 / Jeremy Hall 5.5 / Jonathan Osorio 5 (Darel Russell 5 ) / Bobby Convey 6.5 (Alvaro Rey N/A) / Jeremy Brockie 5 / Andrew Wiedeman 6 (Robert Earnshaw 5 )

Doneil Henry

CALGON presents THE BATH: "Calgon... Take Me Away"
What can be said about this match? Except "entirely likely". Kevin Payne's former and current clubs looking equally useless and ending up in a stalemate. Both sides scrappy in defence and disjointed in attack, so all in all, a fair result.

Much talk in both camps about "playing for next year" and "building for 2014" but as it stands now, you can't expect much to be different for either side a year from now without rapid change. Not the finest night for Mr. Payne's resume.

Now as part of our corporate shilling we're going for a smooth COLT .45!!!

Damn small print.

Friday, August 23, 2013

THE MATCHUP: Payne-ful to watch

The blurst of times?

On paper, this fixture looked to be the perfect tonic for the eternally ailing TFC. A visit to that other nation's capital to face D.C. United, a club woefully sliding through the tail-end residuals of life under Kevin Payne. Meanwhile The Reds, now under his apparently steady hand, head... well not upwards... but let's say in a mildly circular motion.
The optimism was of course before TFC got news that their best player, Matias Laba, had broken his toe and will miss around six weeks. TFC was slow on delivering this news as they were busy telling us about the "Everything is OK 2014" Family HappyTime BBQ. Who needs playoffs when you have an Interactive Fan Zone and a chance to sell product after all? Little has changed.
So, this match - with Kevin Payne's fingerprints all over both sides' undercarriages - ends up as a truly ugly representation of "playing out the stretch". What won't be resolved on the field are growing questions whether the man who left United to join TFC was a wily MLS front office vet snagged by a floundering club crying out for leadership... or, a washed-up executive who had burned his bridges over the Potomac and found the one club desperate enough to hand him a life preserver.
"The Payne Identity"
D.C. UNITED: Dwayne De Rosario, Bill Hamid, Luis Silva
TORONTO: Joe Bendik, Jonathan Osario, Maxi Urruti
- De Ro scoring against TFC: 3-1
- Luis Silva scoring against TFC: 2-1
- Both teams imploding under immense crudulence: EVENS
After many years of attempting to get a new stadium deal done under the leadership of Kevin Payne, it looks like United have finally got their deal in place. Despite Mr. Payne no longer being a member of the club, his efforts will not be forgotten at the new ground. Plans for a way to honour his years of service are being made with United fans being asked to vote on the most appropriate commemoration between these choices:
1) A bronze statue of Payne surrounded by children of the world with the words "Get Used To It" carved in Latin at his feet
2) A commissioned oil painting of Payne scouting players by an open fire while Earl Cochrane is snuggled sleepily at his side
3) Friendlies scheduled bi-weekly for the lifespan of the new ground

And... since it's Friday and this fixture "Scares Me" in a "Major" way, here's a video likely to be far more entertaining than the usual "General Rubbish"...

Monday, August 19, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Ways that being a celebrity has changed Bitchy the Hawk

"Don't you know who I am?"

Toronto FC does a lot of dumbass things in the name of faux promotion and manufactured tradition. Few however seem as forced and bludgeoned (despite being met with deafening apathy) as the pre-match introduction of Bitchy the Hawk. Like promoting Toronto FC as a "Bargain Harold's Benfica" fans are expected to go all goosepimply as a middle-aged dude in khakis escorts the bird halfway to midfield. Just stop it. However, all the attention has led to Bitchy becoming something of a local celebrity but if you think fame couldn't change her, you were wrong...

11. Suddenly making a lot of noise in the press about chasing seagulls in Los Angeles or New York
10. Forcing MLSE to carry new reality show "Rock Out With Your Hawk Out" on GOL TV
9. Won't get out of bed for less than 10,000 pieces of raw chicken liver a day
8. She has made the dude who walks her to midfield "her bride"
7. Her pen on the roof of BMO Field to be replaced by an orange Lamborghini
6. If Jim Brennan gets her morning coffee order wrong she pecks the sh*t out of his silly facial hair
5. Regularly chooses the TFC starting XI
4. Constantly getting out of cars commando with talons akimbo
3. Justin Braun pre-chews her food and gently drops it into her beak
2. Left her husband of 9 years, Brian the Hawk, after very public fling with musician John Mayer
1. Totally got that "alleged" video of her smoking crack on top of a building in Etobicoke destroyed

And... because when we think of fame we think of three things: Bitchy the Hawk, David Bowie and Soul Train. Obviously.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

AFTER 90: Claws out for the lads! - Special Guest Post by Crew Cat

 "What do you mean I have 'Crazy Eyes'? Maybe you're on drugs!"


From time to time we realize that you, our devoted readership (whassup you two, how's the family?), get a little tired of our hard-hitting style of investigative journalism. So, a couple of times a season we invite a guest columnist to sit-in for TFC match coverage.

Since tonight is the universally awaited finale to the 2013 Trillium Cup, we aimed high to bring you an analyst with in-depth knowledge of this infamous rivalry and one who has seen its drama up close like few others. Ladies and gentleman, the Intercontinental Soccer-Football Mascot Symposium 2006 "Mascot of the Year" (Third runner-up), USA Mascot This Week's "Mascot Most Likely to Give You a Rash" 1999, 2001-2005, 2007, and 2009-2012, and successful defendant of three separate civil lawsuits... from his private (litter) box at Crew Stadium, tonight's reporter "Crew Cat"!!!

KICK OFF - "Yo how's it hanging Toronto. You ready for my jelly? You mangiacats still in "re-building" mode? Yeah thought so. Let's get this sh*t on the road - I gots two Siamese waiting for me at my motel."
1' - "We're Trillium Cup Champions!"... said no one ever without irony. Seriously, there's like five of them laying around here... Chad Marshall puts my kibble in one. I use the 2008 one as a bong."
8' - "Your Scottish captain Caldwell tried to get his head on a corner. About as useful as a Scottish Fold in a whorehouse." (Cat Trivia: Scottish Folds have terrible libidos. Trust me.)
15' - "I went to Toronto once, it's no Columbus but I had a crazy night at the Toronto Humane Society. Cages full of honies - and they go full fur in Canada. Props."
19' - GOAL: Meeeee-ooooowww! Columbus: "Federico Higuain makes Fancy Feast out of Doneil Henry. Totally gonna lick my bits now."
21' - "Sorry the Toronto FC but your defence is exactly like a dog... useless on so many levels."
23' - "You know who's a Class-A douchebag? Timber Joey. Pervert."
30' - "TFC chasing the ball like me vs. rolled up tin foil."
34' - "Dominic Oduro hit that ball into Joe Bendik like Jerry hitting Tom with an anvil. God speed Tom" #Never Forget
36' - YELLOW CARD: Richard Eckersley... "Seriously did Garfield eat too much lasagna then die then put on a TFC shirt? That is one orange dude."
41' - Sorry dudes, hairball.
44' - "So why did you guys get rid of Paul Mariner? Partied with that wildman a few times after matches. Couldn't understand a word he said. Swear he gave me ringworm."
45' - "Halftime. Going for a um... nap. Don't come looking for me."


"Yeah, give Daddy his sweet Colombian nose kibble"
45' - "WHOOOOO!!! That was some high grade Colombian 'catnip'! Let's do this and then let's go down and spray this town yellow!"

47' - "Here's one for you hosers: What do I, Crew Cat, and Toronto FC's strikers have in common? We've both been neutered by Chad Marshall! OH SNAP! Just jokin' with you guys. It's good to joke. Except about Feline AIDS - that sh*t ain't funny."
53' - "Oduro chance stopped by your pickle guy, Bendik. I once mistook Oduro's hair for a calico. He wasn't happy."
55'- SUB: Reggie Lambe on for Alvaro Rey... "...sorry? What? I was licking some bits."
60' - "Sorry ladies... fell asleep there for a while. You guys still losing? Of course."
66' - SUB: Maximiliano Urruti on for Robert Earnshaw... "This is your Messiah? This skinny kid? What happened to his head? Looks like a black cat died up there. Racialist."
68' - GOAL: Meeeeee-ooooowww! Columbus: So you guys wanted to see an Argentine score amazing goals? You're welcome to drop by anytime. HI-GUA-IN"
73' - "Yeah - I got mange. What are you gonna do about it?"
78' - SUB: Jeremy Hall on for Matias Laba "...huh"
80' - "You wanna know what's wrong with the Toronto FC? You dumped Nick Soolsma. That blonde bitch loved himself a cat. Him, his cat Suarez and me used to get medieval after a match. I remember little. Yeah, Nicky got the rabies but that's rock n' roll."
83' - "You dudes know the Dallas mascot Tex Hooper? Meth.
88' - I miss the Crewzer Dance Pack. Those ladies knew how to scratch a bro. That blonde one and that hairy one. What were their names? Itchy & Scratchy I called 'em. Whatevs. And about the pregnancy... CC was neutered back in '05. Nice try gold-diggas!"
90'+ - Let's party. Smoke 'em if you got em' Canadia.

PLAYER RATINGS: Joe Bendik: Teh LOLZ / Richard Eckersley: Distemper / Steven Caldwell: Scottish Fold / Doneil Henry: Mange / Ashtone Morgan: Dander / Alvaro Rey: Coronavirus (Reggie Lambe: Feline Herpesvirus 1 ) / Matias Laba: Ringworm (Jeremy Hall: Iris cysts) / Jonathan Osorio: Mange / Bobby Convey: Mange / Jeremy Brockie: Liver fistula / Robert Earnshaw: Cataplexy (Maximiliano Urruti: Roadkill)
"Joe Bendik for teh LOLZ"  
"Look hosers, we're never gonna be cuddle buddies. I might spray you out of pity but that's about it. That being said, how you crazy f*ckers still follow his team is something. If my owner saw me in that much pain he best be getting me euthanized.
Don't sweat it though Toronto, if Crew Cat knows anything about science, you only have two more lives to go and the thing dies once and for all. So lay back, lick your undercarriage and it will all be over in 2015.
Gotta jet, I'm gonna go drop a deuce in the 2013 Trillium Cup. Meow suckers."

The views expressed by Crew Cat were Crew Cat's alone and not necessarily those of The Yorkies or Columbus Crew. Well we're guessing about the Crew and we actually think he made some decent arguments.

Friday, August 16, 2013

He's not the Messiah... he's a very naughty Newell's Old Boy

Where's the specs Chromeo?

Like a Mountie who tells you to "get used to it", Kevin Payne finally got his man - Maximiliano Urruti is officially a Red. It took a couple of hundred days longer than originally expected... but who's counting?

Transfer windows? We don't need no stinkin' transfer windows - just an Argentine club that has fallen on hard times, a player who hadn't been paid and broke up with them and possibly a little help from the "Thanks for Not Touching Clint Dempsey Fund for Disabled Clubs". No proof of the latter but it makes us feel better about things. The mysterious "compensation" given to Urruti's former club, Newell's Old Boys, will go down with Chupacabra, Loch Ness and Reggie Lambe as mysteries best left alone.

Now for the fun part - is our new Argentine saviour the next Gabriel Batistuta or the following Pablo Vitti? We can probably best hope for something in between but for TFC supporters expecting the new boy to open the scoring floodgates - you may want some patience.

Despite having been brought through the NOB youth set-up since a tender age, the 22-year old Rosario (get your cheque-signing jokes out of your system) native has only had 57 senior club appearances tallying 12 goals. His goal scoring rate is currently in the area of one per every 230 minutes-or-so thus he still has more to prove before anyone accuses him of being a hitman. Throw in the challenges of a new league, a new continent and a new language and the need to suppress your excitement becomes clearer.

Unfortunately for Urruti, the circumstances of his drawn out transfer saga has done nothing to temper TFC fans' excitement to see this mysterious South American treat. His name has been tossed around Toronto footy circles since Spring causing some to likely expect much more than they may see for some while. While patience was given to countryman Matias Laba upon his arrival, the midfield position is one that is harder to quantify in basic stats whereas the striker is judged on one thing... goals.

Hopefully, time is given by the justifiably anxious Reds supporters but if Urruti does end up closer to the Pablo Vitti's of the world, the transfer drama will bite the current regime in the ass hard and more vocally - towards the player himself. Urruti is not the cure-all for this club and it is best you don't view him that way. A valuable piece - a single piece - of an eventually decent starting 11 is the best we can hope for. It just might take some time. Again. 

In the meantime, we can all enjoy Urruti in his other role as lead-singer of "Chromeo". You can "prove" to us that it’s not him… but we won’t believe you. And "Hot Mess"... (insert TFC joke of choice)

THE MATCHUP: Urruti or not, here we come

"I'll just wait here guys..." 
Under the cloud of the "will he, won't he, when will he sign" Maxi Urruti drama, TFC make their final trip to the Ohio Riviera on Saturday to face their "Bitter Rivals (TM)". Not hot enough for ya? Well the fixture is also the decider for the trophy that even the trophy's mother couldn't love - The Trillium Cup. Oh yeeeeah!
Nothing really encapsulates the crudulence of this manufactured and sponsored silliness like an 8th place Crew hosting the 9th place TFC. Put it in a city that's not quite Cleveland and not quite Cincinnati, in a stadium that has a spontaneously combusting scoreboard and a stage and top it off with a mascot that is supposed to be a cat but looks like a rabid badger... and stir. (Confession: we love the filthy Crew Cat)

The good people at Scotts Turf must be dining out on the good press of sponsoring the biggest cup fixture since the 1971 Texaco Cup 3rd Round Preliminary Qualifier.
"The New Soft"
COLUMBUS: Federico Higuain, Chad Marshall, Dominic Oduro
TORONTO: Steven Caldwell, Matias Laba. Jonathan Osorio
- Urruti signing well before the match: 10-1
- Urruti signing in a cab on the way to Crew Stadium: 5-1
- Urruti signing for Crew: 2-1

Earlier this year, Crew Stadium was hit with embarrassing calamity as the ground's scoreboard caught fire (above), melting a giant hole into its face. Sadly, this was only one of many mini-disasters that wrought destruction upon the rapidly aging stadium this season. Apart from the fire there was the localized tornado that only struck the children's playground outside the stadium, massive flooding overwhelmed Crew Cat's litter box, riots and looting destroyed a corporate suite during the failed "Anti-Xenophobia Symposium" and of course box-office drought. The suspected earthquake near the chili-dog stand was later proven to be "Big Dave" from Section 102.


And... since it's Friday and if you squint your ears, you can ignore the soft "EL" at the end of "cruel".

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Maxi-mum Overdue: Urruti in town but no deal with TFC... yet


Are we witnessing the final act in the longest transfer saga in TFC history?

After nearly a full-season lapdance (no-touching) with Argentine forward/ possible lead singer of Chromeo, Maximiliano Urruti and his boyhood club Newell's Old Boys, The Reds may have just done enough to go the Champagne Room. Well Downsview at least. Still no touching... officially.

Tonight the club released a very short statement announcing that Urruti is indeed in the city and will be training with the club while a deal is negotiated to secure his employment. The sticky wicket with Newell's Old Boys (and their fantastic acronym "NOB") is over Urruti's decision to leave the club due to lack of payments and whether or not he falls into the land of Bosman free transfer or is still officially a NOB.

Obviously his former Argentine employers would want a transfer fee, and have gone as far as whimpering over potential tampering charges, but it is unfathomable that MLS Commish Don Garber would green light any deal with those dark clouds. No, IF this deal goes through, it will likely be with some mysterious "compensation" headed down to Rosario (not De Rosario - get over it haterz) which will be undisclosed due to club policy.

At this point you can't fault any TFC supporter for putting a capital "IF" around a deal that was "imminent" back in May - but it has admittedly moved onto another level. We will have more to discuss about the latest TFC "Messiah" when and IF the deal goes through - until then we just have to hope for a happy ending.


Monday, August 12, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Other ways Toronto FC player's salaries could be spent

Put some Wellie on it!

Late last week, the MLS Player's Union (which shockingly doesn't include the three construction workers on Columbus' badge) released the latest salary list for their members. When these numbers come out it is always fodder for supporters to argue who is a bargain and who is a burden on their club's strict cap. It's not all about the digits though, in these tough economic times you have to consider just what purchasing power comes with your moneyz... (Figures in base salary. Tune currently in my head by Rob Base)

11. KYLE BEKKER ($46,500) or... 6200 one-way GO Train tickets between Exhibition and Oakville Stations

10. GALE AGBOSSOUMONDE ($46,500) or... buy the letters of his last name at a bargain price of $3576 per character

9. STEFAN FREI ($145,000) or... 14,480 cans of graffiti-quality spray paint and 1 map to Kevin Payne's house

8. MARK BLOOM ($46,500) or... 92,354 "Hi My Name Is: MARK BLOOM" stickers
7. JUSTIN BRAUN ($112,000) or... 561 decent brand-name portable GPS devices to help him figure out where the goal is

6. MICHAEL THOMAS ($57,750) or... make his dreams come true by paying the appearance fee of Miami Vice star Philip Michael Thomas and have him show up at practice

5. JOE BENDIK ($46,500) or... 13,323 jars of Bick's Pickles and 1 plastic fork

4. DANNY KOEVERMANS ($1,250,000) or... a 24K solid-gold knee brace, a $500 gift card to International House of Pancakes and 38,590 "Bon Voyage" cards
3. JEREMY BROCKIE ($175, 200) or... 4 First Class airline tickets from Toronto to Wellington, 360 pairs of high-end Wellington boots and an 8x10 autographed picture of Flight of the Conchords

2. REGGIE LAMBE ($67,500) or... a one-time pay-off to Reggie Lambe in return for the explicit videos of MLSE Board members that he must own in order to explain how he still has a starting role at Toronto FC

1. MATIAS LABA ($200,000) or... 1 flashlight and 23,529 boxes of bread crumbs to make a trail between Toronto and Buenos Aires so that he can escape back home in the middle of the night

"Joy.. and Payne"  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT : Toronto v. Seattle... or make up your own damn funny thing, too hungover

I really should update this to read Seattle Coffees, as I could totally go for one

Oh my god... what's with the sun?  Damn it's so bright and stabbing my eyes...

I'm sure I'm gonna get fired for this post but whatever, a deal is a deal.  So I was out with a few bloggers last night celebrating @kzknowles pre-birthday, and I had a train to catch.  A few Somersby's later, I said my parting good-byes and made my way down back to Exhibition.  Everything got fuzzy after that...

All I remember is half a bottle of Cinzano later, some bunny ears and a woman with the largest bicepts ever yelling repeatedly at me "What a waste of money" and then laughing... and there was football in there.  I think.

OK, so here's what I wrote pre-match.  Looks like a love letter:

I am a big fan of Clint Dempsey. If there was a single yank that I wished was Canadian, it's Dempsey. He's a hard worker, scores clutch goals and plays the pitch. If the reports are accurate, Seattle paid in the vicinity of $9 million in transfer fees to land the 30 year old.  I wish him nothing but the best in Seattle and hope he delivers the goods.

In other news, Toronto signed an Academy kid (no disrespect intended, but we've been promised an Argentine for 5 months now, and you ain't him). Yay.

It's a gorgeous day out and Toronto is amongst the hottest teams in the league, winners of two in a row. 4 or 5 more, and we should be hot on the heels of 7th or even 6th in the east. 

Aww, that first part is adorable. I'm sure I wrote more in my One Direction diary kept in the nightstand hidden under my copies of Tiger Beat... ow, making fun of myself causes brain pain. 

You should be able to order asprin online by now.

OK, what did I scrawl in the note pad.

5' - two shots this early.  Both legitimate chances.  Sounded good.

16' - GOAL - Cross from the right side, three Seattle players lose their marker, Rosales taps it underneath Bendik doing a Spiderman/handball goalie savePoor Super Pickle.

How much water does it take for the pain to disappear and the memories to return?

33' - Obafemi Martins comes off injured for Dempsey.  At least if Clint is coming in, they're taking off another quality player.  What the f*** is wrong with me.  Do I normally write this?

36' - First touch, Dempsey breaking in on the left side of Bendik, gets denied by Ashtone Morgan.
I could see this being where the 'what a waste of money' came from.  Sure it was killing on the terraces.

40' - GOAL - Low cross comes into the Toronto 18 yard box, Doneil Henry gets to it and deflects it past Bendik.  Tragic.  I bet it was.

I'm thankful there isn't a word limit on this...

 46' - GOAL - Cross comes across, dummied by Lambe, Osorio step overs to lose his marker, pokes it left foot, Hahnemann gets some but not enough and in.  Lambe should get man of the match just for the dummy.

60' - Some real cutting passes from the Robins carving up Seattle finds Earnshaw with a go from the top of the box beating Hahnemann but not the post.  Outstanding start to the half.  This has to be total crap.  Can someone confirm this?  OMG when will this stabbing sensation go away...

66' - Seattle nearly pays us back an own goal but redirected just wide by (need to look it up).  I see how brilliant I am, now.  Real journalism shit here.

73' - Dempsey.  Seriously, that's all I f**king wrote?!? 

92' - How was Brockie not offside? How did that pass get through?  How did Brockie not beat Hahnemann?  OMG!  That sounded compelling.  Made stranger by the lack of ever-so-common act of Toronto end of game bed-shitting techniques I have gotten used to.

Full Time : TORONTO 1, SEATTLE 2

Man of the Match : Lambe for the dummy.  Didn't write anything else.

Goat of the Game : Did Braun play?  Probably Braun. 

Ref Rating : 5 out of 5.  Shit, I don't care.

Kit Spotting : just so you know where my priorities are, I have notes on this, just none of the other stuff.  Spotted old school Sheffield Wednesday home, Cardiff (proper) blue home kit with Earnshaw, but the America de Cali from Colombia... psh, that would've been something to remember.

Post Match : Pub was sooo good.  I remember laughing a lot as my face is sore.  No bruising, so I know I wasn't punched or ran into anything. People on twitter were messaging on how it was a good time.  Damn this living in Mississauga... and were all the streetcars only travelling west?  Why did I remember that... this report should've been a group effort.

Player Ratings : Bendik C/R, Eckersley C/R, Caldwell C/R, Henry C/R, Morgan C/R, Lambe C/R, Laba C/R, Osorio C/R, Convey C/R, Wiedeman C/R, Brockie C/R

C/R denotes 'can't remember'

@ignirtoq swears that his spotty memory gag is legit, and did not miss his 11:49 train, then called his fiancee to pick him up at the ground who brought him shawarma because she's the best. He would like to thank the company kept post match by name-dropping @theyorkies1812, @RohanKoomar, @WakingtheRed, @RedWineRoz, @BigWullieStyle, @grawsee and the rest of friends who joined us to celebrate @kzknowles pre-birthday celebration.

Friday, August 9, 2013

THE MATCHUP: Get Deuce to it

That face just screams "used to it"


It would be hard to find two clubs more polar opposite in MLS at the moment than Toronto and Seattle.

Sounders, a club that has never known any long-term adversity in their MLS incarnation seems to go from strength-to-strength. The perennial title challengers have just added the biggest name in the league in Clint Dempsey; they have attendance that is bursting at the seams; and, their management strives to foster actual relations with their long-time supporters going as far as implementing a (albeit plastic-y version) club member program where input on the front office is invited.

TFC, a club that has never known any long-term success in any incarnation who seem to bumble from drama-to-drama. The perennial basement dwellers have spent months promising supporters that a "frightening" array of talent is on the way but have yet to materialize; they have attendance which has had the spirit sucked out of it and is a shadow of its former glorious self; and, their management has created a relationship with its longest suffering supporters something akin to a gnat buzzing around a horse's ass. Very used to it.

We were called Seattle's MLS blueprint once.

"The Deuce Dropper" (TENTATIVE)

TORONTO: Joe Bendik, Steven Caldwell, Matias Laba,
SEATTLE: Clint Dempsey (TBD), Obafemi Martins, Mauro Rosales

- "Dealing with it": 5-1
- "Getting used to it" :2-1
- "Taking it or leaving it": EVENS

Shocked by the internet meme success of Kevin Payne's accidental comedy gold "Get used to it", the club has decided to move forward their latest corporate promo. TFC's green-kitted goalkeeper Joe Bendik will now be referred to in all press releases as Joe "Super Pickle" Bendik in conjunction with the good people at Bick's Pickles. Highlighting his pickle-green clothes and his crunching collisions with defenders, fans and team officials will be prompted to yell "DILL WITH IT" at every goalkeeping occasion. No gherkin, this is set to be Bendik's Bread 'N Butter.


"We Need to Sing About Kevin"
"Let's Get Used To It" (to Olivia Newton John's "Physical")
Let's get used to it, used to it
We need to get used to it
Let's get really used to it
Sick of hearing Kevin talk, Kevin talk
Sick of hearing Kevin talk

Thursday, August 8, 2013

EDITORIAL: Got Used To It and Still Getting Used To It...

I get it.
Toronto FC is a business. It’s a franchise. It’s not a "club". It’s not a community cornerstone.
Toronto plays Roma. They give Roma an appearance fee, and then Toronto sets out to recoup their investment by charging higher-than-normal prices and hope the fringe football enthusiasts, glory hunters or die-hards of both sides pony up the dosh to watch the match.
And this model obviously works.
The "get used to it" comment has been blown out of proportion, as gold as it has been comedy-wise, by hardcore supporters as a metaphoric middle finger.
Here are things we need to remember:
Because it’s a business, and a for-profit one at that, the object is to exchange entertainment for money.
The hardest-core of supporters sit in the lowest revenue generating sections of the stadium. Have you seen what they charge for the comfy back seats at the centre of the pitch? One of those season seat holders has to be worth at least 10 of the south-enders.
Who hasn’t noticed the increased number of advertisers this season? Every facet is sponsored by someone or something. The only time the PA announcer doesn’t remind us that something is sponsored by something is when he’s announcing the starting lineup, goals and substitutions. Otherwise, his primary function is to shill.
We, like most of you, hate that loyal supporters are an afterthought at TFC, but it is as evident now as it ever has been. And as much as we have romantic ideas of supporter-owned clubs or protests that actually result in something positive, that will likely never happen. Why? Because you already paid. Money is the only metric that matters.
14000 people show up for a game that 19000 paid for. Are they concerned? A little. What will they do to change that? Platitudes. Cultural nights. Our presence isn’t nearly as treasured as we think.
Remember: This is a business. As long as anyone pays, then that’s what matters. The dollar is a vote, and with every dollar spent, is a vote of re-election.
With the threat of a mass exodus of season ticket holders at the end of last season, that’s when REAL CHANGE took place. Out with Anselmi, in with Payne. Money was about to be lost and likely not coming back.
Minimize (or stop) giving TFC your money for kits, scarves, beers, chip buttys and especially exhibitions. Otherwise, get used to it.

@ignirtoq sometimes has a point and sometimes within that point, he can articulate it without a massive tangent that never seems to come back. One time he took a tangent that led him to explaining why it is bullshit that ice cream is no longer ice cream but "frozen dairy treats". Too bad he was talking about T20 cricket and why it's awesome. Where was I... oh yeah, so sometimes @ignirtoq has a point... 

No signings? There's an "Ap" for that.

The Kingmaker

TFC got their Argentine! No, no... calm down sports fans, Max Urruti is not donning the "famous" red of TFC yet but Toronto has added a Buenos Aires-born product in the form of Manny Aparicio.

The latest product from Danny Dichio's School of Hard Knocks aka TFC Academy, 17-year old Aparicio becomes TFC's eighth graduate to join the first-team. The hometown Toronto lad has been splitting his time between Los Dichios and the TFC Reserve Team this year and the club apparently felt he was ready for the jump.
At Aparicio's age and build, he isn't likely to make any type of first-team impact in the very near future but signing locals is never a bad thing. After last night, it's also nice to have feel-good story to chat about.
Now... about that transfer window...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

FRIENDLY VIDEO: Highlights of Rome

Yeah, we're sucking on it going on 7 years friendo.
We know that many of you, like us, have decided not to attend tonight's friendly at BMO Field. If you visit our corner of the TFC universe regularly then you are aware of our thoughts on mid-season friendlies and are as sick of hearing them as we are sick of the club continuing down this greedy path.

Your own reasons for staying home and not donating to the "MLSE Make Our Wish Foundation" may be as simple as not wanting to stand in the rain to watch meaningless spectacle. Or, you may be put off by seeing your hometown club reduced to bush-league sparring partner while fawning over the "big club" from Europe like a Tiger Beat pin-up. Whatever your reason, welcome friendly friends.

With that out of the way, we do believe that you - loyal TFC supporter - still deserve to be a part of the Rome extravaganza. So, as a service to kindred spirits, here are Rome video highlights far more important and thoroughly more entertaining than anything on offer down at "TottiPalooza".

On to the video stream...

See you on Saturday silent minority... for a real match.

Monday, August 5, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Rejected Toronto FC vanity licence plates

"MBARRASNG CAR" had too many characters
If there is one thing pro athletes can't seem to get enough of, it's riding around town in their fancy automobiles. With wealth and fame sometimes comes an inflated ego and what better way to announce to the world that your ride is better than theirs than with personalized plates? TFC aren't immune from this illness (Creamsicle Lambo anyone?) but the Ontario Government won't just hand out any old vanity wordplay. Here are a few plates that never made it to the BMO Field parking lot...
11. Mista
10. Jim Brennan
9. Stefan Frei
8. Collin Samuel
7. Raivis Hscanovics
6. Andrew Wiedeman
5. Kevin Payne
4. Paul Mariner
3. Thomas Rongen
2. Joao Plata
1. MLSE Executive Limosuine

Sunday, August 4, 2013

AFTER 90: Reds uprising

Kick-offs at Revs' matches are a bit over the top

GILLETTE STADIUM "The Blurst a Man Can Get"

KICK OFF - Revolution. History is littered with motley bands of men unwittingly and inexplicably grouped together to battle the common foe. They may have little in common, they may not necessarily be the most equipped for the job... they may be waiting anxiously for reinforcements after months of promises... but, they attempt to overcome together. Rarely victorious, often slaughtered... Toronto FC everyone...
2' - GOAL: Toronto FC - Matias Laba opens his TFC account by darting through the Revs defence and putting away his own saved rebound. Heady stuff.
5' - This is one of the fastest quashings of a Revolution since the failed rebellion by Kim Heon-chang against Silla. Cool!
10' - Diego Fagundez with a clear shot on Joe Bendik. The TFC keeper yelling at his defence in a manner not unlike Umar ibn Hafsun when leading revolutionary anti-Umayyad dynasty forces in southern Spain in 884 AD. Yup.
14' - Ashtone Morgan negates a goal-bound shot off the TFC goal line like Mamluks killing the last sultan of the Ayyubid dynasty, and establishing the Bahri dynasty. Am I right peeps?
17' - Joe Bendik with a massive save on a Lee Nguyen shot that goes as well as the 1515 Slovenian Peasant Revolt. #PeasantFail
30' - Young Turks Ashtone Morgan and Doneil Henry having solid match so far much like the er... Young Turks... forcing the autocratic ruler Abdul Hamid II to restore parliament and constitution in the Ottoman Empire during The Young Turk Revolution. Samesies!
34' - Madness! Richard Eckersley clears a Diego Fagundez shot off the line! Again with Kim Heon-chang stuff. Denied... Silla stylee!
42' - New England pouring on the heavy pressure much like the workers during the 1919 Hungarian Revolution resulting in the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic. Short-lived... no worries.


47' - New England have come out fired up for this half not unlike the Celtic Gauls revolt led by Vercingetorix in 51 BC. Wicked Irish!
53' - Matias Laba all over New England tonight in a way reminiscent of the Chinese Domination over Vietnam during the Ly Nam De Uprising of the 4th Century. He must lift bro!
60'' - Richard Eckersley very solid in defence tonight. Comparisons to the bastions of the Mughals against The Pasthun rebellion are obvious. Let's talk about Ecks, baby!
68' - SUB: Justin Braun in for Andrew Wiedeman
69' - TFC supporters react to the introduction of Braun in the same manner as when Creole and German settlers objected to the turnover of the Louisiana Territory from New France to New Spain during The Rebellion of 1768. Come at me Braun!
78' - New England doing everything to dispose of TFC's one-goal lead like Argentine rebels did against The Viceroy of the Río de la Plata Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros during the May Revolution. Urruti!
80' - SUB: Jeremy Hall in for Jeremy Brockie
85' - The Reds desperately hanging on to power. Honestly it's all gone Serbs v Ottomans (1804-1817) out there. Squeaky foot cushion time!
90'+ - SUB: Darel Russell in for Bobby Convey
90'+ - Look I'm putting it out there, Joe Bendik has been as dominant in goal as The Sicilian Vespers were during an uprising against the rule of the French/Angevin king Charles I resulting in thousands of dead French occupiers and a shift in European power. Dill With It.


PLAYER RATINGS: Joe Bendik 7.5 / Richard Eckersley 7 / Steven Caldwell 6.5 / Doneil Henry 6/ Ashtone Morgan 6.5 / Reggie Lambe 5 / Matias Laba 7.5 / Jonathan Osorio 6.5 / Bobby Convey 6 (Darel Russel N/A) / Andrew Wiedeman 6 (Justin Braun 5) / Jeremy Brockie 5.5 (Jeremy Hall N/A)

Matias Laba
Very close runner-up to Joe "Super Pickle" Bendik

While we are not remotely close to declaring any kind of seismic shift in TFC society, say for instance like after The First Prussian Uprising against the Teutonic Knights, The Reds have shown heart in two consecutive matches. In TFC-land, that is at the very least... something.

There are still massive holes to fill, most glaringly two consistent forwards and a creative attacking midfielder, but the effort is good. The superior skill of Matias Laba needs some support and Joe Bendik won't make a gazillion saves every match but we presume the many promises of reinforcements should occur soon. If not, TFC supporters are going full First Samaritan Revolt.

Sadly, in their "wisdom", TFC's sudden ascendancy will be stunted by the injury-inviting money-friendly versus AS Roma. But what do we know, we are just the silent minority. Like all the other silent minors not going. Careful Kevin, that's what they called the various Illyrian tribes just before The Great Illyrian Revolt against the Roman Empire. Layers.

And... since we accurately document revolutions in a scholastic manner but still want a boogie tonight... our favourite Revolution anthem...

Friday, August 2, 2013

THE MATCHUP: The Ghost of BMO Future

"Arrrr-goooo... I mean Paaaa-triooooots!"
TV: SPORTSNET 360 (The Artist formerly known as The Score)

We didn't really want to bang on more about the "Argos to BMO Field" rumblings that have re-animated recently - like the zombie issue it is - but this fixture is just too appropriate.
If in their "wisdom", MLSE enters into any kind of deal with the gridiron devil and tries to tell you that TFC and the Argos can live side-by-side, take a gander at New England Revolution. They are a "sakker team" that doesn't so much share a multi-use stadium but rather occasionally squat in a NFL stadium. While Gillette Stadium ("The Blurst a Man Can Get") is a behemoth that BMO will never be - a plastic pitch adorned with scrubbed yet visible gridiron lines, awful sightlines and an empty stadium, apart from a tiny handful of hardcore supporters and assembled sakker parents accompanying kids' teams, is more than possible for a CFL-reconstructed BMO of the future. Not that MLSE in their "Roma will be a sell-out!!" knowledge would admit it.
On the pitch, this one has all the hallmarks of an uggo fixture. The Revs will try to extend their 2-match winning streak while the yet-to-be reinforced-with-any-real-signings Reds (sorry Uncle Elmer and Cousin Rey) will try to escape with everyone's ACL intact. The Revs sit in a surprisingly lofty 5th in the East while TFC sits in waiting for 2014.
"The Tea Eff Cee Party"
NEW ENGLAND: Diego Fagundez, Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves
TORONTO: Bobby Convey, Matias Laba, Jonathan Osorio

- TFC "pahkin' tha bus in Harvahd Yahd": 10-1
- Match being a "wicked piss-ah": 5-1
- TFC playing "hahf-ahst": 2-1

While the thousands upon thousands of empty seats at every Revs' home fixture are the butt of many a MLS joke, TFC management need not worry about the possibility of the same occurring at BMO Field and effecting finances. In fact, Gillette Stadium officials have found a way of maximizing revenue by renting out whole sections to other organizations during Rev's matches.

Taking a look at Sunday's stadium schedule, the following sections will be out of bounds for soccer fans:
SECTION(S) 312-314: "Irish-American Bare-Knuckle Boxing Regionals"
SECTION 139: A giant vat of clam chowder being prepared
SECTION(S) 334-337: The Foxborough Community Theatre Players presents: "Our (Wicked Awesome) Town"
SECTION 124: Emergency extended-Wahlberg housing
SECTION 218: "Make fun of pansy-assed soccer"
SECTION(S) 324-328: Open-air screening of "Good Will Hunting"
SECTION 215: Casey Affleck autograph session


And... since it's Friday... here's our best Boston accent...