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Friday, November 29, 2013

Quality optional as Reds chop contracts

The Lambe came back the very next year...
Toronto FC took a tiny baby step towards 2014 by doing minor surgery on their current roster. The club announced the news this afternoon regarding which players had their contract options exercised; those who didn't; those already under contract for 2014; and those who are now on a Bosman. Also, Richard Eckersley. Tim Bezbatchenko referred to it as a "solid core". Yup.

For those who like their mediocrity put in neat little piles, it breaks down like so:

GKS: Joe Bendik, Chris Konopka, Quillan Roberts; D: Gale Agbossoumonde, Mark Bloom, Ryan Richter; MF: Kyle Bekker, Reggie Lambe, Jeremy Hall; FW: Bright Dike, Emery Welshman, and Andrew Wiedeman
- Not a list that will illicit great passions. Aside from starting material in Bendik and Dike there is a lot of tapioca depth there. Bloom is obviously being massaged into our temples as a starter but the return of Lambe and Wiedeman just screams "ah, this will do". The young Canadians really need playing time somewhere.

MF: Bobby Convey, Darel Russell, Michael Thomas and FW: Robert Earnshaw
- Aside from Michael Thomas it's probably not the end of the TFC road for the other three. Convey and Russell will be welcomed veterans on a lower wage. Robert Earnshaw however will have to agree to a currency haircut if he is to return. Interest in the Welshman (Not Emery) may be dependent on the club's success signing DP strikers.

D: Jonas Elmer, Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry, Richard Eckersley, and Steven Caldwell; MF: Matias Laba, Jonathan Osorio, Manuel Aparicio, and Alvaro Rey
- Well the glaring ginger alarm bell is Ecks who is "under contract" but in no way in TFC's plans. This simply means the club will pray to the holiday deity of their choice that another club may give up something for him. No real issue with the others except... Jonas Elmer?

GK: Stefan Frei; FW: Justin Braun and Danny Koevermans
- No shocker on Frei who we will miss, on Koef who we will miss the version from a year-and-a-half ago, and um... Justin Braun - you off then matey? It's a fair chunk of salary cap change in those three so let's hope it's turned around and used on guys better than that lump of stuff in the first section.

Sideways and onwards Eff Cee'ers!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

THE WORD: Jermain? Possibly present.

Get used to telling guys where to stand mate

"Glamour models" of Canada rejoice! According to internationally renowned truth-peddling newspaper The Mirror, Toronto FC have found "the biggest MLS DP of all timez" - Tottenham Hotspur stalwart/lady aficionado Jermain Defoe.

Now this is isn't the first time that TFC and Defoe's name have been linked in a #LeiwekeLeaks scoop but it is the first time that any major media outlet has gone as far as to say that a deal has been struck. And what a deal*! A reported $150,000 (US)-a-week, 4-year contract which we assume includes Andrew Wiedeman as Defoe's butler. This is in addition to an apparent transfer fee in the $10-12 Million range to be paid to Spurs.

How sure are The Mirror that this deal is done? They hired the top designers in the Fleet Street game to Photoshop Defoe's face onto a Mountie. That kind of Rap Game Stereotyping does not come cheap!

Now before we all run out and get our TFC Defoe kits made (Except you of course, torn Toronto FC/Arsenal supporters. Suck it.) let us remember that TFC and transfers are never a black-and-white case. From Urrutis to Forlans to Gilardinos and er... Ben Haims - this stuff never goes smoothly at BMO Field. Does Defoe "tick all the boxes" for Tim Leiweke and TFC? Yes. Does a player intent on making England's World Cup 2014 squad pine for a move to Major League Soccer's clown college? Not so fast.

Various mainstream North American media types are hedging their bets for and against The Mirror story tonight. Some are corroborating the rumour, some are saying it's being worked on and the odd one is pointing at TFC's history and laughing milk through their nostrils. Most likely where there is this much smoke, there is some fire. Whether or not it ignites into a full Deferno, the next few weeks should tell.

Many TFC fans will simply not believe this rumour until Jermaine Defoe is a solid 15 minutes into a match wearing the red of The Reds. This is a safe way to treat this for now. Could Defoe do a good job at TFC? Undoubtedly... but let's worry about that when said shirt goes over said rumoured DP's head.

Sunshine Girls - you have been warned.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Book now to not see Danny Koevermans! MLS releases Waiver Draft and 2014 schedule

"July would have been so kick assh!"

It's a Major League Soccer admin BOGO! Not only were Don Garber's little elves busy listing all of the waived players prior to today's Waiver Draft but they also produced the 2014 schedule. Christmas has come early for press release junkies!  

Firstly to the waiver wire "action". Yes the stars have come out to shine (marvel here) on this list of the league's most unwanted. You can expect very little movement this afternoon and none from Toronto FC.  

For their part, The Reds have made the worst-kept secret in Dutch-Canadian international relations official by waiving Danny Koevermans and added "never-was" Michael Thomas to the list just to make Danny feel less sad about things. The moves leave two gaping holes on TFC - one in the "pie eating" role and the other in the "who the f*ck is that?" position. We are confident that both can be filled this off-season.  

Now to the other half of this day of many spreadsheets - the 2014 schedule. Picking the highlights on a TFC schedule is always an exercise in sorcery. Really, who can predict exactly when our 5-7 wins will come next year? You can take a gander at TFC's TBDpalooza here but some of the brief "highlights" on paper are:
- First Kick in Seattle: March 15th, 2014
- Home/SkyDome (likely) Opener vs. D.C. United March 22nd, 2014
- A league-wide break for the first chunk of the World Cup in June
- 3 out of 4 matches at home in July aka "Sunstroke 2014"
- Montreal Impact away: August 2nd, 2014
- Montreal at BMO Field and final home fixture: October 18, 2014
- Final match/playoff push (ok, ok we all had a good laugh) at New England: October 25, 2014  

Stay tuned for any TFC Waiver Draft shockers and the likely Excel spreadsheet of Don Garber's dry cleaning expenses (2013-2014) to be released later.

THE STARTING 11: Rejected Orlando expansion club names

In Major League Soccer's quest to add 87 new clubs by 2019, the loop last week welcomed Orlando, Florida to Don Garber's holiday table. There is little argument against Orlando as a new market - as a third-tier club their attendance has been very strong; funding and plans have been approved to build a new soccer-specific stadium; and, they have a kick-ass purple kit and a good "footy" name. In all likelihood, the moniker "Orlando City" will follow the club from USL to MLS but there were a few other options lined-up as Central Florida gets ready to host the big boys of MLS. And Toronto FC as well.

11. Vasco de Goofy

10. Vitamin (F)C

9. FC Pluto

8. Fiorlandotina

7. Borussia Monchenglepcotcenter

6. Universidad Studios

5. Peter Panathinaikos

4. Tony Orlando Dons

3. Orlando Pirates of the Caribbean

2. Theme Park Rangers

1. Spartak Mouse Co.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

THE LONELY GARBER - An Away Day Guide to: Chicago Fire

Makes "Datsun Park" look like a hole 

Welcome to "The Lonely Garber" - a highly factual-ish travel guide for the adventurous football supporter to some of Major League Soccer's most fabled destinations. Also: Columbus. Join us now as we continue our way across this girthy continent...

TOYOTA PARK - Bridgeview, Illinois

Nestled along the Long Duck Dong Bay of southern Lake Michigan is the quaint and utterly relaxed hamlet of Bridgeview, Illinois - Chicagoland suburb and home to Chicago Fire. Although archeological evidence of a past Native American settlement named Brathemocblanco (Translation: "Where the Rotund Goat becomes Sausage") is abundant, modern-day Bridgeview is a relatively young village, fiercely proud of its moniker as "America's Day Off Town".

Incorporated in 1986, Bridgeview had a peculiar start as co-founder and first mayor, Cameron Frye, using clauses from the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, managed to seize control of the region from former hardline local area principal Edward Rooney. Frye, with support of a local population of motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies and dickheads established the town in honour of a local dying teen (later proven to be misdiagnosed). To celebrate the (apparent) short time the teen had left on this earth, Bridgeview was proclaimed as a place where anyone in the Chicago-area that needed a "day off with no questions asked" would always be welcomed.

With such blatant disregard for work ethic, Bridgeview has had more than its fair share of economic hiccups but has prospered somewhat in the synthesizer, gag medical diagnostics and erotic floral delivery industries. With an exciting "daylife" (as opposed to "nightlife") Bridgeview has something for anyone who may have a few hours to kill. Must-sees for any sightseer include: the cured meat wonderment of The Abe Froman Hall of Sausage; the deep lush wilderness of The Ferrari Ravine; and, the whimsical Multilingual Multilevel Parking Garage (gratuity not included). So take a day off for Bridgeview, Illinois... just tell them there's a funeral or something.

Village motto: "Ohhhhh yeeeah! Chicka-chick-ahh"

Charity begins at home...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

EDITORIAL: "It's all gone quiet over there!" TFC adopts a quiet approach to the off-season

You have no idea how hard it is to find a mouth-closed picture.

Perhaps Tim Leiweke and his posse down at BMO Field have been listening to Rob Ford's faux-bravado "actions speak louder than words" phrase - or maybe they're all on crack. It's your call. One thing few TFC supporters won't deny though is the strange sound coming from the local football club... silence. While the off-season is still young, the usually overly verbose club has been noticeably muted.  

Now this is not in any way a complaint, we are definitely fans of substance over style but it is a glaring difference from the past seven years. While there has so far been little to speak of surrounding the club (apart from the latest high profile DP to turn their nose up at The Reds) it is unusual for the Lakeshore House of Promos to stop flapping their gums for this long. Is this an unexpected maturity from the club or is there more to it?  

The front office has indeed had a change of personality, with the likes of former public faces such as Paul Beirne and the well-liked Asif Hossain moving on to greener pastures, but other aspects of TFC winters are missing as well. Gone are the pub crawls, post-season wrap parties and often hilarious town halls of years past. While we here have never been massive fans of any of these glad-handing events, other fans have rightfully enjoyed them. Some of these fans are now feeling a lack of "personal presence" from their club.

Monday, November 18, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Rob Ford/TFC similarities

"C'mon you're red!"
Have you heard this one? "What do the Mayor of Toronto and Collin Samuel have in common? They both have more than enough to eat at home!" Hey-ooooo! Like a sociopathic Godzilla with dangerously high blood pressure, Toronto's international celebrity CrackMayor(TM) continues to rampage through our once-fair metropolis. TV cameras from across the globe are trained on "The Etobiyokel" awaiting his next scene from "Tommy Boy" - but hey - there's no such thing as bad publicity right? Forgotten local football club TFC sure would like a little free international press. Perhaps they should start highlighting their eerily similar Fordisms...

11. Both make regularly scheduled apologies to placate supporters
10. Their staff are constantly on edge over impending firings

9. Both court immigrants when it suits their marketing purposes

8. No one is ever quite certain what is truly going on in their offices

7. Both desperately want to live with the Argos

6. You can never quite tell if either are intoxicated

5. Both plagued by terrible football coaching

4. One said "pussy" live on national TV, the other play like "pussies" live on national TV

3. Both claim to have a 5 Year Plan

2. Neither likely to appear in a parade any time soon

1. Nobody really wants either of them representing our city

And... since we're talkin' similarities...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

THE LONELY GARBER - An Away Day Guide to: Los Angeles Galaxy

The Artist Formerly Known as Home Depot Center 
As regular readers have come to know, The Yorkies is nothing if not a den of trusted, sober, hard-hitting journalistic integrity doubling as a destination where ground-breaking scholastic knowledge is shared amongst fellow intellectuals. Also: Gags about Collin Samuel's lunch.
Today we proudly bring you, the discerning Away Day supporter, the first in our off-season series "The Lonely Garber" - a highly factual-ish travel guide to some of Major League Soccer's most fabled destinations. Also: Columbus. Join us this off-season as we take you - the voyager that thirsts for new horizons, bold adventure and witnessing Toronto FC lose 3-0 away - across this rotund continent. The world is our oyster, let us shuck each other silly.

"The world is a book, those who do not travel read only one page." – St. Augustine
"Any place to get a nice bit of sausage sandwich 'round here?"
- The Yorkies
STUBHUB CENTRE - Carson, California
Nestled south of sprawling Metro Los Angeles lays the tranquil, fern-laden suburban expanse of Carson, California. This precocious burg was founded in 1978 and named after its inadvertent founding father, television personality Johnny Carson. Although Carson only visited the town once (accidentally passing through en route to Rancho Cucamonga) it was originally settled by guests who were bumped from "The Tonight Show" due to time constraints. Through disappointment over floundering careers and a car-service missing the back-flap of its L.A. road map, these pioneers/entertainment industry pariahs assembled to establish the mediocre town.
Modern-day Carson is a bustling satellite community with frequent transportation links to Los Angeles via limousines that are headed to work in Hollywood, the hitchhiker-sharing service ZipperCar and joy-riding dudes on fake "CHiPs" motorcycles. Local industry has grown incrementally but Carson is now a major hub for cue card technology, the laugh track sciences and Botox syringe disposal. The vain yet friendly local population is made up of an eclectic mixture of confused stuntmen, celebrity chimpanzees and hookers with hearts of gold.

Carson boasts many fine cultural and entertainment destinations to indulge in, both pre and post-match. Sites on every itinerary should include the grand seat of local government The Arsenio City Hall; the lush natural oasis of The Whitaker Forest - made up entirely of artificial houseplants from former talk show sets; the haunting museum dedicated to Quantum Leap Sciences - The Hall of Bakulas; and, of course, no visit to this mostly acceptable town is complete without sampling the fine musical stylings of The Doc Severinsen Philharmonic Orchestra now housed in local gymnasium - The Bruce Arena.

The Original Carson

Monday, November 11, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Ways Toronto FC players are trying to keep their jobs

"Ugh, those are some crappy ingredients"
It's that time of year again. MLS contracts are ending; clubs look towards next season; some players will return - others will look for alternate employment. TFC is in the midst of their 7th rebuilding year and have many players whose future in Toronto is on the bubble. To paraphrase classic TV cooking show "Chopped": "A not-so distinguished panel of front office management will critique their work and one-by-one they will face the dreaded chopping block. Who will win a new contract? And who... will be Chopped?!" Yummy! The question is: what can players on the knife's edge do to get a leg-up on their competition?

11. MARK BLOOM: Has promised to wear "nerd glasses" at all times to make Tim Bezbatchenko feel less self-conscious

10. DANNY KOEVERMANS: Developed a 4-step program to eliminate waste at BMO Field by personally handling left-over concessions

9. BOBBY CONVEY: Will sit young TFC players around the fireplace and tell them tales of a mystical far-away land they thought was make-believe called "The MLS Playoffs"

8. REGGIE LAMBE: Vowed to work his hardest to improve game and become a "1-in-5" player

7. ANDREW WIEDEMAN: Has been working diligently with Environment Canada to collate data comparing rain days to match days and his scoring rate in relation to precipitation levels

6. ALVARO REY: Swears he will make fans forget all about Maxi Urruti's legendary TFC career

5. JONAS ELMER: Will help MLSE find a Swiss Bank that asks few questions to relocate their stash of secret Nazi Astronaut Gold

4. EMERY WELSHMAN: Has talked to his parents and it is cool if Samuel Eto'o and Jermaine Defoe crash in their Mississauga basement

3. DAREL RUSSELL: Is very willing to accept the nickname "Da Ru" if plans to bring Dwayne De Rosario back fall through

2. STEFAN FREI: Promises to get to the bottom of case that has seen a rash of graffiti art near BMO Field proclaiming "KIWIZ SUCK THE BIG ONEZ"

1. JUSTIN BRAUN: Legally changed name to "Jalberto Biraldino"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Should he stay or should he go?" Toronto FC looks toward 2014 but who should return?

"Get lost dumb jocks!"
From elitist downtown socialist manifesto-enclaves to the moustache dens of Ossington Ave. and out to the moonshine joints frequented by Etobiyokels - It's the question that has been argued vehemently across Toronto. "Should he stay or should he go now? Followed by "If he goes there will be trouble. If he stays it will be double." That's right... the city is in turmoil as we wonder which current Reds should return in 2014! Why... who were you talking about?
Two weeks ago, GM Tim Bezbatchenko said he wanted "to decide on who is staying and who is going in two weeks’ time". Tick-tock T-Bez. Now the wild world of MLS contracts, salary caps, international roster spots and the like are enough to send most GM's into a drunken stupor so we thought we'd help our fave wonk out by picking which Reds we think should be considered as 2014-worthy. The others should really take some time off and "get the help they need".

Agree or disagree? Shout at us in the comments below and we'll say "you asked the wrong question" for six months. Chase us down through the Twitter parking garage @theyorkies1812 and maybe we'll apologize (but it won't be genuine). We love being your website, God Bless the supporters of Toronto FC.

JOE BENDIK: STAY - The "Super Pickle" established himself as a useful MLS # 1 but needs to work on distribution to take next step in development.
STEFAN FREI: GO - Do we want him here? Yes. Can he stay? No. The TFC stalwart's future has been made crystal clear and his future is sadly elsewhere.
CHRIS KONOPKA: STAY - Because of any proof as a member of TFC? Nope. Because he was obviously bought to be the 2014 back-up? Yup.
QUILLAN ROBERTS: STAY* - The details are in the asterisk. Hopeful that Roberts can be a future TFC regular but desperately needs a loan spell elsewhere in 2014.

Monday, November 4, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Reasons gridiron lines are good for Major League Soccer


"Oh the huge manatees!" North American football purists - that's purists of football played in North America, not purists of North American football; football meaning football, not football - were all in an understandable tizzy this weekend. You see football fans, (football not football) a majority of MLS' showcase playoff matches - televised on national TV - featured pitches covered in NFL gridiron markings. While some shrug their shoulders at such stuff (heathens - go back to watching football) most football fans (you know which one) can't stand seeing their favourite sport visually vomited upon. However, there are some advantages to MLS' gridiron eyesores...

11. Each Clint Dempsey goal now counts as 7, immediately justifying his hefty contract

10. The wacky yellow penalty area totally looks like Q-Bert

9. "50-40-30-20-10!" is a handy guide to TFC attendance figures after the Toronto Argonauts move in

8. Portland Timbers now celebrate goals with "The Ickey Shuffle"

7. MLS' two Texan clubs can finally switch their nicknames to Rough Riders and Roughriders

6. Seattle fans now claim to have invented "soccer-football"

5. TFC are taking a serious look at adding Refrigerator Perry as a DP

4. Don Garber claims that field markings "prove that MLS is literally as big as the NFL"

3. You can get sweet 8-1 Vegas odds on San Diego Chargers to win the MLS Cup

2. MLS TV ratings soared over the weekend as drunken NFL fans tuned in accidentally then lost the remote control

1. Vertical lines are so slimming!

Goal Portland! A hat-tip to @kzknowles for her Marxist non-gridiron agenda. Here's Timber Joey celebrating a Maxi Urruti blast...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

THE WORD: "Yes" or Gilardi"No"?

"Can I get back to you on this one?"
Media in the land that TFC has so famously ignored (apparently) - Italy - is reporting today (translate for your pleasure) that Serie A club Genoa has accepted a transfer offer from Toronto for striker Alberto Gilardino. The rumoured $6 Million Dollar (US dollars assumed) fee is said to have met Genoa's demands for the forward leaving it up to the player to decide if BMO Field will be his next port of call.
From that point forward, details are muddled at best. Is the deal for the January window? Unlikely - probably post-World Cup. Could it really be a four-year deal meaning Gilardino would be 36 at the end of this financially hefty deal? Probably. And, is he honestly the best target for TFC's impotent offence? Hmm. Better than anything we have by a great deal but perhaps not the absolute best bang for the buck, not even amongst other potential Italians.
If and when this deal goes through there will be more than ample time to hand-wring over its pros and cons but it leaves us with a slight unease for a few reasons. The very large long-term financial anchor; the player's diminishing goal-scoring tally in the last few seasons; and, Gilardino's style of play which demands top-level service to poach goals rather than creating them with mobility. Lots of holes to fill before that exists in any form at TFC.
At full health and at his form of three or four years ago, wonderful. As an aging Italian version of Danny Koevermans... notsomuch. Here's hoping the ever-sophisticated TFC scouting goes deeper than his passport and former national team exploits. He will fill some of those empty seats for a while but they will only return if he is on a winning side. As with most of the other TFC DP rumours currently floating around, it has the strong whiff of marketing over tactics.