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Friday, April 30, 2010

THE MATCHUP: Is this the "Real" life? Is this just fantasy?

They made quite the midfield

REAL SALT LAKE (13th) VS. TORONTO FC (11th)
 
Rio Tinto Stadium - Saturday - 9:00PM EST
TV: SPORTSNET EAST & PACIFIC -----RADIO: THE FAN590
 
Coming off of two wins in a row with two clean sheets, you can't fault Reds' supporters for feeling that TFC may have turned a corner. By no means were they pretty wins against Seattle and Montreal, but they got the job done and they didn't fold in the back. However, TFC 2010, and throughout their history, have been an abysmal road team and the wilds of Utah beckon.
 
A cold, high-altitude opponent is not exactly the best medicine two days after an intense and rough match but this is when Preki's hard-work drills are supposed to help. The Serbian boss did manage to get a few starters some rest against L'Impact but worryingly, club captain Dwayne De Rosario has played a lot of minutes this past week. As De Ro goes, so goes the TFC offence and The Reds will need their "One-Man Gang" firing if they are to have a chance at points.
 
The defending champs RSL are hardly off to a flyer themselves. With only 1 win in 5 and with some key injuries, perhaps TFC can sneak some points in Utah. The Reds have always had mixed fortunes against The Royals but RSL are good at home and haven't played there much in this young season. "Natty dread" Kyle Beckerman along with Toronto natives Will Johnson and Andy Williams are often the dangermen against The Torontos and Preki's stronger defence will need to be mistake-free.
 
Lastly, to spice up this match, we think that it should have old-school wrestling match rules. Winner gets to keep the name "Real". Toronto FC is the only MLS squad who plays within a monarchy dammit - only Canadian MLS clubs should qualify for regal status! If TFC wins, RSL will only be known as Club de Salt Lake (or Spartak Osmond) and Toronto will put a call into Buckingham Palace and get royal use of "Real" (actually, being England it would be Royal - but whatever). Royal Toronto FC - sweet. Win one for old Liz boys!
 
GHOST OF FREDDIE MERCURY SAYS: 0-0 Draw
TEETH OF DONNY OSMOND SAYS: 2-0 RSL
HEADLINE: “TFC WINLESS ON ROAD - MO TO SUE GEOGRAPHY”

"Up the Reds and... God Save Me."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

CAPPED! - April 29, 2010

Welcome back to the second edition of Capped! - The Yorkies caption game. Last week's inaugural winner of "wittiest supporter" was "Ricky" with his caption "The TFC grounds crew look to rectify the belief that the pitch is slanted in the favor of the opposition. "

It's time for a new round now. Give us your best caption of this pic and try to outwit ours...

Mo weighs up his options - Judge Judy or Judge Joe Brown

There you go would-be-captioners - do your best (or worst). If you are an anonymous commenter you might want to leave a name after your quote in case you win. Again, there's no prizes but how else will you brag to the guys at the pub that you are "the week's wittiest supporter". See how many pints it gets ya! My guess... minus 1.

THE STARTING 11: More reasons for TFC to win "The NutCan"

"I got your NutCans right here...oh!"

This year's version of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship aka The Canadian Cup aka The Voyageurs Cup aka The NutCan kicked off with a very rough bang as TFC beat L'Impact du Montreal Chateau Neuf du Pape 2-0 at BMO Field. For Reds' supporters it was good to see that Preki and his players took the match seriously and were in it to win it. For the Canucks on the field and in the stands it was easy to get fired up but even for the adopted TFC hosers there are good reasons for winning the trophy...
 
11. Great for keeping cold drinks in
 
10. Winners get hilarious "I'VE GOT A NUTCAN" bumper stickers
 
9. Must get as many trophies as possible before new "superclub" FC Edmonton joins
 
8. Would help financially-strapped and promotion-starved MLSE get a rare photo-op
 
7. Because the trophy belongs in Canada's capital city (Insert angry comments below)
 
6. Collect 4 NutCans - get the 5th free!!!
 
5. Greedy Vancouver doesn't need another trophy after "Soccer Bowl '79"
 
4. Makes those Trillium Cup losses less painful
 
3. it’s at least 3 times bigger than that dinky World Cup trophy
 
2. American chicks totally dig Canadian soccer trophies
 
1. Winners actually get a can of nuts

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The South Stand Report: TFC v Montreal... or Everyone's Nuts About The NutCan

Is this 'impactful' enough?

Ahhh. A proper Wednesday evening in springtime Toronto. It's cool, not a cloud in the sky and so much skirt action I nearly made a mess the promise of a new era in footballing cohesion fills the air. This week has provided us so many shocks so far: TFC defeating Seattle, Cummins burying Mo, and Carver NOT burying Mo... I don't know if I can handle a Chad Barrett hat-trick right now.

Prediction : 3-1 Montreal for the shock value pattern, but really 4-2 Toronto. Other predictions include: Collin Samuel interview reveals truth about catering; the Saputo group lobbying for entry into the Scottish League; and Preki's real name is actually Dave.

1' - We were running late. I blame my cohort for the evening.

10' - GOAL - Adrian Cann takes a shot and the resulting deflection ends up with DeRo who pokes the loose ball in.

13'-18' - SUB - Ty Harden out with a cartible injury, in comes Hščanovičs (thank you Wikipedia)

20' - Peterson beats three defenders, gets hauled down, ref lets it play and no call... which I felt he called correctly.

30' - DeRo hustles down a wayward ball to keep it in touch somehow, and with no Montreal defenders, picks it back up from the touchline and runs it in for 25 yards, which resulted in a wide shot but way to go after it!

33' - deRoux of Montreal gets a cute pass from the left side, but can only get half control on it and pokes a shot that Frei easily gobbles up.

34' - YELLOW - de Guzman booked for some bad tackle

36' - RED - Roberto Brown lays out Garcia and knocked him out.

Quote of the match:

If he wakes up and asks "who am I?", tell him he's John Terry and he plays for Chelsea
~ a gentleman two rows behind
Just brilliant.

39' - SUB - Garcia out, White in. Shocking is that it is a swap for a defender for a forward. Doesn't sound like Preki but I like it. There was talk asking who we send the fruit basket to, Garcia or his assailant?

44' - YELLOW - Adam Braz booked for touching the Golden FroTM and taking him down.

9 minutes of extra time. Yes, 9.

45+9' - Montreal free kick curls a beautiful ball around the Toronto wall which prompts a great save from Frei.

HALF-TIME MOOD : Peculiar. Curious even.

Also... I Victoria (requested to write that in notebook under duress... she looked violent)


56' - de Guz rockets a ball across the pitch to DeRo. Pass back to Gala who crosses a low ball into the box and the diving Chad just misses, ending up in Jordan's arms

60' - plenty of Toronto pressure. It actually looks like Toronto has a man advantage at this point. So strange.

61' - GOAL - The Chad! WOW SON! Stutter-steps two defenders leaving him dead centre of goal 16 yds out and pummels it into the back right of the net. He did not miss. Outstanding!

62' - SUB - amidst the delirium, Peterson is off, Labrocca is on. Peterson was largely ineffective and disappointed regularly.

66' - Gargan makes a beautiful tackle to the right of the goal line to outright mug the ball from the Montreal forward. So pretty.

67' - DeRo with a bullet that caught Jordan by surprise (as everyone else) as it was curling towards the left post and would've snuck in had the startled keeper not got in the way

73' - In what can only be described as grossly ironic, Gala squanders a chance to pass to an open Barrett and rockets the ball way over the bar... then The Chad looks like he's stating that he should've been passed the ball.

80' - YELLOW - Frei for taking his dear sweet time with his goal kick. I don't have a problem with this as Montreal was just getting their momentum going.

3 mins of extra time

FULL-TIME : Toronto 2, Montreal 0

Man of the Match : I'm going to go out on a limb and you can hate on me, but I'm giving it to Chad Barrett. Sure, he had a few crazy shots, but I expect that. But the goal he scored wasn't like the typical Barrett... it was a much cooler shooter.

Goat of the Game : Peterson was a disappointment. Nothing disastrous, just lacking in much of his touches.

Ref Rating : 4 out of 5. Almost want to give 5. Couldn't disagree with many of the calls (that I saw) and the cards were correct and fair. Outstanding work.

Props to Gargan for improving. Still fears making a run down the wing, but was getting comfortable with his possession and distribution. I'm happy The Chad scores. He's been working hard for the last 15 games from last year where he kinda eased off the notion of forward, and reconsidered being a winger... which works. We ride him all the time. I've grown to appreciate that he's not a forward who misses alot, but the positioning, setups, deliveries are really top shelf. If he can bag another 6 goals this year, he may end up being a bargain.

As much also as we hate on Garcia (and rightfully so), we wish him well and if concussed, we hope he takes as much time as needed to recover. No, seriously. Not as a "don't come back" jab. It's sincere... I swear!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

THE MATCHUP: The Swiss Chalet - St-Hubert Derby

-------------------------------Allez les Chalet!

TORONTO FC VS. MONTREAL IMPACT
 
BMO Field - Wednesday 8:00PM EST
TV: SPORTSNET WEST & EAST
 
Salut! La Championnat du CanNut dande les pamplemousse! Oui, oui our petit pals from the other side of the 401 are heading back into town for the first match of this year's Canadian Cup aka "The NutCan". Let's face it, L'equipe Fromage du Montreal is already our biggest rivals (sorry Columbus) and with their imminent admission to MLS it's only going to grow.
 
I like "401 Derby" better than "The Grass-Hockey Derby" but I won't sit back and allow Swiss Chalet's good Ontario name to be besmirched by these poutine makin', St. Lawrence straddling, Mitsou listening St-Hubert eaters! Any of you who have eaten at both chicken purveyors know - "There's Only One Quarter Chicken!" (Good song for Wednesday!) But not as good as the Swiss/Hubert Derby Massive: "Q'est-ce que vous mangez?... QUARTER CHICKEN SWISS CHALET!"
 
The match however is on the pitch not in the dining area and it will most likely be hotly contested. Anyone expecting another 6-1 drubbing a la 2009 should think twice. L'Impact will be playing for points and will field a full strength side, not the second-stringers from last year. Captain Nevio Pizzolitto leads from the back with Cuban FW Eduardo Sebrango and steady GK Matt Jordan supporting. Adam, Braz, Tyler Hemming and Srdan Djekanovic represent the escaped former Reds.
 
It will be interesting to see what Preki does in his first NutCan experience. Surely he's been brought up to speed on the significance that goes with the NutCan. Definitely higher in nationalistic importance (at least in footy circles) than the US Open Cup and a much easier route to Champions League. Most TFC supporters would consider anything less than a trophy a massive fail, so expect to see at least a 75% first team squad. Preki has the chance to win silverware fast - much like Chris Cummins... anyone heard from him lately?
 
CHANT OF THE MATCH: Swiss/Hubert Massive (see above…and why not buy the T-Shirt?)
 
FESTIVE SPECIAL SAYS: 2-0 Toronto
THE ST-HUBERT CHICKEN SAYS: 1-1 Draw
HEADLINE: "MONTREAL SCORES AWAY GOAL - MO SUES FRANCE"

--------------Hey Hubert... AS Bari wants their logo back

----------"Yeah mangiacake! And your dipping sauce sucks!!!"

First Wave client defends another

--------------------"Running Toronto FC since Day One"

After the damning interviews of Ali Gerba and Chris Cummins, it looks as if "Team Mo" aka Barry MacLean's First Wave agency along side Toronto FC FO are circling the wagons. In an interview on Soccer By Ives (which is reknownedly friendly to the Mo Regime) fellow First Wave client and former TFC Head Coach John Carver has come out in his defence.

In no way is this some kind of hard hitting interview, more like a surprise character witness at a trial. You can join the "Mo's All Right 2009" party (here) where Carver offers gems such as this quote about his ex-boss: "He's a decent guy who loves football and loves Toronto FC. He wants to do what's best for that club." Well, if this is love, we better hope that Mo never hates us - what damage would he do then?

The Plymouth assistant also soothes our souls with this sage piece of advice... "this is a time for everyone to get behind the football team and talk about football. Not talking about what's gone on in the past." Um, John... it's actually our future we're worried about, thanks.

Many supporters are already finding this very hasty "interview" of a First Wave co-client on a Mo-friendly website extremely fishy. However, since word of Carver's interview came out last night, it was always heading to be a no-win for Johnston. If Carver came out and criticized the misDirector - Mo would look bad. If he came out in support, and he has indeed given his "complete backing" of Mo, then those who actually suffer from Johnston's ineptitude in Toronto (not from Plymouth, England) would see it as a lame PR move by a little dictator and his far too powerful agent clinging on to the throne at Castle BMOstein.

This site often defended Carver when he was in charge in Toronto but how important are the words of a man who wasn't been behind the scenes when things got really bad? Carver abruptly left the woefully inexperienced Chris Cummins to deal with an egomaniac who likely only gave up the head coach's title at TFC because it would make firing him easier.

We are waiting on you Mr. Robinson and Mr. Serioux. Those are opinions that matter. Mr. Carver, enjoy Coca-Cola League One next year - hope "the pressure" doesn't force you to sit in the stands.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chris Cummins breaks silence - Guess what? MO MUST GO.


The man who has now become Toronto's hardest hitting football journalist, The Score's Kristian Jack, has done it again. Not long after getting an exclusive interview with former striker Ali Gerba, Jack has got the first no-holds-barred interview with former TFC interim manager Chris Cummins.

What the likeable and very genuine, Cummins has to say about Mo Johnston's meddling, backhanded ways is truly shocking... or is it? Most supporters knew that the arrogant Scot only wanted a puppet and the moves Cummins says he pulled doomed the club into a toxic mess.

A day after a great win against Seattle, the appetite for bad news may not be high but every supporter who loves this club HAS to listen to this interview. Don't be placated by one win, give props to Preki and realize now more than ever - Mo must go.

Link to the interview below:

Kristian Jack interviews Chris Cummins

UPDATE: Later in the evening after this story broke, Mo Johnston replied in an astoundingly odd manner. Follow this National Post link to see how the front office continues to stupidly destroy this club with one soap opera after another. Seriously, is Johnston the un-fireable? Some kind of employment vampire?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The South Stand Report : TFC v Seattle... or No Forwards, Mo Problems

------------------------ Does this offend you? Should I stop?

Wow, the DeRosario goal parade is marching along as the midfield hitman has bagged all of the reds goals thus far in the season's infancy. Mo still has a job. It's a typical "sunny Glasgow afternoon" in Toronto (meaning drizzling piss). And TFC's "flashes of brilliance" have mostly involved a penalty spot - EXACTLY WHAT IS OUTLINED IN YEAR 4 OF A 5 YEAR PLAN, RIGHT MO!?!

Pre-kickoff - my rendition of the American national anthem has offended someone to the point of confrontation. My apologies to the man, his American wife (who came up here for a better life, I suspect) and the arduous three years of "offence". I only wish you could have said something in a more timely manner, as in three years ago. I really wanted to ask you to suck it up, right to free speech and all that type of stuff and perhaps channel that rage to something valuable. But hey, take your small victory and revel in it because you made the world a better place for you. Nevermind that I have many American friends, I have family in America. Your opinion matters most.
So I will sing the American national anthem in the key befitting of a tenor, like myself, next game. I still win.

I bring this anecdote to your attention because it really did a number on my fire for the game.
Predictions : 2-0 to Seattle. Call us haters if you will (and many of you will), but do you really believe Toronto is capable of a cohesive victory against anyone right now? If you answer "yes" to this question, please click here for a report more to your liking. If you answer "no", please enjoy our comfy blog.

Also, it's raining and making my notebook wet. I'm not going to guess at the starting 11 from here, but it looks close to the starting 11 from the beginning of the second half against Philly.

Early quote of the match:

I've read your website, it's like TMZ for football.
- Gentleman infront of us

10' - Labrocca interrupts a clearance, and ends up laying a ball into the path of The Chad who does the right thing by backing off for White to fire a shot, causing Keller to make a palm diving save. The Chad is getting better folks, I swear...

15' - YELLOW - Saric for, um, stuff...

17' - YELLOW - This time I caught Usanov for a late tackle and a booking

20' - The Chad "falls" and the ref "ignores" his pleas for an outside-of-the-box free kick. It wasn't a foul Chad, get up.

22' - Labrocca has a go from 20 yds out and just zips wide right of the post. Nice to know someone else is willing to take a chance.

33 - Labrocca free kick redirects for a corner by a leaping hand... no card? Really? Hmmm...

Quote of the match:
It's like the Daily Show of blogs
- Gentleman to our left

Yes, asskissing does work people.

HALF-TIME MOOD: 2 parts melancholy, 1 part confusion

49' - Sturgis (umm... that's what I wrote) gets a bit of a break down the right side and fires a shot right at Frei. Very weak effort.

51' - YELLOW - Cann goes into the book for his own late tackle. I'm 50/50 on this one so I'll say he deserved it.

56' - Seattle pressure to the right of Frei results in human pinball and after about the 8th ricochet, Labrocca clears the ball.

58' - GOAL - DeRosario ends up on the end of a Seattle screw up on the edge of the box and punishes the mistake rightly so. Without his smooth funky robot celebratory dance, I was informed the goal was in dedication of the memory of his late Uncle. Very nice sir.

60' - The Chad can't settle a ball, which segues nicely into a Sounders counter attack. Evans on a break from 40 yrds out and Frei comes sliding out and prevents a real chance. Outstanding save.
62' - SUB - The Chad is off, Gargan is on. Not sure of the logic of this one. Chad wasn't particularly poor. Maybe he was hurt. Maybe Gargan learned which way the offence was pointing (hint: magnetic north)

74' - SUB - Labrocca is off, Cronin is on. I'm glad to see Cronin get some time. There's no way anyone could put forth an arguement that Labrocca or Gargan is a better wide midfielder than Cronin, but I'm not Preki...

75' - Ljungberg runs right into the path of Attakora and falls down like a house of cards for a free kick. I guess he's getting in those dives now. Nothing becomes of it.

76' - GOAL - Oh. Good. God! This is something straight out of the good footy! DeRo crosses a low ball just inside the 18 yd box to find White and one touch BURIES it opposite right. Top shelf, top class, Keller didn't have a chance. Brilliant.

79' - SUB - DeRo is off, your favourite apple and mine, Gabe Gala is in. Big round of applause deservedly so.

83' - Ljundberg gets a give and go with Zakuani, with the ensuing scramble leads the ball to Montero's feet and Frei all over him to make another outstanding save. Again.

4 MINUTES OF EXTRA TIME

FULL TIME : Toronto 2, Seattle 0

Man of the Match : DeRosario was great, but Frei bailed us out on opportunities that usually end up in goals against. Frei kept TFC in it, Frei is our MotM.

Goat of the Game : Nobody was particularly clueless. Our defence each took a turn being a screw up. Between the four of them, there were 3 good players and one goat. So 1/4 of each defender = "goat"

Ref Rating : 4 out of 5. Did a great job keeping things in order. The linesman was out in force doing the 10-yard free kick enforcement thing and every blown call and a freebie recovery call later. Great balance, let them play. Very content.

The brains behind most of TheYorkies.ca postings said it best : everything is coming together, we just need a spine... a centreback or two and a forward. Our centre of the field is the weakest part and it's true. Are TFC turning a corner? It's hard to say, but when they looked good, they looked really good. And when they looked sloppy, it wasn't cusp-of-an-anyeurism kind of stupid sloppy. This was a much better TFC than the previous 4 games thus far.

Also, we would like to gush for our love, yet again, for the North End Elite. We saw not 1 anti-Mo banner, but 2 and an anti-MLSE one. Seriously. I love them. They CARE folks. They want better of TFC. They want better treatment of us supporters. Some more respect and transparancy of the front office. Seriously, I would hug them all. Best. Tifos. Ever.

Next game is NutCan time! Montreal is visiting. Hopefully we'll see a TFC that is overpowering and comprehensive... but Wednesday is a lifetime away.

Friday, April 23, 2010

THE MATCHUP: Patience is a virtue... but goals win matches

----------"Uh, I actually think "Guns & Roses sang 'Patience'."

TORONTO FC (14th) VS. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (5th)

BMO Field - Sunday 2:00PM EST
TV: CBC----- RADIO: The FAN590
 
For a man who has been so wily with his words, especially with the media, Mo Johnston put his foot in his mouth this week, infuriating long-suffering supporters. While addressing the woeful start to the season to some gathered press types, the misDirector of Football/ Glaswegian Truth Massager asked TFC's long suffering supporters for "patience". Yes, I nearly spit up my supper too.
 
While banging on about being on "the right track" and making a deep squad and putting Paul Dickov on the moon, Mo forgot to look past the irony of this week's opponent. Second-year Sounders went deep into the playoffs in their first year, won the US Open Cup (much harder than our lone NutCan) and look even stronger in year two. They bought an impact DP (in a position they needed) before they kicked a ball and will likely come to BMO and kick TFC in the balls for the second year running.
 
But alas, after dressing more than seventy-five players in three seasons, four head coaches, countless "scouting trips" and the phone number of one agent - it is us, the supporters who are the impatient ones. So remember fans, as you shiver in the rain and wind while a second-year club with weapons like Freddie Ljungberg, Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero play good football - it's your fault for being impatient. Yes, for not being able to do in five years what Seattle has done in two is your fault... and the turf, and John Carver/ Chris Cummins, and the chip butty chef and one or both of Celtic and/ or Rangers. But never Maurice Johnston. Never.
 
SONG OF THE DAY: To Nirvana’s “(Smells Like) Teen Spirit”
We've been patient, but he's played us,
Fire Mo now, or enrage us!
 
KURT COBAIN'S GHOST SAYS: 2-0 Seattle
"SPOONMAN" SAYS: 0-0 Draw
HEADLINE: "CLUB ON 'RIGHT TRACK' HAMMERED BY GOOD CLUB"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

CAPPED! - The Kickoff

"CAPPED!" is a new weekly feature here on The Yorkies where we want you to give us your best caption under the picture of the week. Can you out-quip our resident captionist?

What's the prize for the weekly winner you ask?... Absolutely nothing (what are we a 50/50 draw?) However, you will be announced as the wittiest supporter of the week and can tell all your friends who won't have any idea what you are on about.

Leave your caption in the comments section (keep 'em reasonably clean!) and we'll announce the winner in next week's edition. We'll get you started with ours...

--BMO Field grounds crew found two trialists and a 5-Year Planner

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Mysterious TFC road ailments

-----------Cheap and soft in the middle. Like our defence.

Unlike the claim that TFC is "going in the right direction", altitude sickness is an actual scientifically proven fact. Teams who have to travel to opponents who are based in high locales often complain of quick fatigue and breathing difficulties. Having a team full of trialists, cast-offs and agency favours could never be the issue - never. Either way, TFC trotted out the altitude card against Colorado this past weekend but what medical phenomena can they use in other cities?
 
11. (DALLAS) BBQ-Sauce Induced Migraines
 
10. (CHICAGO) John Hughes' Films Melancholy
 
9. (NEW YORK) Empire State of Mind
 
8. (D.C.) Case of Obama-Mania
 
7. (LA) Stars in Their Eyes
 
6. (KANSAS CITY) Lilapsophobia - The Fear of Tornadoes
 
5. (PHILLY) Cheese Steak Indigestion
 
4. (NEW ENGLAND) Chowder Flu
 
3. (SEATTLE) Cobain-Related Depression
 
2. (COLUMBUS) Trillium Envy
 
1. (MONTREAL) Joe Louis/ Pepsi/ Cigarette Hangover

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ali stings like a bee

---------------------------Gerba: open up front

In the world of football it is rare for an active player to come out and speak openly about the reasons he is no longer with a club. It is equally rare in Toronto for a reporter to have an actual in-depth journalistic interview with a member (or ex-member) of TFC. Today both of those things occurred.

Kristian Jack, the very underrated reporter for The Score, held a one-on-one interview with the ex-TFC striker and the Canadian international was blunt, open and very direct. What Gerba has to say about Mo Johnston and Preki in particular is not quite shocking but nonetheless damning. Defenders (why would you be?) of TFC management will claim Gerba is a bitter player with a grudge but watch the whole interview and that sentiment doesn't come out once. In fact Gerba praises TFC's fans and claims he would play for The Reds again - presumably under different management.

If you have any interest in what is going on in this rapidly decaying club, watch the interview (with some great questions from Jack) and gauge your own feeling. Our impression is that Gerba came of as a gentlemen who sees that TFC will go nowhere as it stands now. Hard to disagree.

Follow the link below...

The Score's Kristian Jack interviews Ali Gerba

EDITORIAL: MLSE are a supporter's best friend-ly

-----------------One block east of Lower Expectations

There can be no one reading this anywhere near the City of Toronto who can still truly believe that Toronto FC's owners, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, are really concerned about building a winner. If you are one of those disillusioned oddballs: stop reading this immediately, wash your brain out with soap and run, don't walk, to your nearest mental facility. No, MLSE don't build winners, they carefully gauge marketing trends and consumer spending and make their decisions accordingly.
 
Give credit where it is due, the Bay Street marketers know this game, and they are very good at it. They troll the message boards and they "listen" to fan concerns - but not for the purposes we would wish for. No, they aren't figuring out a way to improve the team's fortunes but how to manage expectations and make more profit at the same time. So what has been their modus operandi? That would be the money spinning "good will" of an international friendly.
 
MLSE realizes that TFC is a different beast than their other properties. The Leafs are a sell-out lock for the foreseeable future; the Raptors can get by due to the fact that the "right man" is in charge; however, TFC has a rabid support who are louder and complain vociferously. MLSE however aren't concerned with "the thinkers" in TFC's support - they want to distract the easily swayed supporter (you know the guy) who will forget how bad Toronto FC is and instead talk about an upcoming friendly for months, while TFC continues to lose and spin into mediocrity. Real Madrid anyone?
 
With this in mind we can probably judge how pleased with themselves MLSE is with the BMO Field vibe. The better they feel the club is being received - the less glamorous the friendly opponent. If it is tanking - "hello UEFA? Send us the special please." Here is a handy chart for you to refer to for 2010 - MLSE's TFC Inc. vibe followed by the corresponding possible opponent. (Based on those coming or rumoured to be coming to North America in 2010)
 
"Excellent - souvenirs and beer sales are brisk":
CLUB AMERICA

"Good - some mumbles but how 'bout those new white kits?":
RED STAR BELGRADE

"Fair - some hiccups but they're still singing their little songs":
FIORENTINA

"Bad – why are these people so obsessed with winning… and goals?":
MANCHESTER CITY

"Awful - Chip Butty sales are way down! Red Alert!":
AC MILAN

"Tanked - Wow they really hate that Scottish guy, gimme the phone":
MANCHESTER UNITED
 
The only thing getting in the way of this prediction is MLSE's amazing ability to naval gaze as they sharpen the axe next to the golden goose. If any of this does come true - think twice before you comment anywhere that "it's a crap season but at least (insert club here) is coming" because you are being played. Again.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Big, boring, burgundy beating

------------------------"Stay crappy, Mo Johnston"

The only other noise that could be heard through the continuous din of fog horns and high-pitched children's screams emanating from Dick's this afternoon, was the exasperated sighs of Toronto supporters. There can be little doubt left in any Reds' fans minds that this club isn't moving forward and "gelling" as has been shoved down our throats through MLSE promotions (i.e. GOLTV). In fact it is a very fair assessment to say that this version of TFC is the worst, and definitely least entertaining, since Year One.

Toronto FC under Preki not only have yet to score a goal from regular open-play but most shockingly have yet to find anything that remotely looks like an offensive strategy. The lone TFC goal in today's 3-1 loss to the "Burgundy Army" of Colorado was once again a Dwayne De Rosario converted penalty. Good for De Ro's account - awful for Toronto's prospects. Has anyone in the front office cared to ponder what happens if TFC's "One Man Gang" gets injured? It does happen in football occasionally you know.

Colorado opened the scoring today in a first half which was incredibly shoddy on both sides but hardly saw TFC anywhere near Rapids' goal. The goal was result of a Conor Casey penalty after the usual "high-quality" MLS referee called a handball on Adrian Cann - which was clearly a faceball and nowhere near the Thornhill giant's hands. Despite gaining some momentum after tying the game through De Ro's penalty not long after, TFC came out flat in the second half and their lack of quality showed.

A clumsy tackle by the highly overrated and vastly under-talented Martin Saric led to a free kick which Rapids' Jeff Larentowicz powered through the Toronto wall and passed a bewildered Stefan Frei. The keeper's bewilderment likely came from the fact that TFC's DP, and voted "Least Wanting To Be Here", Julian de Guzman, jumped out of the way of the shot's path creating a gaping whole for the ball to curl into the net. A player of JDG's quality should know better, although that genuine quality has yet to show in Toronto. A further messy tackle by Russian rightback Maksim Usanov gave Rapids their second penalty late in the second half and Conor Casey iced the cake with their 3rd.

The result is one that wasn't entirely unexpected but that in itself is quite sad. The fact that in this club's fourth year fans can't expect TFC to compete on the road against a mediocre club in front of the most tepid support in the league is so unfair to 21,000 BMO Field customers and many more on TV and radio. As a cherry on top - wasn't it just great to see Marvell Wynne looking comfortable and explosive in a centreback role? That Wynne was never even experimented in that position in three years, when TFC had a gaping whole there, is a glaring example of the total lack of football knowledge in charge of this club. But like road losses, I guess that is just another reality we've all had to just accept.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

THE MATCHUP: Mo to unveil 5-year plan to battle altitude

------John Denver + 10 Muppets = 11. Mo Johnston has an idea...

COLORADO RAPIDS (8th) VS. TORONTO FC (10th)
 
Dick's Sporting Goods Park - 5:00PM EST
TV: GOLTV -----RADIO: THE FAN 590
 
Toronto FC's spirits may be a bit higher after their 2-1 win over the 10-man Union but their game will need to be elevated if they want a result in the Mile High City - well, the Mile High Suburbs at least. Three matches in eight days is no easy task for any club but TFC desperately needs to show some consistency and also the ability to get some points on the road. "The Dick" isn't exactly a fierce place to visit but if Toronto makes the poor mistakes they did against Philly, they will be punished often.
 
You can forgive Rapids supporters (Hello, you four!) for thinking it's a split squad match as TFC is stacked full of former Maroons. However, can our Re-Rapids return for some Rocky revenge? No less than five Reds have played for Rapids - Dan Gargan "Tuan", Ty "Tryin' Hard" Harden, Adrian "Yes We" Cann, Nick LaBrocca “nd roll all night” and Jacob "Too Plain for Nickname" Peterson. Perhaps these Colorado vets can give some insight into the mind of your average Rapid. If it works, Mo can go out and trade for half of the next opponents every week!
 
Rapids are an improved club this year and boast a wide range of TFC killers. Big man on campus Conor Casey is supported by return Red-killer Mehdi "Jim/John" Ballouchy and their new explosive centreback - American International Marvell Wynne. We hear great things about Wynne who has adapted instantly to a new CB role. Wow, whatever club had him before Colorado must be really kicking themselves! Wish we could have an explosive centreback. (No, Garcia - not implosive... go away.) Either way, it's going to be a hard one for TFC when they have to face Mile High Dick's on little rest.
 
What?
 
JOHN DENVER SAYS: 3-0 Colorado
BOB "GILLIGAN" DENVER SAYS: 1-0 Colorado
NEWSPAPER HEADLINE: ROCKY MOUNTAIN HORROR PICTURE SHOW

----------------------------------"DEN-VER!!!"

Friday, April 16, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Censorship-proof "MO MUST GO" banners

--------------------------Get lost Mo... you stooge

MLSE has been promoting "the best fans in MLS" for four years now. They love to bang on about how the team's "supporters groups" make the best atmosphere in the league. They love photo ops with perfect demographic specimens waving non-descript flags and screaming with glee. They don't know the difference between a football supporters group and a fan club.
 
A big talking point from the home opener has been MLSE's apparent new "unofficial, mistaken" (giant air quotes) censorship policy over any supporter having a sign that criticizes the woeful, disgracefully inept misDirector of Football. Accounts of confiscated signs (with no profanity included) are rampant. Although MLSE is saying it was all a big misunderstanding, it could re-appear in the future (i.e. the next ESPN telecast). So how to safely voice your anti-Mo displeasure at BMO Field? Well you could buy a fashionable, easy to conceal t-shirt (operators are standing by!) or if you insist on a banner - how about some alternatives...
 
11. LARRY, CURLY & GO
 
10. "i take GO transit to bMO field"
 
9. "ON YER BIKE WEE MAN!"
 
8. BAN GINGERS!
 
7. GLASWEGIAN LIBERATION FRONT: RELEASE THE SCOT!
 
6. SUPPORT WHOLE MILK: "MOO MUST GOO"
 
5. M.L.S.S.R. - THE MOVIET UNION
 
4. TORONTO PIG LATIN CLUB: "OMAY USTMAY OGAY"
 
3. DOWN WITH CENSORSHIP: "#&$ MUST #@%!”
 
2. "THE GRASS IS TOO LONG - MOW OUT!"
 
1. "DYSLEXICS UNITE! OM MUST OG!"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The South Stand Report : TFC v Philadelphia or... Guess which one is the expansion team and win a prize!

I probably could've done something to the stars, but oh well...

Oh Toronto in the spring. Arguably spring started mid-March when we had a week of +20 C temperatures. And our spring lasts 6 weeks around here. Which means it'll be almost summer by the time Seattle gets here. Pre-gaming at the Foggy Dew with gorgeous women everywhere I look in this city a black velvet in hand, I await with bated breath for this evening's festivities when I am privy to hurl insults with my season friends at 11 men running around on a newly minted grass pitch. But this season is different.

The insults will be hurled at TFC.
No I'm not a hater for the sake of hating. Trust me. I applaud when The Chad plays well as much as I deride him when he misses the Food Building. For those of you doing the math, that's a massive amount of derision.

So since TFC joined the league, we've seen two expansion teams. Both got results a helluva lot quicker than we did.
As a season's ticket holder, are you happy with this fact? I'm not. 15% ticket increase with a 38% quality decrease. No smiles here.

Philly is fresh off a smashing of wooden spoon rivals DC United where Le Toux bagged a hat trick. When is our turn to get Le Toux? Next year perhaps...
The Red Fail played 45 mins of passible footie only to have it undo itself in spectacular end-of-season, fate-in-hands collapse a la versus Red Bulls.

But at least the weather is nice/got new grass/the home opener is here.
Are you really still smiling? *sigh* Game time. Please look coherent reds. Please...

Predictions came in a 2-1, 2-1 and 1-0 in favour of Philadelphia and some sod picked 3-0 Toronto.
Toronto started out with (and if this turns out bad, this is the first time I'm doing a starting XI) the following :
Frei

Cann - Attakora - Usanov - Hscanovics

LaBrocca - Sanyang - Saric - Gargan

de Guzman

De Rosario

3' - LaBrocca goes to turf which prompts our own Harry Wetnap with the early Quote of the Match
"Doesn't LaBrocca look like Irwin R. Shyster?"

Naw, looks more like Mike Rotundo to me.

6 - Usanov rounds the length of the pitch and has no winger to pass to. Know that, strategically, this is intentional.

9 - DeRo receives a cross with a defender hanging on his back and SOMEHOW this is offside. Not only is Toronto more head-scratchingly bad, but the discount refs are in full force.

11 - Le Toux runs so flakily but is deceptively lethal in front of goal (ask DC). In other news, our right midfielder Dan Gargan appears to be afraid to run in parallel with the field on a counter.

We interrupt this match report to bring you this wonderful conspiracy:
You never see Andrea Lombardo and Maksim Usanov in the room at the same time. Strange...
16 - YELLOW - Hscanovics for a lack of consonants at the beginning of his name. Sorry, I had to look up the name three times before typing it. Still booked.

22 - Shenanigans have been officially declared by someone a few rows behind us. How we'll get to the bottom of this, we'll never Mo... I mean Mo Johnston... I mean KNOW...

25 - YELLOW - Usanov for a loosely called late challenge

34 - RED - Danny Califf gets a shower for a vicious looking elbow to the head of Julian de Guzman. Part of me thinks this is the old "Gretzky Rule" all over again, but it's well deserved whoever he mailed.

36 - GOAL - The ensuing free kick from 23 yds out is taken by DeRo which gets through the wall and is ultimately bobbled by Philly keeper Seitz and into the onion bag. After the crap first half we've been subjected to, I'm surprised this happened at all.

38 - Another yellow card to Philly. The free kick was glancingly deflected by DeRo just wide of the net.

40 - Philly free kick from 30 yds out and the ball ended up on the foot of Orozco with a great touch, only to be palmed away by a lunging Frei. Great stop.

45 - GOAL - On the counter, Philly loop a ball across the box where Tony Stahl one touch to stop and one touch to slot the ball in. Quality goal. TFC hasn't scored anything that pretty in a while.

HALF-TIME : deja-f'ing-vu. Seriously, I saw this "style" of play in TFC from year 1. I hope it isn't another season of this bullsh*t footie.

SUB : The Chad and White are on, Saric and Usanov are off. DeRo and deGuz are back in their normal positions.

50 - The Chad crossed a sweet ball to White who just fires wide of the net. I've never been more happier to see Chad Barrett. No, seriously.

53 - The Chad swings in another nice ball to LaBrocca who misses. Failed clearing attempt ends up at deGuz and he volleys just over the bar.

54 - deGuz sings a ball and The Chad has an open net and heads the ball wide.

57 - Philly's Thomas gets a yellow for hauling down White, which could have been a red if the ref wasn't feeling so generous. Ensuing corner has The Chad firing wide.

60 - SUB - Sanyang, who took a knock earlier, is off and Jacob Peterson is on

76 - More crossing of the ball, more pinball action. At least Philly hasn't had a decent chance at Toronto's goal this half.

79 - LaBrocca corner looped in, and Gargan's shot goes just right of the netting.

80 - PENALTY - O'Brien White sorta kinda gets hauled down. It's iffy, but the ref was out of position and had to make a call. I personally believe that the call itself was shaky, but for the karma in the match, it may have been earned.

80 - GOAL - And DeRo, the hardest working man in Toronto, converts. Hammers it in the right side of the net. Seitz guessed correctly, but couldn't make it.

85 - Philly are finally on the attack. The North End Elite, our favourite supporters group, hold up a banner with "NO MO MOJO". If I could give them a hug, I would.

90 - The Chad on the counter, has a break from the centre line. Now I know what you're thinking, "awwwwwww nooooooo...", and it's OK, because I was thinking that too. But he faked out 20,000+ people and once he got to the top of the box, he laid this delicious little ball to DeRo who slammed it (offside) into the crossbar. Tragic, but the right move from Barrett.

FULL-TIME : Toronto 2, Philadelphia 1

Wow.

Man of the match : DeRo. He was working hard to make something out of nothing in the first half when the plan of "give Dwayne the ball" didn't work. Man he works hard.

Ref rating : 3 out 5. Blew calls evenly for both sides, and if you're gonna have sloppy officiating, it has to be across the board. The cards were justified for the most part.

Goat of the game : Dan Gargan. Hi, you're new here. We're the Yorkies. This isn't meant to be hateful. But we noticed that you have a fear of running towards goal in an ideal give-and-go or "winger-like" scenario. Also, you have the audacity to throw your arms out on a break when you were nowhere near the ball as if you could've scored. Stop doing that. Your first live impression was that you do not want the responsibility of creating anything that resembles an offensively aggressive nature. That will not do. We noticed that you were getting "Laurent Blanc service" by the end of the half... meaning, no balls on the right wing. Yeah, that's your fault. But you're learning. And when I bellow "run", that's me just saying what your teammate with the ball is about to think. Trust me. I write a blog so I must be right.

I know we all love to hate on "The Chad" Chad Barrett. He has the marksmanship that the CNIB would be embarrassed by. No matter.

Look at how stale, boring, stifling and unimaginative TFC played in the first half. Two chances strictly from set pieces. Nothing else remotely threatening. DeRo and deGuz left to fight off 4-6 defenders and score goals. Right. Now consider what happened in the second half when The Chad came on. Chances. Flow. Aggressiveness. SPEED. Creativity. Sure he missed some embarrassingly wonderful chances but he had chances. He CREATED chances.

If you actually believe that the first half TFC was better than the second half TFC, I hate to tell you how stupid that is. I'd rather have him miss than have NO ONE get a chance in the run of play. Next game will be too soon. I hope second half TFC improves. I hope first half TFC get demoted to the second division (you know, if we had one).

De Rosario narrowly beats 10-man expansion team

With all the player changes in and out of BMO Field it became painfully obvious tonight that only one player is truly indispensable on this club. The captain Dwayne De Rosario was the catalyst of the narrowest of victories as TFC slipped past Philadelphia 2-1 at tonight's home opener. For long stretches, De Ro was TFC's only source of offence and creativity on a club that is still struggling badly going forward.

De Rosario scored the first of his two goals soon after Philadelphia went down to 10 men in the first half. Danny Califf's rash challenge on Julian De Guzman led to the Union defender's dismissal and De Ro scored from the ensuing free kick. Despite being down a man, Philadelphia was the better offensive club and managed to pull one back late in the first half. It wasn't until late in the second half when O'Brian White was pulled down in the box by Philly's keeper Chris Seitz that TFC got the chance to retake the lead. Once again, De Ro stepped up and calmly put away the spotkick to make it 2-1 which is how the match ended.

TFC has a great distance to go in creating offence and can't take too much solace from this match considering the opponents and the fact they had a man advantage for 3/4 of the match. A positive of note was the solid play of new defender Adrian Cann who didn't put a foot wrong for most of the night. Lastly, Chad Barrett (nice haircut) made an appearance: 2 missed headers from short range and he also injured Amadou Sanyang's face - HAT TRICK!

STAY TUNED FOR "THE SOUTH STAND REPORT" LATER TONIGHT FOR A DETAILED MATCH REPORT...

----------------------Barrett: Nice haircut gooey Neo

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

THE MATCHUP: That fresh "new season" smell

-------------------Aw crap, The Reds are already behind

TORONTO FC (15th) VS. PHILADELPHIA UNION (10th)
 
BMO Field - Thursday 7:00PM EST
TV: GOL-TV
 
New! New! New! Yes, the N-word is the buzz around BMO Field as Toronto FC hosts MLS debutantes Philadelphia Union in the club's fourth home opener. For the second season in a row, TFC is opening against an expansion side and will be hoping that it doesn't turn into two losses in two years. But surely all this "new" stuff which we have been told to celebrate, while ignoring everything else, will turn into delicious, juicy goals right?
 
"NEW" OPPONENTS: As mentioned, the newest MLS side, Philadelphia Union, is in town fresh off a big win over local rivals DC United. Former Seattle forward and current Frenchman Sebastien Le Toux (it means "The Two") is leading the charge for Union with best-single-name in the league, Fred, adding support. Surely a "new" team can't win here though right? We were told you have to have a 5 year plan first. "New" opponents = no extra TFC goals.
 
"NEW" MANAGER: Yes, the Serbian Sir Alex is in charge of TFC's troops now and has come down with his iron fist. Hard work, keeping the ball down, all out defence and getting rid of any player who disagrees is the way forward for The Reds' under Preki. Sadly, he can't suit up and play as well. "New" manager = no extra TFC goals.
 
"NEW" SEATS: One of the major infrastructure improvements undertaken over the season sees about 1000 news seats added to BMO Field's North End. The new seating allows for single game tickets and also inadvertently turns the beer garden into more of a "beer cavern". Also added as part of the refurbishment was players’ bench dugouts but unless the new player's seats are really inspirational... "New" seats = no extra TFC goals.
 
"NEW" GRASS: Oh boy, this is the big addition. While no one is disputing the tremendous improvement to football in Toronto that real grass will bring, you could have been forgiven for thinking it was grown in the garden of Pele Maradona Zidane Jr. A terrific addition, but not worthy of MLSE's attitude that they had gone Oprah and put a car under our seats. Unless it's that new Japanese tilting computer grass... "New" grass = no extra TFC goals.
 
"NEW" PLAYERS: Forget the giant BMO logo on the front of our kits - for the first few games the players should have their names on the front as well. A wad of B and C list midfielders and defenders have been added to the squad - mostly Re-Rapids, First Wave Agency clients and Eastern European subs. Not a single useful striker was deemed necessary. "New" that + Chad Barrett = no extra TFC goals
 
So there you have it, the "new era" at TFC officially arrives Thursday night. Lots of "new" things we are told to celebrate but after a few minutes the grass is just grass, the new seats are just more people shaking their heads and the new players are a long way from being championship contenders. If MLSE wants to offer us real "new" - it's time to fire the oldest piece left. In case you don't know... he's the one upstairs on the phone with Barry MacLean.
 
NEW LAWNMOWER SAYS: 2-1 Toronto
DAY OLD CHIP BUTTY SAYS: 0-0 Draw
NEWSPAPER HEADLINE: "NEW GRASS EATS GARCIA - FANS CHEER"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Curious items on the BMO Field security blotter

-------------BMO Security was ready for any rogue streamers

In about 48 hours, BMO Field will be full of 21,000 screaming red clad supporters watching TFC's 2010 home opener. The atmosphere at the Lakeshore Temple has gained quite the reputation around the league and is considered to be the most "international" of MLS stadiums. Of course, with an often rowdy ambience comes the odd spot of bravado/ beer-vado fuelled trouble as well. The BMO Field security has tended to some curious incidents in four years...
 
11. Hawk Taunting aka "Bitchy Baiting"
 
10. Chadist Abuse
 
9. Grand Theft Carlsberg
 
8. Career Suicide Attempt (reported of a Mr. J. De Guzman)
 
7. Fooliganism/ Tooliganism
 
6. Excessive "Ole" Usage
 
5. Attempted Mo Tossing
 
4. Concealing a Deadly Streamer
 
3. Fraud (Insert own joke here)
 
2. Late Second-Half Choking
 
1. Assault and Chip Buttery

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sing when you're not winning

------"Sorry mate, you were singing off-key, you have to leave."

The grass is almost finished being painted green. The chip butty batter is being mixed. The PA announcer is learning how to speak Latvian. Yes, it's almost opening day at BMO Field. The expansion Philadelphia Union (I wonder how long their 5-year plan is?) will be winging their way to Toronto for Thursday night's big match under the floodlights and will be greeted by yet another sold-out Toronto FC crowd.
 
Since year one, the Toronto support has been lauded around MLS circles for being one of the league's loudest and best. How they have been re-paid by the team is another story. Either way, the supporters love a good chant or sing-along during a match and have memorized quite the little repertoire. However, if you're a little tired of singing for bald retirees, here are a few of the better chants that have come into us over the off-season. Sing, you burly baritones - sing!
 
DE-ROSARIO (Captain's Armband Remix) - to the tune of "B-I-N-G-O"
The Captain is from Scar-bo-rough
And De Ro is his name-o!
De-Rosario! De-Rosario! De-Rosario!
And De Ro is his name-o!
 
HEY JULES (The JDG Song) - to the tune of The Beatles' "Hey Jude"
Hey Jules,
It's not so bad.
It's not La Liga,
But it's getting better
 
Remember,
When puffing out that afro,
You are now rich
And close to Scar-bro!
 
OUT (The Mo(ve) Out) - to the tune of Tears For Fears' "Shout"
Out! Out!
Get the hell out!
Mo is the one we are singing about,
Get lost... you ginger buffoon.
Get lost!
 
DO THE SANYANG - to the tune of The Police's "Doo-Doo-Doo"
Amadou-doo-doo,
Ama-dah-dah-dah!
He's the Red from Gambi-ah!
(Repeat)
 
MO'S HOLES - to the tune of "Hole in the bucket - Dear Liza"
There's a hole in our defence,
Mo Johnston, Mo Johnston.
There's a hole in our defence,
Mo Johnston, a hole.
 
There's a hole in our midfield,
Mo Johnston, Mo Johnston.
There's a hole in our midfield,
Mo Johnston, a hole.
 
There's a hole in our offence,
Mo Johnston, Mo Johnston.
There's a hole in our offence,
Mo Johnston, a hole.
 
There's a hole in your backside,
Mo Johnston, Mo Johnston.
There's a hole in your backside,
And that's what you are.
 
CHIP BUTTY CHANT - to the Gap Band's "Oops Upside Your Head"
We-put-chips on bread,
Say, we put chips on bread!

(Repeat ad nauseum!)
 
THE FACTS OF MO - to the theme of TV's "Facts Of Life"
He trades the good,
He keeps the bad,
He blows the cap, and there ya' go,
The facts of Mo - It's the facts of Mo!
(Repeat)
 
LIFE ON BAY STREET - to the tune of "Que Sera Sera"
Que sera sera,
Our owners are M-L-SE,
5 year plans are what we'll see
For... eternity!

(Repeat with gusto!)

Mobama brings more change: "Yes We Cann"

------------Running for President of both Celtic and Rangers

Well, for once in recent memory Mo Johnston stayed true to his word. During the press conference last week where Jo Bronston was unveiled as Assistant to the misDirector, Mo remarked that his famous two or three signings were on their way. As of this afternoon, three have indeed arrived. Yes they are all defenders but hey, beggars can't be choosers. Will they be playing in the MLS All Star Game? Again with the beggars.

Yes, Mo has added two players who have been trialing with TFC. The first is Russian Second Division substitute Maxim Usanov. As reported earlier here, the 25 year old has bounced around the Russian and Latvian leagues but has never quite stuck with one club. Reportedly a rightback, Usanov may indeed prove useful as that is a position of weakness. As of course are most on TFC's backline.

The other signing of the day is sometime Canadian International defender/ James Franco lookalike, Adrian Cann. The 29 year old Thornhill native had his best years with Vancouver Whitecaps making 58 appearances in two seasons and garnering interest from Danish club Esbjerg fB who signed him to a 4 year deal in 2008. However, things didn't quite work out for Cann in Denmark and he was released in early 2010. He finds himself back in MLS for the first time since his rookie season with Colorado and with his 6 foot 3 frame will hopefully relegate Nick Garcia deep down the bench.

In the end, today's signings and Ray-Ray Hscanovics last week are hardly the earth shattering changes that TFC needs to really compete - but they will add depth. Mo Johnston's 5 year plan has indeed made Reds supporters beggars in every way but the signings are indeed better than nothing. The fact that they are the kind of signings we would expect from the expansion Union and not fourth year TFC is far beyond our choosing and the shame of the misDirector. There is no action, just reaction. Not change we can believe in.

-------------------------"I loved you in Spiderman!"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

THE WORD: Maxim-um panic signing?

---------------A far more entertaining Russian "Maxim"

Despite last night's 4-1 split personality loss to New England, Nick Garcia has not been left behind at the team's breakfast buffet. But not to fear Reds' supporters, the top-level management team at Toronto FC will fix things with a well researched and scouted transfer move right? Surely the rushed signing of Latvian defender Raivis Hščanovičs after Jo Bronston's "retirement" was an emergency move and the next signing will have a higher pedigree! Uh-huh.

According to reports in this morning's Toronto Sun a new signing, Russian second-division substitute Maxim Usanov is about to be signed. Oh... great. Before you get too excited on who could be the next Nikolai Garciov, his history is worth a look. Usanov has never managed to make more than 19 appearances in one season, mostly in the Russion Second Division. Even Skonto FC (where Ray-Ray played) loaned him out twice over two seasons. So, to review Reds' fans: Hardly good enough to start in the Russian Second Divison = the answer to MLS's worst defence.

The only other disturbing piece of information about this potential deal (yes it can be worse) is that Maxim Usanov and Raivis Hščanovičs apparently share the same agency. Oh my God, has Mo's agent Barry MacLean run out of players for Mo to sign? Did poor Mo have to actually go find a new agency to supply him with rejects from lesser leagues? Perish the thought! That poor, sweet, humble Scotsman. No word yet if the Russian agent's name is Boris MacLeanov.

WORD FACTOR: 6 / 10

Has "The New Era" started yet?

The fat, yawning kid is far less likely to give away that ball than Nick Garcia




Every TFC promo since the beginning of the season has been touting the beginning of a "new era" under Preki. This fresh start is apparently the change we've been waiting for. Much like the new era that started under John Carver - but with less likeable players. Judging by tonight's 4-1 drubbing by New England, the results are similar as well.

Rather than re-hash the infuriating and schizophrenic loss in Boston, perhaps we can just take a look at the "new era" we are now living under. New manager Preki is trying to instill a tough, hard work ethic based on solid skills, that much is fine. Sadly the misDirector of Football Mo Johnston has been unable to provide him with decent talent to do so - that is not. Part of the Preki revolution was to rid the club of players who did not fit with this philosophy - reasonable idea right?

The error with this plan is of course expecting that a man who has only managed to reconstruct an expansion team after 5 years on the job could replace those players. In fact, let's take a little look at some of the "Old New Era's" players" and some of the "New New Era's" replacements.

"OLD NEW ERA STARTERS": Carl Robinson, Danny Dichio, Tyrone Marshall, Adrian Serioux, Amado Guevara, Marvell Wynne

"NEW NEW ERA REPLACEMENTS": Marco Saric, Nick LaBrocca, Nick Garcia, Ty Harden, Dan Gargan and a Latvian with too many consonants in him name for 1AM.

So, as you try to tell yourself that "everything will work out" and "we need to give it time to gel" ask yourself which team you would rather build around right now. Minus the retired (forcefully) Dichio, the old club needed a few additions to become MLS-good. It needed a top-notch striker, a speedy winger and a solid centreback. Instead, Mo "Man with No Plan" Johnston has overseen a panicked wholesale change while barely having the skills to give change for a cup of coffee.

In the spirit of Revolution... isn't it time to stop singing songs for long retired players and start continuously spewing the venom you all feel (don't deny it!!!) towards the one man responsible for this shambles? No, as much as I'd love to say Nick Garcia... you know who it is. And before you get any bright ideas, Jim Brennan (aka Jo Bronston) should not be his replacement. Time for the paying customers to yell louder and longer because with the current management in charge, we will have a "new era" every season.


Oh and... you suck Nick Garcia. Go. Leave. Now. You make baby Jesus cry.

Friday, April 9, 2010

THE WORD: TFC tries to break into lucrative Latvian demographic

Finally, the day may soon be upon us where children are running through the streets of Latvia wearing the famous Red & Grey. Yes, Mo Johnston must have taken Air Latvia on his way to Brazil this year because the latest rumour is that the "Highlands Genius" is about to sign defender Raivis Hščanovičs.

The former Skonto FC leftback is a 6 foot, 23 year old Riga native who has made 50 appearances with the capital's biggest club. He has a few caps for Latvian youth teams as well but has never cracked the full senior squad. Never mind Ray-Ray (his new name), Toronto FC is the place where fringe internationals make their name! Just ask Lesly Fellinga, Collin Samuel and Olivier Tebily!

Ray-Ray has reportedly had some bad knee injuries in the past but since those reports are in the Latvian media, and my Latvian is as good as my Mongolian, he may also have wings and the power to fart rainbows. Who knows? If he can clear a ball without hitting Stefan Frei's ass then he's already better than Nick Garcia.

No official signing confirmation yet from BMO Field but maybe Mo Johnston and new assistant Jo Bronston are scouting through Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Papua New Guinea and American Samoa before heading to Boston. The children of Latvia may have to wait a bit longer for their Ray-Ray jerseys.

WORD FACTOR: 7 / 10

UPDATE: TFC HAS SIGNED RAY-RAY AND HE IS TRAVELLING WITH THE CLUB TO NEW ENGLAND. HIGH FIVE! ON TO THE MOLDOVAN SCOUTING TRIP!

THE MATCHUP: Revolution, evolution or revolting? Discuss.

-----Finally, Mo had found his industrious centreback and striker

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION VS. TORONTO FC
 
Gillette "The Best a Man Can Get" Stadium - Saturday 7:30PM EST
TV: GOL-TV
 
Revolutions have their advantages - and not just for t-shirt dudes making Che Guevaras in their basement. No, when something has become stagnant, bloated, corrupt and isn't working for the good of the people, a nice little revolution can be healthy. While it's always nicer to watch something peacefully evolve (say for example a football club getting better year by year), sometimes it just doesn't happen and the lazy, arrogant and inept leader's statue must be toppled from the town square.
 
Since we are unlikely to be throwing shoes at a Mo statue anytime soon, we'll just have to hope that this year's club somehow manages to slowly evolve with The Glorious Leader's eternal promise of "2 or 3 new players" (Arrival TBA… again). Or, in the least, doesn't revolve the defence around Nick Garcia. New England is a place where TFC has never done well so for the sake of the hundreds of Toronto supporters following the team to Massachusetts this weekend, let's hope they are at least not revolting.
 
If these two teams are akin to revolutions then Steve Nicol's New Englanders (I'm still partial to the Olde version myself) are indeed a fiery attacking American Revolution style. The cut & thrust style of Taylor Twellman, Shalrie Joseph and speedy Gambian forward Kenny Mansally are definitely more the Lenin/ Guevara type of revolutionaries.
 
TFC on the other hand are more like the Industrial Revolution: lumbering, controlled by miserly barons, constantly needing to start the engine again and not afraid to use child labour. With a defence that will likely continue to use "Enemy of the People" Nick Garcia and an offence by committee, it will only be industrious hard-work led by new captain Dwayne De Rosario that will be able to hold off the fiery cannons of New England.
 
19TH CENTURY STEAM ENGINE SAYS: 0-0 Draw
PAUL REVERE SAYS: 2-0 New England
NEWSPAPER HEADLINE: "REVS GIVE WICKED AWESOME BEAT-DOWN"

-------------The "5-Year-Plan Memorial" came down nicely

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Captain Scarborough takes the bridge of "The No-Love Boat"

--------------"Umm... you say it took 5 years to build this?"

It must have been a great honour and a fabulous challenge when asked to steer such a slow, lumbering, lopsided mess towards glory in the United States – all the while trying to avoid likely disaster. He must have felt like the "King of the World"! I'm talking of course of Captain Edward Smith who was in charge of the SS Titanic. Why? Who were you thinking of?
 
In other non-related, simile-free captaincy news, Toronto FC manager Preki made the only decision he could today by replacing the retired Jim Brennan (now to be referred to as Jo Bronston or The Mo-ppet) with TFC’s best ever player, Dwayne De Rosario. Scarborough's finest (the non-smokeable kind) becomes TFC's second captain and takes over at a time of great change and upheaval. With new players still apparently being added (Mo's famous 2 or 3) and a host of new faces already in red, De Ro will need to lead in a big way… and quickly.
 
De Ro will be an interesting sort of captain - more The Skipper than Captain Stubing. While Jim Brennan showed great grit on the field there are questions about divisions left in the dressing room. Brennan was obviously very close with management (thus his new job as Mo's pool boy) and that couldn't have been an easy mesh with other players. Obviously there have been major personality clashes in the locker room leading to classy veteran stalwarts like Carl Robinson being moved out. A big part of De Ro's job will be getting this new group whistling to the same tune.
 
Make no mistake, De Ro has been given the wheel somewhere in the middle of the words "Iceberg!" and "...straight ahead!". No doubt the Scarborough Town "Centre" (get it? He plays centre!... What? I'm bored of nautical jokes) would have rather taken the armband in good times but perhaps this is his chance to prove the naysayers wrong. There are some who don't agree with his outspoken "say it how you see it" ways but it would seem like anyone willing to speak the truth at TFC would be very welcome… and rare. God knows, if HMCS Five-Year-Plan does sink, it won't be the truthful new captain's fault – it will be the fault of the Scottish Admiral hiding upstairs in the poop deck with his new parrot. Sorry, that's the last nautical pun for today.
 
"Yo Mo Mo, and a bottle of trialists!"
(Sorry again. Actually more pirate than nautical though.)
 
 
Poop deck.

-----------------------Scarborough: It's how we roll.