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Monday, August 30, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Toronto FC-related CNE attractions

Last one to fall off is TFC's new striker

As the last few hours of August slip away, the signs of summer's end are upon us. Oooh, I've gone all Robert Frost. Alas, (so highbrow!) the first leaves are beginning to fall, the sun is setting that wee bit earlier... and of course Toronto FC is slipping out of the playoff picture. It's the circle of life! Of course in Toronto, summer's end is marked by the last days the Canadian National Exhibition. It is the annual fair where foods that should never meet are married in unholy unions, where filthy carnies try to hook-up with your little sister, where every ride could be your last and where mullets roam wild across the landscape - free from urban ridicule. This year's "Ex" packed in all of that "fun" but also included some very special attractions courtesy of Exhibition Place tenants Toronto FC...
 
11. Bungee Jump off of Jon Conway
 
10. The Ali Gerba vs. Collin Samuel X-Treme Corn Dog Thrown Down
 
9. O'Brian White races a three-legged mule
 
8. Chip Butty Ice Cream Sandwiches
 
7. Gerry Dobson & Craig Forrest sing the hits of Pet Shop Boys
 
6. Tom Anselmi's House of Mirrors
 
5. Jacob Peterson: "The Invisible Man"
 
4. The Chaditron
 
3. Nick La Brocca's Legal & Financial Info Kiosk
 
2. Maxim Usanov punches The Superdogs
 
1. Whack-A-Mo

The Chaditron: May cause cramping

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The South Stand Report : TFC v (the) Real Salt Lake... Or is this enough of a slump to call this potential win a slump-buster?



I do not expect perfection. In fact, I expect a fleeting expectation of cohesion with the common sense of fielding the best XI every time regardless of how big Preki's dog house is at the moment. I don't know about the ego problems. I don't know about contracts. I don't know if anyone will ever be honest with supporters (aside from the angry dissidents who get traded to wherever Cronin went). But the goal of a footie team is to win. To win is to field the best team. If you want to make a point with your behavioral challenged players by holding them back, become a school teacher, not a manager and not a coach.

After grossly suspect officiating and sportsmanship from anyone not representing TFC in Panama, this can only be welcomed like a cold beer on a hot day. Like today.

Starting XI

Frei
Usanov - Cann - Harden - Garcia
Labrocca - deGoo - Saric - Gargan
DeRo - Mista

Predictions:
- Mista unnecessarily subbed by half
- sounds of chaos behind us as an accident takes place on the midway
- Doneil Henry comes on for a run out
- TFC win 2-1

2 - DeRo handled in the 6 yd box and... You know what? It was exciting and chaotic, whatever it was. Stuff happened, that's all you need to know.

11 - Mista fires a ball at Olave's giant shoulders and the faithful appeal for a penalty. Labrocca chases the veered shot and issues a subpoena to the defender. Solid hustle, efficient legal work.

13 - with no winger option (hint hint Preki), Gargan fires a bullet 15 yds out with a little curl, but safely stopped by Rimando.

17 - we believe Usanov may have punched an attacker while fighting for the ball deep in the Toronto third. He may have broken him.

18 - a very suspect defensive effort from the reds but it turns out Salt Lake are even more anemic. In the ensuing melee, Frei gets the ball but Olave shrugs from far away (cuz he's massive, like Les Ferdinand massive) and gets booked for knocking Frei over.

Quote of the match
"This is a family event!"
"There are no god damned families here. This is the Ex. Its practically 1/3 of a porno!"
- Julie and I have a philosophical discussion
(Get it, the "X"? 1/3 of a porno? XXX? Nevermind...)

24 - Not to be outdone, it appears as DeRo is getting double teamed. Queasy.

29 - Wingert has a go from a Tiny-Tom's-line-up distance away to test Frei. Frei passes with a leaping save.

43 - Gargan lets a shot go from 18 yds out. This whole half has been very entertaining and creative.

I'd like to give a shout out to the poseur d-bag in front of me making out with his girlfriend on the GO Train. Thanks.

43 - Victoria says she loves me but is unable to show me. I bet she doesn't even read this...

1 min of extra time

Half-time mood : excited. I could dial a rotary phone with my nipples!

SUB - Usanov out, OBW in. The shift puts DeRo at mid, Gargan at left back

50 - Another screwed up scramble. Saric should've b-boy'd that loose ball in.

60 - Brilliant attempt by Salt Lake. Espindola chases a deep ball into the corner, crosses to
Morales, who lasers a header for the low right corner but Frei saves again. Outstanding stuff.

63 - Garcia fires a 25 yd rocket of his own, forcing a big stop from the Salt Lake keeper.

69 - SUB - Saric out. Vanilla in. Whiskey tango foxtrot.

76 - deGoo loops a ball from just over half and almost gets to the foot of Mista. Pretty stuff.

78 - Labrocca serving summons and serving cute passes into the box but Mista's touch goes wide.

82 - Wingert turns Gargan inside out to get a shot that rifled off the bar.

88 - "WTF" Peterson has 2 forward chances in succession. One goes off his marking defender and the second, his own rebound, goes nowhere near the net. Ugh.

89 - Johnson has a go and beats Frei, but stopped by the woodwork again...

3 mins of extra time

90+1 - Gargan is a better defender than Usanov? Second time he got turned inside out by a winger. Rough.

FULL-TIME : Toronto 0, Real Salt Lake 0

Man of the Match : since I can't give it to the right post of the south goal due to it not being a man (damn technicalities), I'm giving it to Saric. He's going to draw blood on someone accidentally and I like it. He's mercurial and will sacrifice for a goal. I was liking Gargan at right mid until the sub put him back too.

Goat of the Game : "WTF" Peterson. Seriously. Its what I yell when he starts, he gets subbed in, touches the ball and fires wide.

Ref Rating : 4 out of 5. Sure DeRo was manhandled all match but he didn't call some of the suspect tackles that TFC were dishing out too. I'll take no calls for both sides.

I swear I've watched a game much like this except this had waaaay more shooting and crossing. Toronto was lobbing shots from everywhere that wasn't the 18 yd box. That being said, so was Salt Lake. Lots of shots, ambitious plays. It was fun to watch but goals are funner to watch (yeah, I said funner, grammar Nazi). And with all the crossing this was the game to put OBW into the match. Problem is he has no finish or control to speak of.

I can't wait to see the protection list for the expansion draft and I think I'm going to be furious to see WTF Peterson and OBW protected and Usanov or Attakora not. I'll have a prediction list when it gets closer, as will everyone I am sure. I hope someone forces Mo and/or Preki to explain themselves when that list goes public.

Friday, August 27, 2010

THE MATCHUP: "Exhibitionists" on roller coaster ride

Way better than the "CHAD II"

TORONTO FC (9th) VS. REAL SALT LAKE (3rd)
 
BMO Field - Saturday 7PM ET
TV: SPORTSNET ONTARIO & PACIFIC RADIO THE FAN 590
 
A summer night on the CNE midway. Carnival barkers yelling, the smell of deep-fried butter in the air, dudes urinating against the side of the Food Building... what better time for TFC to get back on the Polar Express to victory? There's no time for carnival fun on Saturday though - The Reds (or “The Exhibitionists” – why didn’t that catch on?) need to be all business against a tough Real Salt Lake club who also happen to be their Champions League group stage rivals.
 
Both clubs are coming off a bad result in this week's CCL match day but at least RSL gave an effort against Cruz Azul while Preki didn't feel that TFC's supporters deserved the effort to bag an available 3 points in Panama. TFC also has last week's home field drubbing at the hands of New York in their memories and need to re-build "Fortress BMO" in a hurry if their increasingly slim playoff chances are to survive.
 
Team Canada's September schedule takes Dwayne De Rosario, Julian de Guzman and Nana "Yo TFC, Smell Ya Later" Attakora hostage, so getting maximum points in this match becomes imperative. With that in mind you would expect Preki to go for the Mormon jugular but you can never tell with Prekiball. With Chad Barrett and Maicon Santos still out, the offensive options are limited meaning that the "no problem" between Mista and Preki will have to be forgotten unless Preki plans to cut off TFC's chances before the first whistle... again.
 
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "The Royal Visit"
 
FORTRESS BMO: Stefan Frei, Adrian Cann, Julian de Guzman
CASTLE MORMONSTEIN: Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Will Johnson
 
THE ODDS:
- RSL to wear "short-shorts" like 1980's Utah Jazz John Stockton: 10-1
- Real's Canadian winger Will Johnson to score own-goal - dubbed "a Canadian double-agent" by Utah press: 50-1
- Mo Johnston taking credit for the birth of academy signing Doneil Henry: 2-1
- Preki & Mista sharing a post-match waffle ice cream: 5000-1
 
WHO ARE YA?
- TFC lobbied for this match to be held at night in the hopes that the CNE's "sinful" flashing lights would offend RSL's Mormon sensibilities
- The Reds have been attempting to lull their opponents into a stupor at halftime by pumping fumes for "Tiny Tom Donuts" into the visitor's dressing room
- The Canadian government has written a stern letter to Major League Soccer demanding the "Real" be taken out of Salt Lake's name due to Toronto FC being the only MLS club that plays in a monarchy
- Commuters will have an easier time getting through the Exhibition GO Station tunnel post-match as city officials plans to coat the walls with left-over "Deep-Fried Butter" residue to help move crowds along
 
DE GUZMAN'S AFRO SAYS: 1-0 Toronto
BECKERMAN'S DREADS SAY: 2-1 RSL
HEADLINE: "MISTA SITS ON BENCH - STILL NO PROBLEMS... HONEST"

Jazz in his pants

Thursday, August 26, 2010

TFZ: Preki & Mista in name-game blame shame?

All in a name?

"Qu'est-ce que vous rumourez? Nous whisper non truths allez!" Oui! It's time for another TFZ: The Totally Fake-Rumour Zone. It's the # 1 source for TFC rumours with zero sources! Bonjour Monsieur ou-est le rumour rouge avec la vache?
 
This week on TFZ...
 
- Is the whole Preki vs. Mista argument story a true verbal battle? Whispers have it that the bust-up is not about Mista's halftime substitution but rather over a long-standing dispute between the two over who has the best shortened Euro-nickname! 5-letter word!
 
- Dan Gargan's sudden penchant for long throw-ins has earned him the locker-room moniker of "The American Rory Delap". Meanwhile, Fuad Ibrahim is being called "Ethiopia's Next Top Andy Welsh" You got name!
 
- Backroom staff are apparently blaming last week's disastrous loss to New York on a few members hitting The Ex on the way to the stadium. An unidentified source claimed "those idiots were full of tiny donuts and had Polar Express-head" Doughy & dizzy!
 
- The side project of two young TFC players has come to a crashing failure after Emanuel Gomez and Amadou Sanyang's attempt at being restauranteurs collapsed. "Manny & Dou Dou's Gambian Buffet" shockingly went bankrupt 45 minutes after opening. Gambi-oh!
 
- Depressed TFC players are openly blaming the team's woeful road record on Preki's demand that the team watches his favourite film, Bette Midler's 1988 classic "Beaches" as their only in-flight movie. Wind Beneath No Wins!
 
- On the heels of Preki's induction into the US Soccer Hall of Fame, another ex-TFC'er is in line for another honour. Former striker Collin Samuel will soon be inducted into "The Caribbean Competitive Eating Hall of Fame". Hot Dog!
 
- Officially, Chad Barrett was left off of the Panama trip due to "injury" but word out of BMO Field is that the mercurial striker was upset because he thought the team was actually going to Panama City, Florida for vacation. The pouty forward apparently locked himself in a cupboard with his flip-flops, water-wings and beer-bong. Panama!

TFC Academy puts Henry on patrol

Doneil Henry watches as Preki and Mista chat

While it's far from the signing that we wanted and expected the world renowned super-genius Mo Johnston to be unveiling this summer, it is an historic signing nonetheless. Toronto FC officially announced the signing of Canadian defender Doneil Henry to a professional contract thus making him the first product of TFC Academy to turn pro. No one expects Henry to be the new and desperately needed anchor of the defence but we would rather see this kind of home-grown, Canadian development over the signing of second-rate Eastern Europeans.
 
TFC will of course claim that this is the biggest Academy signing since Bobcat Goldthwaite joined the cast of “Police Academy”. Only time will tell if Henry is more Hightower than the dude who made noises with his mouth.

We would however feel a lot more comfortable with this signing if there wasn't the ever-present rumour of Nana Attakora's reluctance at re-signing with TFC in the off-season and this move being a pre-cursor. If TFC wants to mature, these kind of Academy products are a terrific start - but keeping quality young Canadians (i.e. Attakora) long-term is just as important.

Academy signing

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Names for Hamilton's NASL club

Put that in your Tony Pulis and smoke it!

Regular Yorkies readers will know that the word "Panama" has appeared far too often over the last few days here. So no more - not even parts of the word! On to a different topic!
 
In 2015, The Golden Horseshoe area will host the Pan-American Games (wait... Panam... oh for the love of Halen!). Part of the sporting infrastructure being built in Toronto and the outlying cities that comprise "Toronto Jr." includes a new footy friendly stadium for our neighbours to the west - Hamilton. For our overseas friends, Hamilton is Canada's Pittsburgh/ Sheffield/ Newcastle NSW etc. In order to fill some dates for this new stadium there has been talk of bringing an NASL club to the steel city, but what to call it?...
 
11. Hamchester City
 
10. FC Metallurg Hamiltonsk
 
9. Blacklung Rovers
 
8. CD Universidad McMastolica
 
7. Smoke City FC
 
6. FC Zenit St. Catherines
 
5. West Ham Ilton United
 
4. Wolverhamilton Wanderers
 
3. Tigres Cats
 
2. Hamilton Crackademical
 
1. Real Soot Lake

Hamilton: Wish you were here!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

AFTER 90: "Pana-mess! Pana-me-hess!"

Dave looks how we feel

ARABE UNIDO 1 - TORONTO FC 0

David Lee Roth is spinning in his grave. This is not the way "Panama!" was supposed to be. It was gonna be about doing the splits in mid-air, hitting giant cymbols covered in glitter and being "hot for teachers" dammit! While Toronto FC did indeed travel in body down to Central America's dangly bit, they definitely left their competitive spirit on the baggage carousel at Panama City's Eduardo Van Halen Airport.

Oh the excuses will be fast and furious on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. Aaah! - the terrible pitch (yes, shiny green carpet); Oooh! - those dirty Panamanian floppers (true, mucho flopista); Whoah! - what a crappy stadium (Scarborough's Birchmount Stadium is fancier) Ack! - that referee was terrible (uh-huh, it's CONCACAF Town, baby); but the sad, hard truth was that this loss came from the top. If a club plays like its manager, then Preki led by example by not taking this match seriously at all.

The reality is that this match was there for the taking. Arabe Unido is a sub-par CONCACAF CL club and were not even playing anywhere near their hometown. The three points were indeed very available. Instead, Preki decided to trot out a TFC B squad (although how you tell the difference recently I don't now) and the scrappy (see dirty) Arabe Unido made the most of it. Yes, the Panamanians only managed one sloppy goal from defender Fidel Cesar but TFC's starting offensive "weapons" of O'Brian White and Fuad Ibrahim were laughable. Preki's only defense is that Mo Johnston has failed miserably to build a squad capable of a MLS playoff run and a CCL challenge simultaneously. That being said, TFC lost a chance for at least one point if arrogance and/or lethargy hadn't ruled the contest.

Oh, by the way... Mista didn't play. But there's no problem there! Keep repeating that until you believe it.

MAN OF THE MATCH
: Eric Davis (Arabe Unido)... for having the least Panamanian name
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Preki (TFC)... Prekiball un grandos catastrophia!

MATCH IN FIVE WORDS
: Floppy. Dirty. Red Cards. Waste.

SENSATIONAL HEADLINE
: "PANAMANIANS CANAL-LY PROBE SLEEPY TFC"

TOTALLY FAKE POST-MATCH QUOTE
: "While I may look like a mild-mannered accountant, let me tell you I am plenty steamed. I am calling the law offices of Cellino, Barnes and La Brocca as soon as we get out of this country and that referee can expect a class action lawsuit on behalf of me Nicholas La Brocca - Attorney-at-law, and my client Fuad Ibrahim!"- Lawyer-featured Nick La Brocca discusses the red cards given to himself and Fuad Ibrahim

Monday, August 23, 2010

THE MATCHUP: "Panama! Pana-maha!"

Whatever puts los bums in los seats

ARABE UNIDO (4th) VS. TORONTO FC (1st)
CONCACAF Champions League - Group A
 
Estadio Agustin Sanchez (La Chorrera) - Tuesday 8PM ET
TV: GOL TV

 
"Jump back, what's that sound? Here she comes, full blast and top down" Could David Lee Roth have sung more apt words about this Champions League matchup? Well, yes... I guess so. But can you do the splits in mid-air in leather skinny pants? Didn't think so smart-ass.
 
Matchday Two of CCL Group A has our suddenly shaky Reds travel as far south as possible without going to South America. Yes, it's Central America's dangly bit - Panama. However, if you are travelling away to see TFC play (seriously?) the match will not be in Colon at Arabe Unido's regular stadium but rather in the Panama City suburb of La Chorrera and its Estadio Agustin Sanchez - home of Arabe's rival San Francisco (not the good one - the Panamanian one). Arabe's Estadio Dely Valdes has been deemed too dubious even by CONCACAF's low standards as its pitch has divots the size of Datsuns. As a writer, the elimination of possible Colon jokes is very distressing - thanks CONCACAF.
 
TFC arrive in Panama (Pana-maha! Sorry - I loved 1984) a little shell-shocked. The Reds are stinging from a beating at home by New York on Saturday and face the highly unknown quantity of Arabe Unido. Media rumours of a Preki v Mista showdown at halftime are still simmering and it will be interesting to see if the Spanish star plays a part in this match, which will no doubt be Prekiball 101. What to expect of Arabe Unido? Well as the Toronto Sun's reporter Steve Sandor was quoted after their Real Salt Lake match - “I think Arabe Unido is the dirtiest team I’ve ever seen. Ever!
 
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "El David Lee Rotho"

PANAMANIANS: Orlando Rodriguez, Jose Justavino, Carlos Bejarano
PREKIPHILIACS: Stefan Frei, Dwayne De Rosario, Adrian Cann
 
THE ODDS:
- The 3000 capacity Estadio Agustin Sanchez having a crowd that Toronto Lynx would scoff at: 5-1
- TFC's press department issuing a hasty statement that Preki and Mista's "issue" was a minor disagreement over the exact length of the Panama Canal: 3-1
- TFC being falsely rumoured post-match to signing a "promising Panamanian": 2-1
- Above false rumour coming from a Scottish Egomanian: EVENS
 
WHO ARE YA?
- The town of La Chorrera is most famous for its "Panamanian Museum of Festive Trousers" and also that it was the last town in the country to embrace indoor plumbing. The town's name loosely translates to "The Cholera"
- The match stadium was named after local tailor Agustin Sanchez, inventor of the "Panama Hat" and famous for fighting General Noriega's dictatorship with his homemade "Pineapple Cannon"
- The stadium uses Panama's latest "FieldoTurfo" technology which combines old carpets from Colonial hotels, nutmeg and chicken beaks to form the artificial surface.
- Panama's currency, the "Balboa", was named by the son of a former General who loved the "Rocky" series of films. It still angers Panama's famous boxer Roberto "No Mas" Duran everytime he buys groceries.
 
SAMMY HAGAR SAYS: 2-1 Arabe Unido
DAVID LEE ROTH SAYS: 1-0 Toronto
HEADLINE: “TFC MATCH MOVED - COLON JOKES RUINED"

Please raise and remove your hats for the National anthem...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The South Stand Report : Toronto FC v. New York Extreme Beverage... or my DP is bigger than your DP


Let's go to the EX (oh baby)! For dose dat don't know, this is the time of year when the Canadian National Exhibition takes place. Corn dogs, supderdogs, sweater puppies... oh the canine euphemisms are limited but appropriate, especially we scratch our heads why certain players AREN'T in the dog house, and get game time. Players like O'Brien White, Peterson, Ibrahim, Nane... any time they're ready to prove us wrong, go right ahead and I'll stop being hateful, if only justifiably.

New York Extreme Beverage have got their DP strikeforce in Henry and Marquez. Oh and that Angel guy... good times.

Starting XI

Frei
Gargan - Cann - Attakora - Garcia
Labrocca - Saric - DeRo - Nane
Mista - OBW

Predictions :
- no rain
- Dichio song still played out
- rough tackle on Henry, not injured or bookable in nature
- 2-2 draw for me, Dom says 2-0, Ro 2-1, and girlfriend says 1-0

1' - Attakora and Garcia put Lindpere as the meat in a red sandwich... wait, that doesn't sound right, but that's what happened.

11 - Richards crosses to Angel but the final touch goes well wide. This isn't last year's NYEB...

12 - Mista has a go from 20 yards out only to have his effort punched away by Condoul.

15 - OBW somehow showing some hustle, gets in front of Mendez, hauled down for his efforts and puts Mendez in the books with a yellow.

15 - Shortly after that, TFC nearly opens their account as an unnamed shooter beats Condoul but not the post, though fooled half the ground.

17 - Our neighbours in 112, the Red Patch Boys, chant "take if off!" at someone in New York kit in their section. Sadly, it was a dude.

31 - Condoul still put to work as Labrocca has a go from 30 yards out requiring a punching save. TFC does not seem terribly mindful that their DPs are worth 6 times of our DPs.

34 - OBW did something he hasn't done all season. He ran hard, touched the ball, shot the ball AND forced a save from Condoul. Resulting rebound ends up at DeRo's feet who fires wide.

35 - GOAL - Wow. Just a rocket. 25 yards out, Marquez launched a bullet to the far right that no one could stop. Top class.

38 - Gargan gets hauled down, and Marquez goes into the book. Even the $5 million man (well, the OTHER one) is legit.

41 - GOAL - New York Extreme Beverage free kick floats across the face of goal and after a deflection from Attakora gets beautifully slotted home by Nane. Yep wrong net. Own goal.

45 - Henri crosses, skips over Lindpere and ends up at Angel, who's stopped by Frei 2 yards out.

1 minute of extra time

HALF-TIME MOOD : A little frustrated but still optimistic

45 - SUB - Mista out and Vanilla Peterson in. Really? That's the "weak point"? Saric has been invisible, OBW though grossly improved from previous outings, is still slow and out of place... stupid...

49 - GOAL - DeRo breaks into the box and slots it short side and low past Condoul for a much needed boost. The provider of said ball? O'Brien White. I'm wrong. There. I'm sorry.

57 - Henry tries to destroy the 99-cent pasta stand inside the food building with a shot nowhere near net.

59 - Gargan(tuan) throw in gets headed by Cann and hits DeRo's chest, but the redirection was not enough to beat Condoul.

60 - RED - Attakora is sent off for handling the ball in the penalty area.

61 - GOAL - Frei gets a hand on it, but not enough to stop Angel's penalty, popping over him and under the bar.

64 - SUB - OBW off, The Chad is in. Welcome back. Wish he'd had started.

75 - SUB - Marquez comes off for Carl Robinson. If you don't remember him, you've never watched a game. Solid general for TFC midfield. We still miss him.

77 - SUB - Saric off for Ibrahim. We need some depth on this roster so desperately...

78 - GOAL - Wow. Free kick from NYEB that Frei can't get his hands onto it, but Carl Robinson can get his head onto it.

85 - Labrocca has a give and go with Chad and fires it at Condoul. Ensuing scramble sees misses from Cann and Vanilla. Nothing.

Quote of the match:
F*ck this! F*ck it! Just f*ck it! This f*cking sucks!

89 - The crowd is officially dead or collectively has their mind on some deep fried butter but they're no longer in it. Chad and Vanilla team up for an opportunity in the box, gets cleared and no so much as a collective "ahhhhhh" from the record crowd of 22,000+

2 minutes of extra time

FULL TIME : Toronto 1, New York 4

Man of the Match : Part of me was going to give it to OBW because he played beyond the levels of what we expected. You know what, screw it... O'Brian White, man of the match. There.

Goat of the game : Saric was invisible, and as much as we hate on OBW, which he does deserve sometimes, and Vanilla wasn't on the pitch long enough to fully justify this award, no one deserves it.

Ref rating : 3 out of 5. A few blown calls that were trivial. Otherwise nothing too offensive.

When you can't flog a dead horse often enough... see, teams with depth and range on the bench have substitutes that provide, not necessarily a stop-gap, but a different option. Taking out a holding midfielder for a winger. That's a different option. Taking out a centre forward for a striker, that's tactical.

Until someone can articulate what Ibrahim, Peterson, O'Brien White, Sanyang and Gomez offer as a realistic option in a substitute capacity and display said qualities, not in a scrimmage capacity either, in a game situation, SACK THEM ALL. There must be players in the USL who can do what they do, only better, for less money and better effectiveness.

Though it is worth noting that TFC have lost their first competitive match at BMO in a year, it is a mere footnote for an utter clusterf*ck of a patchwork roster while the talent heals up. NYEB exposed Toronto whenever they could and the scoreline reflected that.

Also, Frei was excellent all match.

Friday, August 20, 2010

THE MATCHUP: Match on Midway no Exhibition

"This is The Ex but you ain't no BMO Field"

TORONTO FC (9th) VS. NEW YORK (5th)
 
BMO Field - Saturday 1PM ET
TV: CBC ----RADIO: THE FAN 590

 
"Come for the deep-fried butter - stay for the footy!" Yes, it's late August and that means TFC and BMO Field must share space with the annual Canadian National Exhibition. This of course means that the usual trek to the match is busier but does offer the opportunity to eat deep fried anything on-a-stick, ride the Polar Express, buy a leather belt at rock-bottom prices, win a mirror with "Led Zeppelin" printed on it and have your girlfriend hit-on by some of the filthiest carnies in North America. It's a Toronto tradition!
 
Once in BMO Field, the treats continue as one of MLS's glamour clubs, New York Red Bulls, are in town for a match that will have major implications on TFC's playoff run. The Reds must keep the "Fortress BMO" unbeaten streak alive in order to make up for their impotence on the road but New York will be their biggest league challenge in a while on home turf. In 2010, New York has been collecting DP's and great role players - meanwhile Mo has mostly found invisible ex-Colorado Rapids and clumsy Eastern Europeans. Thus, Toronto will need a performance close to their Cruz Azul dominance earlier this week if they are going to get 3 points as a carnival prize.
 
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "The Corn Dog Classic"
 
REDS ON A STICK: Stefan Frei, Nick La Brocca, Mista
DEEP FRIED RED BULL: Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez, Juan Pablo Angel
 
THE ODDS:
- Someone winning Julian de Guzman’s Afro as a carnival prize: 5-1
- MLSE trying to charge people for catching snippets of the match from top of Ferris Wheel: 2-1
- Mo Johnston thinking that "Tiny Tom Donuts" is a short, cheap, unemployed Scottish striker: 10-1
- CBC announcers using phrase "carnival atmosphere" constantly: EVENS
 
WHO ARE YA?
- In attempt to combat the foods available on the Midway, MLSE will be offering new treats at BMO including "Chocolate-covered Chip Buttys" and "Deep-fried Carlsberg"
- TFC's hot-tempered Russian Maxim Usanov has been officially warned that the CNE's "Whack-A-Mole" game is strictly off-limits
- Due to heavy traffic, Red Bulls will be forced to ride on the CNE's "People Mover" from their hotel to BMO
- Late crowds are expected at the match, especially in the expensive "prawn sandwich" midfield seats where the usual 20 minute late arrival may be as much as 40 minutes after kick-off
 
POLAR EXPRESS SAYS: 1-0 Toronto
BI-POLAR EXPRESS SAYS: 2-0 NYRB... no 0-0 Draw... no 2-1 NYRB... no 1-1 Draw
HEADLINE: "RED BULLS DEEPLY BATTERED IN CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE"

Never played for Dundee United

Got the skills to pay some bills

At least Marvell Wynne did well

MLS salaries and the whole dog and pony show that is the league's salary cap is a clear as mud on the best of days. When the MLS Player's union released the list of this years wages, many a fan - especially here in Toronto, were shaking their collective heads in amazement.
 
Toronto FC's list reads like a topsy-turvy list from Bizzaro footy world. Marginal players are taking home decent wages (well, in MLS standards), terrible players are cashing in big time, and great young players are eating Kraft Dinner. While it's true that Generation Adidas, other teams being on the hook for salary and random miscellaneous MLS oddities factor into cap room, the numbers can still be very shocking.
 
Instead of forcing you to pour over player union spread sheets, we've split some of TFC into three easy to digest salary categories: "Bang for your buck" - the players giving the most to TFC for their wage; "Time to earn your keep" - the players who we aren't ready to give up on but need to put their money where their feet are; and "Did you keep the reciept?" - for the players eating a big chunk of salary cap with little in return.Cha-ching!
 
"BANG FOR YOUR BUCK"
Nana Attakora - 40K
Dan Gargan - 40K
Adrian Cann - 65K
Stefan Frei - 135K
Dwayne De Rosario - 443K
 
"TIME TO EARN YOUR KEEP"
Raivis Hscanovics - 120K
Fuad Ibrahaim - 133K
Chad Barrett - 212K
Mista - 987K
Julian de Guzman - 1.7M
 
"DID YOU KEEP THE RECEIPT?"
Maxim Usanov - 102K
Zach Herold - 109K (Yes, we know)
Jacob Peterson - 143K
O'Brian White - 182K
Nick Garcia - 198K

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Ways Red Bulls differ from other New York teams

Another successful meeting at Red Bull Arena

While our amigos in Mexico City's Cruz Azul barrio are still wiping their tears with day-old burritos, Toronto FC must quickly put aside the terrific Champions League victory and look again to the MLS playoff race. Their next opponent is once again the nouveau riche New York Red Bulls avec Le Player Designate Thierry Henry. After years of barely treading water in the crowded New York pro sports market, the Red Bull New York/ New Jersey MetroStars Red Bulls may have finally started to make their mark with a great new stadium and a raft of big signings. However, there are still some differences between them and their New York sporting peers...
 
11. Don't have to worry about pesky media coverage
 
10. Chose an even scarier Jersey neighbourhood for new stadium
 
9. Red Bull instead of Gatorade
 
8. Matches provide a nice quiet place to read a good book
 
7. Team bus also makes local stops in Bronx and Queens
 
6. Less A-Rod, more G-Sutt
 
5. Only gets to beat on a Toronto team twice a year
 
4. Instead of Jay-Z at courtside - have Kool Moe Dee selling hot dogs
 
3. Madonna barely interested in sleeping with them
 
2. Austrian owners make every day sound like "Die Hard"
 
1. 100% more Frenchmen

"I go to work... sellin' hot dogs"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The South Stand Report : Toronto v Cruz Azul... Or OMG WTF CONCACAF-CL!

Do the research, not only is this Transformer accurate, it's funny.

Tonight is special. Meaningful footie? Check. Beautiful weather? Check. Chance to get a scalp of a club that, on paper, is far superior than TFC? Check. Gorgeous women around? Triple check. Like I said, special.

Predictions : not a sellout because the red fever in this city is for MLS league matches only. One questionable substitute. 3 shirtless in 112. Someone hating on my "DeRo Was His Name-o" song incorrectly. 1-1 draw.

Your starting XI:

Conway
Usanov - Attakora - Cann - Hscovanscivicosicvics
Labrocca - DeRo - deGoo - Saric
Mista - OBW

3' - GOAL - WHAT??!?! Pinball in the 18, sees a cross from Labrocca (I think) to DeRo (I know) to Mista (I think) that's on target but punched away by Gutierrez which falls onto the path of a wide open Saric who puts into an equally wide open net. Welcome back Martin.

9 - Mista runs across the face of the box, lays it to DeRo who crosses it in front of OBW, who couldn't get to the ball due to quicksand, I'm sure.

17 - Ro is now predicting 2-0. Mainly because he missed the first goal. Victoria, with a new tatt on her foot is calling for 1-0 and painkillers. Good combo.

21 - Hscviancoviciscs goes down heavily in a challenge getting Villaluz booked. Unfortunately, Raivis dislocated a vowel.

29 - DeRo lays another ball to OBW, but got run off the ball due to slow-motionitis.

31 - Another ball to OBW that he doesn't get to due to a clubbed foot.

32 - Appeals for penalty ring out around the ground, but the ref gets it right as deGoo gets hammered outside the box. Ensuing free has a Mista effort just left of goal.

Quote:
Write this down, I love Victoria... write this down, I f*cking love the girl...
~ Victoria, and yes that is her twitter account

40 - First real meaningful attack from the visitors. Cross from Cruz Azul, Pinto picks it up and pops it around Attakora to Biancucchi, prompting an excellent glove save from "King Kong" Conway. That man is to size what Usanov is to punching, I swear.

44 - GOAL - Mr. Raivis (I can't be bothered to look up his name) passes to Mista who slides a low, slow and accurate ball to the bottom left corner and out of Gutierrez's reach. Magic.

1 min of extra time

Half-time mood : Reds say what?! We're winning.

Quote of the match:
- Are you a vegetarian?
- I am a vegetarian but I eat pork.
~ Dom recants a convo overheard on the train to BMO

53 - Saric is really taking a beating out there. He's gone down hurt for about the 4th time at this point.

55 - Gimenez has a go from the right of goal and Conway leaps to palm it away. That looked like a top flight save.

64 - SUB - Saric out, Vanilla Peterson in. This is must be a lack of depth thing, but Saric has had a good battle out there tonight. Deserved round of applause for the Saric.

65 - SUB - Mista out, Nane in. See previous comment about depth. Mista gets an even greater round of applause as he had a great game.

73 - YELLOW - Vanilla gets booked for wasting time at a throw in. Seriously? You start time wasting this early? Want to lock up a game Preki? Score 2 more goals.

78 - SUB - OBW out, Ibrahim in. See previous comment about depth.

86 - Conway with a punched away save and on the counter attack, DeRo kinda sorta throws himself to ground fishing for a penalty but the ref said play on. Unimpressed.

90 - GOAL - Though the updated 6-3-1 formation that Preki instituted couldn't hold shape in a jello mold, Gimenez curls a pretty ball over the wall and buries it well past Conway. Great free kick.

3 mins of extra time

90+2 - YELLOW - DeRo and someone on Cruz Azul get into a wee kicking scuffle in the corner. No one hurt but the ref wasn't having any of it.
Full-time : Toronto 2, Cruz Azul 1

Man of the Match : Mista. Bar none. He was a class above all tonight.

Goat of the Game : O'Brien White. I want to believe that he's not a bad, slow player, but he had no chances because he couldn't get to them. And he couldn't get to them because a plodding giant forward isn't suited for this 4-4-2 run and gun style of play, it's suited for run down the wing (we have no wingers), cross into the middle and have the giant go up and get it. He probably bags goals all over the park in training. He probably baby-sits Preki's kids. He probably is the best coffee barista at the club. This does not make a starter. If there's a pundit who can explain it to me, I'll be the first to apologize.

Ref Rating : 5 out or 5. Screwed up no major calls. Screwed up no minor calls. A welcome change from the MLS discount refs we get around here.

Injuries aside, where is our depth? I would be shocked if anyone who has season tickets at BMO rates Ibrahim, Peterson, Nane, Gomez, Sanyang at all. Yes, we are not coaches. No, we don't know the chemistry or why Preki loves these guys, but this is our bench. I can forgive OBW as a choice in an injury crunch (and maybe Gala needs an attitude adjustment if the rumours prove to be true) but our bench doesn't strike fear into the hearts of paranoid schizophrenics, let alone the opposition. When these guys come in, no one sighs with relief. No one goes "oh, that [player name here] is quality, we'll be fine".

I know depth has been an issue with TFC since the beginning of time (or 2007), but with the talent the team possesses right now, our starting XI makes me a believer that TFC is a contender to win it all. No bullsh*t. But when injuries arise, the options we have make me no more or less comfortable when we were looking to Hemming, Rosenlund, Melo and their ilk to help out.

And to those injured : please get well soon. Henry will be here on Saturday, and he needs to be stopped.

Monday, August 16, 2010

THE MATCHUP: "CONCACAF's Barcelona" visits "CONCACAF's Bolton"

Now that's a solid back four!

TORONTO FC VS. CRUZ AZUL
CONCACAF Champions League - Group A
 
BMO Field - Tuesday 8PM ET
TV: GOL TV

 
What better way to welcome Toronto FC into the CCL proper than with a visit from the FIFA-ranked best club in the region?! Club Deportivo, Social Y Cultural Cruz Azul A.C., or just Cruz Azul to its friends, is arguably the greatest club in North and Central America/ Caribbean (sorry Joe Public) and have won the CONCACAF club championship a record five times. In addition, Los Cementeros have been the runners-up in the last two Champions League Finals and are itching to be there again in 2011.
 
On the other side of the coin of course is Toronto FC, a club with the financial ability to become a continental powerhouse - but the financial and corporate desire to be the best soccer team at their bank. The young TFC are virtual virgins at this kind of intense group stage tournament action and how they approach the matches, especially home fixtures, will be interesting and rather telling. Will it be a three match MLSE payday or are they really going to try to advance to the knockout stages?
 
In the midst of (yet another) last-gasp leap at MLS playoffs, manager Preki will have to try to squeeze the most out the tiny undermanned squad that is the result of four years of Mo Johnston's finest work. One thing is for certain - defensive Prekiball will be torn apart by Cruz Azul in what is being billed as the fiercest Mexican-Canadian match since Tito Santana and Rick Martel's "Strike Force" tag-team broke up. Ariba!
 
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "America's Beard v. America's Hat"
 
CRUZ ROJO: Stefan Frei, Julian de Guzman, Nana Attakora
IN THE MIXER: Emanuel Villa, Javier Orozco, Gerardo Torrado
 
THE ODDS:
- A South End supporter yelling "Ay dios mio!" in the voice of The Simpsons' "Bumblebee Man" - 2-1
- Mo Johnston being falsely rumoured to sign a Mexican player post-match much like the false Honduran rumour after the Motagua match: EVENS
- MLSE selling commerative "Cruz Azul v TFC" piñatas: 5-1
- Ali Gerba returning from Montreal to eat insides of piñata: 3-1
 
WHO ARE YA?
- Instead of the customary pre-match team banner exchange, Cruz Azul gives opponents a bag of fresh cement
- Cruz Azul's goalkeeper Jesus Corona is the star of a Mexican ad campaign for Corona Cerveza called "What Would Jesus Drink?"
- The chairman of Cruz Azul has flamed the rivalry between the two clubs by stating that BMO Field's Chip Butty is a "Gringo burrito not worthy of a mongrel dog"
- Cruz Azul's private jet "Cruz Airzul 1" is recognizable at Lester B. Pearson Airport by its Gangsta hydraulic wheels, neon-lit fuselage and giant tail speakers blaring Latino rap
 
RICK MARTEL SAYS: 2-1 Toronto
TITO SANTANA SAYS: 0-2 Cruz Azul
HEADLINE: "PREKI ENFORCES OFFENSIVE SIESTA"

Mexi-Canadian relations never got over "Strike Force"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hola! Know your CCL Group Stage

-----------------------------18 looks confused

Buenos dios to the Group Stage of CONCACAF Champions League El Toronto! For the first time in Los Reds history they will play in the CCL proper and with it travel the continent (and its little dangly bit below) in the quest to bring a Quarterfinal to Toronto... in February. You can hear chattering Latin American teeth from here. Before that though, TFC must navigate through the wild locales of Mexico, Panama and er... Utah. Let's take a look (or dos look if you please) at TFC's Group A opponents.


ARABE UNIDO
-
Estadio Armand Dely Valdes - Colon, Panama

Toronto FC haven't travelled this far south since their last place finish in Year One! Badum-dum! I'm here all week - try the burrito. Arabe Unido, and their tiny, decrepit stadium are the enigma of Group A. On paper they look like the poor minnow of the group but Manager Richard Parra led them to a CCL Quarterfinal appearance in 2009/2010 and they are 6-time Panamanian Champions. Also, their canal kicks the Welland Canal's ass.

PLAYER MAXIM USANOV SHOULD PUNCH: Orlando Rodriguez FW

ACTUAL NICKNAMES/ POORLY TRANSLATED NICKNAMES:
"La Furia Colonense" = "The Painful Colonoscopy"
"Los Arabes" = "The Lost Arabians"
"DAU" = ("Dos Awkwardo Unclos") "The Inappropriate Uncles"

CELEBRITY SUPPORTERS:
Manuel Noriega - Dictator/ Pineapple features
Ghost of John Frank Stevens - Engineer of the Panama Canal/ dead
Van Halen - 80's Supergroup/ Hot teacher enthusiasts

LIKELY TABLOID PUN-HEADLINES:
"TFC BLOCKED IN COLON"
"PANAMANIA RUNS WILD OVER REDS"
"TORONTO READY FOR CANAL PROBE IN COLON"

CHIP BUTTY EQUIVALENT:
"La Grande Caliente Colon"


CRUZ AZUL - Estadio Azul - Mexico City, Mexico

This is indeed the big one of the group. You haven't heard of Cruz Azul? You could call them the Barcelona of CONCACAF. Yes the Mexican superclub are pretty big nacho cheeses down at the cracker factory. Manager Enrique Meza leads the club into the Group Stage with only one goal - straight to the final... again. Cruz Azul are 5 time CONCACAF club champions as well as owning 8 Mexican Championships, 2 Copa Mexico trophies and 5 Copa Pachucas. If they don't win Group A, it will be a grandos shock.

PLAYER MAXIM USANOV SHOULD PUNCH: Emanuel Villa FW

ACTUAL NICKNAMES/ POORLY TRANSLATED NICKNAMES:
"La Maquina Celeste" = "The Cheese Machines"
"Los Cementeros" = "The Last Sidewalk"
"El Chemo" = "The Chemotherapists"

CELEBRITY SUPPORTERS:
Speedy Gonzales - Cartoon Mexican politician/ Sombrero collector
Los Lobos - 80's not-so-supergroup/ Richie Valens debtors
The Taco Bell Dog - Canine taco pitchman/ deceased Chihuahua

LIKELY TABLOID PUN-HEADLINES:
"CRUZ AZUL GIVE TFC CONCRETE BOOTS"
"MEXICANS CEMENT PLACE IN NEXT ROUND"
" AZUL CRUZ AT BMO FIELD"

CHIP BUTTY EQUIVALENT:
"El Amigo Chipotle"


REAL SALT LAKE - Rio Tinto Stadium - Sandy, Utah, USA

The reigning MLS Champions will be TFC's most familiar rival and one who have been a tough opponent for The Reds in the past. RSL manager Jason Kreis will hope that familiarity will help them get past fellow CCL debutantes TFC. With a MLS league match in Toronto on August 28th these two teams will be on a first-name basis. Despite their name, RSL are the least Latino of Toronto's opponents. For Real.

PLAYER MAXIM USANOV SHOULD PUNCH: Nick Rimando GK

ACTUAL NICKNAMES/ POORLY TRANSLATED NICKNAMES:
"Royals" = "The Osmond Family"
"RSL" = "Deportivo La Utah Jazz"
"Monarcas" = "The Butterflies"

CELEBRITY SUPPORTERS:
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Singers/ No fun at parties
John Stockton & Karl Malone - Jazz duo/ Short shorts enthusiasts
Polygamists - Wife hoarders/ Bill Paxton fans

LIKELY TABLOID PUN-HEADLINES:
"RSL GET 3 POINTS - 3 WIVES"
"SLUGGISH REDS COVERED IN SALT"
"KYLE BECKERMAN DREADS NATTY DRAW MON"

CHIP BUTTY EQUIVALENT:
"The Holy Union of 1 Potato and Multiple Bread Slices"

Friday, August 13, 2010

TFZ: Wanna La Broc 'n Roll all night?

That guy in the back sure looks like a midfielder

Here it is... TFZ: The Totally Fake-Rumour Zone! The # 1 source for Toronto FC rumours with zero sources! "I pulled up to these rumours around seven or eight. And I yelled to the truth 'Yo homes, smell ya later!"
 
This week on TFZ...
 
- Adrian Cann, who admitted on GOL TV he wants to model for Armani, is jealous of teammate Jacob Peterson who has become the face of a new "Low-fat calorie-free non-dairy skim milk product" Moo-ve over Fabio!
 
- Was that TFC's infamous playboy Nick La Brocca stumbling out of a Manhattan hotspot at 3AM? Witnesses say a "soccer player, who looks like an attorney, wearing gold hotpants and with a supermodel on each arm" was making quite the splash on the disco dance floor! Nick at night!
 
- TFC's Latvian defender/ anti-consonant crusader Raivis Hscanovics has started a new literacy charity for young supporters called "Hscanovics Bks 4 Chldrnz Fndtn" S-m-r-t!
 
- Former Reds midfielder Laurent Robert claimed in French society magazine "Le Malaise" that his time in Toronto was unsuccessful due to "lies that Canada was a French country" and that Toronto was "a proletariat provincial town that had terrible escargots and an obsession with wearing deodorant" Sacre bleu!
 
- TFC are preparing for their Latin American CCL matches by spending hours in a hyperbaric chamber that re-creates the effect of high altitude, tropical environs while blasting the music of Los Lobos through speakers. They have also embarked on a strict diet of refried refried recycled beans, "meat" and tabasco water" Ay dios mio!
 
- Carl Robinson is having a hard time adjusting to life with New York Red Bulls as he is unaccustomed to oddities like "quality signings, ambitious owners and winning" Save the Wales!
 
- TFC "defender" Nick Garcia may fulfill a life-long dream and appear in an episode of De Grassi: The Next Generation. Garcia will play "Rick Charcia" - a "special" mature student who causes an accident on a short school bus while getting Spike pregnant! Everybody wants something!
 
TFZ: Truth is scoreless on the road!

"How could Rick Charcia do this to me?"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

AFTER 90: "City that never sleeps" visited by offence that never clicks

Times (for a new GM) Square

NEW YORK 1 - TORONTO FC 0

"In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh

There's nothing you can't do..."

Unless of course you are Toronto FC and want a crucial 3 points. With apologies to Jay-Z for the above, TFC indeed had yet another flaccid outing in New York City (or New Jersey at least), a place quickly becoming their nemesis. With all the pre-game buzz being around NYRB's collection of designated players, most would have expected a dazzling array of skills on show. Instead, New York really didn't have to break much of a sweat for a workmanlike victory over a TFC whose road record, especially offensively, is truly terrible.

A single goal from NYRB's Estonian midfielder Joel Lindpere was all that was needed by the Energy Drinkers and enough to deflate any early pressure TFC may have shown. After dropping down a goal, TFC's Prekiball offence went from bad to lost. Counting on the likes of Jacob "The Invisible Mormon" Peterson and later O'Brian "Montego Molasses" White for your offence is already a handicap but when your hottest striker Chad Barrett (I know, I shook my head too) goes down to injury it just highlights how paper-thin Mo Johnston's masterpiece is.

With Champions Leagues' added six matches and a "playoff run" (again, we are shaking heads) mixed together over the next two months, the shocking lack of depth on TFC is alarming to the most optimistic supporter. When Dwayne De Rosario briefly pulled up injured in the second half, even his most harsh critics had flashes of what TFC could look like with one or two key injuries. Good thing this is only Year 4 of Mo's 5 Year Plan eh? Apparently the fifth year is when Preki starts allowing an offence.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Joel Lindpere (NYRB)
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Jacob Peterson (TFC)

MATCH IN FIVE WORDS: Flaccid. Clueless. Conditioning. Empty seats.

SENSATIONAL HEADLINE: "PREKI BUYS CASE OF RED BULL FOR TFC OFFENCE"

TOTALLY FAKE POST-MATCH QUOTE: "I am liking the Big Apples City very much. Today I see Empire Building - punch it. Chrysler Building - punch it. Grand Central Railway Station - punch. Then went to Sbarro for a pepperoni slice of Italian pie - also punch. Next time will come backs to see Statue of Lady Liberty - I will punch." - TFC defender Maxim Usanov describes his first visit to New York

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

THE MATCHUP: 5 Year Plan vs. 5 Month Plan

"The Champagne of Football Clubs"

NEW YORK (5th) VS. TORONTO FC (8th)
 
Red Bull Arena - Wednesday 7:30PM
TV: GOL TV

 
The last time Toronto FC played in New York (or New Jersey to be exact) they were fighting for their playoff lives against one of the worst teams in MLS history. Of course that night was a colossal failure which led TFC to the current Preki era, also known as Year 4 in Mo Johnston's much ballyhooed "5 Year Plan". Since starting in Toronto, the ex-NYRB GM Johnston has been talking of his grand half-decade road to glory but anyone with half a footy brain knows - 5 year plans don't exist in football.
 
If you need more proof, take a look at TFC's opponent New York. The 15th place in 2009 Red Bulls have been transformed in 5 months. Two additional designated players, a raft of smart signings, a smart tactical manager and a director with scouting connections throughout the world - not just through his agent. If TFC played in England, their 5 year plan would see them in the Blue Square Premier by now.
 
No, the 5 Year Plan has always been a myth to gently extend Mo Johnston's tenure as GM. If there really was one, TFC would be laden with young talent, have a crop full of players in their prime and a coach with a proper football style in place long-term by now. That's a lot of work left before year 5 arrives. What is needed for true success now is an ownership with the will to treat their rabid fans with respect not as commodities. Sadly, MLSE will not be that ownership until much like New York Red Bulls, they have a half-empty stadium to fill.
 
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "The Harrison Hoo-Ha"
 
5 MONTH RED BULLS: Juan Pablo Angel, Rafael Marquez, Thierry Henry
5 YEAR REDS' BULL: Dwayne De Rosario, Chad Barrett, Stefan Frei
 
THE ODDS:
- Thierry Henry scoring with a handball infuriating Toronto's Irish community: 5-1
- NYRB signing more players during the half than Mo Johnston will in 2011: 2-1
- Carl Robinson wearing a sh*t-eating grin throughout match: EVENS
- TFC's bus driver mistaking Harrison, New Jersey for the set of "Escape From New York 2: Snakeball": 10-1
 
WHO ARE YA?
- Red Bull Arena's PA system blasts a song called "Baby Got Backe" pre-match in honour of NYRB's Swedish manager Hans Backe
- Before MLSE bought Toronto's MLS franchise, a major beverage company was inspired by Red Bull's New York club and considered creating "FC Canada Dry Toronto" instead
- Not all of Red Bull Arena's innovations are a success - the energy drink/ French fry sandwich "Chip Bull-ty” has been an awful flop
- Harrison, New Jersey's nickname is "The Gateway to Newark“. The towns citizens are called Harrisonfords and most work in main local industries - Crime-scene chalk manufacturing, sewer steam baking and concrete footwear cobbling
 
RED BULL LEGS SAY: 3-1 New York
GINGER ALE BELLY SAYS: 0-0 Draw
HEADLINE: "RED BULL SUPPORTERS THANK EX-GM MO JOHNSTON FOR GETTING FIRED"

"Harrison? Yeah, turn left at the giant head."

Monday, August 9, 2010

THE STARTING 11: MLSE Champions League promotional slogans

Translation: "Possible CCL quarterfinal in February... in Toronto?!"

No matter what Toronto FC does for the rest of the MLS season and no matter how well they do in the CONCACAF Champions League, club owners, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, will deem 2010 a wild success. Silverware is of little value to the Bay Street Bankers but 3 more guaranteed home dates sure is! Why it's enough to give Mo Johnston a brand new 5-year contract extension isn't it?! (I just threw up in my mouth a bit) The moneymen at ACC won't rest on their laurels though - they need bums in the seats and Carlsbergs in the bellies at the CCL matches and they can be very, very persuasive...

11. "Because the MLS Playoffs are soooo 2009"

10. "Cruz Azul: English translation = 'Blue Cross' - not so tough now!"

9. "Way better than the Oceania Champions League!"

8. "TFC: The Rosenborg of CONCACAF"

7. "Like UEFA Champions League - with more taco meat!"

6. "Come see Arabe Unido - the Barcelona of Panama"

5. "Raivis Hscanovics wnts CNCCF Chmpns Lg Trphy!"

4. "Prekiball. Prekibol. Boring. Monotono."

3. "PANAMA! PANA-MA-HA!!!"

2. "Let's show the Third World what's what!"

1. "Chip Buttyritos!"

Saturday, August 7, 2010

AFTER 90: A Tale of Two Prekis

CRSW: "Actually raises your defences"

TORONTO FC 2 - CHIVAS USA 1

There were multiple before-and-after comparisons on show at BMO Field today. You could compare the two squads- Chivas USA: (the post-Preki) who are now a directionless and faceless squad struggling in the league and struggling to find an identity in the wake of three years of Prekiball... and Toronto FC (mid-Preki) the defensively solid and strong at home squad who never met a 1 goal lead they didn't love. Right now TFC looks like the better of the two (although Canadian Ante Jazic would be a nice improvement on Nick Garcia... just sayin') but when you look at TFC closer there is a further before-and-after that prevents them from being a really good team.

If you compare TFC in today's first half to the one that emerged in the second half you could be forgiven for tinking they were different teams. The opening 45 had great ball movement, strong wing play, tough defence and flair play which resulted in a 2 goal lead. The second half display was all things that are ugly about Prekiball: scrambling defence, long ball clearances, turtle-turtle-turtle.

Lucky for TFC that the post-Preki Chivas are a pretty toothless squad. The MexiMericans got one goal back on a very generous penalty kick but a better squad, and TFC have many on their way, would have capitalized on the old Prekinaccio. Don't get me wrong, 3 points in the playoff hunt is great and deserved but the TFC from the first half can make the playoffs - the one in the after photo (aka the 2nd half) will not.

MAN OF THE MATCH
: Stefan Frei (TFC)... again
GOAT OF THE MATCH
: Goats

MATCH IN FIVE WORDS:
Attractive. Ugly. Jekyll and Hyde.

SENSATIONAL HEADLINE:
"GOATBUSTERS BLAST GHASTLY CHIVAS"

TOTALLY FAKE POST-MATCH QUOTE:
"Look I'm just Dan Gargan. I'm the best Goddamn Dan Gargan there is. Dan Gargan doesn't throw like Rory Delap - he throws like mutherf***in Dan Gargan. You are making Dan Gargan angry. You won't like it when Dan Gargan gets angry... Gaaaarrrr-gaaaannnn!!!" - Dan Gargan comments on his long goal assisting throw-in

Friday, August 6, 2010

THE MATCHUP: Ghost of Preki Future?

"Offence? Attractive football? Bah Humbug!"

TORONTO FC (9th) VS. CHIVAS USA (13th)
 
BMO Field - Saturday 4PM ET
TV: CBC RADIO: THE FAN 590

 
It's hard to reflect on the state of TFC right now without being biased by the great win against Motagua this past Tuesday. However, before that historic (for Toronto at least) draw in Honduras, TFC's regular season has been mediocre at best for the last five or six weeks. Returning home after a nightmare "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" journey, and with their "Now With 6 Added Matches!" apparent lack of depth, TFC could be in for a hard day against a club that may be a vision of Toronto future.
 
Chivas USA arrive in town a low-table, re-building, faceless squad. Why the re-build? Much of it has to do with their last manager... Preki. In his time at the Mexi-Merican club Preki played a defence-first turtle style; got rid of flair players (like Amado Guevara) and filled the roster with grinding journeymen; put all his offensive eggs in one talented attacking midfielder (the now Anderlecht-based Sacha Kljestan) while ignoring other scoring possibilities; and... had three early playoff exits to show for it.
 
Months after Preki's departure from The Goats, new manager Martin Vasquez (who likes football) is attempting to re-invent a team left with a bunch of grinders and few technical footballers. Chivas have four loan-players to try and inject some football back into their football team but are still a husk of a squad. Prekiball is all fine and good when the team is pulling together and winning 1-0 but what about when Preki inevitably leaves TFC? Will The Reds be left with a team full of workmen who can only play one boring (and ultimately unsuccessful) turtle-style too? I'd say don't worry but it will be the “soon-to-have-a-shiny-new-CCL-contract” Mo Johnston left to re-build it. That blows goats.
 
MANUFACTURED DERBY NAME: "Goat v Beaver 2010"
 
RED EYES: Mista, Maicon Santos, Nana Attakora
GOATS-A-GO-GO: Ante Jazic, Maykel Galindo, Jonathan Bornstein
 
THE ODDS:
- TFC will go more than one week without a "Preki reunion": 3-1
- BMO Field supporters to argue right to drink "Chivas Regal" during match: 10-1
- Mo Johnston to emerge from his bunker wearing a shiny gold jacket with "Champions League 2010 Director" on the back - then promise new signings: 2-1
- Mo Johnston making a signing: 5000-1
 
WHO ARE YA?
- To combat the seabird problem at Home Depot Center, Chivas have borrowed TFC's "Bitchy" idea and introduced "Putey" a bird-chasing goat"
- Chivas USA were named to FIFA's "All-time Non-foreign but Sound Foreign Domestic Clubs Top 10" beating out FC Glasgow Celtic Copenhagen, Barca Mongolia and FC Zenit St.Petersburg Florida for top-spot
- Fans at Chivas home matches are enjoying a new Chip Butty-themed snack with a local MexiCali twist - it's a heavily buttered burrito filled with spicy curly fries called "El Coronarios Amigo"
- Low attendance at Chivas and the burgeoning MLS market north of the border had Goats' owners considering moving the club to Canada in 2008. Sadly "CD Chivas Saskatoon CDN" never materialized
 
GHOST OF PREKI PRESENT SAYS: 1-0 Toronto
GHOST OF PREKI PAST SAYS: 0-0 Draw
HEADLINE: "TFC BLOWS OUT GOATS" or "TFC BLOWS GOATS"

" El Coronarios Amigo" - Hola heartattackio

Thursday, August 5, 2010

TFZ: BMO Field security to rock out with their hawk out?

"Bitch Squad Alpha report to Section 112 immediately!"

What time is it? It's TFZ: The Totally Fake-Rumour Zone time... yo! Word. Your # 1 source for Toronto FC rumours with zero sources! You just ordered a Rumour Sandwich... hold the truth!
 
This week on TFZ...
 
- Tensions have been rising at BMO Field and the security team may have the answer. An elite band of the finest rent-a-cops at BMO will soon form "The Bitch Squad" who will dress in costumes designed to mask themselves as "Bitchy" the BMO Field hawk allowing them to sneak up on streamer felons and their shirtless ilk. S-hawk and awe!
 
- TFZ reader Jeff wrote in and said that his brother used to mow the old Field Turf at BMO and told him that the reason Edson Buddle was traded back in year one was because "he hurt the goalkeepers feelings in practice with all that goal scoring" Sensitive!
 
- A former Toronto FC defender is going to release a shocking tell-all book about his time with The Reds. "Rick Titus: 1 Match in Hell" is due for release in time for Christmas. Words!
 
- TFC supporters could be hit in the pocketbook soon. Danny Dichio has instructed the law firm of Cellino, Barnes & La Brocca to go after the rights for "The Dichio Song" and to collect on due royalties from supporters who have used his intellectual property for three years. Stingy-oh!
 
- There's no new DP on the cards but Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment will likely unveil 6 new kits for the Champions League Group Stage. Also in the works are an "affordable" CCL ticket package (when you buy two Marlies season tickets) and the limited time only "Spicy CONCACAF Butty" for $7.99! Cheap as chips!
 
- MLSE is trying to negotiate a new radio deal with The Fan 590. The new agreement would only see TFC matches pre-empted by Blue Jays baseball, the Argos, Toronto Rock lacrosse, High School curling, Senior's Lawn Bowling quarter-finals and "This Week in Mini-Golf" Tune in!
 
- TFC angered the mayor of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Senor Antonio "Tony" Motagua, when they refused to stay at his recommended hotel - "El Villa Dos Gringos Morte" in the city's Caliente Diablo neighbourhood. Mayor Tony Motagua was quoted in the El Daily Lobo newspaper saying TFC "were stinking cock-a-roaches". Ay dios mio!
 
TFZ: Truth just lost 3-2 on aggregate

The Mayor: "Say hello to Tegucigalpa"