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Monday, December 30, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Ways that Toronto FC plan to ring in the New Year

Oh let's just all pretend shall we?

2014... the year we make contact. With the playoffs. Possibly. Maybe. Oh, who knows.

Yes, four years after Roy Scheider, John Lithgow and some possibly Russian actors orbited Jupiter (we're up on the movies that the kids on the streetz like), we rocket into a new year full of promise and hope. Is this the year that the post-season monolith ("2010" joke. So hot right now!) is scaled by The Reds? Time will tell but first they have to get their house in order and maybe even make time for one last celebration to bid farewell to a dreadful 2013.

11. Set up a fancy, teetering tower of champagne glasses. Keep Bright Dike away from fancy, teetering tower of champagne glasses.

10. Turn a blind eye as a drunken Kevin Payne walks around BMO Field dressed as Baby New Year

9. Countdown the last 10 seconds of the year as Bitchy the Hawk flails maniacally down a pole

8. Complete the installation of gold and ivory fittings into Jermain Defoe's eight new club-expensed Toronto-area mansions; fuel his fleet of brand new private jets; and, wash and bathe the region's Top 100 glamour models in rosewater and lavender in preparation for his arrival. (# 8 courtesy of the fine men and women of the British tabloid press)

7. Promote Jim Brennan to Regional Assistant to the Vice President of Auld Lang Syne

6. Get Drake to perform at MLSE New Year's bash. Immediately put him back into frozen carbonite afterwards until transfer window re-opens.

5. Hold massive fireworks show at 12:01AM by using all of the leftover BMO Field 2013 post-goal celebration pyrotechnics

4. Listen quietly as Tim Leiweke makes vociferous promise to give up making promises as his New Year's resolution

3. Order new 2014 desk calendars for the TFC front office. Save money by only getting Ryan Nelsen one that goes until June.

2. Ask the Argos for a slow dance

1. Work out the exact date in 2019 when the next 5-Year Plan expires


HAPPY NEW YEAR ERRY'BODY!
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
You know... like Jacob Peterson.

 

ALL THESE WORLDS
ARE YOURS EXCEPT
EUROPA
ATTEMPT NO
LANDING THERE
USE THEM TOGETHER
USE THEM IN PEACE
 
 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Year's Evolution - Individual progress needed in quest for club success

Sadly, that calendar is from 2007

Stockings have been unhung from the chimney with little care. That "handsome" sweater your aunt gave you is tossed in a ball deep, deep in your closet. The tin of Quality Street chocolates is now little more than a Quality Cul-de-Sac inhabited only by the chewy toffees that no one wants. Yes, Christmas is over - get used to it.

With the season of carefully kept gift receipts now a bloated, gravy-stained memory, we can look ahead to the new year - 2014! No, still nothing on the flying car or monkey-butler fronts but a year that more Toronto FC supporters than usual look towards with hope of some reasonable success.

Two Tims and a Kiwi have been doing some seemingly decent work so far, re-tooling the woeful 2013 TFC model but much will have to click into place before the parade route is mapped out. While football is at its core an expression of teamwork leading to overall success, it is also an environment where individual skills can add to the sum of a team's parts.

TFC has often been a club where individual skills are wasted amongst inferior teammates or relied upon too heavily to overcome said weaknesses. Going into 2014 however, individual improvements will need to take place if the greater good - the club as a unit - is to succeed. We take a look at the areas we think each current Red needs to resolve to improve before being replaced by a monkey-midfielder.

GOALKEEPERS:
JOE BENDIK: Ball distribution. The one area we feel that rival Stefan Frei was much better at. Stop relying on the "close your eyes and boot it hard" theory and look for options. Also... stick with the all-green "Super Pickle" kit please and thank you.
CHRIS KONOPKA: Work on your sitting and hearty clapping from the bench. If Frei couldn't dislodge Bendik, Konopka's appearances should be limited to Canadian Cup Semis and the mid-season friendly against (insert multiculturally appealing club here)
QUILLAN ROBERTS: Get your ass out on loan.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 24

 
"NEW YORK 5 - TORONTO 0"
 

Like a Christmas miracle, TFC had somehow ended up mathematically in the MLS playoff hunt under the stewardship of young interim manager Chris Cummins. All they needed was a good result on the last day of the season, away at previously lowly New York Red Bulls. To use the term "shit the bed" wouldn't be pleasant during this special time of year. But they did. And then some. Big shits. Yule logs. To the tune of 5-0 and a nuclear dressing room post-match. Four years later and Santa still hasn't given us our playoff gift. Ass.
 

So there you have it Sadvent followers. We hope you enjoyed opening your windows for the last 24 crazy/sad days and nom nommed all of the delicious chocolates ejected out of your computer machine's disk drive. (No chocos? Don't blame us - blame Steve Jobs/Bill Gates)

To those of you that observe the holiday and to those of you that just really like stuffing...

A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
 
- The Yorkies



Monday, December 23, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Ways that Toronto FC can adapt to the ice storm

"I... must... get... to BMO... to see... TFC v Crew!"

Hey Commissioner Dong Grabber - we've got your MLS Winter Schedule right here! (We just grabbed our manbits and followed it with an insulting Italian hand gesture)

Shock of shocks, December in Toronto has dished up a lovely heap of frozen water hilarity with large chunks of the city plunged into darkness and worse... without Internet! Do you know what that does to website hits? If we had more staff they'd be laid off Scrooge-style. Anyplops, with the metropolis frigidly stuck in one spot, we can't help but think how those less fortunate than us - Toronto FC - would fair long-term through winter tomfoolery like this at BMO Field.

11. Ushers would show you to your seats by sliding you down stairs

10. The iced-over pitch would lead to Steven Caldwell being referred to as "speedy defender/attacker"

9. The new TFC Canada Goose fleece kit would be immediately available at RealSports for the low, low price of $899.99!!!

8. Bitchy the Hawk would demand a full-length mink coat

7. TIFO displays would shatter into thousands of tiny pieces after 2 minutes of exposure

6. Jim Brennan immediately promoted to Regional Vice-President of Frozen Precipitation Development

5. "Frozen Lambe" puns to spike at shocking 180% rate

4. Tossing a beer at a player would come with an "assault with a deadly weapon" charge

3. Hipsters to proclaim "Frozen Butty the new ice cream"

2. The BMO Field Black Cat to be permanently frozen to the penalty spot in hilarious, over-dramatic death pose


1. 2014 ticket prices literally frozen
 


The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 23

 
"MARINER'S SHORTS"
 


Like that hackneyed joke inside of a Christmas cracker, this one has been beaten to death. Paul Mariner the blustery and brief TFC manager did himself few favours during his spell at The Reds' helm. Bombastic statements, fiery exchanges and gag transfers didn't endear him to too many supporters but most got a good giggle out of his penchant for short pants no matter the weather conditions. At least he's easy to buy for.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 22

 
"THE CHIP BUTTY"
 

In their original quest to pander to all of Toronto's wacky multicultural cuisines, TFC decided that one of the "English" things most eaten at (no) Premier League grounds was the mighty Chip Butty. The unholy alliance of chips (aka freedom fries) and buttered white bread was supposed to be "a right ol' Cockney knees-up" of a meal but like all things TFC - they just didn't quite do it right. A bit like your turkey dinner in three days' time being mostly mock turkey loaf.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 21

 
"TRIALS AND GAMBIANS"


You know that weird aunt you have who travels a lot and then shows up at the holidays with a gift and says "It's homemade... I got it in The Gambia!"? Yeah. Like that - except with humans. Part of TFC's (first) Five-Year Plan was trying to persuade us that The Gambia was the new hotbed of African football and that TFC had the pipeline for the likes of Emmanuel Gomez and Amadou Sanyang. Yeah.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Friday, December 20, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 20

 
"THE NEVERENDING BRENNAN"


Like that fruit cake that always ends up on the Christmas dinner table, the "Original Red" Jim Brennan always turns up. After captaining the team for a couple of years in a cozy blanket fashion with GM Mo Johnston, "Jimmy B" was put out to pasture on the Wall of "Honour" before taking up his new job as qualified Assistant General Manager. Then U-17 Academy Coach. Then narc er... Assistant Coach to Aron Winter; continuing on under Paul Mariner and now Ryan Nelsen. He is also Reserve Team Manager and has a 100% winning record as Head Coach when Nelly needed a day off. Also your next manager.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Toronto Sadvent Calendar: Day 19

 
"THE LOST YEAR OF ELBEKAY BOUCHIBA"
 

Total Football etc! The Dutch revolution had begun and a trio of Hollandaise-covered players had arrived under Aron Winter's management. The most alluring of the three was sturdy defensive midfielder Elbekay Bouchiba! Then he blew out his ACL. Then he missed all of 2011. Then he said he was ready to return. Then he got waived. See also: Julio Cesar.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Scarberians at the Gate - De Ro comes home

"No Raivis, you can't come back too. "

Someone check Lake Ontario by Bluffer's Park because it may be parted to welcome back Toronto football's biggest prodigal son - Dwayne De Rosario. Things just got biblical.

More than two-and-a-half seasons have passed since the "cheque-signing motion heard 'round the world" (well at least well past Malvern) but today TFC have welcomed back the best, and most controversial, player in their history. The whispers began when D.C. United decided to make the 35-year old available for the Re-Entry Draft and today The Reds flipped the page on what may be one of the big stories of the 2014 season. Possibly beyond.

This move will immediately polarize large sections of TFC support. Many are still firmly entrenched in the "Me Ro" camp, seeing the player's departure as an orchestrated, selfish deed. Others (ourselves unabashedly biased) see the actions of the management during De Ro's first tenure at home as ones that made his admittedly peacock-ego too ruffled to continue. Did he act out a little too much? Yes. Would you have if faced with the same issues and broken promises in your job? We would have.

On the pitch, and returning at a salary that will in no way hamper TFC going forward, De Rosario will be watched closely. Last season at D.C. the animated Scarberian performed a tale of two seasons. Injury and age seemed to hamper his output and usual swagger during the regular season albeit on a woeful club. Contrasting that however was a goal-a-game pace tear during the U.S. Open Cup that propelled United to the Final. Which De Ro returns to his hometown will remain a mystery until deep springtime.

TFC will not be getting the De Ro they once had. Despite being fanatically healthy, he will be entering his 17th season of professional football and wear-and-tear catches up. However, he is still naturally gifted and could be exactly the foil that TFC needs to avoid teams attempting to shut down their promised big-time striker - whether it is Jermain Defoe or other. Anyone that says "De Ro to Defoe at BMO" doesn't sound sexy as f--k is a liar.

No contest, Dwayne De Rosario is the finest player in TFC history. Some however will justifiably argue that history should be left where it is and that "you can't go home again". It is indeed a gamble for T-Bez and Co. but if it fails it won't disable the team like it did the first time around. He is coming back as a player, (with an admittedly dramatic story) but not as the captain, the superstar, the leader and the conquering hero. Just a midfielder.

In the glass half-full version (I know! It's still us writing. Honest.) it could turn out very well for all sides. If De Ro can swallow some pride, realize he wasn't perfect during his first TFC stop and find peace in his new role, he can perhaps heal the rifts left over and end his career at home as it should. For the club, they can perhaps work towards burying those managerial skeletons of the past that so damaged the relationship with players like De Ro and others and finally wipe the slate fully clean.

For player, club and indeed the wounded supporters in the city, it could be a redemption song that sounds very sweet.
 
 REPRESENT.

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 18

  
"THE SACRIFICIAL CRONIN"


Selected 2nd overall in the SuperDraft and with a bright future ahead of him, the talented MLS stalwart Sam Cronin had the gall to tell the truth - after TFC had been blown out 5-0 at New York - that The Reds' locker room was a toxic mess. While the team "captain" assured all that everything was just peachy, Cronin was shuffled off to San Jose for our old friend allocation money. Said "captain" is doing just fine by the way.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Morrow... You're only a trade away..."

 
This is the opening sentence where you expect us to crack wise about the latest Toronto FC transaction. But no. There is nothing negative to say. It is simply the kind of deal that slowly makes MLS sides better. The kind of deal that most MLS clubs make. The kind of deal that TFC has avoided like the plague for eight years. Until now.

That's a positive.

As part of T-Bez's Reds roster re-load, a few more of TFC's magic allocation coins were shuffled off to San Jose for 26-year old defender Justin Morrow. The versatile American can slot in at both centreback and fullback offering Ryan Nelsen some interesting options. With 71 appearances, including 21 starts for San Jose in 2013, Morrow is very much the type of player that should be providing depth on a MLS squad with visions of playoffs dancing in their head.

In no way are we trumpeting this as the second coming of Kreis (MLS Cup gag - relevant) but it is great to see sober maneuvers early in the off-season. Since 2007, the answer to filling in depth, especially on defence, has been a series of international "up n' comers" such as Raivis Hscanovics, Maxim Usanov, Lesly Fellinga or USL "grads" such as Marco Velez or (take your pick). This type of move is the kind that TFC has lacked, and one that is more than welcomed.

Normalcy. We're practically giddy.


The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 17

 
"MAICON SANTOS AND/OR MIKE SANDERS"
 


Christmas may come once a year there were always two Maicon Santoses. On the surface was the Brazilian samba magic forward with hinted silky skills and smooth dance rhythms at the corner flag. On the pitch was most often his plumbing North American alter ego Mike Sanders with the touch and vision of the most miserable of USL blunt instruments.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Monday, December 16, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Ways that Drake persuades DP's to sign with Toronto FC

Drake aka "Drizzy"

If there is some kind of Bat-Signal that originates deep from inside infamous Toronto "hood' Forest Hill, someone best light it up. With the kerfuffle going on at Tottenham Hotspur today, there is much local hand-wringing over the potential transfer of Jermain Defoe to TFC. If there were ever a time when MLSE needed their celebrity closer - rapping guy/Degrassi invalid, Drake - to come through, it's now! Gilberto was successfully hugged out but now Drizzy (his legal name) must use all of his tricks to bag the big star striker. But just how does he do it?

11. New signings allowed to refer to midfield as their "entourage"

10. Your goal celebrations come with full phalanx of scantily clad backup dancers

9. He will gladly lend you his prop Degrassi: The Next Generation wheelchair when you inevitably blow out your ACL in New England

8. The name on the back of your shirt is followed by "feat. Drake & L'il Wayne"

7. A very romantic "Welcome to Toronto" dinner for two atop the CN Tower with Raptors' center Jonas Valanciunas

6. You are immediately invited into a feud with Chris Brown

5. "The Zit Remedy" will play live at your birthday party

4. Will allow you to join his crew on their quest to circumnavigate the globe by sea! (CORRECTION: That is "Ways that Sir Francis Drake persuades DP's to sign with Toronto FC")

3. Your Gatorade bottles replaced by Cristal champagne
 
2. Personally re-writes his lyrics to chart your career path into: "Started from the top, now you're here"

1. You are allowed to refer to Ryan Nelsen as "Nizzy"
 
Sir Francis Drake aka "Drizzy"
 

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 16

 
"MAROONED FIVE - THE GOALKEEPERS OF 2007"

 
Thank the sweet baby (deity of your choice here "__________") for names on the back of kits. Through, injury, mediocrity and just plain malarkey, Toronto FC managed to use an incredible five goalkeepers in a single season. Watching the vast array of balls fly past their woolly mittens were Greg Sutton, Kenny Stamatopoulos, Srdjan Djekanovic, (MLS emergency 'keeper) Sam Reynolds and David Monsalve. God bless you merry gentlemen.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 15

 
"MOST. RELEVANT. ANIMAL. CAMEO. EVER."
 

Sometimes you can't make this stuff up. In the long waning days of the horrid 2012 TFC season, Reds goalkeeper Freddy Hall (!!!) looked up from yet another opposition attack to see a black cat emerge from the bowels of BMO Field and run directly across his goal mouth. And people say cats don't have a sense of humour. (P.S. don't give pets as Christmas gifts. Or Freddy Halls)
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Saturday, December 14, 2013

THE WORD: "Jermain Defoe is a Red-oh?"

Much to ponder...
 
Well at least the "R" word has little chance of being banned anytime soon.

The ink had barely dried on new striker Gilberto's DP contract before local media started to aggressively hint (Kurt Larson with his version here) that his future partner in shots-on-target is practically locked in. The name being spoken is none other than the hinted "biggest MLS transfer OF ALL TIMEZ!" (TM) - Jermain Defoe.

While far from the first time that the Tottenham striker's name has been rumoured with TFC, the original whispers seem to be turning into a dull roar. Massive dollar amounts such as a $10 Million Dollar transfer fee to Spurs and a whopping $150,000 Dollars-a-week contract are being floated not too quietly across the Atlantic. It has all become a very open come-hither look to Defoe usually reserved by British Page 3 girls towards the poacher.

However, before we all run-out (Except you, Toronto Arsenal supporters. You're gonna hate this aren't you?) and get TFC # 18 kits, this deal is not finalized and funny things can happen on the way up the Seven Sisters Road. Defoe is still very much a useful part of Spurs who are quite thin up front. The original North London club will want to shore up their striker prospects before letting Defoe jet off into the tundra. This could delay or at worse cease any deal. A possible loan-back to Spurs until March could be one way around this.

The other sticking point is Defoe's desire to play for England this summer at the World Cup. Ignorantly, MLS is still seen as a retirement wilderness to the English press and even the FA and he may fear an "out of sight, out of mind" factor in the crucial lead-up months to Brazil. Perhaps TFC have greased the wheels with old Roy Hodgson or maybe this leads to Defoe's arrival being of the summer variety over March. There are still many variables in this potential deal.

In the end, money could be the makeweight. Defoe is not likely to get a 4-year deal with that kind of compensation from another Premiership club. Deep-pockets QPR could be in with a shout but if they aren't promoted from the Championship, the appeal of a new continent of unsullied glamour models may just bring TFC their biggest name yet.

 
You're on the clock Degrassi.

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 14


"A VERY SCOTTISH SOJOURN"
  

"Who's what in the where now?" The not direct-quote of TFC's former director of player personnel Earl Cochrane after the whole football world knew that under-contract TFC star Dwayne De Rosario was training with Glasgow giants Celtic. TFC claimed they knew nothing of it; De Ro's reps said the opposite; De Ro did keepie-uppies next to Freddie Ljungberg in a Celtic kit. Auld Lang Syne!
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Tim gets a Brazilian

"Canada is this way?"
 
You did it Drake! He started from the bottom (of the Brazilian league) now he's here!

After days of shameless public flirting at Raptors and Leafs games, TFC got a full Brazilian today with the signing of DP forward Gilberto. Or Gilberto Oliveira Souza Jr. when he is dining formally. The 24-year old joins TFC on a multiple year lucrative contract (we assume... MLS) as the club's "B" Option Designated Player with hopes that he will soon be partnered with his "A" game superior: JermainDefoeAlbertoGilardinoGeorgiosSamaras.

The native of Piranhas (PIRANHAS!!!) is coming off his breakout season in Brazil, scoring 13 goals for Portuguesa while on loan from his parent club Internacional. Now before you get your Brazilian thong in a twist as to why he was on loan - he failed to dislodge Leandro Damiao and some dude named Diego Forlan for a starter's role. Nowt to be ashamed of there.

That being said, Gilberto isn't exactly one of Brazil's glamour players and only really has just over a year of top-flight football under his belt. Some would see that as a less than glowing resume to garner a DP contract but The Reds feel they have a potential MLS star in the making.

Scouting reports from his homeland are maybe not as quite bedazzling where he is considered a poacher with some great right-footed power but so far lacks the skills to be a back-to-goal type guy. At 5-foot 10 he will not be much of an aerial threat nor is he tremendously physical which would make a prospective partnership with the likes of Jermain Defoe a bit easy to push around.

But alas, aside from that YouTube goal, few here can claim to watch many Portuguesa fixtures and playing in MLS is a different beast either way. Gilberto will be given more than enough opportunity to sink or swim at TFC and is only 38 minutes away from being more successful than Maxi Urruti. The proof will be on the pitch but off of it, TFC 8.0 is in full swing.

"Reds roll their truckin' Convey, back cross the USA. CONVEY!"

"Get the truck outta here"

We barely had time to perfect our truck horn noise.

In what may be the precursor to a series of oncoming transactions, The Reds have shipped the rights to Bobby Convey along with a 2014 2nd Round SuperDraft pick to New York Red Bulls in exchange for the Metrostars' 2014 1st Round pick (15th overall) and a 2016 3rd Rounder which we will never remember.

While some, including the player himself, thought that a return to TFC in 2014 wasn't out of the question, it would seem as if Tim Bezbatchenko sees a different make-up for his future midfield. Hopefully the "replacements on the way" aren't of the Kevin Payne/Luis Silva variety but it does seem like a decent bit of business on T-Bez's part.

Even if Convey had been willing to come down from his $215K salary perch, his value for money would have been questionable on a team in (another) transition. Convey's style of play, while a valuable Band-Aid in 2013 may also have been a question to TFC management as they look to re-load with "their players".

Previously without a 1st Round pick in the 2014 draft - they would have had the glorious 3rd Overall if not for Paul Mariner's brilliant trade for Eric Hassli - the deal gives the club skin in the game in a draft class that Bezbatchenko is extremely familiar with. Can our favourite wonk find a diamond in the 15th overall rough? Not impossible but in the very least he has given himself more room to buy "his players".

Keep truckin' Tims.

 


The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 13

 
"THE THREE UNWISE MEN"
 

Old, Dutchnonsense and er... Silva. Yes "The Escobar 3" brought TFC PR to an all-time laughable low as Miguel Aceval, Nick Soolsma and Luis Silva were arrested after a punch-up and failed police escape outside of a Houston nightclub. Their TFC careers are now all long history but their freedom was at least spared by generous mystery benefactor, one "Julian B. Guzman".
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 12


"INUKSHUKS!"
 


What better way to ingratiate oneself with your new homeland than embracing a beloved symbol? Well at least a symbol that is co-opted for the Olympics and when the government pretends to care about the First Nations. Yes, the mighty Inuit Inukshuk was chosen by club president Kevin Payne as the most apt representation of how TFC should build itself. There are now a dozen boxes of unused Inukshuks in the BMO Field storage closet.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 11

 
"THE JOY OF ALEN STEVANOVIC"
 

new era was upon us! (Again) Aron Winter & Co. with their vast European network would surely poach the UEFA Christmas Markets and secure us a vast array of talent unseen in these parts! The first of which was Torino-loanee Alen Stevanovic. This highly-touted hotshot would surely make us all forget about the departure of Dwayne De Rosario! Then we saw him play. Then he left.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Freedom Frei - Reds deal stalwart goalkeeper to Seattle Sounders

He looked like this a lot

It's hard to be a "long-term" TFC player. At a club where the only constant is change, Stefan Frei's 99 appearances in all competitions for TFC is far from ordinary. Yet still, despite the inevitability of today's deal, he is yet another Red leaving under the cloud of "it should have ended differently".

Toronto FC made the prompt yet unsurprising announcement this afternoon that Frei's rights have indeed been dealt to Seattle Sounders in exchange for a conditional 2015 first-round MLS SuperDraft pick. Frei is now eligible to work out a deal with the Cascadia giant. No, not Bigfoot.

Frei's time in Toronto will always be looked back at with difficulty. Through no fault of his own he stewarded the goal behind a succession of very poor teams and did yeoman's work of the job. Simultaneously, he also seemed to suffer from a voodoo-like curse of bad injury luck which saw his time in goal halted. The latest, a boot to the face in pre-season saw him benched just long enough for Joe Bendik to come in and do a solid enough job to steal the # 1 role.

With Bendik's emergence as a solid-enough MLS'er and Stefan Frei's higher wage, the choice was made by Ryan Nelsen & Co. to proceed with a future that didn't include the Swiss keeper. Acquiring Chris Konopka as the heir apparent # 2 sealed the deal.

His final year in Toronto will not be one filled with great memories but Stefan Frei will be very fondly remembered as a straight-up good egg at TFC and one of the few faces supporters were familiar with. He will most likely return in good form wearing the neon hues of Sounders but will always be Red to many here. It should have ended differently.

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 10


"THE ARGOS TO BMO"
 
 
A true holiday classic. In that no matter what year it is - this story is always told. Like a reverse mistle-toe hanging over TFC supporters' heads since 2007, it is the story we all want to throw in the fireplace. But alas, like the wise men finding their way by the shining glow of Pinball Clemons' teeth, this one just keeps showing up. A Hail Mary that has no place at our inn.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!

Monday, December 9, 2013

TFC trade for Jackson. What to write?... What... to... write?...

Jackson... during spell at Fulham.

WARNING: This is "Bad"

Firstly, a hearty Bloggers Union thanks to Tim Bezbatchenko and the gang for re-stocking the pun shelves in the TFC larder. Man cannot live on Lambe alone.

"Shamone!" The MLS trade window had barely creaked open before T-Bez decided he "Wanna Be Startin' Something". As is the annual off-season tradition round these parts, TFC swung a deal with FC Dallas, ("Remember the Time" with Hassli, de Guzman etc?) this time landing Brazilian midfielder/defender Jackson. Crotch grab!

Wanting to disprove to fans early that "They Don't Care About Us", The Reds swapped a conditional 2015 2nd Round SuperDraft Pick and some of that jumbo pile of allocation money they have. It's in the BMO Field closet next to the Elephant Man's bones and Macaulay Culkin. "You Are Not Alone" in thinking this isn't a "Thrilller" of a trade but Jackson is actually a very MLS-competent player with just under 100 appearances to his name in the league. And they got him for peanuts. Moonwalk!

Whether the 25-year old Jackson turns out to be a starter or at worst high-quality depth, it is a positive to see TFC making sober moves so early in the window. Now we must just implore T-Bez and the gang... "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"!

In other non-Jackson news today, unconfirmed word is that Robert Earnshaw has declined TFC's offer to re-sign and plans to "Beat It" to another MLS side. Surely some club is looking for a striker who hibernates between May and September. "Shamone!"
 

And... We planned to have a little dance but couldn't think of an artist to feature. Oh well, Earnshaw is Welsh and so is this macho piece of rarebit...



THE STARTING 11: Toronto FC executives' reactions to the MLS Cup Final

Cool! The MLS Cup Lego set!

One of the neat-o perks of being a hanger-onner executive at a football club (or national association *cough* CSA *cough*) is that you get to jet around to cup finals even if your team has no place even being mentioned in the same sentence as "championship". *Cough* TFC *cough*. Anycraps, there were surely a suited and booted phalanx of "important" MLSE executives at Saturday's exciting yet frigid final in Kansas City. You have to wonder though... what did they think of during the whole big show?

11. "We don't get it - how did these two franchises get so good without an expensive, washed-up European DP?!"

10. "Look at how much extra official merchandise these fans snap up when they are freezing cold!"... "Hello Mr. Garber? Yes - we fully support your winter schedule idea."

9. "So you're saying we can't really use 'BEST FANS IN THE LEAGUE' in our pandering PR anymore? But it's all we had!"

8. "I have no idea why TFC fans always want a roof like this one - the boxes at BMO Field always keep me warm and dry. Whiners."

7. "Wow the attendance is so good here, I wonder what immigrant community they are pretending to honour tonight?"

6. "This chip butty tastes like brisket."

5. "Jeez, look how well Sporting KC has treated their supporters - we should be so ashamed of ourselves." " Do you think we could charge $20 for beer next year?"

4. "This stadium is pretty nice but it sure could maximize its profit margin if they moved a CFL team in. Just sayin'."

3. "Personally, I feel that avoiding these nasty cold weather playoffs is a kindness to our fans. I'd go as far as saying we're heroes. We are heroes."

2. "Oh I hope Jermain Defoe isn't watching this and getting his hopes too high!"

1. "What is this MLS Cup thing anyways?"
 

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 9

 
"THE COMING OF FORLAN"
 
 
Before #LeiwekeLeaks were cool, Kevin Payne had his own brand of loose lippage. Early in 2013, as TFC fell ass-backwards out of another gate, the rumour that Uruguayan sensation Diego Forlan would soon be jetting up to CrackTown USA aka Toronto, was rampant. Far from quashing this elaborate fiction, it was allowed to fester in the media raising the hopes of many a starved local. When the story met its inevitable fate, it was the football equivalent of socks on Christmas morning.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 8


"THE WORST TEAM IN THE WORLD"

 
Like "Hallelujah" from upon high - except with a wacky Dutch accent. Once-prolific striker/always prolific eater, Danny Koevermans was the first TFC player to come out and say exactly what supporters already knew: that TFC were probably "the worst team in the world". And so the Gospel was said. Amen.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Saturday, December 7, 2013

"The Power of Kreis Compels Us!" 18 Observations from the 18th MLS Cup

Oooh shiny!
 
As a Toronto FC supporters' website, we do not have any legal obligation to write about the MLS Cup. Or playoffs. Or winning records. Or hope. Actually we're not responsible for much aside from the latest on Raivis Hscanovics "War on Vowels".

Despite that, we didn't want to ignore what is a tasty MLS Cup Final. Two good clubs named after clubs from the Iberian Peninsula playing in conditions similar to the Siberian Peninsula. We will leave the actual football reporting to the usual suspects (You come here for stats? Weirdo.) but will instead look into the deeper story. Those little observations that you may have missed on TV but which will make Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake one of the eighteen best MLS Cup Finals of all time!

- This is reportedly the coldest MLS Cup Final of all time, eclipsing the Toronto-hosted final of 2010. Great. Toronto had one measly MLS playoff record and we couldn't even hold on to that. Sonfabitch.
- Over 1500 Real Salt Lake supporters at the match today. Officially the largest amount of people to leave Utah en masse since the whole Osmond Family went on tour in 1978. Fact.
- Sporting KC 'keeper Jimmy Nielsen went back to his native Denmark for reconstructive shoulder surgery. His rotator cuff is now 78% Lego.
- Real American patriot/xenophobia sufferer Jacob Peterson threatened to boycott today's match. The SKC midfielder was disgusted that a "Sporting" and a "Real" were competing for what he calls the "All-USA Soccer Trophy Championship". Then he makes a gunshot noise with his mouth.
- If Sporting Park is the "Rolls Royce" of MLS Stadiums, that makes BMO Field a hobo's boxcar.
- The King of Utah is not in attendance. Nor the Wizard of Oz. There was a false alarm on a munchkin sighting but it was Joao Plata doing warm-ups.
- Many fans were taken aback by Don Garber's "organized crime boss" outfit during halftime. In defence of the league boss, he is on his way to his local community theatre production of "Chicago (Fire)". And all that jazz.
- Garber was waxing lyrical once-again about a potential future MLS winter schedule. Club owners in attendance at the frigid match were heard to say "Ummm... yeah... fuck that shit."
- Kyle Beckerman's dreadlocks were gently placed in a slow-cooker - rented from a local Kansas BBQ joint - during halftime in order to thaw out his "Realstafarian" hair-do.
- Benny Feilhaber's Ron Burgundy moustache has become the least successful "Anchorman 2" cross-promotion since Will Ferrell appeared on a TSN curling broadcast.
- Tim Leiweke just promised TFC fans they would be in the MLS Cup in the next 30 days. Likely.
- It is an awful lot of fun to say "Zusi" really slowly.
- Kyle Beckerman having a dominant 2nd Half. He must think it's white boy day. (Locker room video)
- Alvaro Saborio and Aurelien Collin have both found the scoresheet tonight. And they say nice guys finish last! {SARCASM FONT}
- League releases tie-breaker format: Extra Time; Penalty Kicks; Slam Dunk Contest; Karaoke showdown; Former Wizards Preki & Mo Johnston vs. Karl Malone & John Stockton mud wrestling extravaganza.
- Teal Bunbury is still a massive twat.
- Penalty kicks are a cruel way to crown a "champion" in football after 9 months.
- MLS entertained us more than any match from Europe today. Now let's get our re-build on. Again.

SPORTING KC 1 - REAL SALT LAKE 1
(SKC WINS 7-6 ON PENALTY KICKS)

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 7


"THE GIFTING OF DUNIVANT"

 
Under the sage guidance of Maurice Johnston, TFC players barely had time to buy a bed before being hurtled across the continent to a new destination. After a mere 27 appearances, Johnston felt that Todd Dunivant could be improved upon and was sent to LA Galaxy for that mysterious Secret Santa gift "allocation money". Since then, Dunivant has made more than 125 appearances with Galaxy and won two MLS Cups - TFC is actively seeking his replacement.

Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!




Friday, December 6, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 6

 
"PREKI'S SMILE"


Even the most hardened of Bah! Humbuggards would be melted by the alluring, warm smile of former TFC manager Predrag "Preki" Radosavljevic. When he wasn't grinding out draws with eleven men back, dispatching talented players elsewhere for drone-like replacements or blaming "Canadian guys", Preki was lighting up a room with his friendly, charming manner. Huzzah!

Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

THE WORD: Things looking up for Ol' Gil?

"Ol' Gil really needs a win"
 
You know what's so hot right now? Brazilians. They've got the World Cup next year, the Olympics in 2016, you only need one name down there - it can even be something like "Hulk" - and they do a tremendous job on a nether-region's hair-style. Is the Adidas Samba their thing too? Kudos Brazil. Kudos.

Anytoots, on this wave of Copa Comania comes the latest off-season rumour surrounding Toronto FC's dusty abandoned lot aka their forward line. Over the last few days, a little rump-shake of a whisper has gone nearly full Lambada (and that's a forbidden dance!) concerning 24-year old striker Gilberto Oliviera Souza Jr. And again, since it's Brazil - they just call him "Gilberto". So efficient!

Now before you get your TFC thong ($59.99 at RealSports) in a twist about our new Brazilian messiah let's just remember that this is a South American transfer rumour. They have the tendency to last about as long as a Fat Ronaldo sandwich. However, to use a #LeiwekeLeaks favourite line: "he ticks a lot of boxes" for TFC.

At just 24, Gilberto could develop nicely in MLS especially if the plan would be to pair him with an A-minus List partner like the oft rumoured Jermain Defoe or Alberto Gilardino. (Oooh Gil2Gil!). The apparently strong and swift Brazilian has a steady if not spectacular strike rate through his pro career and is currently fifth in scoring in the Brasiliero with club Portuguesa. Also he was born in Piranhas and that's just plain awesome.

For now we put this one somewhere on the South American Transfermeter between a Forlan and an Urruti.
 
 
"Young Gil really needs a transfer"

THE LONELY GARBER - An Away Day Guide to: Portland Timbers

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

THE OPPONENT:
PORTLAND TIMBERS
JELD-WEN FIELD - Portland, Oregon

THE TOWN:
Long before being the hippest town in America was popular, Portland, Oregon was "America's Hippest Town". Located in Southern Bigfoot Country, USA, the once wholly un-ironic village of Portland was settled in that very cool year of 1959, during the great American teak furniture boom. The town foundation is historically attributed to "unintentionally" stylish artisan furniture maker/faux lumberjack - Jebediah Timber or "Timber Jeb" as he was known on the street. There was only one street.

Modern day Portland, now named "Portland" after TV show "Portlandia", retained its hipster-vibe throughout the 60's but a population boom saw an increase in pedestrians - and that's just so pedestrian. As the coolnessosity levels dwindled, so did local industry leaving once proud sawmills as empty ironic sawmills. However, the late 1990's and 2000's brought in a new generation of Pacific Northwesterners turned off by Seattle's insistence on broadcasting "Frasier" on local TV 24/7.

The new Portlanders brought with them a new style and re-introduced plaid to the region along with new inventions called whiskey, thick-rimmed reading glasses and the slim-leg trouser. The now thriving city has once-again claimed its rightful place as "America's Hippest Town" and is home to nearly a million people who "lived there before you heard of it".

Portland City Council

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 5


"THE TALE OF MAXI URRUTI"
 
 
Imagine if Sadvent was six months long. Then imagine waking up on Christmas morning, unwrapping your shiny, expensive imported gift you had been teased with for so long only for your parents to let you play with it for 37 minutes before giving to that hipster kid down the street. The Chromeo-haircut that would put the nail in the Kevin Payne coffin - Maxi Urruti.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 4

 
"THE WINTER OF 0-9"
 
 
Hailing from a country with such dubious Christmas traditions as "Zwarte Piet" you may think that Dutchman Aron Winter was being a downright Grinch. Not true though, the very likeable Pitymeister was just in the wrong job in the wrong league under the wrong ownership. Nothing illustrated this more than those "9 Crazy Nights" that started the 2012 season.
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Toronto FC Sadvent Calendar: Day 3


"A TAXI FOR DAN GARGAN"
 
 
Few TFC transactions over the years can so consummately sum up the lack of preparation this club has during pre-season as this one. With barely enough players to fill a bench, Kringle-esque GM Maurice Johnston signed blue-collar plumber trialist Dan Gargan so late that the defender had to change into his kit in a taxi bound for Columbus' Crew Stadium.
A holiday miracle!
 
Check back tomorrow and open another Sadvent window!

Monday, December 2, 2013

THE STARTING 11: TFC Black Friday bargains

"TERRY DUNFIELD SOCK TASSELS!!!"

What symbolizes joy to the world and goodwill towards men more than getting in a fist fight over a children's toy at your local Walmart? Black Friday weekend has spewed its brand of warm and fuzzy feelings across the strip malls of North America and beyond, giving all the true meaning of the holidays at a can't miss 40% off! Never ones to miss an opportunity to make a cheap buck pass on savings to valued customers, MLSE opened the doors to the TFC Merchandise booths so the bottom of your Christmas Tree could be sullied adorned with this cheap tat glorious club memorabilia...
 
11. Half-price on "Bind-Us-All"® brand Red Threads

10. Mismatched Terry Dunfield sock tassels sold by the kilogram

9. Best offer on a bunch of unclaimed monogrammed towels embroidered with the initials "K.P."

8. Canada's largest selection of Julio Cesar merchandise!

7. 30% off all luxury hawk-feather throw pillows

6. Jars of "Erotic Butty Body Butter" for only $9.99!

5. 3-For-1 on all Tim Leiweke promises

4. Personalized elbow to the face from TFC legend Darel Russell

3. Collectible DVD "Maxi Urruti - The Toronto FC Era" (Running Time: 30 Minutes/ 7 Minutes of unseen bonus footage)

2. Buy 1 get 320 free Inukshuks!!!

1. SEATS! SEATS! SEATS!