Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ronnie O'Brien traded and Mo's hot seat is rising

Too much time on the web this week in search of confirmation or denial of a trade of Ronnie O'Brien. My first reaction to reading the rumour that he was going to end up in San Jose with another expansion team was one of sadness, O'Brien was a sparkplug on the field and the team suffered once he was lost due to injury. Suffering through another year of hapless offence is not a pleasing thought and there is a tendency to link Ronnie O'Brien with those glorious May and June days when TFC could score.

My second reaction was hmmmm, there is just too much that we fans do not know...
What is being offered in return ?
Is Darren Huckerby going to part of the TFC midfield by May ?
Kiki Musampa ?
Both of them ?
Are there more significant signings to come ?
What would be the budget implications of these signings ? Ronnie had a good contract...
Is there a DP midfielder in the works ?
If San Jose is offering their first round draft choice for next year ? ( a potential number one pick)

Well, the trade has been confirmed. It is a first draft pick and an allocation coming to Toronto. If this clears up cap space and allows Mo to finally bring in some long awaited new talent, then the trade could be a positive move. The Toronto Star article by Morgan Campbell states that O'Brien was not content with life in Toronto. Anyone not enamoured with the centre of the universe gets banished (although being sent to California seems less than harsh). Next move is yours, Mo.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

snow needs to go, TFC in the sunny south

Winter in Toronto usually follows a little tempo, snow -thaw- snow- thaw. This winter has been heavy on the snow, slight on the thaw. One begins to forget what non-winter truly feels like. The other day watching Man U destroy Arsenal in the FA Cup on television, I was taken with the televised picture of halftime at Old Trafford. They had three sprinklers going, watering the grass. You fully grasp that our winter drags on and on when you find yourself entranced with visions of lawn watering. There is a homemade video ( I think over at Big Soccer) of the recent game between TFC and KC in Florida. It was shot from ground level and is not going to win prizes. Besides TFC winning and looking good (but wearing blue !!!?), the news was that I found myself scanning the horizon as next to the soccer field there was a golf course. I was straining to see regular folks walking in the sunshine wearing short sleeves. Cabin fever has taken hold and the snow, the snow has got to go.
Just before I began to crack like the ice on my driveway, the internet chatter began to churn and tumble out names linked to TFC.
Not a moment too soon.
Kiki Musampa, Julian Barrigan, Darren Huckerby, Joao Pinto, Johnnier Montano are the names being named. And what names ! I envy the soul who gets to say simple things such as "Joao meet Kiki ".....
I did buy my share of TFC clothing in year 1, but did not purchase a game shirt with a player name on the back. I sometimes debate whether I should honour my year one faves and get a Brennan or a Dichio or Edu on my shirt. Year two promises such a richness in names already and we are weeks away from the season opener. My first shirt name is up for grabs.
These players are said to be at training camp in Florida or on their way to Toronto to check us out. Who will catch on and who is just passing through ? Who dares to visit Toronto voluntarily in February ? Is this part of a recruitment scheme gone mad ? The training camp in Florida, the tournaments in Texas and South Carolina are all wonderful ideas. Show prospective players tape of 2007, all they will see in TO right now is snow and an igloo on the pitch

When I dream TFC for season two, I float back to Father's Day 2007, the 4-0 defeat of Dallas and the sunshine and promise that seemed bursting from within the team. If we manage to get back to that level and find that the new additions make us harder, better, faster, stronger ? Ah, the magic of the pre-season when everyone is tied for first.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Schedule released - start planning your life or at least your season

The MLS schedule was released today. The TFC home and away schedule is listed below. Breaking down the home schedule by the month it's either feast or famine for the Toronto fans.
Home games by month
April- 2
May- 4
June- 1
July -1
August- 3
September- 3
October- 1
Yes, there will be a friendly in there somewhere and Canada Cup games should also bolster one of the scarce months, but what is the difference in home dates in June and July this year compared to last when the FIFA U20 was being hosted ? Not much.
Whether the schedule helps or hurts the team will be a matter of debate. I like the home and home series showing up twice, both Chivas USA and DC United play TFC that way. There is still so much to learn about this years team, but based on last year's character, playing twice in a row seems to favour the TFC style. Despite the last game being in expansion San Jose, the season does seem to end on an uphill note. Houston, New York, Dallas and Chicago are all tough games that time of year.
Saturday, Mar 29 Columbus Crew Away 4:00
Saturday, Apr 05 D.C. United Away 7:30
Sunday, Apr 13 Los Angeles Galaxy Away 3:00
Saturday, Apr 19 Real Salt Lake Home 12:30
Saturday, Apr 26 Kansas City Wizards Home 3:30
Thursday, May 01 New York Red Bulls Home 7:00
Saturday, May 17 Columbus Crew Home 3:30
Wednesday, May 21 D.C. United Home 7 :30
Saturday, May 24 D.C. United Away 7:30
Saturday, May 31 Los Angeles Galaxy Home 3:30
Saturday, Jun 07 Houston Dynamo Away 8:30
Saturday, Jun 14 Colorado Rapids Away 9:30
Saturday, Jun 21 Kansas City Wizards Home 3:30
Saturday, Jun 28 New England Revolution Away 7:30
Saturday, Jul 12 Chicago Fire Away 8:30
Saturday, Jul 19 San Jose Home 3:30
Monday, Jul 28 Real Salt Lake Away 9:00
Sunday, Aug 03 FC Dallas Home 7:00
Saturday, Aug 09 Colorado Rapids Home 3:30
Sunday, Aug 17 New York Red Bulls Away 5:00
Saturday, Aug 23 New England Revolution Home 7:30
Saturday, Aug 30 Chivas USA Away 10:30
Saturday, Sep 06 Chivas USA Home 4:00
Saturday, Sep 13 Columbus Crew Home 3:30
Saturday, Sep 20 Kansas City Wizards Away 8:00
Saturday, Sep 27 Houston Dynamo Home 3:30
Saturday, Oct 04 New York Red Bulls Away 7:30
Saturday, Oct 11 FC Dallas Away 8:30
Saturday, Oct 18 Chicago Fire Home 3:30
Saturday, Oct 25 San Jose Away 10:00

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A scrimmage in Florida

The TFC pre-season began today at 4 pm in Bradenton Florida. Does this mean that the countdown to spring can begin ?

They played a 60 minute scrimmage against DC United and according to the Steven Goff (Soccer Insider at Washington Post- click the title above to link to his report) it ended in a 1-1 tie. Danny Dichio scored the Toronto goal.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Mo = Manager / Carver = Coach

Toronto FC revealed today that Mo Johnston has been moved upstairs to the position of Manager and John Carver (who has a coaching history with Leeds, Newcastle and Luton) has been hired as Coach.
This looks promising, Mo continues to wheel and deal and now has the excuse that his roster is short many players because he was waiting to consult with his incoming coach. Most TFC fans are not shocked by this development. When first hearing of a big press conference in TFC land, it was natural to think it had to do with player signings. Patience is still being required....