Monday, December 22, 2008

Season's Greetings

When I started Mistake by the Lake at the outset of TFC season 1, it was a whim. I had a hunch that this was a team that I was going to care deeply about, but that was all I had. I have always struggled with a love/hate relationship with writing. Some days I think I can string together some sentences and gather some coherent thoughts. Many days I am convinced I possess an empty head. I knew I had a passion for coaching and was dedicated to always learning the ways of the game. However, I remain a thousand rungs below tactical genius. A fan with a blog is what I am. Two years on and the blog part of that last sentence still surprises me.
In all of these calculations, I still have trouble with understanding that I have an audience. Boy, "audience" sounds so pretentious. I mean, it shocks my little brain that anyone reads this stuff.

To those who do, my heartfelt wishes go out for a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah and a wonderful holiday. Enjoy the time with your family because when you get down to it, they (and season tickets) are all you've got.
All the New Year has to offer any of us is a new TFC season to make it a happy one, but may it be a happy one for you in a multitude of other ways.

Peace and love are on overflow today. Now when will the Designated Player signing be revealed ??

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wow, Mo comes down the chimney and leaves a big gift under the tree !!

Toronto FC pulled off a deal yesterday that easily qualifies as the biggest yet in TFC history. Gone is Julius James, the 2008 first draft pick, and allocation money. Arriving in Toronto is Dwayne DeRosario. He is a four time MLS Cup champ, Larry Millson of the Globe and Mail points out that he is a player who has never missed the playoffs. May this run continue !

Wow. A proven MLS all-star, a hometown hero, a player who can play many spots in the midfield or as striker, a 30 year old who fits into the salary picture, this trade brightens the offseason and the future brilliantly.
This move also sends a message to the fans - "thanks for sticking with us, the club is serious about making the next step". It is only the first big move of the offseason (although resigning Robinson and Dichio and only losing Jarrod Smith to the expansion draft were all important enough). The 2009 draft picks are on the horizon, the DP search continues and Mo agrees that the need for a central defender ( or two, I may add) and a striker. Trader Mo has returned with a passion.

Now if you read the forums and internet chatter, there are some TFC fans who have taken the position that obtaining DeRo was the solution to all problems. I have never been a member of that club. I have seen his qualities in Cup finals, but he has had a couple of nondescript performances here against Toronto and the Canadian Men's World Cup campaign dampened every reputation.
I am thrilled to welcome him to the team, but the midfield remains a work in progress. I remember those afternoons troubled at the way Guevara often acted as though Ricketts did not exist, although this improved as the season wore on. Which of these two does DeRo replace ? Or does Toronto just add him to the midfield and goes with a 4-4-1-1 formation ? It would not surprise me if the draft adds another midfielder or two (unless trades take them away). There is forum chatter saying that Mo is going to sign Keon Daniel from Trinidad, a young midfielder. If these are problems, honestly they are the type you love to have.
Wow, Happy Holidays indeed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

midwinter mutterings

Nothing much going on in the TFC world. I am hoping that it is the calm before the storm. It would be nice to get a present under the tree. A signing or a trade ? I suppose we will have to wait for the January MLS draft for some activity.

The top two newspapers in town, the Globe and Mail and the Star have removed their Toronto FC/Soccer bloggers. This is a tough time in the media. So offseason TFC coverage is a logical cut when you have larger budget concerns as advertising tumbles. it would be great to have both back at full coverage by next season.
I enjoyed Ben Knight's G +M blog from time to time (and will read continue to read him in his new location), but he was no Larry Millson, I guess Millson just covered the team and Knight was stuck with the lifestyle side, you know - the flavour of the crowd and what direction should Canadian soccer go in ? stuff.
Morgan Campbell of the Star was a different matter, you always felt that he came to the footy world reluctantly and he was passing time humouring us until something better came along. Well, he has moved to something different ( I won't describe an assignment that will involve watching 182 Blue Jay games as something better). The Star's first reporter on the TFC beat could have been a lot worse, so it won't be a stretch to hope for someone better. I guess as one of the converted, I want a writer who will preach to me. I am happy to follow the writings of someone who is both a pro and barely conceals a passion for the game. Dare I cross sports here, someone in the style of say Grange of the G+M and Doug Smith of the Star in the world of Raptors/basketball. Maybe one day ...

Sigi has left Columbus and appears to be heading for Seattle, is the latest MLS coaching news. Ah, the west coast lifestyle awaits..

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

09 Season home openers announced - only 109 days to go

Today , from the MLS site...


Thursday, March 19, 2009
New York Red Bulls at Seattle Sounders FC, 9 p.m. (ESPN2/Deportes)
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Columbus Crew at Houston Dynamo, 8 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Espanol)
Chicago Fire at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Toronto FC at Kansas City Wizards, 8:30 p.m.
Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA, 10:30 pm (Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Espanol)
New England Revolution at San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 22, 2009
D.C. United at Los Angeles Galaxy, 3 p.m. (TeleFutura)


Saturday, March 28, 2008
Toronto FC at Columbus Crew, 4 p.m.
San Jose Earthquakes at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
New England Revolution at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
Kansas City Wizards at Colorado Rapids, 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 2, 2009
Columbus Crew at Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m. (ESPN2/Deportes)
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Seattle Sounders FC at Toronto FC, 3 p.m.
FC Dallas at New England Revolution, TBD

Sunday, April 5, 2009
New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire, 3 p.m. (TeleFutura)

So what does this tell us ?
Starting the season with KC and Columbus away and then Seattle here at home is not a horrible schedule. I think that April 4th will be our earliest home game ever. The long johns will be called into service. Is lake affect snow to our advantage ??
Columbus wants our money - but can last year's trek be equalled in numbers ?? Probably not, but I'm thinking that fewer wobbly fans could be a good thing. I am willing to travel and hope that the product on the field makes the weekend worthwhile. Will probably book a hotel for Saturday night in the upper end of Ohio, so that the Sunday drive home is easier to take....