Thursday, April 2, 2009
Toronto FC on the brink of the home opener 2009
I know what I am hoping for (resounding victory), but I truly do not know what to expect Saturday when Toronto FC finally play at home. I say finally because the season start-up seems a series of events that do not happen here. The draft, the Florida training camps, the Carolina tournament and the road games, all far removed from home turf.
I think this is one of the attractions of the trip to Columbus, Ohio, you want to see in action the team that you missed and have been following from afar for months now (training camp began with players reporting on February 1st). TFC has clearly improved and if they are better at home than on the road, then we have a treat in store. Seattle is an unknown quality as TFC treats them to their first road game. They have looked strong on television and the mixture of quality talent (Keller, Montero and Ljungberg) with a solid selection of draft picks and their USL core could be a new standard for expansion teams. I want their bubble to burst on Saturday, but I'm not sure of the strategy that would ensure it.
What a swirl of news surrounding Toronto FC and travelling fans this week. Interviews and articles, youtube video based condemnations and defensive retorts on the blogs and forums (I'm guilty). I fear too much focus on the sideshow and next to nothing on the team and the game. Perspective was lost and the media hysteria and anti-soccer fan posturing was sad. My father often took me to Argo- Ticats games when I was growing up and drunk fans getting into fist fights was a common sight. Compared to a playoff game at Exhibition Stadium from yesteryear, last Saturday was a picnic.
The most important news lately was the retirement of Carl Robinson from his international duties with Wales. No longer will we see him pulled away as the MLS does not schedule around UEFA/CONCACAF dates. It is also significant because it is a vote of confidence in TFC. This city has seen soccer players play for the local team before (olde enough to remember the Blizzard), but ending your international career to spend more time with your team in Toronto is new. It is a big, positive step.
See you Saturday.