Saturday, June 6, 2009
TFC 1 LA Galaxy 2 - yes summer, no love, TFC tailspin continues
There was a sadness in the air at the end of today's game. A few Toronto players took the time to applaud the supporters, but it seemed as if the fans had no energy or awareness of them, never mind return the salute. I have read comments on some fan forums that have complained about players not saluting the supporters no matter the outcome of the game. Today some players did their duty, but the relationship has clearly soured.
The supporter groups are right to be deeply miffed with the lack of firepower, the recent results, the perceived direction of this team and the twisted optics of the friendly against Real Madrid. The banner held up by the supporters prior to the game was perfect, stating the worth of MLSE, the number of teams they own - 4 and the number of cups/titles = 0. This was aimed directly at team management, not the players on the team. This is as it should be.
Yet the south end was the most subdued I have ever seen. Sure, they celebrated the Dichio goal, but I feel that the overall quiet contributed to a sense of inevitability to the afternoon. As if the fans were saying "we're sick of this crap" and the team responded by displaying just the sort of play that has brought the fans to this opinion.
Now I understand that the quality of this crowd could have been suspect to begin with. There is something about LA that would attract that ticket buyer who only wants to attend one game this year. On the flip side, more season ticket holders might skip this one game just because it would be an easy one for a quick sale. I have no hard evidence for any of this, just a feeling.
As for the play on the field, Dichio scored off of a rebound, Vitti and Barrett continued their scoring drought, there were second half signs of DeRo trying to do too much on his own, TFC continued to miss Amado Guevara, both LA goals involved either an Marco Velez misplay or misplace, Ricketts and Smith had second half playing time and RR did supply some crosses of note and late in the game we were treated to an Emmanuel Gomez sighting.
On the LA side, their keeper Ricketts was active and effective, they scored early (was it their first corner?) making Toronto climb uphill almost from the start. It hurts to say that Edson Buddle scored the winner, it hurts to write it and it hurt to watch it. Not that I wish him back in Toronto or lament the trade that sent him on his way, it is just that seeing him score is a reflection of the sour hurt that has invaded the world of TFC fandom. The guy who would be the most perverse opposing player to score the winning goal against Toronto does just that.
So you sit there trying to develop stronger faith. Yes, one of these days I will witness a Toronto goal festival. Yes. they can score repeatedly in Montreal. Yes, team management just needs time to unveil their master plan - a player or two will be signed and Toronto will enter the playoffs as a mighty force.
Yet my fears shake me and rather than a dream, a nightmare develops. That our future will be haunted by many players, who despite effort will always fall short , who will stand on that field and applaud the red and grey loyalists, but nobody will notice...