Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Toronto players not chosen in Philly expansion draft

Toronto was one of five teams that had no player chosen, Houston, Dallas, Kansas City and RSL (although a deal might have been involved) being the other teams.
From a TFC perspective, an unchanged roster might not have been the target. Preki and Mo have made noises about cleaning house, but Philly stayed away.

Monday, November 23, 2009

TFC protects...

Attakora-Gyan, Nana
(youth, talent and potential=worth protecting)
Barrett, Chad
(I am mystified, unless there is trade potential)
Brennan, Jim
(symbolic, loyalty and leadership, CDN content rules rising?)
Cronin, Sam
(youth, talent and potential=worth protecting)
de Guzman, Julian
(you can't spend the money and then let him get away for nothing)
DeRosario, Dwayne
(heart of the team)
Gomez, Emmanuel
(youth and potential=worth protecting)
Sanyang, Amadou
(youth and potential=worth protecting)
Serioux, Adrian
(CDN content makes him hard to replace)
White, O'Brian
(youth, talent and potential=worth protecting)
Wynne, Marvell
(Philly would take him...)

So these means the following are available, remember each team can only lose one player to the draft, but trades can happen.
Edwards and Frei ? (questions about Frei's GA status)
Guevara (is there a trade in the works?)
Ibrahim (unless GA still)

Real Salt Lake take the MLS Cup??

The MLS Cup was won Sunday night by RSL on penalty kicks. Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy were tied 1-1 after extra time. The penalty kicks were dramatic though, crummy way to win or lose I know..
My scattered thoughts shared to bring season 2009 to an end.
- Landon D missed his penalty. So did Edson Buddle. I saw myself as a neutral, but those misses must have sparked some smiles somewhere.
- It was a game of two chapters, LA looked in full flow for the first half and then RSL became stronger as the second half wore on. I think that LA truly missed Dema Kovalenko in the midfield. Beckham ran out of gas in the second half and without Kovalenko in there, RSL began to find room in the middle of the field.
- If you feel that RSL was hardly the better team, that pks at the end make it the slightest of margins, then you can ignore my gut feeling. Yet, the fact that RSL grabbed the 8th playoff spot, a spot that TFC could have had IF they had bothered to show up at Giants Stadium, has me thinking that TFC is not as far off the mark as the 5-0 convinced me in October. A defender, a winger and a striker could make all the difference.
- I can understand the thinking behind the Cup final in Seattle. However the evening start must have hurt the Eastern time zone ratings. Then again, a Salt Lake vs LA final was already going to do that.
- The tv coverage was good enough. My take on N. American announcers vs English ones is that over here they are obsessed with telling you what the future implications are of every bloody thing that happens. Just talk and describe what is happening before you.
- Expansion draft looms. Remember it is possible that no player from TFC will be selected. I am hoping that Philly plays the Mo game and starts trading picks back to the teams they just grabbed them from.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

TFC introduces Preki as new coach for 2010

It would be foolish to have too strong an opinion either way on the hiring of the new TFC coach. What he has done in the past may be a foundation, but right now Preki puts a face on the 2010 season and the countdown has begun.
-TFC moved quickly and hired a coach before the dust had settled on the season. Weeks ago I was hoping they would grab a coach before the winter college draft, it is a huge surprise that they have one before next week's expansion draft.
- Preki knows Mo. They played together, there should be no surprises. That is not to say there will be harmony and light every day, but this pairing seems to be a huge improvement over the confusion of the last two.
- Preki has both MLS experience and head coach experience.
- Preki has a reputation in recent years of getting to the playoffs and getting his under valued teams to over achieve.
- Preki stressed work ethic and balance in his first press conference. Seems like he is going to clean house and

Is Preki the coach to take the team to the next level?
Remember the buzz around town last spring when Preki brought his undefeated Chivas USA into Toronto for their big game? No, I don't either. I fear that he is an under the radar coach who got the most from an under the radar team. Face it, Chivas USA is the second fiddle team in LA where MLS is well down the list in media and fan support (LA's sports list might be Lakers, Dodgers, Trojans, Angels, Raiders/Rams/Chargers, Bruins, Golf, Tennis, Surfing, Clippers before soccer (and hockey) teams show up.
Preki will find Toronto FC is on a much shorter list in this market, with the chance to rise quickly in the year ahead. On one hand he may find his decisions, tactics and comments more scrutinized than he's used to. On the other hand, TFC fans will take success and victories from a new coach with or without tons of media glamour.
TFC fans don't want success from a mediocre team, they want success from a powerhouse team. Parity is a concept that inspires salary caps and profit margins, it does not inspire fans. Preki has an opportunity to see a few basic improvements take TFC a long way...
Already the hurt of Giants Stadium of only a few weeks ago is starting to fade. Bring on 2010.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Preki, Preki, Preki

Rumours abound that Coach Preki, having been let go by Chivas USA, is possibly heading to Toronto as coach of TFC. He has the MLS experience that Mo says he needs in his next coach.
Stay tuned...

RSL beat Chicago Fire in penalty kicks

Real Salt Lake will meet LA Galaxy in next weekend's MLS Cup. RSL defeated Chicago in Chicago after defeating Columbus in Columbus, so they sure qualified the hard way. Yet it is hard to cheer for the team that made the playoffs because of Toronto's collapse in New York.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

LA Galaxy win the west - on to the Cup final

The lights went out twice in Carson, California last night, but LA scored twice in the overtime portion to eliminate Houston and win the west.
I would like to salute myself for tactical wizardry in the area of PVR programming. I did not stay up all night to watch this, I pvr'ed it to watch Saturday morning. The power outages took more than 30 minutes, so having the entire game to watch took some luck. Had the game gone to penalty kicks I might have come up short.
Oh, you want to know about the game? The teams were so well matched, the game was well played, I think that Houston with a DeRo would have had the extra ingredient they lacked, LA can thank the crossbar for stopping two and the ref for calling back one on a dodgy foul in the box.
TFC fans were spared watching Todd Dunivant who was a late scratch due to illness. Edson Buddle played a low key game, but he really is a bit player in the Beckham to Landon show.
I think that LA will take the MLS Cup next week in Seattle, no matter who they face.
So tonight I am cheering for Chicago, if only because who truly thinks Real Salt Lake deserves a cup final?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Still dragging after all these hours

More than a week has passed since the end of the Toronto FC season and it honestly still hurts. It is heart wrenching to have hope and faith in your team so deeply shaken. To go into a game hoping for the best and to have the all time worst handed to them, I am still recovering from the shock. So I have been relying on others to have the head and heart intact to chart the course ahead.

Asif, who writes The Kick About on the TFC web site, takes the high road and calls on supporters to take on the Liverpool style. Saturday when Liverpool was being beaten by Fulham, you could hear those Liverpool supporters on tv singing “you’ll never walk alone”. It is noble of them and I will always have time for Asif’s view, but it will take time for me to join him on that high road. Right now my feeling on supporting TFC through thick and thin is complicated only by the view that there has been an awful lot of thin. I need more time

James Sharman of The Score writes well on the coach search that Mo Johnston has embarked upon. Even Mo knows that despite a two + year contract extension, if he misses on a solid new coach and does not reach the 2010 playoffs, it’s the end of the line for him.

I glanced at the first round MLS playoff scores and I hope that the second legs are televised.
Houston and Seattle are scoreless heading back to Houston. Advantage Houston, but I still cheer for a Sounders upset.
LA and Chivas had a 2-2 result. I don’t think anyone has an advantage – they play in the same stadium, but I am picking the Galaxy to win.
New England beat Chicago 2-1, but I expect Chicago to roar back at home.
RSL beat Columbus 1-0, but I expect Columbus to win this one at home.

Too bad watching MLS playoffs just makes me mope about TFC not being there again. I chose the Sam Cronin pic for this post, because I think his honesty about the need to change the culture of the team was my ray of hope for the offseason. May he be proven right.