Thursday, August 16, 2012

No cure for the summertime blues - TFC 2 Timbers 2

I have been away. I am back.
Summer travel is one of the true joys of life and I am blessed to have a partner who feels the same way as I do. When you go on the right travel adventure, time seems to almost wait for you and you learn to go with the flow of life beyond your workday routine. I would rather be back travelling than struggling with life in Toronto. Unfortunately, figuring out the condition of TFC is far more struggle than flow of life right now.
The game against Portland only increased my concerns, the prospects for two more months of TFC 2012 seem bleak. Spending time down by the lake just before the opening of the CNE might have been a worthwhile outing for the fifteen minutes in the second half where TFC seemed to come alive. That stretch also makes the dull, plodding nature of most of the game look even worse. The arrival of the new central defender Darren O'Dea might change my mind and give TFC some spine and direction. I realize that is putting a lot of pressure on one player.
This has been a very flat season. Looking back at the Winter era, it is easy to say that he painted himself (and therefore the team) into this dull corner. I thought that the early games under Paul Mariner had the players displaying greater energy. Last night that energy seems to be gone. Perhaps the full reality of their place in the standings has hit home.  After all, who was Toronto missing from the roster vs Portland? Ryan Johnson has made a full athletic contribution, but I don't think he has clicked as TFC striker. Doneil Henry is not an established starter,  Dicoy Williams has not had a post-injury place on the team.Terry Dunfield might have a bigger impact on the midfield than we realized as we watched Aaron Maund last night. That was a lightweight performance from Maund. Perhaps his holding role was designed to free up Torsten Frings, but Maund just seemed content to jog around and observe. When Toronto took the lead it would have been the perfect time for a performance of crunch and disruption from Maund.  Dunfield can go play for Canada without worrying about Maund taking his place on the TFC field.
Adrian Cann was an adequate central defender against the Timbers, but I thought something was missing. He did not seem like a guy making the most of a playing opportunity after a stretch on the bench. He seemed more a guy playing out his days and expecting a change of scenery. It is not a stretch to speculate that last night might have been our last opportunity to see him play in Toronto.
There also seems to be a smile on the face of TFC supporters that seems unconnected to play on the field. TFC had just struggled against an awful team, Portland is having a terrible season. Strolling away from the stadium you could see folks were happy. I know, it is mid-August. The CNE opens in days. Plenty of dark, gloomy, rainy days ahead to feel lousy in. Yet I also feel too much acceptance of mediocrity and failure in the air. No guts, no glory. Going to a TFC game should not be a day at the beach. I spotted a few shirts that caught my eye. "This is our house" was written on one. That is a slogan that does not apply any more. Another fan had a Brennan shirt on. I know he is a coach, but somehow the fire he displayed as a player is missing. Somebody had better grab a torch and light the flame again. Come on O'Dea. Come on somebody.....
TFC flat, field slanted