Saturday, September 28, 2013

September Sunshine TFC 4 DC United 1

So the penultimate TFC home game of the season brings us the battle of the bad, the tussle of the basement dwellers. It's TFC vs DC on a glorious Saturday afternoon.
We walked to the stadium just enjoying the day. An unexpected shortcut through Fort York because of an event there was a bonus. I had very low expectations for the game. I think the Saturday morning President's breakfast had created a personal TFC hangover. That is as far as I go here, look for a following post to see what I think of breakfast with President Tim L.

So into the stadium we march, banishing those memories of the soggy bottom boys of last week. The crowd seemed thin at anthem time. Perhaps the long line up at the TFC clothing shops had something to do with that (75% off!).

Starting 11

Bloom     Boss     Henry     Morgan
Rey         Russell   Hall      Convey
       Dike   Wiedeman

I had some worries about the pair of Boss and Henry in the back. Caldwell misses the game from that red card. Bloom for Eckersley is a continuing trend.
Jim Brennan as coach (because of suspensions to Nelsen and O'Leary)

TFC started with their usual rust. Individual efforts look good, but the linkage, the cohesion and playing as a team just is not there. Good thing DC is no better.

Until DC takes the lead from a curling shot from distance. Jeffreys the scorer at 15 minutes. This woke up TFC and Darel Russell scored an exciting goal on a turnaround at 25 minutes.
So they are tied at the half. I did not see either team as having the offensive skill to the draw in the second half. I have learned to fear the TFC defensive lapse, but the offensive burst surprised me. TFC playing with spark and dazzle?
Wiedeman was instrumental in the go ahead goal despite being tackled and grabbed with a version of a wrestling hold. The ref saw the foul but played advantage as Bloom had taken the ball and crossed it so that Dike could bury it.
Rey then added his two goals. Rey had a touch of luck with his first one as it caroomed off a defender. Rey showed some moves and sense of calm with his second one, a couple shifts left to elude and then a shot in the far corner.
So a delightful day down by the lake. A rare treat in this plodding, heart wrenching season. Is this the turning of the corner so wished for or just taking advantage of the team that lies beneath us in the standings?
Stay tuned for my breakfast report.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Soggy Bottom Boys nickname for wet fans, too bad the team just got soggy TFC 1 KC 2

Either the designated player search squad or the designated players themselves???

Ahhhh, dry socks. When it is time to kick back and write my blog post, I am usually relaxing with a beverage. A cocktail perhaps, or a fine local brew. Today I am casting all liquids aside and savouring the pleasure which is a pair of dry, thick socks securely placed upon one's feet.
Could dry socks be the best moment of the day? Am I going to place the hard work and growing cohesion of the mighty, mighty TFC in second place in the days rankings of fine things? Hold off on that ranking sentence and let's go back to the contest.

It was an adventure to be amongst the few fans who were scattered here and there at BMO today. I like the feeling of dedication, that you are truly one of the gallantly crazy who braved the wet elements to soak it all in. No bandwagons in our driveways should be the slogan of all Soggy Bottom Boys. Everyone in attendance today is made a Soggy Bottom Boy regardless of gender. TFC fans singing "Fans of Constant Sorrow" seems as right as rain.

Before I banter about the game and the players, an editorial comment to preface the analysis. The ref today was criminal. Particularly in the second half when KC was given the green light to foul Bobby Convey whenever they felt the need. Then the ref showed red to Caldwell. My angle was bad. You knew what was developing, yet from 220 we could not see Caldwell's feet nor the ball. So it is not on the merit's of the actual foul that I call it a crap call, rather it is the context of a host of no calls in favour of KC and the KC tendency to go down upon the full impact of a raindrop.
Which inspires my full marks for Coach Nelsen on his being tossed from the game. Too bad it was in front of the sparsest crowd in memory, but it sent the right signal to fans and players alike. Best move of the year.

TFC did an excellent job of highlighting both their strengths and weaknesses today. Keeping and defending were mostly solid (except for the lightning strikes that were KC's goals), the midfield was a surprise considering the loss of both Osorio and Laba. TFC has nothing dependable or creative or startling up front. Bright Dike showed some energy, but tired in the second half. Fellow forwards Braun and Wiedeman fared no better, no worse than other games. When your scoring is soggy, there is little compensation from other aspects of your game.
So in the end, dry socks win as the peak of the day. Darel Russell's goal might have competed for a while, but dry socks compensate for an afternoon of soggy bottoms. Fingers are crossed that a healthy Danny K can bounce back from injury and both play and score at BMO before 2013 fades from view.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Still only happy when it rains TFC 1 Fire 1


Toronto FC struggled against a Chicago Fire team that looked less than fiery. TFC have now drawn at home 8 times in 2013.  If somehow TFC had found a ten a season goal scorer who only scored at home, 2013 could have been a playoff team. Put that on the Christmas list. What a ten goals a season player or a playoff team? Try both.


David Miller and a cast of thousands have decided to stay away from the remaining games (more on this later).

The rain stayed away and the thunderstorm waited until after the game.

Rey looks a better winger than Lambe.

The back four looked strong and cohesive.

Earnshaw's goal.

Late sub on of Dike was interesting.

Salute to Armed Forces (though it could have been toned down and that anthem fellow needs to go)


Bendik's goof on the only goal against.

Earnshaw's injury.

Ecks and Morgan's inability to make offensive inroads.

Braun's lack of finish and general lack.

Nelsen's hesitation when it's time for subs.

Half-time or all the time Rachel - the next lyric contest had our attention, but having adults kick little balls into little nets was a touch demeaning.

TFC Road, the street under permanent construction?

TFC fandom has always been a hard road to travel. Recent weeks have continued that bleak tradition. Every day I think I have some comment worth sharing. Every day a new event seems to arrive to shake your confidence and makes you rethink blogging.

So here is my attempt at describing where we have been and opinions I have arrived at.

- I think that enough criticism was aimed at Kevin Payne that I slowly came to the view that he was not the right person to be president of TFC. His firing was a surprise at first. Payne might have been caught bullshitting too many times, did not seem to have enough soccer sense and promised changes that he seemed unable to deliver. There has been little consideration from MLSE and boss Tim on how fans who felt some loyalty to Payne's leadership could be expected to jump onto the "win with Tim" bandwagon. I still feel that having a TFC president is a good thing. The suggestion that the next GM will not be a president type, but a number crunching capologist who defers to Tim when it is Designated Player signing time, seems a recipe for disaster.

- I am not convinced at all that Tim Leiweke is the leader that TFC needs. I think that to lead TFC you have to be a bit of a dreamer, you have to be willing to swim against the tide and want to establish soccer as a big time sport in a market that has neglected it for some time. I am not thrilled with the LA Galaxy story. I spend time in Los Angeles almost every year. LA this summer is in love with the Dodgers. Leiweke may have been part of signing Beckham and hiring Arena, but soccer is still an afterthought in LA.
Face it, if Tim Leiweke provides MLSE with Stanley Cup wins, NBA Finals appearances and lands Toronto with an NFL franchise, do you think he would be fired for mishandling TFC? I don't think I am the only TFC fan who dreams of some billionaire buying TFC from MLSE.

- Trading Urutti for Dike. Another shocker, made me shake my head at all the time I spent this summer following rumours and searching for clues in the TFC search for international talent. I think the trading deadline is at some point on Friday. I am prepared.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kevin Payne fired??

I am shocked by this news (should call it information - not yet confirmed). I suppose that your credentials as an observer of all things TFC would rely upon not being shocked by departures or changes or surprises. I did not see Kevin Payne being removed from running TFC after only months on the job.

He did some good things and he messed up a few times. I was determined to have faith in his leadership and that involved giving his coach time to grow into the job. I never met the man, but his media talks were interesting. He may not have seemed a jovial sort, but you wanted a "take charge" person in charge of pointing TFC in the right direction.

It is now very clear that Tim Leiweke is calling the shots. Correction, we knew who was calling the shots, did not know that he was ready to fire those shots.  I just don't know what that truly means and I don't have a spare bucket of faith sitting around right now. When I attended the town hall meeting in 2012 Paul Mariner was talking about the team for the next year. By the time I attend town hall 2013 Kevin Payne will have arrived and departed.

The turbulence, which when combined with losing are the only aspects of TFC culture that have been constant, continues ....