Toronto FC MLS Cup Champions 2017
|Fuzzy view from Section 220|
We were there.
It all has a dream sense to it, though.
That was a victory fully, fully deserved. Redemption belonged to TFC and those true Red and Grey supporters who never wavered, but also never fully dreamed that this level of season was possible. I felt that not only was Toronto FC trying to defeat Seattle on the pitch, they were seeking to eradicate ghosts from 2016, the MLS Cup that got away.
Forgive the jumbled attempt at putting this all into words. I started writing this blog post Saturday evening. Here I am continuing to try to herd my emotions, thoughts, observations and reactions the next morning. So think of this as a muffled attempt at a first take, not a definitive essay to take you there.
If you want to read an INCREDIBLE account of TFC Cup victory and what it all means I say go to SI.com. Brian Straus did an incredible job of it.
My admiration for Coach Greg Vanney went up plenty of levels as he made bold adjustments to his team and had them ready to attack. For all the ink and pixels that will go to the stars of the MLS Cup victory, mention must be made of the spectacular games played by Jonathan Osorio and Marky Delgado. Those with more memory cells might be able to point to a game, but I can't think of the last time they played together. It is usually one or the other. To describe Osorio as struggling in the playoffs is putting it kindly. He has been awful on the ball, passing weak, giveaways plentiful and neglecting shooting opportunities. He played the game of his career yesterday when it was needed most. I am willing to listen to those who say Sebastian Giovinco has yet to fully star in a MLS Cup game, but Delgado and Osorio both were stars in my book. They seemed to show off every lesson that they have learned from playing with the great Victor Vazquez this season. They shocked me. I am sure it was a huge part in unsettling Seattle Sounders.
I thought that Michael Bradley deserved MOTM more than Jozy Altidore. A good game and a great goal from Jozy, but the tenacity of Bradley was the bigger deal. The formation of TFC can be fluid, but Bradley dropped out of the role of holding midfielder and actually ran the team from a central defending role. I had a better angle in the second half when for a time it was a back three of Mavinga, Bradley and Moor. Bradley shut them down. He made Seattle suffer. Jozy Altidore's goal just closed the door to the prison that Bradley had created.
You slowly, slowly take in reality on a game day I find. This becomes slower as the importance of a game increases. I felt that MLS Cup 2017 was turtle time in the Kennedy brain. Your senses are working overtime, but nervousness and tension and worry fog your thought processes.
One thought that came to me slowly. Post game, walking away into the cold, cold night. The next time I purchase a Toronto FC article of clothing it will have a star on it. A star, champions get to put a star on their chests.
I would be wrong to call Toronto FC 2017 everything a fan ever asked for. It was beyond that.
A few years ago, actually many a moon ago as it came out in 1993, Nick Hornby edited a book called "My Favourite Year". It is a compilation of writings about soccer seasons of note from various writers. At long last I and the TFC faithful have a chapter to contribute.
PS As promised I have changed the blog title to "By the lake". Mistake has been dropped. No mistakes made this season (wishing we had beaten Montreal during the CNE is a quibble, not a mistake). I did not dare to take mistake out of the url though. Urls are not to be messed with after 11 years...