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TFC 2010 | Week#7

Earth, Wind and Fire

Big Week For Canadian Soccer

The long anticipated announcement of the MLS’ expansion into Montreal was confirmed today, and yesterday’s rumour is today’s stale fact. The Montreal Impact (apparently under the same name, despite more rumours to the contrary) will join as the 19th MLS team for the 2012 season. This is no surprise, and it is extremely good news for the game in Canada. Another top tier professional team, crowning franchises in Canada’s top three media markets, finally puts the sport on a strong foundation. Add in news about the CSL’s effort to form a nationally unified lower tier of regional leagues, competing for a championship trophy, and there’s lots of rosy potential ahead for soccer in Canada. The birth of the Toronto FC and inclusion of the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS next year are the other major steps in the sport’s recent development.

The beneficiaries of these events will be the next generation of professional players in this country. There will be more and better opportunities to watch and play the sport at high levels, and there’s a positive focus on building youth/club systems out from each of these professional systems. The sport is sure to gain from this effort. Fans and players can look ahead to Canadian teams improving their fortunes in the international arena as well. It won’t happen overnight, but this is a clear turning point for the game in Canada and is something we should all cheer about today. When we all come back down to earth from that thrilling turn of events, we can also look forward to a new and gritty rivalry between Montreal and Toronto. Our teams will be natural rivals in the MLS East, and border-free destinations for travelling supporters.

Bluster By The Lake

It’s week #7 in the MLS 2010 season, and Toronto FC play the Chicago Fire at BMO before heading out on the road for stops in Montreal, Los Angeles and Vancouver. The Fire, unbeaten in the past three games, will be facing a daunting task tomorrow. Not only will they have to face Toronto FC at home, where TFC are unbeaten this season, but they’ll also have to do so in some wickedly wild weather by the Lake. After dropping losses in their first two matches, the Fire switched from a 4-4-2 formation to a 4-5-1 and have proceeded to win two and tie another since. Their defense has stepped up their game, having only allowed 1 goal in those past three matches and they will likely be fielding their new centre back Krzysztof Krol who sat out their last match for a previous red card booking. Chicago will be missing Justin Mapp in the midfield, but will remain dangerous going forward with Brian McBride and Patrick Nyarko posing the greatest threats on goal.

Toronto FC will have to find their own fire on the pitch tomorrow. Preki has admitted it was a mistake to rest De Rosario and de Guzman last Saturday in Salt Lake, and the team needs to re-stoke their confidence with a solid outing in front of the home fans before they play three away games in the next 11 days. It remains to be seen if the low temperatures, high winds and high probability of precipitation will dampen the supporters’ enthusiasm at BMO. It would be fair to expect the casual fans to stay at home tomorrow, just as we should expect the announcement that more than 21,000 are in attendance at BMO for the game. A wet pitch and gusting winds will likely keep this a tight match, as finesse will be forced to contend with the elements. My heart feels another victory could be ours. Reflecting on tomorrow’s weather forecast, however, and it really seems like Mother Nature is far too potent a wildcard for me to hold onto that expectation.

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