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TFC 2013

Another Year That Wasn’t

Please lads, do not repeat this…

The Most Patient Fans On Earth

Ok, that title really belongs to Toronto Maple Leafs fans. However, Toronto FC fans can certainly boast to own some of it now. The seventh season ends this weekend, and it will bring merciful closure. Arguably, this might have been the worst season of all.

There was the usual hyperbole about change. There was the usual shuffling of the management and the roster. TFC played through an ugly and inglorious campaign.

Yet again, it was the kind of season that makes it very hard to feel optimistic about the next one.

It also has been hard to find much to write about here. The deja vu has been overwhelming. Another year of turning the corner only to find myself staring at the same dead end. The doom hanging over the 2013 team has been hard to escape.

Whatever promise the 2012 TFC had for this season, it was all gone by the end of July. Koevermans never really returned from his knee injury. Silva was traded. Stefan Frei never left the bench. Big name signings never materialized. No surprise, the new management was fired before the end of August.

Not all was lost. Some new players have proven to be good acquisitions. Laba and Caldwell definitely made a difference when they were healthy and available. Osorio, Convey and Rey have some promise as a midfield too. Ryan Nelsen even seemed to be able to organize the defense better than any of his predecessors.

In the end, it didn’t matter.

Toronto FC remain the pitiable runt in the MLS litter. Unable to shore up its back line, too many close contests were lost to late mistakes and laughably bad defending. Worse yet, service forward and the actual attacking were consistently incapable of scoring the goals that would have made a difference.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même.

Tic Tac Tabernac

All that’s left to rally around is the slim chance we can defeat the Montreal Impact at BMO to close out 2013. It could spoil their bid to make the playoffs.

That’s right, there’s no hope for TFC success. So we’re left only with finding pleasure at other’s misfortune. But don’t feel bad about that. They are our rivals. We are supposed to root for their failure.

With weather forecasts running cool and blustery, the stage is set for my favourite kind of BMO experience. If our team’s play fails to bond us in camaraderie, there’s always inclement weather to bind us together around a common cause. Plus, you can buy the big beers without fear of them going warm before you finish them.

TFC entered 2013 with a roar and will exit with a whimper.

Will 2014 bring us any different?

Prediction:

Toronto FC  1  –  1  Montreal Impact

 

TFC 2013

Urruti Toot Tutti

Welcome to sky-high expectations…

That’s All Folks

Well, the K-Pay is good for his word. TFC finally signed the Argentine striker they’ve been pursuing for most of 2013. The youngster has landed, signed and posed for the requisite photo. He looks relieved, having left behind the legal hassles of a club struggling with insolvency. One has to wonder if he’s ready for the adventure that lies ahead in Toronto.

Unless there’s another free agent imminently scribbling his name to a contract, this is it for Toronto’s 2013 player-go-round. Now we get to watch ‘what it is’ fight for whatever’s left.

While a playoff run is mathematically possible, the odds are against it. And really, who cares?

The fact that K-Pay and the Nelsenator have begun to pull the team together is noteworthy in itself. Play on the field has definitely improved this season. The defense has coalesced into a decent unit for MLS play. The midfield is beginning to look capable, and actually has some depth. With Urruti’s arrival, there’s some hope that the new boy will spark life into the attacking corps.

Goal scoring remains the greatest deficit on the pitch for the Reds. Danny Koevermans may yet return to match fitness, but these are end days for him at TFC. Nevertheless, Koef, Earnshaw and Urruti need to put some finish into TFC’s improving play.

For me, a 2013 playoff run is irrelevant. Winning every game left this season is an entirely unreasonable expectation. TFC posting a winning record for the remaining matches would be a totally satisfying closing chapter for year 1 of this new regime.

In Columbus tonight, the Reds could grind out a moral victory. Solid play seems likely. A win isn’t out of the question. The Trillium Cup could be ours. C’mon lads, bring us back the hardware.

Game Prediction:

Columbus Crew  1  –  2  Toronto FC

 

TFC 2013

Is there anything left to say?

 

uhhhh… things will get better… rinse… repeat.

Wisdom? Or Wasteland?

Too soon to tell if MLSE and the LeiPaynSen experiment are for realz. But right about now, I need some signs.

After a pair of desperately terrible matches this past week, supporter emotions and hope are flatlining. Can we really complain? We were warned the next few games would be ‘tough.’ There really isn’t any point in getting all analyse-ish about all this churn and failure.

It’s agonizing to watch. This team is moving from sucking to the sucktacular. Again.

Painful as it is, 2013 isn’t any of our first run-ins with this team bottoming out. Other teams might have roster consistency, or occasionally good seasons, but Toronto FC’s motto really could be “We Clean House, A Lot.”

Past regimes have failed to ever totally clear out their predecessors failed handiwork. Rebuilding has never been completed. Not even once. The norm for management here is: Enter, Promise New Path, Dump out, Drag in, Ask For Patience, Churn Roster. Spend Big. Do Worse. Lose job. Repeat.

We can thank Mo Johnston. He got to go first. He’s our founding father of fuck ups at TFC. Without him, there would be none.

I can’t say what media scrutiny was like in other MLS markets for LeiPaynSen. I’m not even sure if what we have here in Toronto passes as a ‘hot’ environment in the footballing world. This week, however, the TFC braintrust must be feeling some heat. I mean they promised the playoffs. This year!

I’ve always hated that Rob Fordy, over-simplified milestone as a rallying call. I could care less about the playoffs this season. I want to see this team truly improve. Someone has to be able to lead the Reds out of the basement. Someone has to free us from the laughing stocks in the middle of the MLS town square.

I want more. Maybe it’s a silly fantasy. I need to believe there is some other path. There has to be a parallel universe where a Toronto FC team actually makes the most of its wealth and fan base to build a long-term contender.

I don’t want to LeiPaynSen off easily. They need to know that our loyalty has its limits.  This may not be the time to pull their feet too close to the flames. Yet, they need to know we will want some answers if this implosion is another repetition of what has come before.

We have to stop this terrible cycle sometime. If there’s any mercy, and any game in the management seats, we’ll see it end here.

LewPaynSen has my trust for now. Playoffs or not.

The Coming And Going

In the meantime, this season is now a novelty act. The contests on the pitch are irrelevant. The Wheel of Player Fortune spins and spins. Where it stops we cannot know.

I feel bad for the guys who have to suit up and face the music each week. And I bet the merry-go-round will keep turning for quite a while too.

Matias Laba seems like a smart purchase. Caldwell has done better than most.

The out door is still open. Eckersley and Frei seem like they will be leaving TFC soon. If not this season, then by next.

We should all be saying goodbye to Danny Koevermans. Match fitness and a major scoring streak are the only thing that might keep him here past his current contract.

But all that subtraction has to be followed by addition. TFC has to stock up through academy development, old-fashioned trading or by dollars down. The infernal cap will always be there. Other teams manage it.

When there is no more cap room to be had, and no more season to be sacrificed, LewPaynSen have to show us the goods.

Bring it on.

Foospaper | TFC 2013

Unforgettable Moments

TFC 2013

Summertime Shuffle

C’mon you Reds!

They’re back, tabernac!

Yep. Just when you thought you could remember the entire starting line-up. The summertime transfers are set to begin.  That means a bunch of new faces moving in, and a few stale old ones moving out. 

Welcome Michael Thomas. And I guess we can say the same for Steven Caldwell, who has just signed for a three season hitch. Sayonara… tbd. Our first halfies have had a tough go of it. There’s’ still hope that the second halfies will do better.

Maximum Impact

With the shuffle starting for real in the coming days. TFC are in a weird limbo. Poised to shake and bake the roster, but not yet holding all their chickens. Wow – stunningly greasy metaphor.

And L’Impact du Montreal saunter into town tonight. The Eastern Conference leaders and first half dominators are feeling pinchy in their Gucci loafers this week. Last weekend’s game with the Rapids saw them drop a rare home loss to the tune of four goals allowed. It probably didn’t help that Italia fizzled to third in the Confederations Cup.

After the 6-0 beat-down they put on TFC in their last contest, both sides are certain to be spirited tonight. What more can one ask of a mid-week, night game?!! Love it.


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