TFC 2010 | Week#26

Is 2010 over?

This week I wish I could praise the Reds performance on the field for winning a game in Houston. Talk up the tie in Mexico that would have made Preki proud. Or just thoughtfully examine the loss to San Jose in Toronto this past weekend. But that’s never going to appeal to anyone’s mood right now.

Sure, we’re all feeling disappointed if not outright sour. It sucks that we didn’t get better. But just making the playoffs hardly would have been enough. That merely would have raised our expectations.

We also have short memories. If you were closely watching the team at the beginning of the season, you would know we never should have gotten our hopes up in the first place. We had nobody on the roster in April. And 80 newcomers before May was over. All in the hands of a hardass coach with a defensive mindset and probably impossible goals to meet.

And no, firing Mo Johnston and Preki didn’t make it better. If anything, it has made it look worse for me. More uncertainty ahead, more new management, more trades, more ‘rebuilding’. The cynic in me sees playoffs as realistic no sooner than 2013.

I don’t fault anyone for feeling defeated by 2010 so far. It’s been a bit of a gong show. I guess that’s why so many people are ready to give up. People now note that the stands fill late and empty early at BMO Field. Has the party really ended? I’m not leaving yet, but then I’m known as last man standing for my frequent ‘closing’ of festivities I embark on.

This week has really rung out with negativity in the realm of Toronto FC. Nothing taints the experience with as much finality as failure. Hey TFC might not even make the playoffs if they win their final four regular season games.  Should we dissect the cadaver of the team’s DUI now or can we wait until the end? Maybe we can just burn it from our memory banks and sprinkle the ashes out over the new grass at BMO.

Thankfully, into the breach steps the kind of story that can distract you from the doledrums of a team-loathing supporter. DeRo, bless his talented boots, managed to ignite a small PR fire this weekend. After a beautiful goal (watch the goal and celebration, at the beginning and end of clip):

DeRo’s celebration imitates signing something. A not so subtle statement to the world that somebody wants a raise.

Much chatter has ensued. If you can fault DeRo, it is not because he doesn’t deserve the raise. It’s just bad timing. But then, we also just got news that the cost of season seats were yet again raised by Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment. I say DeRo’s timing is no worse than theirs, and probably totally appropriate given that the team is asking us all for more money right now.

I say pay some of that new revenue to him, he’s carrying the team on his own. A lot.

All that aside, there’s nobody out there that is going to feel too charitable about the outstretched hand at this particular moment. Not as we watch four more regular season games, or don’t watch as the case may be, with the knowledge that our season will not include post-season.

Don’t count me as altogether gloomy. There’s still light out there. For the optimists. Before finally putting 2010 to rest, the Champion’s League could be a last genuine gasp of hope and pride. All Toronto FC have to do is beat a really good Real Salt Lake team at BMO tonight. Then the chances are good for advancing out of the group stage.

I like the fantasy, but not the odds. I’ll be rooting for them, of course, and thrilled if we can salvage something from the debris of this season.

Maybe if DeRo can engineer that kind of miracle, people would be sweeter on the subject of his raise. Otherwise, like many fans of this game, I’ll be hunkering down for the cold winter months and watching some higher-calibre football from Europe.

But not too much. Setanta’s expensive. My TFC seats just went up again. Maybe I’ll just watch more hockey – and definitely not the Leafs.

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