TFC 2011 | Week#21

Too Soon for Upbeat?

The 2011 campaign has required meditating on hopeful and optimistic aphorisms. I’m not a religious person, but as a TFC supporter I’ve been keeping some blind faith on that scale. That’s just what it takes to wear the colours through this transition. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

In the past ten days, Toronto FC paid back some of that investment. The Reds managed to put together a three game unbeaten streak. It included a come from behind tie in Portland, and a decisive away win over Champion’s League opponent.

This new positive air, however, has me feeling disoriented. I’m not used to feeling upbeat and… contented.

Management’s thorough house-cleaning of the roster this past month may not be over. With the new bodies arriving each week, there’s more patience and faith required to allow for players settling in. This we have known from the start of time. In our fifth (re)building year, new players getting acquainted on the pitch is the norm.

But, it would seem, these particular new guys are starting to get to know each other. They also seem to fit into the strategic system TFC have adopted this season. By October, they might even be playing some pretty good football together on a consistent basis.

Could it be that TFC have finally turned a corner with Aron Winter?

Doubters take note: the Winter-wagon is no longer relying on the holdover Preki-Johnston drivetrain. Paul Mariner has just slipped in a custom assembled powerplant and the team is looking a lot more lively on the track. A couple more weeks of tinkering and other upgrades and this Toronto FC of the future could come out looking like a contender.

At least that’s the feeling I have this week.

A visit down to RFK Stadium, Dwayne de Rosario’s new home with the vastly improved DC United, certainly could test my positivity. After all, DC shellacked us at home not so long ago. It was a different roster for us back then, so Saturday’s game is tough to predict. An away win is certainly too much to expect. But, improving on the debacle the first meeting was this season, I’m thinking the Reds will make a real match of it this time.

The most inspiring part of the past ten days was watching TFC climb back from a two goal deficit in Portland. It is no small accomplishment to have found the heart and form to level the game in that park with those fans shaking the stands. (Paying penance to that outcome, Portland routed the first place LA Galaxy there 3-0 this week).

If the past few weeks are a sign of what lies ahead, let me just reaffirm my mantras of faith. The quality of play across the MLS seems to be rising, and Toronto FC are not being left behind.

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