TFC 2012

End it, please



Whole Lotta Suck

This run of losses is tiring. Hell, the fatigue started after two in a row. Now, after seven, I feel almost punch drunk giddy. All the pain is gone and, light-headed, I’m tilting towards the relief of the impending crash into total stupor.

The tickets to today’s game feature Aron Winter and his name has “WIN” in bold type. Maybe MLSE knew the record would be this bad, or else they thought they would be racking up victories. Either way, “WIN” is the only rallying call for Saturday’s match against DC United.

We also now face the prospect of loss #8, and a new MLS record for sucking from the start. I really am not that sore about the losing. Sure, it’s kind of humiliating. And it does make you wonder who at the MLSE pissed off a Tarot Card reader recently. All streaks come to an end. So, even if TFC can’t make the playoffs or a MLS Cup run, the Reds fortunes ought to change imminently.

It won’t be a moment too soon if it ends this weekend. I am seriously tired of all the chatter and hysterics surrounding this astonishing skid. Doubters and haters are prevailing, of course, because this is their moment. They’ll still be doubting and hating even when Toronto FC starts winning again. The only difference is that fewer people will be paying them any attention.

The free fall of losses has been unjust. Injuries, fixture pile-up, mistakes and bad luck have all contributed to Toronto FC’s woes. They haven’t looked that bad on the pitch through most of it. Sadly, they also haven’t looked that good.

For me, the whining and negativity from supporters is as unfortunate as it is understandable. Making the playoffs is the mantra for the complainers. Much as I would love to see TFC on a cup run this fall, it would be great if the team simply found its footing and began to play with some consistency.

To amass more points in 2012 than ever before, they’ll have to win more than half of their remaining matches. At least that offers a fair metric for all the armchair critics of Winter and his plans.

A loss or three more right now would make the playoffs extremely unlikely. But, even in that worst case, TFC could still best their greatest season point total. Sound like a crappy consolation prize? Well, maybe that’s all we can or should expect. The dream of the latter part of 2011 winding up a winner this year is over. Let’s move on.

My patience is wearing extra thin with all the Winter bashing. The theatrical drama of a firing has trumped most other discussions. Like spectators at a gladiator contest, the sense that blood will soon be spilt has created a frenzy of anticipation. I really can’t see how firing Winter would do anything good for TFC in the short or longer term.

It was hard to find much enthusiasm for dissecting Toronto FC’s play the past two weeks. To make matters worse, there were several good articles online that broke down the Reds failings with far too much analytical clarity. The mathematical proof of sucking was just too much to contemplate for long. No single statistic can measure it, but we all know it’s there. And we all want it gone as soon as possible.

No Flash, No Failure

The midweek Voyageur Cup game against the Impact was a yawner. TFC had so little real attack going forward, it had me thinking Winter’s offensive minded tactics are finally taking a back seat to better holding things together. That correction is probably a few weeks overdue. Taking away Montreal’s space and time in the middle of the park did seem to improve the defending overall.

There certainly was an improved defensive efficiency in midfield off the ball. Julian de Guzman was hustling hard all night, along with Dunfield and Frings. The Impact had the better scoring chances, and most of them still came from mistakes and dopey turnovers. So all is not yet right or tight with TFC’s defending. I’m hoping this week they start to get their shit together on set pieces. I practically have to close my eyes every time there’s corner or free kick in TFC’s half.

At least the Impact match ended in a draw. We all have to accept that as a half step in the right direction. Mercy smiled on the Reds at Stade Olympique. No extra time coup de grace to eradicate our hope and their hard work.

I can’t call the scoreline for this one. Last year’s six goal drubbing by DC still sits vividly in my mind. The one salvation for TFC may be that United also are struggling with injuries in central defense. If DeRo rises to the homecoming, it could become a wild shooting contest at both ends of the pitch.


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