As far as nights at the CNE grounds go, it definitely could have been worse for TFC fans.
Had this been a week ago, a Reds supporter could have sucked back a cronut burger and ended up in the hospital with severe gastrointestinal distress (damned maple bacon jam). As it was, the uneasy feeling in the guts of the TFC faithful on Friday night was caused by a win cruelly ripped away in the final moments by a seemingly unjust decision. Plus, probably, too many Tiny Tom donuts.
But since we're delving into alternate universes, let's just say, the proprietors of the CNE should be thankful this took place in another lost season for TFC, with the playoffs nary but a distant dream. Had this result come down in a game/season that actually meant something, angered soccer "hooligans" would surely be recklessly taking their rage out on the test-of-strength machine and other innocent carnival diversions.
As it is, as of this writing, many are likely tucked in their beds with thoughts of a long-weekend Muskoka getaway dancing through their minds, and Steven Caldwell's disallowed goal already drifting away into cognitive irrelevancy.
Such is TFC's fate at this point in season seven.
Hell, even I'm just churning this out before heading out to the cottage in the morning, on the off chance that someone stumbles upon CSN over the weekend and is also somehow incapable of accessing the six-minute game highlights freely available on Toronto FC's website. If that level of candid indifference isn't to your liking in this match report, please feel free to provide your mailing address in the comments section and I'll gladly send you a full refund of what you paid for it.
Anyway, anyone writing about games at BMO Field during the CNE is legally obligated to make copious references to the Ex (it's true, I looked it up ), so here's the painfully strained way in which I'll do it for this kickaround between Toronto and New England in the year 2013. Ahem...
Set against the backdrop of the yearly carnival atmosphere of the CNE, the real circus was going on within the confines of BMO Field on Friday night! (hold for uproarious laughter) The Revolution's first goal something something carousel around the TFC defence, while Andrew Wiedeman's response late in the first half something something pinball or tilt-a-whirl or whatever. But the real clownish display was saved for the game's dying minutes something something Steven Caldwell's goal was deemed illegit based on a foul call that would probably make Koman Coulibaly blush. Hey, who's Koman Coulibaly? Where am I? Existential crisis!
Yeah, anyway, what else. Alvaro Rey looked good coming on as a second-half sub; Maxi Urruti looked like an upright human being coming on as a sub; Jonas Elmer probably exists, though I can't recall any direct evidence of it while watching the telecast. Joe Bendik saved another sure goal, Doneil Henry showed his youth, Wiedeman's not as bad as everyone thinks (a collective opinion based on one stupid comment his former manager made, something over which the player himself has no control) and Justin Braun still can't get a whiff of the pitch despite being the team's third-leading scorer this season (let that one sink in).
So yeah, we're getting to see the same old guys doing the same old things. At least we're getting a good look at the newcomers; oh wait, we're not. Well, at least we'll get a chance to see what the underplayed youngsters can do; oh wait, we won't. Much like the CNE (cheap plug), we'll be getting much of the same time after time after time, and will continue to scarf it down like an oversized helping of fried mac and cheese because we hate ourselves.
What's there to play for, then? We know Ryan Nelsen will be back next year. If new boss Tim Leiweke has any concept whatsoever of how cataclysmically damaging another regime change would be to this fragile franchise, he'll keep team president Kevin Payne around for at least another year.
So in the grand scheme of TFC games that have happened, this one will be remembered as "one that TFC should have won but they didn't because of some crap call at the end that disallowed a goal" -- if it's remembered at all, which it won't be.
As for the rest of the season, we'll continue to pay attention to it for the same reason we continue to attend the CNE year after year -- mostly based on the desperate, nostalgia-fueled hope that what we're about to see can live up to the probably-apocryphal memories we've formed about it, while simultaneously harbouring the intellectual understanding that there's no possible way it could.
Happy long weekend, everyone! All For One!