• Rudi

      by Published on 03-16-2012 02:15 AM
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      So how 'bout that game Wednesday night, eh?

      You can forgive Toronto FC fans for still revelling in the afterglow of that 2-1 win in LA a couple of days ago. After all, their club has hardly showered itself in glory during its five-plus year history.

      The historic win is, indeed, much reason to celebrate. And what an incredible way to kick off the hope-filled 2012 campaign.

      That's where the reality sets in. TFC has yet to even kick an MLS ball in anger, and yet the team is still coming down from arguably its highest high. And they need to do it fast, because tomorrow brings about the MLS season opener in Seattle, against a side that suffered an embarrasing exit from the same competition in which the Reds are somehow the final Major Soccer League team standing.

      Both clubs could be facing a Champions League hangover, ironically on the most alcohol-fuelled night of the year.
      by Published on 03-14-2012 01:22 AM
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      A week removed from Toronto FC's Biggest Game Ever™, and we're faced with a sequel which is actually bigger.

      That's just the nature of Champions League football, of course, especially in the knockout stages. But while tonight's game has bigger implications than last Wednesday's monstrous Roger Centre affair -- at least from a competitive standpoint -- it certainly won't feel like it.

      Toronto pulled in nearly 48,000 fans for the first leg of this tie, but as has been widely reported/debated/scorned, LA will only max out at 7,500 hardy souls for the return leg. If they're lucky.

      Regardless of the small-time feel of playing tonight's match in front of assorted friends and family, the game is massive.

      And more importantly for TFC, the game is winnable.
      by Published on 03-07-2012 02:30 AM
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      After an agonizingly long wait, the new season is finally upon us.

      And what better way to kick it off than in front of a massive crowd, against a glitzy opponent, and for a chance to move on in the region's championship?

      Toronto FC has been building to this day ever since the stars aligned in a Dallas suburb back in October. With no playoff action -- yet again -- to tide eager fans over, the focus immediately shifted to the successful CONCACAF Champions League group stage, where Toronto overcame big odds to advance to the knockout stages.

      The only problem, of course, is that there was a five month gap between the round robin and tonight's quarterfinal opener -- an excruciatingly long time to try to hold the momentum of what was a thorough thrashing of FC Dallas in the final CCL matchday of 2011.

      TFC took the extended time off to re-tool and try to take another step forward in realizing the amibitious vision that was set for the club when Aron Winter was hired. The core remained, and a few pieces were shipped in and out.

      In the meantime, we learned that the Reds will take on MLS Cup champs LA Galaxy, who are nearly as strong now as they were when they ran roughshod over the league for most of last year.

      But the question that everyone wants to know the answer to is, "Is Toronto FC ready?"

      We'll find out in very short order. ...
      by Published on 03-02-2012 02:15 PM
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      Usually, a match between TFC and the Whitecaps would be one of the most anticipated of the preseason, as the team's respective fanbases have grown a healthy dislike for one another. Throw in the fact that it's a cup final, and the online rhetoric should be reaching mass hysteria.

      But that's just not the case, unfortunately.

      When Vancouver and Toronto meet in the final of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic on Saturday night, there will be many interested observers watching, but the match won't reach the fervour that would be expected of a game between those two clubs just a week before the MLS season kicks off.

      That's because TFC has already dispatched their expected first teamers back to Toronto, where they will be preparing for a far more important match that's set to take place just four days later.

      And while the fans will be denied a chance to see the two improved squads go full-steam on Saturday, for a large segment of those fans (mostly Toronto-based), that's just fine. ...
      by Published on 02-28-2012 01:30 AM
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      Heading into game two of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic, Toronto FC seems to have given observers more questions than answers.

      Following what has been widely described as an "uneven" opener against local side Orlando City, TFC did much to unsettle the previously calm minds of its fans. Most glaringly, the defenders brought in to right the many wrongs on the porous backline looked anything but ready for a season that is now looming ominously on the horizon.

      The big South American pair were vulnerable to the long ball/speed combination that is so prevalant in soccer in this part of the world, setting off alarm bells that Toronto may not be as set as they seemed just days before (when no one had actually seen them play).

      If that's the case, then what now?

      Well, how about another preseason game, this time against BK Hacken?
      by Published on 02-24-2012 02:06 PM
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      Toronto FC has released its full 2012 MLS broadcast schedule, which is highlighted by a return to Rogers Sportsnet after a one-year hiatus from the network.

      As reported earlier in the week, TSN and its family of networks (TSN2, RDS) will air 18 of Toronto's matches, including three of TFC's first four MLS games. Sportsnet will broadcast six regular season games -- including the season opener from Seattle on March 17 -- on either Sportnet ONE or Ontario, and GOLTV Canada will show ten matches.

      No word yet which broadcaster will carry Toronto's CONCACAF Champions League games against Los Angeles next month, but Rogers is the Canadian CONCACAF rightsholder, so expect Sportsnet to air those matches on one of its channels.

      Full schedule below. ...
      by Published on 02-24-2012 01:36 PM
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      There's an old saying that says a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

      On Saturday, Toronto FC begins its 2012 journey -- a long, winding season that could span over 50 competitive games when all is said and done -- when the team steps onto the pitch for its first real preseason match of the year.

      Yes, there was that 5-1 drubbing of a bunch of university kids last week, along with a high-scoring draw against a separate bunch of college-rs a few days ago, but for all intents and purposes, tomorrow's game against Orlando City will be the first real litmus test for the slightly re-tooled and "stable" TFC side that Aron Winter has constructed.

      And while preseason games should be taken for what they are -- high-paced practices held under game-like conditions -- to say that there is a lot riding on this upcoming campaign for all involved with TFC is an understatement.

      Expectations are higher than ever for the Reds heading into 2012, and Saturday's scrimmage will finally provide the club's legion of fans a first glimpse at what the team will look like going forward.

      No pressure.
      by Published on 02-08-2012 11:32 PM
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      Olivier Occean is in the middle of a superb season with SpVgg Greuther Fürth, scoring goal after goal for a team in contention for promotion to the Bundesliga.

      On Wednesday, he scored perhaps his biggest goal of the season thus far, nabbing a first half winner against Hoffenheim to put Greuther Fürth into the semi-final round of the DFB-Pokal.

      Occean's 44th-minute marker was started off by a great first touch, followed by a good display of strength to hold off a defender, and finally a deft left footed touch to slide it by Hoffenheim's onrushing 'keeper.

      Video below the jump. ...
      by Published on 01-26-2012 12:22 PM

      Toronto FC are currently holding their annual pre-season Media Day, and head coach Aron Winter has used the opportunity to announce the signing of Ecuadorean centre back Geovanny Caicedo.

      The 30-year-old arrives at TFC from LDU Quito, which is also the former club of starlet Joao Plata. He has earned eight caps with his national team, including one versus Canada at BMO Field in 2011. ...
      by Published on 01-12-2012 10:00 AM
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      Join us for a live chat about the 2012 SuperDraft.

      The expansion Montreal Impact have the first pick in the draft, followed by Vancouver Whitecaps at number two. Toronto FC hold pick numbers 4 and 12 in the first round, so all three Canadian MLS sides should be very active from the outset.

      The Superdraft starts Thursday, January 12, at 12:00pm ET / 9:00am PT. ...
      by Published on 12-25-2011 12:13 PM

      Every year, Toronto supporters group U-Sector puts together a "year in review" video which is revealed at the group's annual Christmas party.

      The "Christmas Reel" has become an annual tradition; a look back at the year that was for Toronto FC and Canada, all through the eyes of the group. As the intended audience is U-Sector members, there are some inside references that may fly over an "outsider's" head, but for the most part every TFC fan should be able to appreciate the slick retrospective.
      by Published on 12-22-2011 11:57 PM
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      Warning: This is a very long read, much longer than I originally intended.


      Everyone reading this column has heard it over and over.

      The refrain of the ill-informed: "Soccer is a sissy sport!" or "Real men don't play soccer!" or Insert variation along the same theme here.

      If you're like me, you've heard this refrain come from all angles -- from friends, overhead at a sports bar, spoken by some blowhard on television, etc. And if you're like me, you've spent a lifetime laughing it off, knowing that the people who say such things are products of a North American sporting consciousness that simply doesn't know any better.

      "Let them laugh it up, they have no idea what they're missing."

      The above attitude has gotten me through years of ignorant ridicule, mostly coming from those who've never kicked a ball -- in anger or otherwise -- in their unenlightened lives. My laissez-faire approach to it has served me well over the years. I truly didn't care what people thought about the sport I held so dearly.

      I mean, if I cared that much, I would have given up a long time ago, right?

      Despite this, I'm still a (somewhat) normal person, and my mood on a particular day will dictate how I react to certain things. On a bad day, I may take offence to the refrain much quicker than I would regularly.

      Last week I had one of those days.
      by Published on 12-14-2011 10:30 AM
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      It's almost impossible to argue against Dwayne De Rosario as the 2011 Canadian men's player of the year.

      In what may have been the most obvious choice in the history of the award, the CSA announced today that De Rosario had topped the voting; just another feather in the cap of the man who had already wrapped up Major League Soccer's Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player trophies.

      But for all the amazing things DeRo has achieved on the club level this year -- and make no mistake, it'll likely be a long time until another male player from this country dominates a league the way De Rosario did this season -- his play for the national side was, by the very standards that the man set for himself this year, sub-par.

      Given that a player of the year award is purportedly recognition for an entire body of work over a 12 month period -- which includes the national team, especially since the honour is awarded by the CSA -- should his less-than-stellar form for Stephen Hart's side matter? ...
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