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  • Sober Second Thoughts: Real priorities


    Two wins in four days. It rarely gets this high for the Reds. Sure, you could look at the way they got the results and you could nitpick, but why would you do that?

    Six points in two different competitions and suddenly you can see the end of the long, dark, terrifying tunnel this club has been stuck in for the majority of its existence.

    The results, combined with some help elsewhere, also put the club back in one competition – the CONCACAF Champions League – and, although not likely back in a playoff race, at least off the foot of the table and half way close to somewhat respectful. You can talk about ifs now – if they hadn’t blown the 2-0 lead against Chicago, or allowed the 89th minute equalizer against San Jose, they would be in a playoff race (still outside, but in it).

    The moderate success – refreshingly mediocre as a previous CSN column referred to it – has reopened an old debate. Should the club prioritize those North American nights over what will likely be meaningless points? Within the core of the hardcore support the answer is clear – they should, no questions asked. The CCL represents a chance for legitimate competitive success, whereas the regular season is made up of glorified friendlies.


    It’s not so clear whether those outside of that minority feel the same way. Consider the evidence:

    • There were 12,000 less people at the midweek game than at the regular season game
    • When TFC tried to include CCL tickets in this year’s season ticket package there was a major pushback by ticket holders outside the supporter’s section (it actually was the most consistent complaint at the non-Supporter’s Groups town hall meeting)
    • The 2012 season tickets do not include CCL games, but rather give fans an option of adding everything (including, possibly, a big name friendly).

    It’s easy for supporter group fans to become insular, but the reality is that the club needs to meet the needs of all its fans. And, it seems that the majority of fans would rather see the club do well in MLS play. You can’t read their minds, but it might even be seen as disrespectful for the club to mail it in.

    There is another reason why giving up on any game is foolish. After five years of a losing culture, TFC cannot give up any opportunity to try and change its losing attitude. For sure, some kids should be mixed in, but to full on give up? What kind of message does that send? It can’t and shouldn’t be tolerated.

    Instead of looking at the remaining MLS games as glorified friendlies, fans should see them as an extended pre-season for 2012. TFC knows how to lose. The long-term health of the club is dependent on them learning how to win.

    And, that’s far more important than an outside shot at playing in the CCL quarterfinals.

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