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  • Toronto to Vancouver: Enjoy Panama, send a t-shirt


    With the Nutrilite Canadian Championship for the Voyageurs Cup ready to kick-off tomorrow, it's once again time for Toronto fans to fret about what can go wrong. In spite winning the last two versions of the event -- and wining the 2010 cup fairly comprehensively -- there is a lingering feeling that everything TFC touches turns to S...omething that isn't good.

    If you are a TFC fan you feel that you deal with enough. You don't want to have to listen to domestic chirping from Vancouver, Montreal or, God-forbid, Edmonton if they take the Reds out in the competition. TFC must win. They must raise that cup once more to the BMO Field faithful and then travel to El Salvador (or somewhere else like it) to play a team that most fans had to look up on Wikipedia the day before.

    So, there is a lot of fear.

    Relax. First of all what's the worst thing that could happen. The Reds have lost in ways that defy belief anyway, so what would a 3-2 loss to an expansion NASL team (as a totally random example) mean anyway?


    The other side of this is the uncomfortable question of whether it's in the best interest of the team to win the damn thing anyway -- logically, not emotionally. No one is going to argue that a fan or player should ever want to lose something, but sometimes the glass is half-full, you know.

    Would a TFC NCC loss represent a half-full glass? It would reduce the fixture congestion that bedevilled the club last year. It would give the club more training time and prevent the possibility of a really embarrassing night in some Latin American stadium. For a club that is rebuilding there is very little good that could come from the CCL actually. It's not like TFC could win the damn thing.

    Still, as stated, you can never quite bring yourself to want to lose. So maybe there is a third answer. Maybe TFC fans should want to win the NCC on their own terms.

    Every indication so far is that TFC will use the NCC, and the first tie in particular, to take a look at younger players and those that aren't getting as much playing time as you would like. This is a good thing. Squeaking out a win with the club's best XI doesn't really prove much. There isn't much to choose talent wise between TFC and Vancouver and the other two clubs are in a lower league. Although it may not seem like it Toronto is the co-favourite.

    So play the kids. Then if you do win it is something to get excited about. And if they run the academy guys out and don't get a result then, well, let Vancouver deal with the humidity, terrible officiating, mind bending travel and thankless task of representing Canada in the CCL.

    Seeing what it can do to a season might be good for their fans humility anyway...

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