I borrowed that wonderful double entendre from the Toronto Sun’s Kurt Larson in his post-game match report following Toronto FC’s 1-0 loss to Chivas, capping a franchise record five consecutive Major League Soccer losses to start the season, fifteen points lopped off the top of the team’s 2012 season when everything was supposed to be “different.”
Fans were given some much needed perspective on the state of their club after they graciously observed a moment’s silence for the 25 year-old Livorno player Piermario Morosini, who died of a heart attack on Saturday in a Serie B match (such was the reach of the player that both former TFC player Andrea Lombardo and Man City striker Mario Balotelli once counted Morosini as their teammate).
In fact, most fans, journalists and pundits in Toronto have admirably maintained a clear perspective in their assessment of what exactly has gone wrong with this team, from Canadian Soccer News’ Ben Rycroft and Duane Rollins, to Waking the Red’s Duncan Fletcher, to Red Nation Online’s Armen Bedakian.
Theories range from a disconnect between Paul Mariner and Aron Winter over Dutch ideals versus MLS reality, to Winter’s tactical naivete, to the awfulness of Ty Harden and Julian De Guzman, to the absence of Torsten Frings. And as bad as this stretch could be, it’s still possible we’ll look back on this early phase of the season as an unfortunate settling period.
Yet this could also turn out to be the worst Toronto FC team yet, after an off-season in which many believed the club had turned a crucial corner in its half-decade of abject mediocrity. The investment in the Winter project, both in terms of resources from MLSE and good faith from the fans, has been substantial. Its failure could ruin the good work set out in 2007, and be a massive blow to Toronto’s fragile domestic soccer culture. And if that happens, it’s worth wondering who should be held accountable.
Few within the soccer community in Toronto have blamed Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, most likely because ripping on MLSE is viewed—often rightly—as plebian gas-baggery. But how long will Toronto simply accept the sporting status quo? Toronto’s half-decade long struggle for relevance in a league with MLS’ competitive parity is a scandal, a team that manages to be consistently bad in an inconsistent league. That in of itself is an incredible achievement, and gives the lie to any blather about adjustment periods and managerial settling. That is the hallmark of sporting (if not financial) ineptitude from an organization whose idea of a post-season is printing a full page apology in all the city newspapers. I don’t often say it, but Toronto deserves better…
The 2012 BC Provincial Cup kicks off in style.
Montreal Impact crash and burn in Dallas.
Vancouver Whitecaps name John Furlong—he of the awkward Olympic speeches—as executive chair.
Adebayor says Martin Atkinson ruined Spurs’ FA Cup after he awarded Chelsea a goal that was not a goal.
It’s all down to fourth place in the Premier League for Redknapp’s Spurs.
Some Chelsea FC fans ruined the moment of silence for Hillsborough victims.
Sir Alex Ferguson says Ashley Young did go down easily in penalty against Aston Villa.
Ryan Taylor says Ashley Young is the biggest cheat in the Premier League.
PFA head wonders why FIFA is dragging its feet on video replay tech.
Roberto Mancini mum about Tevez’s future with Man City.
Man United and Benfica in a Fabio/Gaitan exchange?
Luis Suarez insists he’ll be sticking around Anfield.
El Hadji Diouf arrested following violent Manchester club brawl.
FA chief says an England managerial appointment is around the corner.
Udinese ensures Piermario Morosini’s severely disabled sister will be cared for in perpetuity.
Paolo Bandini on a kind young man who grew up in tragic circumstances.
Massimo Moratti fully backed decision to cancel all Serie A matches on the weekend.
Miroslav Klose has played his last game this season with Lazio.
Real Zaragoza fight the good fight, writes Sid Lowe.
Controversial penalties for big clubs not limited to the Premier League.
Bayer Leverkusen live up to their rep as perennial chokers.
Bits and bobs
Cristiano Ronaldo on Paul Scholes.
Beckham’s still got it against Portland…
And that, give or take, is the story so far…