We've made it to the final, there's a trophy on the line along with Canadian bragging rights and a potentially early psychological blow to be struck against the Whitecaps. Whoo, feel the excitement! Orlando isn't going to know what's hit it!
Sadly, most people literally won't know, as unless you've been paying a lot of attention in preseason or to academy games in the past, there'll be very few recognisable Toronto FC players on show. With the big CCL game against the L.A Galaxy just a few days away, TFC management are somehow resisting the lure of the Mickey Mouse Cup to stick with their original plan and get all the eligible first team squad members back safely to Toronto. With Julian de Guzman still not sensibly not heading down to Orlando for just the one game after fulfilling his Canada duties in Cyprus, that means the cup tied Eric Avila, the suspended Nick Soolsma, and a whole bunch of rookies and trialists, though not quite enough of them to fill the bench. Expect a lot of unfamiliar faces and high numbers out there.
It's absolutely the right decision, though a bit of a shame as facing up against Vancouver's loaded attack would be very good practice for taking on Donovan, Keane, Buddle et al. That may not even have happened though as the Whitecaps have another friendly scheduled for Sunday against coach Martin Rennie's old team the Carolina Railhawks, so won't have a full squad in Orlando either. This article does though suggest that they'll be taking it seriously, with Eric Hassli embracing his inner Hastings and Main and saying they have to "become addicts to win games", start building a winning mentality and all that. So all in all, what could have been a very good final promises to be a bit of an anti climax really, but it's still worth watching, and thanks to tsn.ca you will be able to watch a live stream despite earlier fears that it wouldn't be available in Canada.
This article lists the players left behind in Orlando and what will make it worth watching is the promise of plenty of minutes for so far rarely seen trialists, as well as a rare chance to see some of TFC's best academy players tried out against MLS level opposition. Stefan Vukovic was talked about as one of the most likely players to be offered a contract, yet he hasn't seen any action in the 3 games played here so far. He'll be hoping to get in the game and get a chance to impress Paul Mariner and Jason Bent who'll be handling the coaching duties. Most of the other academy players don't have a realistic shot at getting a contract with the first team this year, but they do at least have the luxury of a spot in the academy to fall back on, which isn't the case for those trialists about whom a decision hasn't been made and this could be their last chance.
That includes draft picks Michael Green and Efrain Burgos Jr, and training camp invitees kevin Huezo, Moises Orozco and Logan Emory. Huezo hasn't really impressed in his substitute appearances so far, but given TFC's lack of depth in the Left back position, he might have a chance to stick with the club. Moises Orozco certainly caught the eye with his spectacular goal against BK Hacken, and the forward will be hoping to show he might be worth taking on as backup to Danny Koevermans.
Logan Emory is a name that seems to have come out of nowhere, but wikipedia tells me he's a 24 year old defender who's been with the Puerto Rico Islanders for the last couple of years, making 51 appearances. I look forward to the chance to actually see him play to be able to form some kind of opinion.
And so, rather than the tasty finale that looked possible, TFC's Orlando adventure will end with a bit of a whimper, like trading in a rollercoaster for a ride in some dumb teacups. I'll still be watching, but the result matters even less than your regular preseason game