Gut Check Time

This is our team. For better or worse they are what we have so how will you support them?

There is no reason to go back over any of last nights game. In the end it was an improved performance but ended up in another Toronto FC defeat. That makes it a record equaling 7 straight losses to start the season. To make matters even worse, when Kansas City set the original mark they did so in the shootout era so a pair of their defeats would actually have been draws in the current league setup. Even if Toronto FC wins their next league match against DC United they already should go down as having the worst start in league history.

It is a painful time to be a fan of this club, which all of us are at Waking the Red. At a time like this it might be nice to be able to keep a professional distance from the club and only see these losing streak as material to write the same story week after week. For myself though, every time I write that same story it is painful, as Toronto FC is a team that I have become proud to support over recent years but now there is not much left to be proud of.

One of the perks I have had is the chance to get to know some of the players to a limited extent. That actually makes it harder to see them collapsing to the field after Real Salt Lake scored their 93rd minute winner. You have to hurt for the guys who have been giving their all for the club this season and have only been rewarded with being continued laughing stocks around the league.

The question though is where does this losing streak leave all of us as fans. There has been some extreme talk already from some supporters and there has also been some talk of remaining unwaveringly loyal to the team. For myself though the ideal is somewhere in between.

If another poor season from the club is enough to make you throw away your kit and rip up your season tickets that is your own prerogative. It is not a move that I would support but if you would rather move on to cheering for a club that has more success and causes you less pain, then who am I to stop you. In fact, if your support is that easily broken go ahead and move on just don't expect to be welcomed back with open arms if/when this club does finally taste some real success on and off the field.

The other extreme is no more appealing to me though. The issues with this club are there for anyone to see if they spend only a few moments looking. They go a lot deeper than all the defeats and they head all the way up to the very top of MLSE. So blind and unquestioning loyalty is actually a disservice to yourself as a fan. You pay for a product when you come to a TFC game or purchase team merchandise, and even though that investment does not guarantee you a winning product it does give you a right to speak up and let the club know that you are not happy with continually watching a sub-par product, and push the club to treat the fans better. So there is no need to just sit there and pretend that things are just a bit of good luck away from being great for the team.

What I would encourage is that you continue to come to games. That you continue to support the players that are doing everything they can to try and get a win. That you continue to demand that MLSE is treating you fairly as a customer (fair prices and efforts to improve, not wins) and that you remain loyal to the team. You do not have to be a fan of the organization and most will know that this blog is not exactly pro-MLSE. We support Toronto FC though and I think that is a fair distinction to make between the team that plays on the field and the management group that has caused the club six years of struggles and countless off field problems.

Maybe Toronto FC turns it around in the upcoming games against DC United and the Montreal Impact, or maybe they continue to struggle and the season is lost at the hands of Dwayne De Rosario and our French speaking neighbours. Either way, it is times like this that define who you are going to be as a supporter. If you want to abandon ship well I guess now would be as good a time as any but if you have supported this team thus far why would you stop now? The fact of the matter is that this group of players need our support more than ever.

At the end of the day it is up to you how you want to be as a fan but they say it is the hard times that make the good times so much sweeter. If the good times do ever come around for TFC it is safe to say they are going to be very sweet considering how hard they have been thus far.

When Toronto FC returns home to play DC United next weekend you will have your first chance to show what kind of fan you are going to be. I hope that you show the players on the team that you continue to support them no matter what you feel about Aron Winter, Tom Anselmi or anyone else involved in the running of the club.

Come on you Reds!

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