8 degrees, feels like 4, 90% P.O.P, 40km/h wind. That's the current forecast for Saturday in Toronto, it sounds awful yet so very very appropriate. What could be a better send off to a miserable 2013 season than another chance to get soaked and frozen. I'm sure that will be in no way representative of the football we get offered from Toronto FC.
Of course who really cares about the quality, it's all about the result, and just what it might mean for Montreal. Operation Tic Tac and all that. Here's the teams that could still qualify for those 3-5 spots.
|5||New England Revolution||48||33||1.45||13||11||9||48||38||10||29||13||19||-3|
The first tiebreaker is wins, then it's goals scored. So while Philly could still sneak 5th, there's no way they can catch Montreal.
A Montreal win means they get 3rd place, unless Chicago can beat new York by 5 more goals than Montreal beat Toronto.
A tie means Montreal could get knocked out but that would need Chicago, New England and Houston all winning.
A Toronto win means New England and Houston still need to win, but Chicago would be able to overtake them with merely a draw.
So even if Toronto win, a) Montreal will more than likely still qualify, and b) we won't actually find all that out until Sunday, so the whole 'we have something to play for, we could knock Montreal out' thing loses a bit of it's edge really doesn't it.
As for TFC, well they're currently tied with Chivas USA in the race for 17th, but behind them due to one fewer win. To overtake them TFC need to do better than whatever result Chivas gets. Is that something to try for? Obviously staying in 18th overall would mean Vancouver picks 2nd overall, which would be a bit nauseating, but then in all the other rounds, in all the other drafts, lotteries, allocation orders and other weird stuff that MLS has, as well as the 'you suck' allocation money allocated, it would be to TFC's advantage to stay in 18th, to tank and lose this game. It would be perfectly TFC to win this game, screw themselves over and then have Montreal qualify anyway.
So what does all that mean for what result I want to see? I don't know really, but it's probably not going to have much of an effect on anything, so I'll say I just want to see a win, simply for the rare joy of seeing a win, then let the chips fall where they may.
The other big talking point, and it's another one I'll give a non-committal shrug to is will Stefan Frei play. All indications seem to point to no he won't, that he'll be stuck on 99 games played. I'm not as big a Frei fan as many people seem to be, it would be a nice gesture to see him get to 100, but I'm still good with play the best team, this is as close to an important game as TFC have played in a long time, giving Bendik that experience would be something that might help when actual important games come up down the line. On twitter yesterday, it was suggested that if Frei isn't playing, there'll be booing when the teams are announced, which to me would be a bit ridiculous.
As for the rest of the lineup, I'd expect much the same as last week in defence, Richard Eckersley will be another sentenced to spend his last game in Toronto on the bench. In midfield Jeremy Hall and Bobby Convey will be back in place of Kyle Bekker and Reggie Lambe, while upfront it'll probably be Bright Dike and Robert Earnshaw again. It's all as underwhelming as ever, but hey it's one last time to see them all, who knows who'll be back next year.
The last home game has always traditionally ended with the players doing a lap of the pitch trading applause with the crowd, I can't help but think that this is going to be a particularly desultory affair if they do do that. There's a few players I'd want to clap for their efforts this year or over their TFC career, but not that many.
For the 2nd consecutive year, I'll just be glad it's all over for a few months. \Hopefully this is the last year for a while I and others will have to feel that way.