I'm tired. Aren't you tired? Tired of leaving matches feeling sad, angry, apathetic and well tired? Surely the players and coaches are tired too - maybe they need more naps? A trip to the day spa - they say massage can work wonders. Perhaps a hypnotherapist - you are rested, you will stay organized, you will communicate with one another, you will not send long balls to Robert Earnshaw. Something, anything to either bring them together, shake them up, convince them they play for another team (all former Reds in the MLS seem to do better once they've left). Or perhaps threatening them with the TFC version of Shirley Jackson's classic macabre tale "The Lottery" will give them the incentive to act like a team of competent footballers.
This will not be your usual post match from me. I normally break down the game, look at the mistakes, lament over the errors and try to come up with something balanced and fair to say about our boys. But I'm not feeling very fair tonight - the repetition of saying the same thing week in, week out is wearing and it's getting harder and harder to say (or think) - look to the future, to the end of the season - with any conviction. Instead I present to you my thoughts in pretty much point blank form - most of which will be factual and game related, but I make no promises. And as we've already had English class with Ms. Jackson let's check the TFC game day experience curriculum shall we?
1. Weather Appreciation: It was sunny
2. Geology: The pitch looked nice.
3. Weather Appreciation Level 2: Did I mention that it was sunny - also, not cold.
4. Music Class: Post-match TFC Playlist: Bullet With Butterfly Wings - Smashing Pumpkins, Loser - Beck, Just - Radiohead, The Cave - Mumford and Sons. There were more but these are the most appropriate. Not exactly positive you say? Music is healing - or something.
5. Sports and Recreation: Matias Laba - other than the fact that he has to be wondering what the hell he's gotten himself into, he was the standout today. Tireless, played the full 90, did lots of nice things - he is the real deal and if Payne & Co. can find 10 more like him we'll be set. What? I didn't say there wouldn't be any positivity. MOTM, Prom King and Class President.
6. Study Hall: Joe Bendik learns to use his hands! After watching him turn the ball over time and again the last match (and the one before that, etc.), Bendik actually rolled the ball to defenders at least 5 times. AND used the short pass a time or two! This is cause for celebration - seriously.
7. Etiquette & Saying Something Nice: Did I mention the sun? Because that part was delightful.
1. Hazing: Justin Braun as not only a midfielder, but a wide midfielder. Really? Braun (or Braunaldo as we dubbed him) generally looked lost out wide and when given a brilliant chance to score lost his nerve like a freshman asking out the prom queen.
2. Creative Writing (Playmaking): Let's take attendance - Bueller, Bueller? Frye, Frye? *crickets*
3. Math Class: If you add 4 clear goal scoring chances and TFC what do you get? Zero goals - most of those chances weren't pretty but calmer finishing (or passing) and Toronto has at least one goal.
4. Communication Studies: With perhaps only newcomer Steven Caldwell and captain Darren O'Dea getting a passing grade in this. When you're playing with a bunch of new guys perhaps talking to one another might be something to try.
5. Detention: Current residents - Danny Califf and Ashtone Morgan. OK - I understand Morgan; to a degree. What I don't get is moving Darren O'Dea (who is while not slow, not exactly fleet of foot) to the outside when you have a (potentially) serviceable LB on your subs bench. Time to give him another chance. As for Califf? He's the John Bender of detention - apparently he messed with the bull and got the horns - I do not understand how he's fallen so far, so fast. Is he that poor in training? Did he insult Nelsen's sweater vest? Because if not; I do not get why he is not out there in place of Doneil Henry. I like Doneil and think he has a future; but watching him wobble around like a confused baby giraffe most of the time is painful.
6. Sharing and Building Trust: Robert Earnshaw clearly does not trust those around him. I lost track of the times that Earnshaw could have/should have passed the ball and instead opted for a weak shot or attempts at fancy footwork. I almost expected him to pick up the ball and walk off the pitch so averse was he to including his teammates.
That's all class. School's out. Our Reds are all going to summer school as they've clearly not learned their lessons as of yet. I can't even bring myself to give out many 'E's for Effort. So let's all enjoy recess and hope that there is one hell of a cram session before next Saturday's match against the Revs.