Where to start with this one? How about with all the things that no longer apply.
Montreal Impact had never beaten Toronto FC in Voyageurs Cup play.
Toronto FC had a 100% record at Stade Saputo.
Montreal hadn't won a Canadian Championship game in their last 14.
Toronto FC were unbeaten in 14 straight Canadian Championship games.
Toronto FC's worst ever defeat was 5-0.
The biggest victory between these two teams, and in Canadian Championship history was 6-1 for Toronto FC.
Those were objective undeniable facts, I'll throw in some subjective thoughts as well.
Toronto FC are looking solid defensively under Ryan Nelsen this year.
Bringing Danny Califf back in will help.
Ashtone Morgan looks like a great prospect.
Give Robert Earnshaw a chance and he'll bury it. That guy's lethal.
Toronto FC have a poor squad right now, but are almost competitive, at least they haven't been embarrassing like they were last year.
There's probably more I could think of, but I'll stop there for my own sanity. That was ugly.
I could deal with TFC losing, though after getting that 2 goal lead, even a 3 goal defeat would have been a bit ugly. Though I love the Canadian Championship, and the CCL and wouldn't dream of shitting on them like some have, I argued beforehand that it would probably be for the best in a few ways if TFC didn't qualify for the final and then the CCL this year and add more games and a lot of travel to their schedule. Though a trophy and the distraction would be nice for the fans seeing as how it's unlikely we'll qualify for the playoffs, it's not something the players needed. They've spent too many years chasing their tail, best to relax, to be able to concentrate on the league, get plenty of rest, get plenty of time to practice and do what they need to do to become a more stable team, one that can be built upon and stand a chance of competing in multiple competitions each year year and do it well. After all, those 4 cups were a lot of fun at the time and mean a lot, that run to the CCL semis was great, but they haven't stopped the season ticket base from drifting away, stopped the club from becoming a joke. 6 years without playoffs is a way more telling stat than 4 straight v-cups.
So I was ok with the lineup put out by Ryan Nelsen, more or less the same as last week, but slightly improved with Reggie Lambe and Robert Earnshaw replacing the injured Hogan Ephraim and Justin Braun. Even though the Impact put out a strong team, I thought there was a chance that this TFC team could play hard and come away with enough of a result to get through to the final, given they started 2-0 up. After all, didn't we all see the pride that all TFC's Canadian players showed in last week's game. If they didn't get the job done, that would suck, no-one likes to lose to Montreal, but oh well, you move on and let's hope they make the best of the calmer season ahead.
But that? THAT? There's no shrugging that one off as 'disappointing but for the best'. That's an embarassment, something to be rightly laughed at and held over us by Impact fans for years and years to come. Yes there are injuries to deal with and Nelsen also chose to rest some players, but there were still plenty of players that should be a lot lot better than that. After the first ten minutes or so, where Earnshaw hit the post and both Andrew Wiedeman and Jonathan Osorio had half chances to score, it was all Impact all the time. Men against boys stuff really, especially in midfield.
Osorio was one of the few players who looked like he was giving it his all in an effective manner, though John Bostock had a good few minutes late on when the game was done, pissing off the Impact and their fans and in a very out of control way it looked like he might make something happen. Generally though Andres Romero, Justin Mapp, Patrice Bernier and Davy Arnaud ran riot against the inexperienced midfield of Osorio, Bostock, Reggie Lambe (another of his 5 in 6 games from Reggie) and Kyle Bekker who sadly looks less and less ready for this level each time he plays.
The defending was a comedy of errors, the first half saw missed marking assignments, pylonesque defending of runs, crosses completely whiffed on, it was best summed up by the 2nd goal, Ryan Richter in good position to clear the ball off the line, but he fell over before the ball got to him.
In the second half, much like they did on Saturday after a poor first half, TFC did come out a bit fired up and though there was very little finesse, there was plenty of hustle and effort, but Montreal had more than enough quality to hold them back, and eviscerate them on the counter attack. It was a horror show in particular for Ashtone Morgan, too easily beaten by the run of Andres Romero for the 4th. For the 5th he had a chance to clear the box from a high cross at the corner of the box, but misjudged the flight of the ball and instead he ended up heading it weakly back into the middle, practically a pass that eventually led to the goal. For the 6th, as Montreal broke, Marco di Vaio knocked a long ball over the top for Andrew Wenger. A little bit of defensive common sense from Morgan would have seen him realise he could push up a bit, or even just stop running and hold the line and it would have been an easy offside call.
Awful stuff, and a showing that will surely see him relegated to the bench if Nelsen has other options on Saturday, but really there's no-one out there that deserved any credit. Post game Nelsen sounded like a man who just realised the size of the job, how poor the depth on the team is (With thanks to Kurt Larson's post game tweets). While stating that he didn't have options at full back, and that Doneil Henry and Kyle Bekker are Canadian internationals, so presumably should have done better, he said "I'll take responsibility … I put the team out and put faith in the guys. I put the system in place." which I choose to translate as 'I thought these guys were good enough, they're not'.
In a way, a result like this has been coming all season, the only difference between this game and the New York one was that Montreal were a little more clinical, and showed no inclination to take their foot of the gas when they took the lead. The Philadelphia game would have been similarly lopsided if not for Joe Bendik making the big saves that today Stefan Frei couldn't. You can say TFC are unlucky with all the late goals, but really, they've had plenty of luck of their own, 4 goals so far from terrible defensive miscues, on top of a couple of penalties and a couple of remarkable goals from outside the box from defensive players, unlikely to be repeated. Add in the fact that Robert Earnshaw's hot start to the season seems to be cooling off, half chances being scuffed or shots from distance hit wide, or hitting the post as we saw tonight, and you can see that TFC's record so far is better than the team actually is.
Nelsen also said "...Hopefully it's a big turning point for us. When we look back after this club has evolved into a certain animal, then we'll say this was the start of something." I guess he's hoping this is a rock bottom that the players will be embarrassed enough to make sure they never approach again. That a result like this is necessary to really expose the reality of where TFC are as a squad right now, nowhere near good enough.
Let's hope that certain animal comes soon, as there's probably plenty of ex TFC coaches who thought the same thing over the years, but if there's one thing we all know there's always a new low out there for TFC. There were always going to be some rough games from the Reds this season as they started over yet again. This one, against their biggest rival no less will take some beating. God only knows what Matías Laba was thinking as he watched. He's got a big job on his hands.