Who's looking forward to Monday? You know, the beginning of a week in which TFC can't transfer players, don't have any games for a full 7 days; a week in which we the fans might get a bit of respite from the unrelenting drama that is our beloved (you do still love it, right?) club.
Because quite frankly we're due a break - we need some time to digest the last 10 days - if not to find a way to come to terms with all that's transpired, then at least some time to catch our collective breath. A week with no more firings, no talk of giving our ground to the double-blue, no bizarre player transfers; just a breath - that's all. But before that can happen we've got to take on that team of energy drink loving players from New Jersey - or something.
So as TFC play out the string (again), what's really motivating them to keep going through the motions? Sure yes they are professionals and as such will continue to do their jobs - which in Toronto's case is usually to act as cannon fodder for other teams. However there's another option (other than the 'fighting for pride, the badge, a spot on the squad next year' lines) available - the role of the spoiler. There is some satisfaction in spoiling someone else's party, and who better to start with then the Red Bulls. And if you don't know the reason why I'm not sure that I can talk to you anymore. But for those of you that understand - even these few years later - the need for some measure of revenge? Well let's look at the possibility, shall we?
New York is far, far above Toronto in the standings - OK, really who isn't - and are currently holding down the 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference. However, all is not set in stone for the Red Bulls as there are teams behind them with games in hand and a mere 8 points (with 12 or more on the table for most teams) separate New York and the teams on the bubble. And hey, this is football, nothing is for certain.
What this means for our Reds is that Thierry Henry and company won't be taking it easy - as much as we might hope that they'd look at TFC as low hanging fruit, they can't afford to sit back and assume that Toronto will hop in the 2009 time machine and gift them with goals. Except that TFC are heading to Red Bull Arena where they're unbeaten in their last five and are among the league's stingier teams at home having only allowed 12 goals - exciting news for a team that struggles to even put the ball near the net. Sigh, we just can't have nice things, can we?
And of course Toronto is suffering injury woes going into this match as Robert Earnshaw tweaked his hamstring pretty much in the act of scoring the tying goal on Wednesday night. Then Richard Eckersley picked up a knock in training - can we wrap him in bubble wrap or something? Matias Laba is of course out for the season and while Danny Koevermans has been training again, he'll only feature in the reserve game this weekend. Not injured but also out for yellow card accumulation is Doneil Henry and umm, wait - I think that's everyone accounted for.
It all seems pretty bleak doesn't it? Well that's the state of TFC now and for all eternity it seems. It's hard to look at the motley crew that comprises the Reds that are likely to set foot on the pitch tomorrow night and see a win, let alone any points at all coming home with them. The closer we get to the end of the season all we can hope for is to not be embarrassed, to hope that no one else gets injured and maybe see the kids get a run out. Such is the life of a TFC fan.
Oh, and that playing the spoiler role? Unless Dike really is the bright spot (sorry, had to) and can crash his way to the net or it monsoons and Andrew Wiedeman manages to get his toe on the ball it's unlikely that they'll even score a goal. And while New York is likely missing Red antagonizer Tim Cahill they've plenty of weapons in their arsenal - even a few guys not name Henry - most notably of late Bradley Wright-Phillips. In fact you should check out James' latest KYE piece for all the gory details.
Sorry folks - there's not much to say except to hope that they can stay in the game - really, that's what we hope for now. Not for wins, but that our team doesn't lose too badly. Ah well, there's always next year, right? Right? Sigh.