thanks to RPB member Petor for the video
Toronto FC are once again Canadian champions, clinching a third straight Voyageurs cup with a 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps, to win 3-2 on aggregate. Sighs of relief are still being exhaled by pretty much everyone associated with TFC. Lose and we would have been faced with 4 long months until the end of the season with nothing to play for, and little to get excited about, desperately searching for signs of hope for next year, and debating whether it would be worse to fire yet another coach or stick with the new guy just for the sake of stability. Now though, well that's Vancouver's problem.
After a very good week for TFC, 2 DP's, 2 wins, 3 points and 1 trophy, everyone can be a bit more relaxed and enthusiastic, we all needed this. The Voyageurs Cup is probably that bare minimum bit of success needed to keep the wolves at bay for Aron Winter the Coach for the rest of the season. For the players, two wins and with reinforcements on the way, well hopefully this can be the turning point of the season, at the very least getting to run around Bmo with the cup has got to be a welcome distraction from a tough season so far. For the Front Office and Season ticket salesmen, well their job at renewal time just got upgraded from nigh on impossible to merely tough. The people who needed it most though were TFC supporters.
It's been a loooong season so far. That's after an off season that saw a long drawn out managerial search which ended with us taking a chance on a big name with very little experience, and the drama and conflict of the De Ro saga very slowly grinding to a contentious end with a trade out of town. A so far poorly built squad, and only 2 league wins in the first 18 games, combined with a lot of disjointed play that really didn't signal better times to come, meant enthusiasm seemed to be at an all time low, attendances were dwindling and many people who would have laughed at the idea of giving up were left wondering if it's really worth it any more.
Now, if only for a short time, just like the Fraggles, TFC fans can dance their cares away, worry's for another day. Specifically worry is for July 27th when we play the home leg of the tie against Real Esteli of Nicaragua for a place in the CCL group stages, and that's a good thing. After TFC went 2-1 ahead, time seemed to move very slowly and I was genuinely nervous, there was a tension to the situation, especially with Dave Gantar and his pendulum of extreme injustice now threatening to tilt back into Vancouver's favour. The result really mattered, in a way that it hasn't mattered for a while with the league games.
There's been a disturbing sense of apathy at Bmo Field, watching a poor team playing games that don't really matter, while the Front Office seems to be fighting against you, can do that to the most committed of fans. Now though, after the celebrations and relief dies down, we've got new hope from the DP signings and then at least 2 and hopefully 8 very important games to come, that will have tension and worry, and hopefully more joy and success. The season has a direction, and a purpose beyond merely rebuilding and looking to next year. Even if those games go wrong and the rest of the season goes back to just playing out the string of the MLS schedule, we at least have this good time to look back on. Given how the season has gone so far, and how the summer had gone for all the various Canada teams, we needed that.
As for the game, well when two poor teams play against each other, it can often result in a poor game, as we saw recently against Kansas City. But the mistakes and poor play can often lead to chances and goals, it may not please the purists out there but gives the fans plenty of interest and excitement, and that's what TFC fans got yesterday.
A come from behind win, for some reason always feels that much better and that's what TFC had to do after a fairly poor first 20 minutes or so. Maicon Santos had already gone off injured, leaving TFC with the front line of Nick Soolsma, Joao Plata and Javier Martina again when Camilo knocked a perfect free kick over the wall just inside the post and just under the bar. At that point, Wednesday's DP's and win seemed a long way away and I was thoroughly fed up, expecting another weak capitulation and already throwing up the mental barriers to stop myself from caring too much. But for whatever reason that didn't happen, Vancouver sat back, TFC took it to them and got some chances. Julian De Guzman had a shot tipped on to the bar, Javier Martina followed up but had his shot cleared off the line, no goal, but there was life.
There was no goal later in the first half as well, but there was a huge refereeing controversy which is always good to get a crowd involved into the game. After a masive cock up by 'Caps goalie Joe Cannon, Javier Martina rolled the ball towards the goal, slowly enough to give Jay DeMerit a chance to clear it. The goal wasn't given at the time, replays were inconclusive but it certainly looked like the ball crossed the line, but it remained 1-0 at half time. There was hope though, TFC looked like they cared, and like they might score, which is an improvement over some recent games.
The second half started with another near miss, Plata having a shot saved and Nick Soolsma just unable to really get to the rebound allowing Cannon to grab the ball on the line, but TFC did draw level very quickly. After being robbed in the first half, some interesting refereeeing gave us the equaliser. Jooa Plata drew a penalty and took it himself. Cannon saved it, but the linesman called it back for Cannon advancing off his line, which he had, but no more than goalies do all the time. A very harsh decision and Plata got it right the second time and it was 1-1. It was Plata who created the second, taking a great long pass from Julian De Guzman, beating his man and putting in a great cross that Mikael Yourassowsky knocked home.
2-1, and from then on there was only one winner, as Vancouver just didn't seem to have the fight they regularly had under Teitur Thordarsen. Even when Ty Harden went of and we played the last 20-30 minutes with Richard Eckersley and Tony Tchani as Centre backs, there was only one real chance Vancouver had, and Eric Hassli, left alone in the box, screwed his shot wide. After swinging wildly to Vancouver, then to Toronto, most of the refs decisions were now going Vancouver's way again, but none of them were big enough to make a difference thankfully, and TFC held on comfortably and could start the celebrations.
That celebrating shouldn't last too long though, as rather than a long drawn-out string of pointless games, we do now have some serious games ahead of us, and a renewed sense of purpose. 45 minutes after the game, Torsten Frings was reportedly running laps around the field. That bodes well.