Home, dry, finally warm and trying to remember what parts of the game I actually saw through my rain-spattered glasses. If you were one of the announced 12,000 - were all of them hiding in the King Club? - that braved the elements then kudos to you. Although, note to all of us - buy stock in a poncho company for next year. If you made the (likely very wise) decision to stay home - and therefore warm and dry - then kudos to you too! There are no wrong answers here people!
Four games left in this season for TFC after this afternoon's adventure; four games. That's four more chances for TFC to get just one point in order for them to - by the thinnest of margins - improve upon last year. With Ryan Nelsen's lineup options getting even fewer and far between it wasn't exactly an inspiring bunch out on the pitch today - but then again, is it ever? Having lost Jonathan Osorio to the very late decision by the DisCo on Friday afternoon, Matias Laba done for the season, Robert Earnshaw is still out injured, Danny Koevermans (who's imminent return was touted by the coach and TFC's website) apparently injured in training on Friday and Richard Eckersley still not playing - well, there was a bit of a different look to the starting XI; which is really nothing new.
Bright Dike got his first start, Darel Russell got the nod over Reggie Lambe (and yes, over Kyle Bekker) and Mark Bloom was the choice at RB. So as always, a less than creative midfield, a new and untested forward partnership and a likely OK defense - these are exciting times my friends.
As usual the Reds started the game off looking somewhat disjointed and flat. What's that you say? Perfect time for a defensive breakdown and an SKC goal? Well you're absolutely correct. That's really the tale of the game as far as goals scored. Both teams served up some stunning errors that led to all three goals. Apparently no one in red has remembered how to mark (welcome to the team Mark Bloom) - or that CJ Sapong is a threat - that gave him not one, but two near perfect headers, sigh. And then that delightful error by Aurelien Collin (and couldn't have happened to a nicer person) that Rey pounced on and sent to Russell for a very nice goal.
What else is there to say about this game? Oh you want to talk about the ref? Yes, that certainly played a part in this game. Having been at the game (and watched the replays) Collin should have been off the pitch before the end of the first half. Always an annoyance (really, can't stand that guy) and already on a yellow he clearly should have seen a second yellow for that elbow to Rey. Note to Rey: Please keep the "I've been shot" bit to a minimum - I'm sure that it hurt but the excessive rolling about likely didn't help your case. As for Collin's slamming Braun into the pitch in added time? That one was 50/50 for me - I can see it getting called many times but I've also seen it not. But as I said, Collin shouldn't have been out there to begin with...
And Stephen Caldwell...well, that wasn't the smartest move especially when the ref seemed to be leaning in a certain direction. It's not the card in the game that is a concern - this is always a physical match-up - it's the aftermath. Let's tally this up shall we? Missing next week's match against our basement dwelling cousins DCU are: Jonathan Osorio, Stephen Caldwell and oh yeah, the entire bloody coaching staff after both Ryan Nelsen and Fran O'Leary got booted for dissent. Paging Jimmy B - now's your chance!
So the cold (and wet) truth of it is - they're just not very good. I know, I know - you're well aware of this but it's true. They're not. Sure there are a few decent pieces - highlights from yesterday were Rey and umm, well Doneil played a decent game (you have to score on those plays Doneil!) and I guess Joe Bendik? Dike was OK - but obviously isn't quite match fit yet as he was wearing in the second. But really, what else is there to look at? Sure Russell scored a nice goal and managed to not get sent off, but what else is there to point to?
Yes they've been more interesting to watch this year and have been in more games, but those 23 points are still staring at us and that woeful midfield and non-existent forward contingent are still unchanged. This is a team of mostly bench players - guys that are good to have around as depth (OK, not all of them) but for the most part shouldn't be starting; and in many cases just shouldn't be here period.
That's where the terror sets in when Nelsen et al tell us how close they are, how they're only a couple of players away from turning this around. This off season is going to see wholesale change - again. And that's not necessarily a bad thing; if they do it right. Can Bez our newbie GM and Nelsen actually make the trades within MLS that will actually strengthen this team? Because that's going to be a huge part - waiting until January (and then July once the WC is over) is not going to be enough. Not for the team and not for this fanbase.
Four more games - four more times for us to watch and hope for some tiny glimmer of anything that shows as progress heading into next year. Two more chances to show up at home, to show the fans anything that will keep them coming back. Note to the entire team - get your butts over to the stands and show some appreciation to those of us that faithfully show up every week. It really is the least that you can do; cause right now you're not doing much else. So, see you next week?