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Notes from the Stands – Toronto FC v Montreal Impact

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Waking the Red’s forum for discussing the match day experience, kicked off with some observations from the final match of the season at BMO Field

The disappointment was palpable as another season ends - at home at least - in disappointment
The disappointment was palpable as another season ends - at home at least - in disappointment
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Hardly the ending to the 2014 season that Toronto fans would have wanted, but at least it ended with a bit of entertainment and a flurry of red cards. There was life in that side, despite the slow death their playoff hopes have suffered over the past few months.

A long way from the jovial end of season pitch invasion that heralded a success – everywhere but on the pitch – in their inaugural season, there was a fair bit of dissatisfaction when the final whistle was blown.

Broken promises, mistakes, coach firings, and hirings, etcetera, etcetera… it will no doubt be a long offseason, with recriminations, accusations, and excuses smeared thick and wide.

But before then, a look at the final home match of the 2014 season.

Felipe’s Celebration

Yes, Toronto took the lead; yes, Montreal equalized shortly thereafter, but Felipe’s celebration, gyrating in front of South End, was the talking point from the first half.

There is no excuse for hucking a beer onto the pitch, but, there is a certain amount of responsibility that lies with a player inciting such acts. Players are booked for taking off their shirts; the reason, ‘inciting the crowd’. Now whether one is that bothered by a bare-chested footballer is a personal issue, but MLS has been very lax in taking control of such potentially dangerous situations.

North America is not Europe or South America, the chances of somebody overreacting are slim, but when a player purposefully prods the crowd like that a yellow card is warranted.

Had he gone over the Montreal section and some Toronto fans taken umbrage with it, that is one thing, but he clearly intended to give a little to opposition fans.

Every season MLS issues directives to its officials, offering a specific act they want to get out of the game – contact to the head, tactical fouls, and mass confrontations of the officials are past examples – perhaps it is time that inflammatory celebrations are targeted. A yellow card would have been fair enough.

Personally, it’s a laugh, a certain amount of give and take between the players and the crowd is acceptable and to be encouraged, but there should be consequences to both the players and the fans when it approaches going too far.

Shirt Throw

One unhappy fan in my section threw his expensive kit, this season’s no less, onto the pitch at the end of the game; the modern incarnation of tearing up one’s season ticket in disgust.

Playoffs were promised and not granted, but it was a much better season. One hundred million dollars worth? Probably not, but steps were made; will have to wait and see if progress continues or if it is all torn down again.

The happy ending to the whole scene was that one of the Toronto coaching staff came over, picked up the shirt, and handed it to a kid on the touchlines: One fan’s displeasure and statement thereof is another’s free hundred dollar shirt.

Lack of End of Season Goodbyes

What was most galling was the lack of a team goodbye to the fans who stood bye the club all season. Very few players bothered to applaud the fans come the final whistle, with only Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, and Mark Bloom really paying any attention to the crowds – tossing out signing mini-footballs.

Of course they were all disappointed, disgusted even, and the hail of boos is hardly the most welcoming of responses from the fans, but there is a value in keeping up appearances. One can never be sure which players will be back, so some make it a point of pride to applaud the players that sported the shirt – for good or for bad – and thank them for their service, despite any misgivings.

Toledo Re-start

One final thought, what the heck was Toledo doing with that drop ball? Spiking it into the turf without clearly instructing how the match would restart after play had been stopped for an injury.

He had actually had a pretty decent game through the first hour, but seemed to grow bored with the task of managing the growing tensions.

Both his straight red cards were laughable; he just wanted the game over. Despicable from a representative of the league and PRO.

Please feel free to share your observation from the match in the comments section below. Thought on the match? Was that the feistiest Toronto-Montreal game yet? Any one else throw their kit on the pitch? Blow the team up or build slow and steady?