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Why All the Hate for Chris Konopka?

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Toronto's backup hasn't been any sort of revelation since coming in May 2 against the Philadelphia Union, but his performances deserve more respect than he is currently getting from Toronto supporters.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

According to the 2014 Toronto Employment Survey, there are a little over 1,300,000 jobs in Toronto, but perhaps none have been more difficult to hold lately than that of "starting goaltender".

Despite yet another season to forget for the Toronto Maple Leafs there were still countless words, columns and TV hours devoted to debating whether James Reimer or Jonathan Bernier were better for the future of the team.

Across town, the goaltending debate at BMO Field has seen far less coverage, equal parts because Toronto FC just aren't on the same media level as "Canada's team" and because nobody saw their goalie controversy coming.

That debate is now over in the eyes of many Toronto FC supporters after a couple of gaffs from Chris Konopka cost Toronto points this weekend against DC United. Oh wait, no they didn't, but the vitriol among many supporters remains after a performance that "could have cost Toronto".

What's surprising about this is two things, the first that the first great outpouring of dislike against Konopka came after a victory on the road against the league's best team. No, wins shouldn't mean everyone on the field gets a pass but they usually do especially among supporters.

It can also be described as Konopka's first sub-par performance with the club. He has been in the net for Toronto since injury prevented Joe Bendik from playing against Philadelphia Union on May 2.

Now that he's healthy, many supporters have made it clear they want Bendik back in net after Konopka had a poor match against DCU. The most glaring error came from a free kick which Konopka failed to claim before Kofi Opare slotted it home, but the play was ultimately ruled offside.

This despite the fact that Konopka has gone 4-1-1 in a Toronto uniform with two clean sheets and 18 saves, allowing only 5 goals. Could Bendik have led Toronto on such an impressive run? Potentially, but there is no tangible proof to back that up.

There is also no question that Konopka should be on a short leash considering what Bendik has been able to produce in the past and the fact that, realistically, he has more potentially in terms of being the starter for this team in the future.

But messing with what has been a winning formula, and in this case that includes Konopka, is never the best policy in a city where team science so rarely mixes well. Keeping the leash that short shows an unfair amount of favouritism towards Bendik.

Will Bendik get the starting job when the team comes back from the international break? Probably, and this isn't to say he doesn't deserve the job.

After this past weekend Konopka is getting a small taste of what Bendik has known for so long: Toronto supporters are really hard on their keepers.

This adds another level that makes the calls for Konopka to lose the starting spot so surprising, there has never really been a great deal of love in this town for "Big Joe" either.

The truth is both Toronto keepers have shown themselves to be adequate, and at times exceptional, starters in this league. Konopka has had a smaller sample size with a better team in front of him, but still deserves to have that sample size become bigger.

Konopka will likely lose the starting job eventually, Bendik's salary and experience gives him the inside track and Toronto FC can't keep up their current form forever.

However, until there is adequate reason to take away Konopka's starting role it is unfair to do so to a player who has contributed greatly to where this team is currently in the standings.

Greg Vanney has promised to ride the hot hand at this point in the season, and a couple of mistakes that ultimately didn't cost Toronto a result are not grounds for saying Konopka has cooled off.