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Red Hot Takes: Our immediate reaction to Toronto FC’s CCL loss

Four WTR staffers tell you how they really feel

Jeffrey P. Nesker / Waking The Red

As many of you have already done via Twitter, Facebook, and the three hundred+ comments on our articles on Tuesday, a few of us at Waking the Red still needed a way to release all the leftover frustrations after whatever that was down in Panama.

Four of us at Waking the Red (Charlie O’Connor-Clarke, Jeffrey P. Nesker, Casey Wolfgang, and myself) took to Skype to rant, rage, scream, and, ostensibly, record the whole shebang and post to YouTube. It worked out about as well as Tuesday did for Toronto FC.

But we always had a plan B, which, turns out, involved yours truly transcribing the video while Jeff nursed his hangover. He gave me some sweet screen-caps though, to help sell how utterly snarky the whole experience was:

Jeffrey P. Nesker (JPN) - We all watched the “game” separately yesterday, and we didn’t really get a chance to vent, so let’s do it. We’re gonna call it “Red Hot Takes!”

Benedict Rhodes / Waking The Red

JPN - That’s about as much effort as the team put into the game last night, so there you go, that’s as much graphic design as they’re gonna get. So. Who wants to start? Who wants to vent first?

Benedict Rhodes (BR) - You do. I think you need to.

JPN - Today the role of Mitch (fellow WTR writer and host of the incredible Footy Talks Podcast) is being played by Jeff. I’m the moderator.

Charlie O’Connor-Clarke (COC) - Anybody have swear words to yell?

JPN - All the swear words.

COC - *deep sigh* THAT. WAS. APPALLING. Oh my God. I mean, I like calm, measured takes on Twitter, but that was horrendous. TFC are, across the board, a more talented and experienced team than Independiente, who I think have less than 50 international caps combined on their team-

BR - All for Panama.

COC - All for Panama, and TFC have what? 10 players who took the field who have played internationally? It was just terrible from start to finish, the tactics were horrendous, I don’t know why the backline were pushing so high up when the other team is going to kill you on the counter, because it didn’t work out every. single. time. *deep sigh* Someone please, stop me.

JPN - No, I don’t want to stop you. We’ve all listened to KJ & Caldwell already. We all wanna swear and scream, but why don’t we all start out with where we watched the game... That’s a good starting question, well, after Charlie’s rant.

COC - I was having the wonderful experience of watching TFC on my laptop with the Leafs game on the TV, just hating everything. It was just a great night all around for Toronto sports. The nice thing about watching TFC on my laptop was that I could tab out to tweet or fix things in our game thread because it meant I didn’t have to watch the game when I did that.

Casey Wolfgang (CW) - I was watching at home, but I couldn’t resist yelling at the TV.

JPN - I think everybody’s TV got a lot of verbal abuse last night.

COC - That was the biggest pile of flaming garbage I have seen in a long time. Top to bottom, one of the most pathetic performances I have seen in a while from the club. TFC are easily the better team.

CW - I just wanna know whose idea it was to give Boyd the penalty. Obviously we know the result, but was it strategic to give Boyd the shot or was it “here’s your big debut, don’t mess it up!”

JPN - The general consensus is that Vanney once again out-coached himself. Putting Morrow upfront was another ridiculous coaching decision. The whole lineup was completely terrible. I mean, where is the positive to come out of it? All we’re doing is asking the questions that only one person can answer, Vanney, and he is toeing the line with corporate platitudes.

COC - I thought that that backline was going to be good. It looked good to me on paper. Mavinga and Ciman are supposed to be awesome, but they... weren’t. I don’t know... I just don’t know.

CW - Everyone, one sentence about whatever that was last night.

BR - How about three words: Make. Shaffelburg. Captain.

Make. Shaffelburg. Captain
Jeffrey P. Nesker / Waking The Red

JPN - At least I won’t have to buy more Champions League tickets.

CW - As York9 tweets “By the way, our tickets are online now.”

BR - Was that intentional or scheduled?

CW - I don’t think it was scheduled, because why would they schedule it for 10:30 at night?

BR - So how about those MetroStars?

COC - Casey, give us your sentence.

CW - I’d say they dropped the ball, but as we all saw, the ball went into orbit instead.

Went into Orbit
Jeffrey P. Nesker / Waking The Red

COC - How do I follow that? I kind of assumed TFC were gonna punt on the Champions League because of their roster going into it, but I didn’t think they were gonna punt it this hard.

BR - What? Like 20 feet over the bar?

COC - I thought they would lose in the second round. That team is a minnow.

CW - Would we have done better with Jozy?

BR - If Jozy played centre-back and stopped all those goals, then maybe, but I don’t think Jozy was the difference between losing 4-0 or 3-0 last night. They were just bad.

COC - He might have scored the penalty.

BR - We don’t score penalties in finals.

JPN - Here’s a random question: Did we get emotionally invested in a thrown game? Are we the idiots because that was the plan? If so, then why televise it? Why bother?

CW - I don’t think a 4-0 loss is a part of anyone’s plan.

COC - They should just stop practising tactics, because they don’t work, and just practise penalties.

JPN - Who does Vanney think he is? We’re not Man City, we don’t have wingers. It’s awesome that you’re like every other coach in world football and pray at the altar of Pep, but we’re not Man City and why do we have to watch you figuring that out?

COC - You can’t play with wingers when you have a better option to play on the wing on the bench for the whole game. Why Tsubasa Endoh didn’t get into the lineup while Justin Morrow didn’t play left back is beyond me. You’re just creating holes in the lineup that don’t need to be there. The lineup already has holes.

BR - The thing I found confusing was that surely using a 4-4-2 diamond would’ve worked a lot better than using wingers because we have about 25 midfielders and half a winger.

JPN - There was just so much bad, like Griffin Dorsey’s debut. He probably doesn’t want to play soccer anymore. He’s probably going to apply to become a banker or something. Shaffelburg doesn’t even have a first team contract and he was the best player on the field. That’s the worst TFC team I have ever seen. Without question, that’s the worst performance I have ever seen. Nobody comes out of that smiling. The only thing that was good was there were fans there and that I could hear them on the broadcast. Why wasn’t Endoh there? We re-signed him to a first team deal because he lit up USL, and we’re giving the start to Griffin Dorsey? It’s completely ridiculous, and somebody needs to answer for it, because we just lived through the offseason of hell and we couldn’t be further off track if we ate the track, it’s just not possible. Okay, I’m talking too much.

CW - And they sent the 19-year-old kid out to do the post-game interviews. He looked very lost and confused. I’m not sure if he’s media-trained, but it looked as though they shoved him out there and said “You go talk to them”. He was all sweaty and looked like he was late for math class. Can we just have a do-over of everything that happened last night?

JPN - I think I’m okay with it being over so I don’t have to experience it again.

CW - We do get to live it again, only we get to be cold and freezing to death.

COC - How many people are going to be there? Who’s actually going to show up?

BR - I’ll take anyone’s free tickets.

JPN - I’ll watch them lose in a blizzard but that’s besides the point, right? I still think there’s a chance because I’m a masochist.

COC - Yeah, maybe if the entire Independiente team comes onto the pitch and immediately freeze into statues.

JPN - They’ve never played on real grass befo-

COC - Is there gonna be real grass? Technically there is a chance, crazier things have happened and there is gonna be a chance. This is probably the best possible environment for it to happen, because it’s going to be minus disgusting outside and God knows what the field is gonna be like, whether it’s hybrid or grass. I feel like the club do care about optics and what people are saying on the internet. They have to do something. That’s embarrassing.

JPN - So what’s next? Do you burn it all down?

COC - You can’t. You can’t because then it would be even worse. They’ve come into the season saying “We’re fine, we’ve got a plan” and then they burn it all down when you lose 4-0 to a Panamanian team? You can’t.

JPN - True. But does Vanney keep his job?

BR - For now.

COC - For now, yeah. But TFC has to be very, very comfortably in a playoff spot by June.

JPN - What do they do about Jozy and Bradders? Obviously now is not the time to negotiate your contracts, right?

COC - I think they have to just keep going out there and put this team on their back, it’s their job to carry this team, so do it. If they play like the players they are capable of being, then we might have a different story.

CW - I don’t know what’s going to happen. I think the next game will be better, but I also don’t think we’re gonna win and we’ll be eliminated.

JPN - We’re so salty, it’s amazing.

CW - I think Vanney is gonna keep his job until at least the end of the year. I don’t think they’ll get rid of him mid-season, even if we’re back to being our old selves again. We can barely get players, where are we gonna get a coach? And who’s gonna want to come here?

JPN - Even if we promoted Robin Fraser, he was trained in Vanney-ball.

COC - Benoit Cheyrou!

BR - He’s gone, he’s in France coaching somewhere.

CW - I just don’t know where our goals are going to come from. Who is gonna score for us at this point?

BR/COC/JPN in unison - Shaffelburg.

JPN - Without a first team contract. Just sign people on one-day contracts. That should be the strategy, burn all the money.

CW - Until you score a goal for us, then you can leave.

JPN - Here’s another random question - do you think Seba, VV and VDW had their own Skype chat going last night where they were just giving high-fives to each other? Or was Seba too busy feeding baby lions or whatever?

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BR - I have a theory. What if Vanney leaves and VDW returns under manager Danny Dichio?

COC - No! Just no! No! No!

JPN - What if we replace all of TFC’s players with OYO minifigures? I have two Sebas.

I got two Giovincos and a camera-phone
Jeffrey P. Nesker / Waking The Red

BR - It’s actual size.

JPN -What is he doing feeding baby goats anyway? He’s posted like a thousand instagram stories feeding baby goats or whatever.

COC - Wasn’t it a lion?

JPN - Was it a lion? Oh it is a lion!

CW - Can’t we just have Raheem (Edwards) and Nico (Hasler) back?

JPN - I would like to see Nico start over Griffin Dorsey.

COC - I’m sure he’s incredibly talented, but you can’t throw him into the first game.

CW - We threw the entire lineup into the game, and they didn’t do any better.

JPN - Yeah, I would’ve liked to see Endoh out there. Or Nick DeLeon. He has back spasms now?

COC - He’s injured, Drew Moor is apparently injured, Jozy Altidore is still hurt... HOW IS THIS TEAM ALREADY HURT? IT’S FEBRUARY! They got run out of the building by the Las Vegas whatevers, and they’re all hurt now?

JPN - Confetti FC.

BR - Over / under 15 games for Jozy?

JPN - Tej called it, If we depend on him, we’ll be terrible.

BR - I think he’s done, and Bradley ends up staying because he’s the captain.

JPN - Yeah, but not if we keep playing him at CB or hang him out to dry like last night.

BR - That formation cannot happen again.

CW - The 4-3-3 is not possible with our team.

BR - We could go back to the 4-4-2 diamond. Akinola and Boyd up top until Jozy is back and can take Boyd’s starting spot.

COC - I cannot think of a single moment in the last 3 or 4 years where TFC have ever had success with a single striker. It never worked for them.

BR - Even when Ben Spencer played there... He almost scored.

JPN - Bring him back!

BR - He’s just signed in Sacramento.

COC - Nick Hagglund would have been a better striker last night.

JPN - What do you think of Boyd’s confidence then?

COC - I feel bad because I genuinely think he’s a talented player. That was just about the worst way to start your career with a new team. Did you guys see his tweets this morning? He apologized publicly and ate the loss.

CW - I feel bad because now he’ll feel like everything is on his shoulders.

COC - He’s felt like that for a couple of weeks now. He said in that Grossi article that he feels bad because his transfer was so poorly timed, right after Seba leaves. People were saying “oh you’re not as good as Giovinco”. Of course he’s not.

JPN - Anything else? Or can we end it here?

COC - Anyone wanna just scream or something?

The Scream
Jeffrey P. Nesker / Waking The Red

Congratulations for reading this far. We applaud you.

Jeffrey P. Nesker / Waking The Red