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Mailbag: The fallout for the USA and the future for Canada

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Answering your TFC, CanMNT, CanPL and other soccer questions!

Trinidad & Tobago v United States  - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images

Well, wasn't last night eventful?

Own goals, upsets, phantom goals and just general weirdness. The CONCACAF Hex is something else, isn't it? Can't wait for Canada to get all the way there, and then lose because a goal was given despite the ball never having crossed the line, and even if it was, clearly pushed in by the player’s hand! Yay CONCACAF!

Plenty of good pieces out there, including our very own Mitchell Tierney's about what the ramifications of the USMNT loss are for Toronto FC and MLS. I'll hope to add something in the next few days, but my general opinion is this: while good for Toronto FC today, the longer-term consequences of yesterday's loss may be felt in MLS for years.

Anyway, off to the mailbag!

No specific countries jump out, but teams like El Salvador, Guatamela, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago are who Canada needs to constantly measure themselves against.

The road to the 2022 World Cup will go through a few of these teams, and it's best to be measured against your opponents. Friendlies against Finland, Japan, Chile, etc don't do anything to get these players the taste of CONCACAF stadiums, opponents, idiosyncrasies and general challenges.

I'm not sure Zambrano has been wasting these recent friendlies, but rather using them as a way to learn his players and learn what systems can work and what can't. National team stalwarts like Tosaint Ricketts and Atiba Hutchinson won't factor into 2022; it's best to see what you have with some of the younger players.

Also, Zambrano has been on the record of not wanting to upset the schedules of certain players who were either out of contract or on the brink of their club team’s selection. I think his players will respect that and bodes for a better relationship around the program, which hasn't always been the case.

a) A team with Piatti, Mancuso, Jackson-Hamel, Ciman, Oduro and Piette may not be a MLS Cup favourite, but that's certainly enough talent to at least be in a playoff spot. The Biello magic which worked so well last season seems to be missing this year. It's on the coach.

b) For a cup that's just a fun exercise and not much more, having a four-year rotation may add more excitement and prestige to the tournament.

Kulbir Sidhu writes: Who has the craziest pre-game ritual?

Easy. Red Patch Boys. If you're a Toronto FC fan, do yourself a favour if you haven't before, do the pre-game march from Shoeless Joe's to BMO Field with the Red Patch Boys, it'll be a blast!

Paul Barrett writes: Is Bradley part of TFC's long term plans? Is he still an important player for TFC in the next 3 years?

I would venture that the club absolutely has plans for Bradley to be a part of their team for the next three years, as at age 30 we are still witnessing the prime years of his career. However, LAFC can't be ignored. The chance to reunite with his dad and play in warm, sunny California certainly has it's allure. I think Bradley wants to win more than anything, but if LAFC can pull an Atlanta United out of the gate and be competitive, there may be something there in 2019.

Paul Dhotar writes: Do you think the overall poor play and resulting inability of the USMNT to qualify for the 2018 World Cup will impact Bradley and Altidore's play with TFC?

There's always a worry of a hangover effect with something like this, but I think both of these guys are pro's pros, and won't let it affect their play with Toronto FC.

Two reasons. One, being in Canada affords them some shelter from the U.S. Soccer media who'll be hounding the players and the program for the next few weeks/months. You cannot understate how lucky we are in this country to not have access to Skip Bayless on our cable boxes.

Two, everyone around the USMNT (minus the WonderKid) took a bit of a hit to their reputations. A chance to lead Toronto to a treble in December is exactly the redeeming win that will allow both guys to stand up to their critics and prove they are still quality players.

Trinidad & Tobago v United States  - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images

Jonathan Kranendork writes: How serious do you think TFC will take CCL in 2018, and if we play home games in February, will they stay outside?

I think the players relish the chance to play top Mexican clubs and test their mettle against the best from Liga MX. From comments by Bill Manning and Tim Bezbatchenko, this club is in it to win every trophy they can possibly contend for, this won't be any different.

Expect a lot of A-squads being rotated through. As far as where the match is played, unless it's unseasonably warm, there is no way these games can be played in minus-15 weather in snow. Has to be moved indoor to the Rogers Centre.

Ballou-Cristante-Ferreira writes: Any possibility CANMNT can schedule another friendly during the next international break?

I would think not with such short notice. The match in Houston was done because the promoter handled the costs of travelling and accommodation, but it may be tough to get a team into Canada on such short notice.

Tej Sahota writes: Hey Tej, love your work, HUGE fan. Now, if Liam and Noel's upcoming solo albums were Toronto FC players, who would they be?

Liam's album is Armando Cooper. At first, you're kind of scared to look, then you see moments of brilliance and can't wait to be surprised, and ultimately you wonder how you managed to sit through that, and what was the pay-off?

Noel is Sebastian Giovinco. The artist can do no wrong, no corner he can't pick apart, no note he can't string together. Build the man his own personal Wall of Honour.