Some takeaways from Friday’s Toronto FC match: we won. On the road. Three much-needed points. A boost in confidence. Victor Vazquez’s passing. Jonathan Osorio’s finishing. Alex Bono standing on his head. A very good showing from a very inconsistent squad.
Good times, but can we honestly add anything else to the meat-grinder? Have we turned a corner and saved our season? Dangerous to even guess (and this isn’t our first rodeo). Simply put — we’ll have to wait until our date with (rescheduled) destiny midweek to see if we can cobble together a set of wins before the break.
Because it’s about to be crickets — MLS is going dark for a little something called the World Cup, the highest level of competition in the sport of association football on the planet. The beautiful game at its most beautiful.
Here at WTR, we’ve got big plans for our coverage of this epochal tournament; coverage that began with Charlie’s invitation to join WTR’s World Cup Fantasy League, and continues with this week’s discussion question:
Who are you cheering for this World Cup? Why? Is this the nation you traditionally support? If not, why have you switched sides?
Let’s take the collective pulse of WTR-land before the fun starts. It will at least keep us honest when the chips start falling.
Personally, I’m betting on France this year. If they can avoid the usual pitfalls — ego, chemistry mismatch, and a propensity for boneheaded plays with major consequence in a knockout tournament, I feel they have both the front-line talent and the depth to win the whole thing. I’ve been playing as France pretty religiously on the latest FIFA 18 World Cup DLC, which is a free upgrade as opposed to a standalone game this year (!!!), and I’ve beaten just about everyone on the back of a killer attack and a very, very capable and solid defense. I’m really feeling Les Bleus this cycle.
Traditionally, I’ve always supported England. I remember, more than a few cycles back, I worked in retail with a whole gang of Argentines, and I joined them at their local for England vs. Argentina. Catching that match with some proper Argentinian ultras really opened my eyes to the particular wonders of world football.
That’s why I’ll still be lower case “s” supporting the Three Lions this year, they are the closest thing to “my team,” in terms of my own soccer history, though if if had to go all Ancestry.com, I’d probably have to support Poland and/or Russia. Fair is fair though — it’s hard to keep the flame going for such perennial underachievers when, despite a serious case of Anglophilia, I am still very much, by all metrics, a neutral.
I think this is the reason why Toronto has to be one of the best places on the planet to watch this tournament. You can choose your own adventure here — neutral, die-hard, and all points between. Our beautiful city, this multi-culti jungle of condos and concrete, is a city of immigrants. No matter what nation you support, there is a place to watch the game, with the flag of said nation proudly on display, packed to the rafters with passionate support. The World Cup brings Toronto together by shining a light on its differences, which will have to do until we can all get behind the CMNT.
THIS WEEK’S PLAYLIST:
...is another takeover! Our guest this week is WTR staffer and master of the MLS Fantasy Recaps, the esteemed Matt Boyle. It’s also a super-sized playlist, seeing as Matt wasn’t limited by my TFC-specific “rules of the game.”
Right on trend, Matt went deep into World Cup musical history and assembled a collection of theme songs, outliers, and outright curios. It was designed to be a quiz of sorts, but seeing as there is no way to rename tracks in Spotify, and most of his selections give away all the answers in the meta-data, it ends up being a pretty dead-easy quiz. Certainly a knock on Spotify user-friendliness, but it doesn’t affect how awesome and eclectic this playlist is, and how listening to all these tracks in one go really gives credence to the “WC-Anthems are glorified lowest-common-denominator Eurovision pop-trash” argument.
The less I say about “World In Motion,” the better, for all of us, especially the censors.
Of special note — there are scant few examples, at least in my travels, of songs that so perfectly encapsulate a simple idea as this week’s lead-off track/article title; the delightfully bent indie-pop classic “World Cup Fever” by Air Miami. It’s a perennial favourite I’m happy to share.
Did we miss anything? We’re opening up the playlist! Post your recommends in the comments, and via the magic of the Internet, I’ll do the heavy lifting and add the tracks — as long as Spotify has them. Who knows? Maybe we end up with the definitive Spotify WC playlist? That would be a thing!