The road continues to be an evil place for TFC. Last weekend, John Carver played a conservative style looking for the 0-0 draw. It was a bad idea. Toronto was destroyed in every statistical category and no argument could possibly be made about the stats lying.
Houston was the better team—by far. And, TFC fans were left to wonder whether the early season success was a bit of a mirage.
Toronto is a different team at BMO Field. The crowd is one part of that, but insiders will tell you that the surface, which was supposed to be state of the art but is instead just a lumpy mess, is the bigger issue. Like the old parquet at Boston Garden, BMO Field has little quirks to it that make it difficult to adjust to. Or to play possession soccer, which is the direction most MLS teams are going. Most, but not Toronto, who plays a more direct, British-influenced game far better suited to its home park.
BMO Field has become exceptionally difficult for opposing teams to play in. Toronto has only allowed one goal at home—and that off of a dodgy hand to ball call against New York—and has yet to lose. If the playoffs are to be a realistic goal the Reds will need to continue that run. Three points must be the goal of every game at home—especially against mediocre teams like Colorado, which come to the Big Smoke this weekend.
The hot topic of debate in TFC-land this week is MLS’ refusal to, like every other league in the damn world, to adapt to the international calendar. TFC is particularly hard hit by international call-ups, with Amado Guevera, Carl Robinson, Mo Edu, Jimmy Brennan and Greg Sutton regular call-ups—that’s five starters. Carver was losing it last week that he was forced to give players up that didn’t even end up featuring. Carver is suggesting that TFC will be forced to play hardball with national teams moving forward, making the argument that Toronto doesn’t get any respect in the outside football world—it didn’t take long for Carver to start to think like a Canadian, did it?
- Tyler Hemming is back with the team after an unsuccessful trial in Sweden. The young Canadian asked to be released earlier in the year so he could try and upgrade on his $17,700 development salary.
- From the Washington Post’s Soccer Insider Steve Goff: Toronto’s three late arrivals are all paid more than $150k per year (yes, on the same team where many players make $17,700). Amado Guevara ($162,000/185,700- guaranteed/full bonus). Olivier Tebily ($156,960/156,960) and Rohan Ricketts ($200,004/212,500). Although MLS teams do not officially release salary details, it’s been calculated that TFC’s budget sits at $2,909,689, which is about 50 per cent above the league’s soft cap. (Thanks to Al from U-Sector, who just happens to be the North American editor of the world’s most addictive sim game—Football Manager).
- In USL news, Montreal Impact coach Nick De Santis stepped down. The Impact were expected to challenge for top spot in USL-1, but instead have struggled nera the bottom of the table.