Wednesday, June 18, 2008

TFC Notebook: Tradewinds a blowin'

TFC continues to be a different team at home. As I touched upon this week in my Soccer by Ives column, the Reds have only allowed two goals at home all season and are undefeated in seven. It’s heady stuff for a Toronto sports fan, who sees TFC sitting just six points off first overall in MLS (did you ever notice that the success of MLSE-owned teams seems to be inversely related to how knowledgeable the company’s board of directors thinks it is about the sport? Just putting it out there…)

Although the easy answer to why T.O. is so good at home is because of the amazing fan support (and it can’t be stated enough how incredible TFC’s game day experience is. If you get a chance to go, take it. Even if you don’t like soccer. You won’t believe you are watching a sporting event in the same city that the Leafs play in). However, the real answer may be the surface they are playing the game on.

The turf at BMO is lumpy. The ball bounces oddly off it and its just plain wacky to play on when its wet. Toronto is used to it, the opposing teams are not.

Regardless, the advantage has helped the Reds match their win total for all last year already. With six wins and two draws, Toronto sits in third place in the eastern conference. The top three teams make the playoffs, with the next two best records claiming wildcard berths (if both wildcards are from the same conference, the lower ranked team crosses over to play in the opposite conference’s playoffs).

The playoffs are a long ways off yet, but so long as BMO remains a fortress TFC should be in the hunt.

  • There are whispers that two mid-to-low table EPL teams are in a bidding war for Mo Edu. The 2007 rookie of the year is expected to make the move to Europe as early as next season, but some are suggesting that he may be moved in the summer transfer window. Toronto would receive allocation (money) from the sale of Edu which would likely be used to bring in a significant forward.
  • Speaking of allocation, Toronto owns the rights to US international Brian McBride. The player wants to play in his hometown of Chicago, but Toronto is refusing to give him away cheaply to the Fire (nor should they as Chicago is in competition with Toronto for one of the east’s playoff positions). It will be interesting to see what Trader Mo can pull off.
  • Montreal evened its record in the Voyageurs Cup tournament with a 2-0 win against Vancouver yesterday. The Impact has now played both its home games in the tournament. The result also ensures that the tournament will not be wrapped up prior to the second to last game day. If the Impact and the Whitecaps had tied both their games with each other Toronto could have clinched the championship with a win against Vancouver on Canada Day.
  • Canada plays St. Vincent and the Grenadines Friday in Montreal in the second game of their second round World Cup qualifying tie. The Canucks lead 3-0. The game is on Sportsnet if you are interested.

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