Toronto FC 2007 Season Review

Toronto FC
Record (W-L-T):
6-17-7, 25 GF, 49 GA
Source Material:
Schedule/match reports; 2007 Standings

Overview
Their record alone makes it pretty hard to draw positives from Toronto FC’s (TFC) inaugural campaign. At the same time, it’s fair to ask why a team built largely around Major League Soccer (MLS) players who had enjoyed a promising year here or there (think Edson Buddle, Alecko Eskandarian) should make a run at the playoffs. And yet a healthy handful of pundits not only made that prediction but stuck with it for a long, long time – even after several of these promising players left.

In general, instability stands tall as the watchword for TFC. Only LA so much attempted to keep pace with coach Mo Johnston’s ad hoc “guest-player” program. Apart from Alecko Eskandarian and Edson Buddle – shipped to Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy respectively – the team acquired and then shipped out Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Paulo Nagamura (Chivas USA), Kevin Goldthwaite, plus a few others. In spite of the steady turnover, and with few of these moves truly looking like upgrades, it wasn’t till late in the year when they were so clearly sucking air that people finally wrote ‘em off.

It’s arguably fair to chalk up the reticence to pan this team to the “darling” status they enjoyed thanks to a, frankly, kickass home atmosphere. Not only did they sell out the park frequently, but famous freakouts like the Fiesta del Cushion Seats that greeted their first-ever win got the ball rolling on the notion that Hell was playing TFC at home. But the results petered out before everything went completely, irrevocably south after the All-Star break. The battle-tested veterans who gave the team hope – MLS guys like Jeff Cunningham, Ronnie O’Brien, and, later, Tyrone Marshall, as well as imports like Danny Dichio – kept it alive until an injury visitation of medieval proportions led to TFC breaking all the wrong records in 2007. Continue reading

Advertisements

2007 Season Reviews: An Introduction

I thought about just dumping all this at top of the first review, but opted instead for a separate post – seemed unwieldy. As alluded to in an earlier post, I’m writing season reviews for each of Major League Soccer’s (MLS) 13 teams, going from worst (Toronto FC) to regular-season first (e.g. pre-playoff standings). If you take into account the fact that I rarely do weekends for this site, that should tell any interested parties when I’ll be posting on a given team.

Those familiar with this site (and the limits of human endurance) know that I don’t watch every game and follow every team. No, this series requires some research. To be totally above-board on this, the source material/research for each review will include: a review of MLSnet.com’s match reports for each team’s 30 league games; the final standings for 2007, including goals-for and against; each team’s roster. What I learn from, what I remember, and what I don’t omit is what you’ll read. I hope y’all like it.

Lastly, to help with the consistency, I created a little template based on the topics I intend to cover for each team. Here’s that:

[Team]
[Record, Goals For; Goals Against]

Overview: A big, squishy review of the team’s season.

Notable Streaks: The best and worst passages of the season – inspired, by the way, by Toronto FC

What Went Right: A record of the happy days, the good players, and situations.

What Didn’t: What sunk ’em.

Key Men (as in the Ones You Want Back): The players who stood out and must return

Anyone Who Ought to Leave: This isn’t so much who should you trade as it’s a list of either liabilities or locker-room cancers. I don’t anticipate using this one much, but, again, I did with Toronto FC.

What They’re Needin’: Every team has some holes (except Houston); I’ll talk about the plugs here.

Well, that’s that. The first review post, for Toronto FC, will be up shortly. I’ll be putting everything except the Expansion draft on hold while I work through these, but it’s going to be plenty of work. Hope people enjoy it.

New England: On Getting the First Laugh

In the wake of a soul-crushing fourth failure in MLS Cup, I have only one more comment to pass on and it goes to New England fans across the country (you see, there’s me here in Portland and all those dudes in New England. See? Cross country). Once done here, I’m going to start cranking out 2007 season reviews for all the teams (an act of extreme self-loathing that will come at the expense of the Daily Sweeper, once again). But, to return to the situation at hand…

This whole thing, this collapsing into a bloodied, depressed heap at the last hurdle, is one of those laugh or cry scenarios – as in, this sucks, you can either laugh about it or cry about it. In my experience, the most effective way to survive ridicule is to beat the peanut gallery to the punch. Celebrate your permanent bridesmaid status. How? Maybe get the Midnight Riders to pick up the tradition of unfurling a giant banners over their section, but emblazon the thing with a blown-up picture of Cathy swapped into a New England Revolution shirt. She’s directly below, needing only competent photo-shopping to make it happen.

I’m just saying…it’s an idea…probably not a good one.

The point is, there’s something funny about this whole thing, how New England beats the rest of Major League Soccer (MLS) to the final and then goes and loses it, again and again and again and again (did I get ’em all?). I mean, why bother reaching the final at all? Why not let in some team who can actually clear the last hurdle? It’s like someone who doesn’t know how to drive a car insisting on sitting in the driver’s seat. It’s spoiling in its most extreme and reckless form, akin to burning down the dream house you lost in a bidding war to a nicer, cleaner couple.

Anyway, here’s where I am: if someone told me that the New England Revolution will one day win MLS Cup, I wouldn’t believe them. Like other good things – think flying cars, jet packs, or light speed – it’s just not going to happen. Perhaps it’s not meant to happen.