Enjoy The Now TFC Fans – Worry Later
One day out from yet another “Biggest Game Ever” for Toronto FC and I find myself sitting here thinking and fretting more about a game in Montreal this coming Saturday with much more of a sense of dread and worry than I have about a single match that might put Toronto FC into the finals of the CONCACAF Champions League taking place Wednesday in Mexico.
Champions League, after that memorable evening last fall in Dallas when the Reds secured second place in their group and advanced to the knockout stages, has been an exhilarating ride with no expectations and frankly little to no pressure on the club from the fans. The knockout stages have been to date nothing less than exhilarating fun. Whether it be the event that the Rogers Centre game became in retrospect, or that save that Kocic made on Robbie Keane in LA, or the coming out party for Luis Silva scoring in his professional debut, or for that matter showing a lot of grit to hang in there during the first leg with one of the best clubs on the continent in Santos Laguna, if it ends Wednesday it has been nothing less than a success. If the Reds somehow get past Santos Laguna Wednesday then I might have to seriously thinking about cashing in my RRSP’s for a place ticket to Japan this December.
I’m not holding my breath. If we win, then that will be a famous win. If we lose (hopefully not in embarrassing fashion) and play hard then TFC can leave CONCACAF competition with their heads held high knowing that they did our club and our country proud. I think that however this Champions League run ends for TFC it can’t be looked back upon as anything other than a great success.
Wednesday night will be a night that sees our Reds either advance or go home. Either way it turns out its nothing to worry or fret over. And remember to enjoy yourselves Wednesday win or lose because, let’s face it, it might be a long time before TFC finds itself three games away from having a chance to play a Barcelona or a Bayern Munich in a competitive match with a trophy on the line.
Now that brings me to the dread and worry bit, namely the trip to Montreal on Saturday.
The dread and fear I have is a Toronto FC club coming home after the Champions League exertions and a game versus the Impact as a 0-4 team in Major League soccer, bringing up the rear in the league standings. I fear that there might be violence and incidents between two fervent fan groups that might not only end up with supporters hurt but also overshadowing what has the chance of becoming one of the best rivalries in this league.
I dread a defensive error or two and/or this high line tactic Aron Winter seems to like leading to conceded goals against the run of play. I fear for the Reds anemic to date MLS offense that has seen a club with undeniable talent up front in the likes of Koevermans, Plata, Johnson and Soolsma only score once in two and half hours of league play (versus five times in the equivalent number of minutes of CCL play).
Perhaps most of all I truly fear that all of the goodwill and visibility that this Champions League run has brought to the team might turn out to be wasted if this club can’t find a way to put what is a truly poor MLS expansion side in the Impact on Saturday and start winning games in the league that talent says they should have every right winning. The last two league games have been disappointing not only in the results but in how the results came about. If there is anything good to come from what might be the end of the Cinderella CCL run Wednesday then it has to start on Saturday at the Olympic Stadium.