The server for the blog was down all day yesterday into today so I was not able to get my usual pre-game post up before the game last evening in Chicago that saw Toronto draw the Fire 0-0. I am still for the record going to post my pre-game thoughts here along with some commentary on the upcoming 2011 TFC season ticket renewal campaign.

TFC v Fire

On one of the TFC fan message boards I posted earlier this week, with some disagreeing with my assessment, that the game this evening away against Chicago is nothing less than a must win. I stated in my post that I felt that for Toronto to have any hope for the playoffs it could not allow itself to not only lose ground to a club with games in hand but having yet another club to climb past for the playoffs would only make the situation they re in even worse.

40 points gets a club into the playoffs last season but with the additional team this year in Philadelphia and with the points teams ahead of us have accumulated already I think it’ll be 42-43 points needed to get into the post season in 2010. So let’s say 42 gets you in. Toronto FC has 27 today. That’s 15 points needed with eight games remaining. Three wins at home are of course a necessity (assuming we can beat Columbus, DC and San Jose). I don’t think we will beat the Columbus Crew, we never have, so perhaps a draw at home is all we can hope for there. That means that three wins on the road is what is required. And Chicago is one of the clubs TFC can really put the sword to with a win. A loss means TFC will be going into the weekend five points out of the last playoff spot and they will be looking up at Chicago who will still have a game in hand.  A loss means of course that TFC drops into 11th place.

No matter how you cut it this game tonight is an absolute must win. And there are some reasons for optimism. Maicon Santos may factor into the mix this evening. He was rounding nicely into shape before his injury a few weeks ago and his ability to play well with Mista was leading to both players getting offensive chances.

Ty Harden has frankly been a revelation at the back since Nana Attakora was away with Team Canada and suspension for the past two games. His emergence gives Preki the chance to not only perhaps go with a more offensive tactical approach but also keep gaffe prone Nick Garcia off the pitch. Maybe we might see Attakora play fullback tonight along with Usanov.

The effort in Dallas which fell a little short was definitely something to build upon. With De Rosario, de Guzman and the aforementioned Attakora back in the mix the only significant loss this evening is midfielder Martin Saric suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

Now it all comes down to Preki. He needs to set up the club properly to give it a chance to win the game. Toronto has never won in Chicago. In three previous trips the Reds have drawn once and lost twice. Earlier this season at home Toronto demolished the Fire 4-1. We will see I guess later tonight if the playoffs are either a possibility or a pipe dream.

MLS Cup and TFC Season Tickets for 2011

I have been reading the following thread on the Red Patch Boys web site with great interest today, as I think it captures very well a lot of the angst among supporters of Toronto FC about their upcoming season ticket renewals for 2011 and the lack of information to date about tickets for the MLS Cup Final at BMO Field on November 21st. I urge you all to take a look at the thread here:

With just over ten weeks to go before the Cup Final is held here in Toronto, to date there has been no news whatsoever from the club about the ticketing information for the game. And the general fan consensus appears to be that with the annual 2011 season ticket renewal campaign upcoming soon there is likely to be some arrangement made whereby if fans renew their seats for 2011, they will have the option to purchase MLS Cup tickets first.

With the strong possibility that Toronto will for the fourth season in a row not be able to reward fans with playoff soccer there is a possibility that Toronto FC may see for the first time a big drop off in season ticket renewals. And there is definitely anecdotal information out there to back this up. In each season so far in their history there have been season ticket price hikes that average about 15% across the board. And it would not be surprising if that continues, even though it would be a serious error on the part of the club if they think that it should business as usual.

One of the posters on the Red Patch Boys (well done Mikey!) took it upon himself to take a look at where the prices for the most expensive TFC season tickets compare to some of the top teams in the English Premier League to try and provide some context as to where TFC prices its product. Here is what he came up with:

Manchester United:












Are you as surprised as I am to see these figures? And these sums are all in Canadian dollars! So for a club that has yet to get into the post season in their history their top ticket is $1,500 more than what my Gunners charge their fans in north London to see Premiership soccer. These numbers shocked me when I saw them and they again back up the anecdotal evidence out there that at the higher price points Toronto may indeed have some problems for the first time in their history filling their building in 2011.

Many fans are saying they will be only renewing if there is a change of leadership at the club that sees Mo Johnston fired. Others are saying they will only renew if they can obtain cheaper seats next year. Fans are reporting that scalpers are having a harder and harder time getting rid of their seats on game days. Some of the more committed fans, who spend large sums on merchandise, road trips, and displays/tifos within the ground feel that another increase would be something simply put that could not be justified and if price increases take place some of them may simply walk away. Driving away even a few of your most committed ardent fans who add so much to the game day experience in the stadium would be a huge error.


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