Sunday, March 29, 2009

Toronto FC: Canada's team? *

* Note: I don't really consider Toronto FC to be Canada's team.

I spent Saturday afternoon gorging myself on football. I began by watching a bit of the England-Slovakia friendly, and finished by taking in the end of the satisfying 0-0 draw between Portugal and Sweden that pushed the Portuguese to the brink of failure to qualify for South Africa.

In between, I was hoping to find some online stream to follow Toronto FC and Columbus. When that failed to materialize, I decided instead to follow the Holland-Scotland qualifier online.

Needless to say, it was awesome.



However, I still found myself interested in the TFC result, which was a somewhat encouraging 1-1 draw at the defending MLS champions Columbus Crew, thanks to a late own goal.

The same 4 Canadian starters as last week also played in this one. Adrian Serioux, Kevin Harmse, Dwayne De Rosario and Jim Brennan all played 90 minutes. In addition, Greg Sutton came off the bench at halftime to replace an injured Stefan Frei.

I know I probably care more than anybody else about how much run out the Canadians are getting for TFC, but the implications of yesterday's Canadian content are interesting.
  • TFC takes a narrow lead in the Canadian content standings over Montreal, each team having played 2 matches in '09 (detailed table // summary)
  • Not only that, but the 405 Canadian minutes is the high-water mark for this season, and also exceeds the Canadian participation of all but 1 of Toronto's matches in 2008.
In fact, apart from a match against Colorado last August, and 4 matches in an injury-depleted stretch in 2007, this is the most Canadian content in Toronto FC history.

A quick look at the Canadians that played in those other matches shows how much the quality of Canadian content has improved since the team's first year:

PLAYER START SUB MINS




08/06/07
vs Los Angeles
Kenny Stamatopoulos 1
90
Adam Braz 1
90
Jim Brennan 1
90
Marco Reda 1
90
Andrea Lombardo 1
90
Chris Pozniak 1
90
Total Mins 990 Cdn Mins 540




08/12/07
at New York
Kenny Stamatopoulos 1
90
Adam Braz 1
90
Jim Brennan 1
90
Marco Reda 1
90
Andrea Lombardo 1
90
Chris Pozniak 1
65
Joey Melo
1 41
Total Mins 965 Cdn Mins 556




09/08/07
at Dallas
Kenny Stamatopoulos 1
90
Adam Braz 1
72
Jim Brennan 1
90
Chris Pozniak 1
90
Andrea Lombardo 1
82
Joey Melo
1 18
Miguel Canizalez
1 8
Total Mins 990 Cdn Mins 450




10/13/07
at Los Angeles
Kenny Stamatopoulos 1
90
Adam Braz 1
90
Gabe Gala 1
67
Marco Reda 1
54
Tyler Hemming 1
90
Chris Pozniak 1
90
Miguel Canizalez 1
23
Total Mins 954 Cdn Mins 504




08/09/08
at Colorado
Greg Sutton 1
90
Nana Attakora-Gyan 1
90
Jim Brennan 1
90
Kevin Harmse 1
90
Tyler Rosenlund
1 58
Gabe Gala
1 12
Total Mins 990 Cdn Mins 430


I don't want to denigrate some of the previous Canadian employees of Toronto FC, but let's just say that there's a bit of a step up from Joey Melo and Andrea Lombardo to Dwayne De Rosario. You could play a fun game of where-are-they-now? with Lombardo (university?), Rosenlund and Canizalez (who knows?!)

It remains to be seen if the younger Canadians in the TFC's stable will get a decent run out this year (apart from Sutton, the only Canadian on the bench for last night's match was Gabe Gala), but with a core of solid Canadian content, 2009 is likely to go down as Toronto's "most Canadian" year ever.

That it is also the most successful (warning: EXTREMELY SMALL SAMPLE SIZE!) to date is a nice bonus.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if, at the end of the year, Toronto had a higher percentage of Canadian content than Montreal. Vancouver, though, will likely finish well ahead of both eastern teams.

6 comments:

Branden said...

For future reference, TFC TV streamed the game online from their website. Anyone accessing the site from a Canadian IP address could watch it.

Now they dont televise all the games, but I think the deal is that any game that is not available live on TV in Canada will be on TFC TV

J said...

Thanks, that is good to know.

I had some trouble with earlier attempts to watch live events on that site (the pre-season tournament in Charleston), though I seem to recall it working when I used Internet Explorer (ugh). I suppose it is a Firefox plug-in issue.

I think I made the right choice, though, as I've seen highlights of the match and they don't match the quality of Holland-Scotland.

Anonymous said...

It worked just fine for me with Firefox 3.0 on WinXP

Anonymous said...

Firefox 3, Mac/OS, worked for me. That game was also broadcast on GolTV--which I think is offering a free preview if you don't subscribe. It's probably worth subscribing to for TFC fans as they're showing a number of games this season.

J said...

I'm beginning to feel foolish for not having it work for me, also with FF3. I'll have to investigate my plug-in situation.

I'll look into the GOLTV angle as well. How much is it typically to add that channel to a cable package? I'm not the biggest TFC guy, but the also have a lot of Bundesliga and La Liga matches, which I am rather into.

Anonymous said...

That's right baby!! Got my toronto fc tickets and beer, now I can see the game.