Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday cup of coffee: Glass half-empty edition

Stop me if you've seen this movie before. Team that wears red and white is underperforming. Has some talent but fails to consistently deliver on that promise. Has recently made improvements or shown signs of turning the corner. But then craps the bed.

This description could apply to three of the teams I follow (two of which I support): Canada, who have mastered the pattern, TFC, who seem to have fallen into it in the last few seasons, and AZ, who failed to capitalize on the momentum of their midweek Champions League result.

With not much else to talk about, let's get pessimistic.

But first, a retraction!

Last week, I themed my Monday post around the letters of the acronym FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), in anticipation of Canada's November friendly against Macedonia. It turns out that, as often happens when I tread on issues of Eastern European geopolitics, I got it all wrong. And I was straightened out by a Macedonian reader:
There's no FYROM. It is an invented "acronym" nowhere in use. If you refer to the UN provisional reference it is "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and shouldn't be shortened and it is for within UN.
Canada uses our constitutional name - Republic of Macedonia, or Macedonia. MK, MKD, .mk and so on...

And I forgot to mention that it is considered highly insulting and derogatory...
Something about a UN ruling and a dispute with Greece. Anyway, I apologize. Not enough to go back to reframe that week's entire post, but enough to let you know about it.

Note my good form in printing the retraction first, instead of buried in some obscure location. Take that newspaper industry!

5 reasons for TFC fans to be frustrated

I've recently outed myself as a non-fan of TFC. That didn't stop me from being disappointed Saturday night upon learning of the debacle in NYC, a 5-0 loss to the worst team in the league to miss out on the MLS playoffs by a single point.

I was disappointed for different reasons than some others, of course. I'd always hoped it would come down to the last minute, a poetic finish to a season of late collapses. When it comes to schadenfreude, agony beats bludgeoning every time.

But for the real TFC fans who number among the bloggers I read and, sometimes, respect, I can empathize with succinct expressions of pain. Less so with overwrought after-the-fact rationalizations.

The litany of excuses for TFC's poor performances is dwindling. No longer is the 'expansion team' card available to be played (Thanks, Seattle). Complaints from Mo in Year 1 about the dearth of Canadian talent no longer hold water when you have the best Canadian player ever on your team (no, not you De Ro).

Speaking of De Ro, his critiques following Saturday's match suggest he is not one to spend much time in front of a mirror:
“I want to see more heart on this team,” De Rosario said, then asked: “How do you teach that? You tell me. I could have came in here and kicked everything down but what’s that going to prove. I’ve done it many times and there’s been no response. Been there and done that.”

There's always next year. (Say it with me Leafs fans!)

Eredivisie report

I don't intend on having this space used solely as a place to vent about the misfortunes of my team, AZ. I already wrote this week about the troubled financial situation in Alkmaar, and I also ranted about Ronald Koeman in the comments of that post.

But it was a little disconcerting seeing the momentum of a Champions League draw against Arsenal and a promising 1-0 halftime lead at home to Ajax turned into a 4-2 deficit by game's end. The only bright spot was that 3 of the game's 6 goals were added to my tally in the Eredivisie contest.

Speaking of which, here's how it looks right now:

AZ 15 Mounir el Hamdouai (AZ) 7
Ajax 26 Luis Suarez (Ajax) 15

TOTAL (PTS + GOALS x 2) 85
Headhunting Canuck
AZ 15 Luis Suarez (Ajax) 15
PSV 27 Balazs Dzsudzsak (PSV) 5

TOTAL (PTS + GOALS x 2) 82
Pompey Canuck
PSV 27 Luis Suarez (Ajax) 15
Ajax 26 Jon Dahl Tomasson (Feyenoord) 5

TOTAL (PTS + GOALS x 2) 93
Lord Bob
Ajax 26 Keisuke Honda (VVV) 5
FC Utrecht 22 Mounir el Hamdouai (AZ) 7

TOTAL (PTS + GOALS x 2) 72

Pompey Canuck avoided picking AZ, but did grab goal scoring monster Luis Suarez and thus leads overall.

Canadian soccer blog post I enjoyed this week: Fellow westerner (much further west, in fact) Lord Bob rebuts me and my TFC-dislike with a dispassionate expression of ambivalence mixed with appreciation for the Toronto side.


Duane Rollins said...

How is what I wrote even remotly a rationalization?

J said...

I get the feeling that I didn't articulate that "rationalization" phrase at all the way I intended. I don't mean to suggest that you were trying to find a way of explaining TFC's importance that would make it seem acceptable. Rather, you were re-framing what it means to be a fan in a way that you were able to feel somewhat positive about being a fan.

Which is great. But I'm a different kind of fan and identify more quickly with the "fuck it all" sentiment. Trust me. I live in a city whose only real team is in an 8 team league and still hasn't managed to win in 19 years.