Thursday, August 05, 2010

TFC advance to group stage: What does it mean?

So, TFC have advanced to the group stage of Champions League with a 3-2 aggregate win over Motagua of Honduras, after gutting out a 2-2 away draw on Tuesday.

I'll spare you a detailed analysis, since that is not one of my skills, and better versions exist elsewhere. I'll do without some sycophantic fanboy stuff about what such an important win means for TFC, since I'm not much of a TFC guy myself.

But I do follow and support Canada's national team, and there is much to be taken from the match that should be heartening for Canadians of all stripes:
  • A Canadian got the necessary result in a hostile environment. Sure, I doubt the crowd was as amped up as they would be for a World Cup qualifier, and I didn't see any bags of piss raining from the stands, but for NTers like de Guzman and De Rosario and possibly Attakora in the future, this should give them confidence that they can get the job done next time they travel to San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa or Guatemala City or Kingston.
  • Speaking of de Guzman . . . fans have been critical of his play this season, but for those stretches of the match when TFC was in control, he was the one pulling the strings. He bossed the midfield for stretches and seemed able to settle his team down at times.
  • And of De Rosario: He has never really scored any clutch goals for Canada, but he did in this match. Could this be a sign of things to come?
  • And respect for Canadian teams? Toronto's exit last year to Puerto Rico was bad for Canadian soccer and was rightly seen as an embarrassment. (That Los Angeles failed to take the competition seriously this year and exited just as disgracefully is no justification). So it is good to see Toronto advance. Hopefully they can build on Montreal's successful tournament two years ago, and position Canadian teams in such a way so that when there are enough pro sides to justify it, we get another spot. Or at the very least, an automatic entry to the group stage. (Stay tuned for a post on performance by country in CCL).
Of course, there were the usual defensive lapses and Preki made a tactical error slotting in a 17-year old to defend the Hondurans' most dangerous attacking option, but hopefully lessons were learned.

At the very least, they showed that the competition meant something and they got the job done, and I guess you can't say any fairer than that.

No comments: