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A Supporter’s View: Toronto FC


How do you find a silver lining in a 4-1 loss? How do you keep hoping going when you are a Toronto FC fan and the same team that tortured you a year ago is off to an 0-2 start?

You can find hope because results haven’t started coming yet and you aren’t ready to give up on the team you called your own a year ago.

Toronto has plenty of problems, from a stuttering attack to a defense that still hasn’t figured things out, but the season is long and Mo Johnston has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Unless things chance soon though, optimism among Toronto fans could soon disappear along with the fans themselves.

SBI correspondent Duane Rollins watched the ugly loss to D.C. with a large group of Toronto FC fans and came away thinking about the few positives, while also acknowledging the mounting negatives. Here is his take on Saturday’s loss (Feel free to provide your reaction to Duane’s piece in the comments section below):

The standing room only crowd of U-Sectors was in a surly mood. Already down two goals, the sudden sending off of Kevin Harmes—for reasons that still escape–had just confirmed that a long night of watching our favorite soccer heroes was about to get longer.

Blood was wanted—Harmes’, the referee’s, Mo Jonhston’s, Landon Donovan’s (just ’cause), anyone’s.
Sinking deeper into a pit of negativity, we did the only reasonable thing available to us. We evoked Monty Python.

Always look on the briiiiight side of life…
Starting slowly and building until it filled every corner of the dark and cramped pub.
Always look on the liiiiight side of life…


Then, as if on cue, the team decided to wake up and play a little football. Perhaps professional pride kicked in. Maybe DCU instinctively backed off a bit, but no matter. For the next 10 minutes TFC created, looking for that brief spell like the best team on the pitch.

Now, we knew it wouldn’t last—a third DC goal was as likely as our next morning’s hangover. However it was enough to change the mood of the crowd.  Laughs could once again be heard, the songs were positive—only a little ironic—and the realization set in that it was not long ago that we did not have a team to be frustrated about.

The third goal came, of course. As did a fourth. But, it hardly mattered. Our focus had switched from looking for a result, to looking for a glimmer of hope.

Surprisingly, we found it.

Laurent Robert, TFC’s first major signing of the year, looked like he might just have a little game left. Day’s earlier the news of his arrival at the team had received decidedly mixed reviews. We were ecstatic that Mo Johnston had finally delivered on a promise to bring in some reinforcements, but we wondered whether a player that couldn’t find the pitch at Derby—DERBY!—was really what we needed.

Our fears appear to be unfounded. Robert brought a quality to our middle that has been desperately needed. He created chances and made it clear that it is only a matter of time before he delivers from a dead ball situation.

The Frenchman’s presence also appeared to revitalize Danny Dichio. A target man is only as good as the service he receives and the punt and hope game TFC had been playing wasn’t really meant for Dichio’s 33-year-old legs.

Eventually DCU’s quality brought us back to earth. The 10 minutes of hope ended and we were back to praying that United wouldn’t put some truly atrocious number past us. And if it wasn’t for a couple acrobatic saves by Greg Sutton that might have been exactly what happened.

But, it didn’t. And, somehow, after that first five minutes, we could handle 4-0. Illogically, it didn’t seem all that bad.

But, 4-1 was even better.

Please don’t try and tell a TFC fan that Mo Edu’s 88th minute strike was meaningless. Sure, it literally was, but emotionally we needed that goal.  We really, really did.

If you are going to look at the bright side of a 4-1 defeat, you have to hold onto the little things. A late goal from our most talented player, some nice passes by the new guy and some intensity from the fan favorite.

‘Cause when you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best…


  1. really great writing! i definitely think Andrew Keh (no rbny bias, i swear) and Duane Rollins here is pretty dang awesome too! keep up the great work!

  2. Well written Doug.

    I agree that of the ‘three reds’ this week Harmse was least deserving. But I think his reputation hurts him. Every ref in the league knows what he’s about and I’m sorry to say he’s rather fairly earned that rep.

    DigzTFC – If Maurice Edu isn’t the best player on this team I’m really curious to know who you think is better.

  3. You got me kplugs. I made a spelling error. I regret it–I truly do–but considering Mr. Harmse’s name was one of about 10,000 words I wrote that day…let’s try and keep things on topic (point it out so I’m aware and move on).

    Regarding your main point, Harmse’s tackle was no more reckless than about three others during the game–Dichio and Robinson should have received yellows (at minimum) for careless play in that first half. In my opinion, Peralta deserved a straight red for taking Dichio down from behind, denying him a clear shot on goal. So, my point stands–Harmse’s card was not in keeping with the way the rest of the game was called.

    Let’s be clear here, DCU is vastly better than TFC. I’m pretty sure I made that clear in the column.

    Last point: Our job here is to represent the voice of the supporters. If you want straight reporting, there are lots of other places to find it. Of course, I’m going to write things from TFC perspective, because that’s what I’ve been asked to do.

    Those that wish to communicate with me directly are welcome to do so at dgrollins (@) Obviously, I welcome comments here too.

    I’m particularly interested in hearing from TFC supporters. I associate myself with U-Sector, but I do want to represent other supporter’s voices as well. Let me know if you are doing something special for the games (pre/post/away) so I can see as many different game day experiences as possible this year.

    Thanks for everyone’s comments.

  4. Um, shouldn’t a “supporter” spell the players’ names correctly on his own team?

    Also, reasons that still escape? Try not going in recklessly. As I said in the other post…sure we can blame the ref if we want. But come on, if Harmes doesn’t go in recklessly then it’s a whole different ballgame. That’s all there is too it. It’s not like it was a phantom foul. He deserved to be booked and got a red instead. A better tackle and he gets NOTHING. I hate MLS refs but I am already wondering if every supporters’ view posting is going to be complaining about why a particular team didn’t win and whining about the ref.

    I hope I don’t shock anyone here: Jeff Parke DESERVED his red card! Holy crap I just said something crazy about my own team! Why can’t anyone here blame the reckless behavior of the players and a bit of bad luck rather than whine about referees who we all know are bad? If anything, that makes the foul worse. EVERYONE knows MLS refs are bad, so players that pull this crap are even dumber for it.

  5. I haven’t read every offering yet (well, all but the last three posted here) but Duane’s the best writer so far. And here I thought Andrew Keh’s post of NYRB was great. Duane has taken it to another level.

    The pace, the rhythm, the “Bright Side of Life” lyrics was all very clever.

    Awesome job Duane. Looking forward to the rest of the season. Hopefully, it won’t get you too down. But then again, maybe it’ll push out even better prose.

  6. Just because Maurice Edu doesn’t run around recklessly on the pitch, like a house league kid on a sugar high after eating ten Mars bars, doesn’t mean he isn’t working. Mo is a class player and one of the few with any real vision on the field on that team. Now if only his strikers could catch up with him. I find he’s frustrated with some of the pathetic soccer that is being played by the team of late. Don’t think he comes off as being better than anyone. It’s also only two games into the season, can he get at least three in before you throw the book at him?? If he’s not TFC’s best, who on earth would you have ranked ahead of him? Seriously.

  7. I dont exactly know what it is, but i must stay the TFC unis are the best in mls….

    with the fans, stadium, and the traveling…. they are def wining me over

  8. I think a plausable conclusion could be made that TFC are shedding all there negatives now(early in the season) and will continue to gain strength throughout the season…

    Like a Hurricane forming in the Atlantic and then slowing becoming a bigger and bigger force to deal with, and then all of a sudden it strikes the land with such fury and vengence that everyone must take shelter because the hurricane that is TFC will destroy everything in its path!!


  9. I think you’ll do great in this job. But, to clarify, Mo Edu is not by any means our most talented or best player. After seeing him trot around with no ambition for two games, I got a feeling he either thinks he’s better than the team or is leaving in the summer transfer. He has been mediocre. Totally overhyped this season.

  10. I agree with you. I thought Robert looked pretty good out there, and looked like he has some gas left in the tank.


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