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…