Top Stories

Toronto FC 0, Columbus Crew 0: A Supporter’s View


It was supposed to be a great showdown between two of the hotter teams in MLS. The first-place Columbus Crew against a surging Toronto FC in front of a sold-out crowd at BMO Field.

Wind, rough tackling, diving, bad officiating and worse finishing turned the highly-anticipated encounter into an ugly one. The Crew appeared to bunker in for the tie rather than attack like the high-flying team they have been all season while TFC put on a clinic on how not to finish chances. The result was zero goals and not much to cheer about.

SBI Correspondents Duane Rollins and Rich Fidler took in the action and share their views on the match with us:

Heightened security, ugly soccer spoil a sunny day in Toronto


The first thing you noticed Saturday was the police. They were everywhere. On the streets around BMO Field, in the commuter train tunnel and, especially, in the stadium. It would have been a good day to rob a bank in Toronto because all the cops were watching soccer.

Some recent high profile, if over stated, incidents at and immediately after TFC games has caused some to start to hyperbolically utter the H-word—hooligans—to describe the Toronto fan base.
Somehow a single, middle-age drunk running to center field in the dying moments of the Red Bulls game, coupled with the images of some tailgating fans urinating on a fence in Columbus, has caused some to make the jump to organized violence under the guise of sport.   

So, with 15-days to prepare for the return of the BMO rowdies, Toronto’s finest had plenty of time to coordinate their response.

Hopefully the boys in blue enjoyed the match because they didn’t have much to do otherwise. Something they should have realized if they had ever been to a game before.

What those attempting to channel their inner Danny Dyer don’t realize is that the Toronto fan is not interested in playing the lead role on Real Football Factories—the North American edition. What’s happening in Toronto isn’t the beginnings of firm culture, but rather the development of a true community. The official slogan of Toronto is All for One, but unlike most marketing driven branding exercises the slogan has real meaning. Each week at BMO, Celtic fans stand shoulder to shoulder with Rangers fans united under the color of red. The Old World crap has been left behind. There is no interest is renewing it.

But still there are plenty of chicken Little’s hell-bent on screaming from the rooftops about the "problem" in Toronto. About all they are accomplishing is to make life more difficult for those in supporters sections everywhere to bring the type of energy and enthusiasm that will sell this sport to the masses far more than any two-for-one hot dog family night ever well.

Certainly, the extra "precaution" Saturday made enjoying the action of the pitch more difficult. It’s hard to get too excited by a 0-0 draw when you are being asked to show your ticket stub for the sixth time.
There are games that have scoreless written all over them and last week was one. From the get-go it was clear that Columbus was playing for the draw and that a nasty, swirling wind was acting as its 12th man in that effort. Even the streamers were flying straight back into the thrower’s face.

Although the positive spin is that Toronto remains undefeated at home, having only surrendered a single goal, the ugly truth is that the Reds still struggle to score. The conditions were difficult and the opponent worthy Saturday, but soccer is a simple game when you break it down—put the ball in the back of the net. Toronto isn’t doing that near enough and it will need to address the shortcoming if it is to truly contend in 2008.

Short-handed Crew take a point at windy and hostile BMO Field


The Columbus Crew have once again demonstrated they are the league’s best with a fantastic frustrating match that ended in a scoreless draw at BMO Field in Toronto.

The Crew headed north of the border without starting midfielder Adam Moffat and left-back Gino Padula, instead they were replaced by utility-man Brad Evans and the ageless swan, Ezra Hendrickson.  It was a dicey gamble to put Hendrickson out on the wing in the defense against speedy Rohan Rickets and former French international Lauren Robert.  Although there were a few moments of trepidation, including a Robert blast that went off the post, the elder statesmen on the Crew roster held his own.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto was the one that provided the frustration on the evening, whether it was the TFC defense or center official Kevin Stott, the Argentinean legend had a few choice words for everyone on the night.  His theatrics wore so thin, that after the game it was all poor TFC head coach John Carver could talk about.  Evidently the Argentine got just what he wanted, a frustrated head coach who said he’d consider going back to England – which would probably be a good thing for the TFC fans – so by all means John please stay and grace us with your stellar coaching mind.

The game was one of the ugliest in the young season.  The 30 mile an hour gusts of wind that ripped through BMO certainly didn’t help things.  Long balls were constantly long, and balls kept low to avoid the wind were found skipping across the plastic turf.  When is the league going to stand up and ask these teams that spend millions of dollars on a new stadium to stick with the real thing.  They do it in Austria, Holland and Germany – why is it so hard to do it in Toronto?  If you need a good grounds-keeper, "the" Ohio State University has one hell of a program – I am sure you could find someone that’ll take a few loonies and move north.

The Trillium Cup, yea that’s right this rivalry has a cup, hasn’t been wrapped up by the Crew and it’ll take a another visit to BMO Field before the inaugural winner can be crowned.  The Crew will come back to Toronto in mid-September just in time to welcome back Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven from their trip to Beijing with the gold medal draped around their neck (okay, okay – I know they aren’t going to beat Messi and Argentina or Pato and Brazil).  It should be a good test for two teams that continue to improve and look to lead the way in a very strong Eastern conference.  Well, except for DC United, who would have trouble against the Crew affiliate Mid-Michigan Bucks.

The Crew get to head back home on Saturday after two straight on the road where they picked up four of a possible six to keep their lead at the top of the league.  In the way for Columbus will be the New England Revolution, another team full of hacking professionals like Jay Heaps.


  1. Dear Ossington Mental Youth/TFC fans,

    Obviously you never watched the MLS till TFC came about last year. Otherwise you would know about Guevara and his antics, just because he hasn’t done anything as of yet doesn’t mean he wont. You’ve had an influx of new players and now have a lot of hot heads on your team that aren’t used to eachother yet, wait till your little streak ends and things start going wrong and you’ll see the true colors of your team.

  2. Why is it that TFC fans talk all kinds of s***, and act like they know everything about soccer when they are a second year team who has done NOTHING in this league?

    Oh wait, thats right because they are arrogant a******* who look down on every other team and fan.

    Why would we even waste our breath trying to be rational with you guys when all any of you ever say is that we aren’t credible because a) we’re fans who can’t think objectively (but somehow all of your guy’s thoughts just happen to be incredibly intelligent and not biased at all right?) b) our team hasn’t won anything in a long time or c) we don’t have a fanbase and our team deserves to be moved.

    Talk about intelligent conversions.

    Most of us have given up trying to explain to you guys our thoughts about what happened on Saturday, because of this.

    Try holding an intelligent conversation once in a while and not talking down to people like you are so much more intelligent and better than them and we can discuss this.

    Better yet, get over it, let it go and move on the the next game your team is going to play like we have.

  3. PS

    Duthie, they resort ot insults simply because up until this season they havent had onfield performances to refer to.

  4. Dear Thinking Literal/Columbus Crew fans,

    Not to say he doesnt dive, but i havent seen Guevara dive yet and lord knows i (let alone any other fan) havent had to justify him diving. If anything hes been quite productive and has handled himself in the opposite manner to which we were warned. Looking forward to our next game.


    Ossington Mental Youth

  5. Hey Alex, it’s a fan’s view of the game. No one said it had to be objective.

    Again, to point out one persons fandom after reading what they wrote, but not looking at oneself and their stance as well as those who agree with them in the same manner is hypocrisy at it’s finest.

    Just admit that all you are stating is your opinion and nothing else, instead of trying to pass it on as fact, and criticizing others for being homers and you guys won’t look like such arrogant a**holes. But, instead you do, and look down on others from high on the mountain you guys keep yourself on, and you are the joke of the league because of it. No fan in their right mind could ever take you guys seriously because you are all just so irrational.

    And if by, he wears his heart on his sleeve, you mean he is a whiner, sure, that’s excatly what this league needs.

    Go away.

  6. Thinkingliteral–> GFY!!!

    and Rich Fidler–> You’re one sided article wasn’t even entertaining to say the least! actually it was very poorly written.

    GBS —> you are a world class diver!!

    Coach John Carver is exactly what this league needs! a man with extreme knowledge of the game, fire in his belly and wears his heart on his sleeve.

  7. Ah yes, the irony of the name of a TFC fan being drunken goon.

    I believe that really explains it all. No wonder they are all so irrational.

  8. Basically the bottom line is TFC fans are twats. I will laugh so hard when Amado Guevara starts his diving and you guys rationalize it somehow, as he is more infamous for his diving than Schelotto ever was. You also rationalize Brennans BS with kicking the ball @ Schelotto. If a player is standing in the way, you either ask the ref for 10 or you just go about your way, you dont beam the player then bitch at the ref like brennan did. He’s classless much like you TFC fans.

  9. Rich – The turf comment is unwarranted. TFC shares the stadium with the CSA and they don’t have the final say on the surface. The stadium is built to be a year around training/game facility for more than just TFC, not sure your finest OSU groundkeepers will be able to do much with frozen mud in the middle of February in -30 temperatures as far as real turf is concerned.

    Austria and Holland really aren’t that relevant to your point, I could always point to Sweden, Norway and Russia who are building more and more field turf pitches.

  10. Hold on a minute. I saw someone, if not a few people, call out Rich for letting his fandom come out in his column, and pretty much accuse his of not being objective because he is a Crew fan.

    Theb, I see these same people, or other TFC fans stating their opinions, just like Rich did, and trying to convince us that it was fact and not an opinion. And of course, this would be without any fandom involved correct?

    How does it feel to be looking down on everyone from that pedastal that you guys put yourself on TFC fan?

    Get over it already. Don’t you guys have a game to worry about tonight? Or did GBS suddenly get on another team?

  11. Duane, keep up the good reports. The fan’s perspective–a “supporter’s view” indeed–on the game is a breath of fresh air compared to a stale account of the game and the press conference. I can read that at any major media source.

    On Schelotto: I wouldn’t say he’s a disgrace; he’s clearly a gifted player. But he does sully his own reputation by going down so easy. I’d much rather see a player of quality fight through a challenge than plop down feebly.

    He dove. Repeatedly. Live with it Crew fans. He wasn’t cautioned. Unfortunate. He showed neither the officials nor the game any respect with his antics. TFC frustrated him. He frustrated Carver. Brennan did kick the ball at him. He was also nowhere near ten yards back from the ball. And him requesting to be subbed was classic. I can’t wait to see him in Toronto again.

    Fid, Ruiz, literal (an appropriate moniker if there ever was one), wouldn’t you agree, from a soccer fan’s–not just a Crew fan’s–perspective, that it’d be easier to appreciate his skills if he didn’t whine so much?

  12. thinkingliteral, you’re rationalizing cheating. Embellishment and Diving are forms of cheating. Many people do it, I understand that, but to see it time after time over the course of 90 minutes was really embarrassing. The issue of diving/embellishment is a huge detractor for many N. American fans who grew up watching traditional American sports.

    And it wasn’t only the diving that was the issue with Schellotto. It was also the two times where he ran over to the linesman to protest right in his face…Although I blame the ref too for not giving him a yellow for this.

    As for his history, I’m also well aware of his history but your history doesn’t rationalize cheating, I don’t care who you are.

    I must say I loved at the end when he got cautioned for simulation and then he signalled to be subbed off to the manager….classic!

  13. And if Schelotto hadn’t started his antics within the first ten minutes you might have some more weight to your “cheating is ok if it is in the last few minutes to preserve the game” argument.

    But he started from the opening kickoff, just like the rest of the defensive, boring, bunker tactics from the team in yellow.

    I am well aware of Schelotto’s history – you may sacrifice small animals to him in columbus (all five of you who care), but I judged his performance in that game, and found it to be disgraceful.

    Where was Brennan going to beam Schelotto to (although even you would have to admit it would be hard for him to hit anything but Schelotto, given that he was standing about 4 inches from the ball at the time doing nothing but trying to delay the game)? I would hope it was far, far away.

  14. WOW, your right! I’ve never seen a player take his time in a key situation late in the game to preserve a tie or win! Schelotto is a first! Much like TFC invented throwing streamers in 2007! I’m sorry but Guille apart from 1 or 2 infractions was being fouled everytime you say he dived. A foul is a foul even if the fouled player embellishes it. Schelotto is NOT a disgrace to this game, you must not know his storied history to say such an outlandish comment. Now Brennan, that free kick he boomed into Schelotto that is a disgrace to the game, its hard for a ref to call it during the game, but watch the replay and you see his natural intent was to beam Guille and nothing else. What a joke!

  15. DUANE,

    It doesn’t seem to me that you watched much of the game. It appears you observed enough to recognize Columbus wanted a tie and the wind was blowing. It is good your community is enjoying the atmosphere up there. Party on Duane.

  16. Alejandro Ruiz, You have lost the plot my friend. Comparing streamer throwing with Diving and acting like an absolute fairy (like schelloto did) is a shocking comparison. Heres the difference: if we’re up 4-0 or down 4-0 TFC fans will throw streamers no matter what. In contrast, if the Crew were 1-0 down in the final half hour of the match, i’d bet my life on the fact that GB Schellotto wouldn’t be diving around making a fool of himself.

    TFC supporters dont throw streamers to maintain results, they do it indiscriminately.

    Schellotto was an emberassment to the league on saturday…it made drogba seem as tough as rocky.

  17. Oh, I understand Guille took his sweet time, I mean…he is Argentinian, after all. But it’s hard to take TFC fans seriously, about the sanctity of not time wasting/the pitch. Since you know…they throw streamers and delay corner kicks, All The Time!

    You’ve lost the moral high ground, basically.

  18. How about the stroll he took when he was subbed off, or the amount of time taken out of the game when the ref had to come over and force him to back off from the linesman, or the amount of time taken when he grabbed the ball while on the ground and didn’t get a call his way, or when he refused to step back and give room for a free kick…

  19. “GBS’actions did: delay the progress of the game.”

    I’m sorry, I didn’t realize he ran to the middle of the pitch and covered himself in streamers every time he fell over. Now that would have been wasting time.

  20. Actually, Carver’s ranting was about the MLS officiating, how they sent out a DVD of him to the all the refs, and how the 4th official treated him during the match. He was angry with the officiating of the match and how long it took for the ref to book Schellotto even though Schellotto got in the face of both the ref and linesman without any action from them. The ref kept no order in the match and Carver said he didn’t want to be part of a league that was so tolerant towards diving, cheating and allowing players like Schellotto to completely disgrace the game.

    Obviously his threats cannot be seriously taken, but I think we can all agree that something must be done to improve MLS officiating.

    Oh, and Schellotto was the one who was obviously frustrated, I especially liked his dive near the end of the game where he didn’t get the call and signaled to be subbed. Carl Robinson ran him ragged on the day.

  21. Sorry, maybe i missed something…

    How is it beneficial to TFC to rid of a coach that has great contacts in the UK, has brought in some great players and has us on a 5 game unbeaten streak?

    Cmon now, at least when Carver runs his mouth theres a little logic behind it.

  22. Incidentally, are you guys now calling out Carver for not publicly criticizing the play of his team – which is undefeated in five, but rather calling out the actions of the players on the other team?

    Have you never heard of a manager deflecting attention away from his players to keep them focused on the task at hand? Alex Ferguson may have done something like that once or twice. Not comparing Carver to Ferguson, as the old windbag has won a thing or two more, but please, your criticisms should at least make a little sense.

  23. GBS’actions did:

    violate the rules;

    make him look like a ninny;

    warrant intervention far earlier occured;

    delay the progress of the game.

    Enjoy watching him all year – must make you proud.

  24. Digz, somehow your fandom is blinding you from seeing what Fidler was saying about your coach. Instead of talking to the media about how TFC was unable to score against a short handed Crew @ home, he complained about Schelotto.

    “GBS’ actions didn’t:

    – help the Crew get a PK

    – give the Crew a free kick that resulted in a goal

    – prevent TFC from scoring

    – get one of Carver’s (TFC) players carded or ejected”

    Quoted from BigSoccer forum, its true and Carver is a joke to complain about a player that didn’t have any adverse affect on the game or TFC’s players.

  25. Why would we want Carver to leave. He’s attracted some great assistant coaches from europe, some good players from the EPL and championship and has us undefeated at home and last 5. I think what was frustrating about the game is the Crew are suppose to be the best team in the league and it was not displayed in that manner. You got the point, but you fandom is showing with comments about Carver being inept.


Leave a Comment