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Playoffs, or pride?
April 30, 2009, 8:15 AM
Filed under: Toronto FC

Quick thought: It is impossible to spell fact or fiction without T, F, or C.

Anyhow, it was this line of thinking that prompted me to corner the man behind the matches at BMO Field this summer, friend of new media and Director of Business Operations for Toronto FC, Paul Beirne.

In its three-year existence, Toronto FC has been active in organizing friendly dates at BMO Field that satisfies the international football flavour of the people who walk through the turnstiles each summer.

Pachuca, Independiente, Benfica and Aston Villa have all crossed the white lines on the lakefront to match wits against the young MLS franchise. But as of now, there are no friendlies planned for the TFC faithful in 2009.

“I’d love it if Real Madrid came and played here,” Beirne said of the latest whisperings. “But, no, there is nothing like that going on.”

Beirne was responding to recent speculation that the defending Spanish champions might make a side trip north of the border as part of its yet-to-be-official-mini-tour of the U.S. this summer.

But why not? If one of the biggest clubs in the world is interested in preparing for its La Liga season by playing MLS competition, why wouldn’t Beirne fill his fork full of Euros to lure them to Toronto, a city with a Spanish-speaking population of over 80,000?

“We have always been outspoken about trying to bring in all kinds of international football. We’ve been to the EPL, the Portuguese league and I’d love to see a Spanish league club; my vision for these friendlies is that over a long period of time every part of the world is represented.”

Yes, continue …

“Part of the reasoning behind having a compressed schedule at the beginning of the summer was not just over friendlies but we have to win the Canadian Championship,” Beirne explained. “(Winning) results in a two-game play-in to the Champions League and if successful that is six more games. So we need an even and spread-out schedule in the second half to accommodate that.”

There it is. As much as this team is desperate to make the playoffs, it is still crimsoned-faced over watching the Montreal Impact represent (quite well, I might add) Canadian soccer in the CONCACAF Champions League. While sating the public desire to watch the best the rest of the world has to offer perform on the pitch at BMO is important to the club, restoring Toronto FC as the top domestic club in Canada is paramount.

This was not the case last summer, when playing host and marketing the game to Toronto’s countless communities weighed down an already heavy summer schedule.

In July of last year TFC played eight matches, or an average of two per week. The number is nine if you count the players who took the field in the MLS All-Star game. Of those eight matches, two points were earned and one Nutrilite Canadian Championship was lost.

It also took until the last day of May for TFC to play its 10th league match and July 22 before the Canadian Championship wrapped up. In 2009, Toronto will have 10 league matches by the first week of May and all the Canadian Championship will be decided on, or before, June 18.

While playoffs have been the buzz word around TFC in its third season, the set up of the schedule and the tendency to place friendly encounters on the back-burner dictate returning to the top of the Canadian soccer food chain might come first.

So sorry, Real Madrid, but you will have to wait.

The Cummins era begins in earnest

Cummins charmed the *@$& out of the media on hand to welcome him as interim coach on Wednesday.a The likeable new coach talked of consulting his wife for tips on how to talk to the press, buying his ‘mum’ a computer so she could track his career in Canada and the mouth-watering topic of playing an attacking 4-3-3 that will certainly make a tough ticket even tougher.

Carver era ends

Much ink has been spilled over John Carver and his abrupt exit from MLS. Gerry Dobson sat down with the former coach in search of answers. Make sure to watch.

Source: Click Here

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Wow really cool article.
Keep up the good writing, look forward to more of the same.

Comment by epl highlights

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