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5 reasons why TFC will make the playoffs in 2010
February 8, 2010, 3:44 PM
Filed under: Toronto FC

All things come to those who wait, or so it is written. For all we know it was actually written by a crusty old hermit who won the lottery, married a surgically enhanced bimbo 60 years his junior and died of gluttony within a year of his good fortune.

Fans of Toronto FC have waited and waited for things to start arriving, and are still waiting. They are waiting for the team they embraced three years ago, and into which they have invested a considerable financial and emotional commitment, to start giving back.

Patience, in soccer as in life, is indeed a virtue. The wait is almost over; the reward is at hand. The frustration, felt by so many for so long, will finally end in 2010. The promised land of the playoffs beckons and here are my five reasons why the post-season is coming to Canada for the first time in franchise history.

1. PREKI – Every team needs a strong leader and all the evidence suggests the new head coach is the man. He has enjoyed success as both player and coach in Major League Soccer and knows the system inside out. He demands a lot of himself and expects the same attitude from his players.

He believes consistent hard work pays dividends and will not tolerate a poor work ethic from any individual on or off the field. He has inherited a small but relatively talented roster, which needs some additions, but should nonetheless be competitive in this league. Preki’s job is to instil real teamwork and get the best out of its component parts.

2. JULIAN DE GUZMAN – Forget the money debate. It’s irrelevant unless you are directly paying his wages or unless Canada’s top player fails to deliver – which he won’t. De Guzman is a class act in MLS with the rare ability to turn defence into attack with a couple of well-timed touches.

When he arrived late last season he was neither match fit, nor familiar with the style of play. Anyone who thought he could be the saviour in five games was being unreasonably optimistic, but with a full pre-season and a better understanding of the league he must dictate and dominate midfield. If de Guzman is not shortlisted for MLS MVP in 2010, I will want to know why.

3. O’BRIAN WHITE – Toronto FC cannot score enough goals right? Wrong. In 2009 the team actually scored more than enough goals to make the post-season – more than Los Angeles, Chivas USA and New England, who all reached the playoffs. White is primed for a breakout year in 2010.

Like de Guzman, the young striker will be fully fit from the get go after spending most of his rookie season rehabbing from knee surgery. What I briefly saw last year was a speedy forward who, crucially, appears to have a poacher’s instinct for turning half chances into goals. If Preki is ready to give him time to make a real impression, I believe White has the ability to deliver double digits this season.

4. GRASS – According to some, including Dwayne De Rosario, the absence of a natural-grass playing surface sabotaged TFC’s playoff ambitions last year. Stop the whining already! The powers that be have got the message and the abused and overused FieldTurf is gone for good.

The potential benefits are clear. First and foremost the players want to play on it, which should enhance their comfort level and promote better ball possession. A grass field will also attract new recruits and classier opponents for those crowd-pulling exhibitions. It will also give the Canadian national team a proper home at which it must play on a semi-regular basis to build a long lasting fan base in the run up to the next cycle of World Cup qualifiers.

5. FANS – Toronto FC is blessed with probably the best, and certainly the most knowledgeable fans in Major League Soccer. There’s more room in Seattle and the atmosphere was excellent when I was there last August, but I doubt even Sounders fans are as ardent as their TFC counterparts.

We all know how important home advantage is in soccer and there is no reason why BMO Field cannot be the clichéd “fortress” it should be. The atmosphere should frighten the life out of visiting teams and give TFC a crucial psychological edge before a ball is kicked. It only takes 10 or 11 regular season wins and a handful of draws to make the playoffs. There are 15 home games – you do the math.

So there you have it – all except one thing. Before you accept any wedding, christening, or bar mitzvah invitations, or decide to delay locking up the cottage until the weekend of Oct. 30th forget it! You’ve waited this long. Trust me – you don’t want to miss the playoffs now they’re finally coming to town.

Source: Click Here

1 Comment so far
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haha you were wrong.

Comment by Ryan

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