Pointless in Toronto

There are probably some among you who will think that the current run of utter futility being demonstrated by Toronto FC might be a cause for some kind of smug - even snarky - satisfaction on my part. Au contraire, Pierre; nothing could be further from the truth.

I would never, for example, care to dwell on the fact that the Reds are currently 0-6-0, giving them a "Last Five" line of "L-L-L-L-L", or that their two goal explosion over the weekend doubled their entire output for the year, leaving them with a -9 goal differential, a whopping 18 behind division=leading SKC after only six games.

Neither would I be churlish enough to express any kind of satisfaction over the fact that the return of their highly-credentialed DP Torsten Frings, whose eagerly-anticipated insertion into the lineup after a long injury layoff was supposed to firm up a laughably porous defense, was tarnished a bit when his first touch of the match was a giveaway at the top of the 18 which resulted in an immediate goal putting Toronto down 0-1 just 26 seconds into the game.

Or that the Reds, who had not held a lead in any match the entire season, went a goal up on Saturday but alas, said lead lasted less than a full minute before their Frings-led defense coughed up an equalizer.

And certainly it would be unbecoming of us to engage in snide comments about BMO Field observing "Come Dressed as an Empty Seat Day" since such Schadenfreude is uncalled for even when it involves teams and fans who loudly, openly and repeatedly sneered at everybody else for all the vacant seats in their stadiums.

Most of all we should resist the temptation to hurl abuse at our beloved Commissioner, Cohiba Don, who spent a good deal of time - and a good deal more credibility - insultingly encouraging everybody else to look to Toronto for our model. I'm not entirely certain that even The Don really listens to much of the blather that issues forth from his mouth so it seems unnecessary for the rest of us.

(My candidate for Toughest Job in Sports: the one held by MLS Media Guru Will Kuhns who, when he's not openly calling out Eric Wynalda in the middle of a deranged - not to say drunken - tirade whose main feature was the ludicrous posit that "Simon Borg agrees with me" which is a lot like saying that "particularly slow preschoolers are all on my side", he's issuing statements that begin "what Don meant to say was...")

(Although in truth a small part of me would love to stand up at an MLS presser and ask "Mr. Commissioner, can you share with us just what part of the TFC operation you now believe the rest of the league should slavishly emulate?" But again, I'm simply not going there. And if I did, Kuhns would probably have me dragged out into the hallway and kicked around by large, beefy, CSC goons employed for the purpose. MLS hires out it's fan assaults.)

And far be it from me to bring up the ugly and embarrassing recent Twitter reports claiming that the entire Red Patch Boys leadership has been secretly bribed by TFC management with free tickets and travel in return for them working to prevent any kind of ugly fan demonstrations protesting the current state of affairs up there.

Rather, I'll just focus on he hopeful side of things and point out a fact which, seeing as how Toronto fans have openly and repeatedly expressed their utter contempt for MLS history prior to 2006 since, according to them, it was TFC's arrival in the league which truly marked the league's arrival, they have likely overlooked:

As many have noted, they are currently one game shy of the league record for futility at the beginning of a season, which is held by the 1999 Kansas City Sporting Wizards. Or Sporting Kansas Wizards City. I get confused.

What they have likely missed due to their own willful ignorance is that the 2000 MLS Cup Champion was: Kansas City.

I've heard it referred to many times as a case of "Worst to First", which of course it was not. The designation of "Worst" - in this case a more polite euphemism for "shittiest" - is of course owned by the monumentally inept 1999 New York Metrostars, whose 7-25 record was one game worse than KC's 8-24 (although 3 of NY's wins were from shootouts - that was the last year MLS had the no-draws rule - and only 2 of KC's were of that variety).

However close the won/lost records may be, the Metro's gaudy, embarrassing, almost inconceivable -32 goal differential marks them as truly The Worst in ways which can only be alluded to in a family-oriented forum such as this.

Still, however all of that may or may not be, the fact is that yours truly is on record as favoring the approach TFC began a year ago under the direction of an international soccer genius brought in with great fanfare and even greater expense in order to set them on a successful path:

Juergen Klinsmann

Under the program California Klinnsy brought down from the mountaintop on tablets of stone before jetting off to Carson to do for the US what he did for Toronto, the team will build from the ground up, using the Academy system to groom their own players, all operating under the same philosophy, and employing the same field formations, terminology and tactics from the U-Littles to the senior side.

From there you insert a couple of wildly expensive players from overseas - AKA Designated Players - and voila: a sustainable juggernaut of Barcelonian proportions.

Now some of you might very well note that this is pretty much exactly what every other MLS team is attempting, and the rest of them came up with the idea without having to pay the jet-setting Klinnsy a single nickel.

A cynic might note that this is essentially what most every team in Europe has done for decades, but doing that would involve pointing out that Klinnsman is only following a script - a very old scirpt - and paying him a big pile of Loonies to read it back to you is...well, pointless.