Voyageurs Cup! Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact: Will The Kids Be Alright?
TFC v IMFC ~ 7:30pm ET ~ BMO Field ~ TSN4
Who needs MLS games, it’s Voyageurs Cup time! No seriously, this is one of my favourite things every year – even if TFC haven’t won in awhile, there’s always the hope that this year they’ll take back the trophy and get back into CCL play. Honestly there’s nothing like those games, I saw this every year but it’s a different vibe and the team plays differently – and by those games I do mean the CCL games. But the V Cup games are fun too; it really is a great little microcosm of footy inside the MLS season.
So in a few short hours Toronto FC take on the Montreal Impact for the home leg of their semi-final series (the away leg is next Wednesday) and this is not the optimal squad/timing for Toronto. Michael Bradley and Will Johnson are both away on international duty, Jozy Altidore and Tsubasa Endoh are both injured, Drew Moor’s wife just had a baby, Sebastian Giovinco is apparently healthy but really, do they want to rush him back? So that leaves Benoit Cheyrou (remember him?), who is now finally back from injury to lead what is likely to be a team full of the younger TFC players and some call ups from TFC2. Among the TFC2 kids will be Chris Mannella, Brian James and Malik Johnson. Raheem Edwards would have been among that group were he not also one of the walking wounded. Anyway, kids!
Seriously though, regardless of what Bill Manning and various players have said in interviews I will be pleasantly surprised if TFC field their strongest available team tonight. That being Clint Irwin, Justin Morrow, Drew Moor (if available) Damien Perquis (sorry Duncan) Steven Beitashour, Benoit Cheyrou, Jonathan Osorio, Marky Delgado (if fit), Ashtone Morgan (he’s fine in the midfield!), Mo Babouli, and oh hell Jordan Hamilton. However I’ll not be surprised to see Josh Williams, Nick Hagglund and Eriq Zavaleta out there. Regardless, even with the strongest XI that is not the most intimidating team from our Reds. The hope is that the Impact are in a similar shape and that Drogba & Piatti aside, they’re evenly matched.
If TFC go for it tonight they’ll win. No that’s it – Toronto can take this game and the series if they win tonight. And they should go for it. Not everyone agrees with this and many would rather the team focus on the MLS Cup and just throw the kids out and rest all the veterans. Except I say f*ck that. Other than you’d be giving the vets a three week break, I say success leads to more success. They’re professional athletes, they’re competitive, they like to win things. Ask players that have been able to play in CCL games how much they enjoyed the different competition, the vibe from the fans and the chance to win a high profile championship. And fans, if you’ve gone to these games you know what I mean about the vibe in the stands. Whether it’s 5000 fans (which its been), or 50,000 fans – there is something special about this. And it all starts with the Voyageurs Cup. Yes the competition isn’t perfect, there aren’t enough teams – but that will change and that’s what we have right now – there’s no reason to not go all out for this.
So see you tonight right? Be there, be loud and get into the spirit – it’s the magic of the Cup after all.