Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact: Voyageurs Cup 2 – Time For TFC To Go For It
Well Sunday was loads and loads of fun wasn’t it? Happy homecoming everyone, now here’s a dispiriting loss for you as a welcome back present. But we have to look forward; mostly because looking back is just too depressing. Tonight TFC host the cheesemakers in the home leg of their round of the Voyageurs Cup (7:30pm, SportsnetOne) under the intimidating Redwall of BMO and given the suddenly cooling temperatures, in front of maybe 15,000 fans (I’m likely being generous) to see if Toronto FC can put forth a more consistent effort and move forward in the tournament.
Last week’s game was a dull affair, and frustrating to watch as a TFC fan given the odd lineup that Greg Vanney put out on the pitch – hardly any of the first team, hardly any Canadian kids – that had no ideas going forward in the final third. It was a struggle to watch and I still find myself a week later trying to figure out what was happening, other than not much effort for much of the game. Of course they’re only down the one goal (which is shocking and highlights the Impact’s poor form right now) so there is a huge opportunity for TFC to win this game.
The big question is of course, do they even want to? I’m sure the players want to win – they’re professional athletes and this is what they do – but does the club really care about this game or the tournament itself? You’d be hard-pressed to find much in the way of promotion; certainly not anything that approaches the over the top promotion that say the next game against Columbus (Trillium Cup baby!), or the friendly against Man City or honestly almost any other game will bring. After Sunday’s game the monster car announcer guy didn’t even give us a ‘Fans! See you Wednesday night as your Toronto FC take on the Montreal Impact’ – it barely seems to rate a mention. So how do the team and the fans get themselves hyped up for this game if the club itself can’t be bothered?
So what kind of line up will Vanney put out there tonight? It’s likely going to be a lot like last week with few of the starters taking to the pitch and more of the bench/TFCII kids getting a run out. There’s been talk that Sebastian Giovinco will play tonight; although little to no mention of the other starters and whether or not they’ll even feature at all. It’s fairly obvious that a combination of not really caring about this competition and wanting to immediately bounce back in league games after the poor effort and loss from Sunday will impact Vanney’s decision. With their game against one of the league leaders – and on the road no less – the New England Revolution this Saturday, it is unlikely that he will elect to field that strong of a team as their only focus this year is the league. And while of course MLS is important and yes I want this team to make the playoffs, the Voyageurs Cup is important too; no really it is and I wish they’d stop telling us otherwise.
My views on this are fairly apparent but I’ll say it again – there is little to no harm in trying to win the Voyageurs Cup this year – it is two extra games this August if you make the final. Two. There’s no CCL to play in until next season when presumably (hopefully) you have a team of slightly better players that have been together for awhile and can handle the rigors (using that term lightly) of a few extra games that may propel them forward into competition against some pretty good teams and onto the world stage. If the Trillium Cup is a thing that is to be highlighted, then why the hell wouldn’t you want to win this and move forward? Players like to play and they like to win; why would you basically tell them ‘don’t bother to try in these games’?
As for the fans – yes, there is a constant core group (myself included) that truly love the Voyageurs Cup – we look forward to this every year with great anticipation. As for those new fans that the club so desperately wants to fill the seats (only 8,400 more to convince!)? Why would you turn away from something that is so easy to promote? This is a Canadian club competition (ooh, potential sponsor klaxon), we usually play against one of our biggest rivals so built in atmosphere; why wouldn’t you promote the hell out of this? Why treat it as an afterthought? So don’t tell me the fans don’t care; they’ve been told to not care; just like the players. *end rant*
As for Montreal? Well they’re still trying to prove that they’re more than just a team that lucked into the CCL final and now languishes at the bottom of the MLS ladder. They certainly have weapons at their disposal (those Jack, Mac and Ernie guys are deadly!), Dominic Oduro seems to be in one of his scoring/try hard years, Ignacio Piatti is dangerous, the always irritating Kenny Cooper and so on. Not to mention their captain, Canadian Patrice Bernier who is very much on board with the importance of the Voyageurs Cup – so hey, they’re motivated and want to win. This is going to end badly isn’t it?
There is every reason to think that TFC can win this game. They’ve got the talent to win, but is there the will? Come on guys, it’s really not a bad thing to win this – all we ask is that you try.