What You Need To Know About Toronto FC’s Playoff Run

By: Nikolas Theodorakidis | @Nikolastheo

It hasn’t always been easy to love Toronto FC.

Since the franchise was born in 2007, the team has put together season after season of disappointment. And not only were the results bad, they were often heartbreaking, with points being dropped in the dying minutes. TFC had become synonymous with failure in Toronto, but now it appears that might be changing.

TFC are in the playoffs for the second straight year after not making it at all in their first eight seasons. The Reds followed up a 3-1 victory against the Philadelphia Union in the knockout round with a 2-0 win at home against New York City FC this past Sunday in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Things are finally starting to look up for TFC. And if you weren’t a fan before, you should start right now. Here’s what you need to know.

The Matchup

As mentioned, TFC won the first leg in their matchup against New York City FC this past weekend with the second leg taking place in New York on Sunday. Late goals from forwards Jozy Altidore and Tosaint Ricketts gave the team a 2-0 victory and put all the pressure on New York going into Sunday.

For those unfamiliar with how the MLS playoffs work, the Conference Semifinals and Conference Finals are two-leg matchups with the team scoring more goals on aggregate going through, with away goals serving as a tiebreaker. TFC’s 2-0 win means that they are through if they win, draw, lose by one goal, or lose by two goals (a 2-0 defeat would however send the matchup to extra time). There are a lot of ways TFC could progress and it’s highly likely that they will, but there are still reasons to watch.

The first leg was a tense one with multiple scuffles breaking out throughout the match, 31 combined fouls, and 6 combined yellow cards.

One of the biggest incidents was New York forward David Villa kicking out and hitting Toronto’s Armando Cooper in the back of the knees. What should have been a red card for Villa went unseen by the refs and Villa went undisciplined. This week, it was announced that Villa would not be suspended for the kick, which could lead to even more tension between the two teams this week.

Key Players

It’s no secret that the key to Toronto’s success over the past two years has been the play of Sebastian Giovinco. The Italian forward came to Toronto from Juventus before the beginning of the 2015 season and has cemented himself as the best player in the team’s history.

Giovinco still led the league in goals plus assists this year while missing time due to injury. That’s a repeat of what he did last year when he won the MLS MVP award. However, he will not repeat as MLS MVP this year.

The list of finalists for the award was released on Tuesday, and Giovinco’s name was not on it. The three players that made the cut were New York Red Bull’s Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan along with New York City FC’s David Villa.

Now Giovinco will take the field on Sunday going up against Villa with a chip on his shoulder. The best player on Toronto FC and debatably the best player in the league, now with something to prove, seems like a recipe for Toronto’s success.

Atmosphere

It’s not guaranteed that there will be another game at BMO Field this year, but if TFC advances to the Conference Finals, you won’t want to miss that home game.

The atmosphere at BMO is unlike anything else in this city. Being outdoors with thousands of fans that sing loud and jump around so much that the building starts shaking is something that needs to be experienced by any Toronto sports fan. Especially since a matchup against the rival Montreal Impact is on the horizon.

Yes, it will be cold. But if you put on a TFC scarf and wear some gloves, you’ll be fine. Don’t let a little chilly weather stop you from seeing Toronto’s best chance at a championship this year.

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Featured image via The Globe and Mail

5 Depressing Facts about Toronto for Blue Monday

Does it make sense to say Happy Blue Monday?

FIVE

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Source: City News

You won’t be able to Ride the Rocket anywhere new anytime soon. The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension will now cost $3.2 billion instead of $2.6 billion and be finished at the end of 2017 as opposed to 2015. The TTC would like you to know that they are experiencing an extreme delay, and they apologize for the inconvenience.

FOUR

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Last year, Toronto was ranked the second unhappiest city although no specific reasons were mentioned. Guess everyone was too bummed out to elaborate. Here’s hoping we cheer up in 2016.

THREE

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Toronto has the crappiest “traffic stretch” in Canada. This means the amount of time it should take to travel a certain distance compares poorly to how long it actually takes thanks to factors such as traffic and weather. The good news is that your road rage is backed by science. The bad news is that it still sucks.

TWO

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Source: NHL.com

Our beloved Blue Jays may have taken us for an exhilarating ride, but Toronto’s hockey team, the Maple Leafs, continues to disappoint. So much so that it was ranked the worst team in North America. Not just in hockey, my friends, but in all the major leagues. I’m talking the NHL, MLB, NFL, and NHL. OMG. Yikes!

ONE

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Source: CCI Group

A new study, which looks at data from Toronto and Peel Region, found that the higher up you live, the lower your chances of surviving a heart attack. So if you started from the bottom and now you’re here in a penthouse make sure you stay healthy because your lofty digs won’t help paramedics get to you any faster.

5 Initiatives Our Taxpayer Dollars Should Go Towards

City Hall has a tricky time deciding where our money should go. The production costs of the city’s last show “To Subway Or Not To Subway” are believed to have cost Torontonians millions. While it’s important to get a move on improving transit and infrastructure, I’ve rounded up some other important initiatives I think John Tory and company should get on. Immediately.

Eject systems for people with more than twelve items in the express lane

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The only line-up express lane interlopers belong in. (Source: The Usual Suspects, 1995)

It is hard to understand this subspecies of human, but you know what they say: it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round. Super frustrating and blatantly rude, these people have no respect for the rules and regulations behind line-ups. Everybody with a kindergarten education knows that line-ups and all their derivatives are a fundamental feature of civilized society. Express lane interlopers are only a touch better than line jumpers who will collectively cause the end of the world.

What I propose is a system that enables cashiers to press a little red button conveniently located under the till. This button activates a mechanism that catapults the offending customer up and out of the store and into a room where a video of all the dirty looks from other patrons are played on repeat.

(Alternative: Stop being so passive-aggressive, and just tell the offending customer to either forego the pack of Premium Plus crackers and marble cheese, or get the hell out of the line. This would save taxpayers a lot of money, but it is decidedly less satisfying.)

Tickets for slow walkers

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Slow pedestrian ahead, indeed.

This kind of city dweller is a distant relative of the express lane ne’er-do-well. Slow walkers are benevolent whereas express lane rascals are malicious, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t equally annoying. This isn’t Our Town, babe. Text your friend later because you’re holding up foot traffic, and people have got places to be. In order to put some money into the city’s coffers (and fund some of these social services) there should be a ticketing program with Pedestrian Authority every few blocks. And unlike carding, this would actually make the city a better and safer place.

Suggested punishments:

Let the big numbers scare you. They’re meant to be preventative.

  • $50 fine for slow walking
  • $125 fine for repeat offenders
  • Automatic one-day jail sentence for those who stand on the left side of escalators. Just though I’d throw that in there.

A city-funded subsidy on headphones for misunderstood youth

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There you are nearly passed out on the bus, trying to get home from your double shift at whatever thankless job you work when some girl decides to bless you with her EDM playlist. And if it isn’t her, it’s the guy with the angry tracks and the aggressive dancing.

As frustrating as these people are, let’s be compassionate towards their plight. For all we know they’ve experienced some kind of trauma in their lives – rote memorization of The Odyssey in childhood, perhaps? – and must constantly listen to music as a form of therapy. Naturally, this kind of persistent audio takes a toll on headphones and with the price of bus fare going up and Toronto’s high cost of living it’s no wonder some commuters have decided “manners be damned”. If we could lower the cost of these important treatment tools, we’d be doing all of us a favour.

City-wide charging pods

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Think of how much easier things would’ve been for Chris Evans in Cellular.

Call us too attached to our devices. Throw whatever anti-millennial criticism you want our way. We don’t care, because we will shout it from the rooftops (or most likely tweet it) that we love our phones. And nothing makes our heart sink like a dying phone in the middle of the day when we have no immediate plans to head home. Even if you charge your device every night before bed, if your phone has anything worth doing on it its battery-life is designed to start nosediving after the first three months to ensure you’ll definitely buy the newer model when it comes out.

Did you prepare ahead and throw your charger in your bag? Good luck finding an outlet. What I propose are cute little pods, kind of like in the Hunger Games but without the mini-parachutes, that would be located everywhere. I’m sure that’s a nightmare to organize logistically and energy-wise, but take our money and pay all those science geniuses you’ve got holed up in a basement at UofT.

Free WiFi. Everywhere.

I’m not just talking about the patchy kind you get in Pizza Pizza. I’m talking at every subway station, bus shelter, and in public bathrooms. At the dentist’s office. Your local butcher shop. My local butcher shop. Need I go on?

You’re welcome, Councillors.

Featured image from 640toronto