Home MLS Toronto FC MLS schedulemaker puts the pressure on Toronto FC

MLS schedulemaker puts the pressure on Toronto FC

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The team still has an interim coach and interim general manager. But the heat on Toronto FC was turned up when MLS released its First Kick schedule Monday.

As was widely expected, TFC kicks off its season in Vancouver against the Whitecaps on March 19. While 2010 was the last season CBC had an option on — as per the deal the broadcaster signed in 2007 — a Vancouver-Toronto FC opener could give Mothercorp the fuel to introduce a new national soccer broadcast that similar to the Hockey Night in Canada model. The schedule is the perfect carrot for a national broadcaster — to create a new TV deal that includes the Whitecaps and the Montreal Impact, which joins MLS in 2012, as well as TFC.

The next week, Toronto FC returns to BMO Field to welcome the Portland Timbers for the home opener.

For TFC, a team under intense pressure to turn the ship around after four years of disappointment, knowing that the first two games of the season will come against expansion teams — or at least, teams transplanting into MLS from Division-2 soccer — puts major pressure on the club.

Really, it would be better for the team to open on the road against Real Salt Lake, then face the Los Angeles Galaxy at home. If the Reds drop points as the re-made club tries to gel, no one would have pointed fingers at management, the coach, the new players.

But two new clubs — well that’s going to be seen as six points that are on the table for the taking, which is a challenge that has ruined the Reds in the past. Remember the 2009 home opener against the Seattle Sounders, when the new MLS side passed TFC off its own pitch? It was an easy win for Seattle, and put the pressure on the Reds right away. There was the scoreless home tie against the expansion San Jose Earthquakes in 2008, a game the Reds needed to win. It was after that game that then-coach John Carver went after the Toronto’s “negative media” in the post-game presser, really the first day of his journey towards his resignation early in the 2009 campaign.

If the Reds are to scramble for what could be the 10th and final playoff spot (if the playoff format change plan goes through), the key could be not dropping points against the expansion sides.

Losing points to the Whitecaps and Timbers early in 2011 will get the boo-birds right onto the backs of the TFC players.

The pressure is on. White the Whitecaps and Timbers so early in the schedule, the rush to get things right out of training camp just got that much more urgent.

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One Comment

  1. Kurt Larson

    December 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    The pressure is on regardless of who they play. With so many changes in store, fans will look at the opener as an indicator of things to come. Lose 3-1 in Vancouver and the headlines will read..”TFC starts where they left off”

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