Perhaps I was still ‘giddy’ with excitement, or simply astonished by Toronto FC’s sensational performance against Columbus Crew. Either way I somehow managed to overlook a trivial yet maddening topic that Major League Soccer threw up on Saturday night. My gripe this week is with the “Trillium Cup”. My irritation is certainly not with the rivalry between Columbus Crew and Toronto. It is not even because the competition is named after Ohio’s and Ontario’s “official wildflower” (although I could certainly discuss that if I was asked). I can even bypass the fact that it sounds like a tournament you might find in a Harry Potter book. In fact my only grievance is that the competition exists at all. Silverware should be near impossible to win. If I had my way fans would have to wait their entire lives to even dream about the possibility of their team winning a trophy. Instead winning the Trillium Cup was reasonably uncomplicated for Toronto FC and therefore the silverware itself was hollow and meaningless. I don’t want to take away from the competitiveness between the two clubs because close rivalries are vastly important for any league, especially a relatively new one like MLS. However if teams lift a trophy every time they get the better of their foes then Major League Soccer risks losing all legitimacy. The satisfaction of getting one over on your rivals should be enough. I can see the importance of the Voyageurs Cup to maintain Canadian Football’s identity; however that is where it should end. Major League Soccer is not a 4 year olds birthday party, where you hand out prizes to every child in sight so to avoid tears. No, this is North America’s paramount football league. Winning a trophy has to be for an outstanding achievement, not for getting the better of a team over two games.
Right now that is over with onto something more positive more positive. Since writing the blog one question I have been asked regularly by vastly smarmy individuals is: “Why bother with Major League Soccer?” Boring them with a long winded answer would undoubtedly involve talking to them and generally I try and avoid such tediously repetitive individuals. Instead I simply suggest they try out Major League Soccer for themselves, however I wonder if this is the right approach on my part. Many Europeans and particularly British people seem determined to detest Major League Soccer without attempting to experience it for themselves. Such people have caused me to question whether MLS needs the respect of Europe and it has taken me just two weeks of engrossing myself in MLS to deduct that perhaps it doesn’t. If Major League Soccer can continue to capture the attention of Americans and Canadians then it has every chance of being a fantastic league in its own right. Undoubtedly in the last 8 years the standard of football has greatly improved, for the most part attendances and viewing figures are up and if my blog is anything to go by Americans and Canadians know football. I have learnt a great deal from some of the knowledgeable and passionate responses to my articles and the very fact the sport seems to have such an impressive core fan base is a great sign for the future of Major League Soccer.
Finally I am excited to see striker Caleb Folan in action on Saturday when Colorado come to the BMO. My desire to see Folan’s name on the team sheet is down to one thing; Caleb Folan is a player who couldn’t score in a brothel. His record in England was dire and now the same seems to be true in Major League Soccer. Rather than throw him under the bus myself, in true MLS fashion I will leave you with a few statistics:
- Caleb Folan has 34 career goals in 202 appearances (that is a goal every 5.94 games)
- Folan has scored just 16% of his chances this season, averaging a goal every 227 minutes
- He’s a boring, average player.
Well the last one may not have been a statistic as such, but he is just the sort of player Major League Soccer doesn’t need. One thing is for sure if he scores on Saturday I will deservedly get masses of verbal abuse. I wouldn’t put your money on it if I were you.
TORONTO FC BEAT COLUMBUS CREW FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR 5 YEAR HISTORY