Joao Plata And The Trillium Cup- My MLS Journey Continues

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.




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13 responses to “Joao Plata And The Trillium Cup- My MLS Journey Continues

  1. Lens

    “However if teams lift a trophy every time they get the better of their foes then Major League Soccer risks losing all legitimacy.”

    What if they put a star above the crest on their jersey for winning a three-team tournament?

  2. I highly doubt the Trillium Cup is considered a trophy much like the Voyageurs Cup. It is more like what you would call a local derby across the pond. It’s one of many “rivalry cups” in the MLS ( Most of them were conceived by supporters groups. Some rivalries go beyond the MLS and extend into the lower US leagues, like the .
    And yes, Americans and Canadians do know football, and do have history in the sport. The US did finish third in the first World Cup in 1930, you know. And don’t forget the North American Soccer League:

    • Kejsare

      If you go back in time, the American Soccer Association was considered 2nd in popularity as a professional league, with MLB being first, in the 1920s. Soccer just went dormant for decades since the Great Depression. Also consider the USSF was called the US Soccer Football Federation up until 1974! “Football” hung around for quite a long time.

  3. ODB

    @Lens, who puts a star above their crest for winning a 3 team tournament? If you’re insinuating that it’s TFC, you are wrong.

  4. Alonso

    Jimmy don’t forget to watch tonight’s game in Mexico against Pumas in CONCACAF Champions League play. You can get a stream on the CONCACAF website, registration is free.

    Here’s the link:

    Game starts in an hour, 8pm EST.

  5. AgentJ

    I can’t speak for the Trillium Cup in particular, but I can say that the local trophy, the Cascadia Cup, adds an unbelievable amount of pressure and intensity to the games played for it. I’m headed up to Vancouver next weekend to hopefully see the Sounders haul it in and continue the tradition.

  6. Kejsare

    Don’t look to the the fan-created Cup as the end all be all in the sports culture of North America. Naming the rivalry, not the symbolic gesture in the cup, is a common occurrence in American sports. Look no further than college [gridiron] football:

    The Civil War [Oregon v. Oregon State]
    The Holy War [Brigham Young University v. Utah]
    The Backyard Brawl [Pittsburgh v. West Virginia]
    The Apple Cup [Washington v. Washington State]
    Red River Rivalry [Oklahoma v. Texas]
    Crosstown Classic [UCLA v. USC]
    I could go on…

    So, for us here to add a recognizable name to our rivalries is not unheralded in North American sports. It’s commonplace.

  7. You rather hope that trillium was the toughest element in the universe or whatever (I’m no scientist, as you will already have guessed). It’s disappointing to find that a trillium is merely a lily with three leaves – hardly a suitable name for a cup between two old (well, new) adversaries.
    Strangely, the Trillium University (is that for real?) who can boast the worst website on the planet give you a table of elements – but, of course, trillium is not amongst them.
    It’s more heartening to discover that the Trillium Report is a German medical magazine which focuses on innovation. Perhaps, they could sponsor the Trillium Cup and inject some tough German defending into the MLS – not to mention some ruthlessly efficient penalty taking.
    However, the Radisys company’s Trillium product is my favourite – mainly because their website contains sentences which I am totally unable to comprehend. Try this – “Likewise, network element designers can use the Trillium DFT/HA TCAP stack to create an active/standby, dual-node architecture as well as a scalable, multi-node architecture, which allows for the number of active and standby nodes to be configured and for the active nodes to share the system load”.
    Well, maybe the Trillium Cup is more enigmatic than I first thought.

  8. CK1

    If you look into American sporting traditions, then the closest thing that comes to the structure of European football in N. America (US & Canada I mean) is college gridiron football. Rivalry trophies draw from that tradition. It’s something that’s familiar to us.

    Whether it’s Texas-OU’s golden hat, or Columbia vs Fordham for the Liberty Cup, rivalry trophies denote tradition and the special relationship between two clubs in which the tradition of play means much more than any other regular season matchup. So keep an open mind to this, and while you may not watch gridiron football, look into some of this bc NCAA football is one of the only sporting traditions in N.America where you can see the level of passion found in soccer/football leagues all over the world.

  9. As far as I’m aware the Trillium Cup is no official competition and merely something set up between the fans. I don’t believe there is an actual trophy either, but perhaps I’m wrong on both accounts.

    I suspect only an MLS Cup (or Champions League) would be celebrated seriously by the fanbase.

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