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Welcome to Partially Obstructed View. We are each restrained by the limits of our own perspective, but when we meet to share information a clearer picture of the truth can be revealed. Comments & criticisms are welcome.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

MLS Scheduling & TFC Congestion

     Toronto FC played their 7th match in 21 days this evening against the Chicago Fire. A match every 3 days, when travel to Edmonton, Seattle and Dallas is considered, it is no surprise that when the rains picked up and the field got heavy, Toronto just did not have the energy in their legs to combat the onslaught beset upon them by a Chicago team that has been finding its feet after a spell of retooling. It is a stroke of luck that most of TFC’s games have been at home; one has to wonder what schedule makers at MLS head office were thinking when they made this year’s edition.

     Toronto is in the midst of a stretch of 11 matches in 35 days, roughly adhering to that 1 in 3 pattern mentioned above. Sporting Kansas City, on the other hand have already had two weekends off, could those who set the fixtures not have taking into account the somewhat grueling nature of the Voyageurs Cup – Nutrilite Canadian Championship and given those clubs north of the border a break. Vancouver has also had a congested fixture list to deal with, 8 matches in 25 days, again roughly 1 in 3, though they do have a week to rest in between legs of the VC-NCC. Could that rest prove to be decisive in who takes the title? Would either team really benefit from a run in the CONCACAF Champions League or would the additional matches just dull their performances in MLS? The first will be answered soon enough, the second will be written about later.   

     A recent post on this blog hailed the new found depth of squad enjoyed at Toronto, something that has not been properly taken advantage of over this long stretch of matches. The likes of Nate Sturgis, Nana Attakora and Gianluca Zavarise should have been used to eat up some minutes on a few occasions. Aron Winter has been using all his substitutions, and unlike seasons past most games have been close, so the refusal to risk is understandable, if short sighted. As was the decision to rebound from the terrible performance in Seattle with a full strength team against an already defeated FC Edmonton in the return match of the aforementioned VC-NCC, which ended up costing Alan Gordon’s fitness. Gordon has proved himself to be a very important battering ram for the Toronto attack to work through and around, his presence has been missed.

     A Note on the Weather – When the rain falls at BMO, something is awakened in the crowd. Maybe it’s the lack of day trippers, an extra beer for warmth or the attitude of ‘I’m already wet, I may as well just enjoy it’, but it is a raucous occasion. Despite their insistence on this fixture pile up, one thing the schedule makers did get right this year was the surge in night games, I suspect the CBC contract had more to do with that than the league, but the pounding midday sun always sucked the life out of the crowd. Here’s to more rain and more night, cheers.

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