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.

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Beyond POV-FS – July Recap: Radio Hits, Night Games, Three Matches, Patience, Tosaint Ricketts, Damien Perquis, & a Handful of Mailbags

So, it seems as though making this a regular post is a little more difficult than previously hoped.

This edition, like its predecessor, comes ridiculously late – apologies.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag: On Night Games

In this edition of the mailbag, the opening topic revolved around the change of schedule that Toronto FC has undergone this season.

Since the club was formed, the majority, if not all, league matches were played mid-afternoon, when the sun was highest in the sky.

Unsurprisingly, it evoked a response from one reader who feared that this decision would adversely affect the ability for families with younger children from taking part.

The rest of the conversation involved Jordan Hamilton, the Alex Bono vs. Quillan Roberts conundrum, a bit of Tosaint Ricketts' will-he, won't saga, and the MLS transfer window.

MLSsoccer.com – Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire

The post-match reactions from TFC's 1-0 win over Chicago: Toronto solid and unconcerned by Sebastian Giovinco's goal-less run; while Chicago take pride in effort as the club continues to be molded into the vision of Veljko Paunovic.

Greg Vanney's last words – 'He'll find his way' – seem especially prescient now.

Nextsportstar – Red Card with Anthony Totera

Mr. Totera was good enough to have me on the show, talking all things TFC.

Always a must listen for footy fans, covering a good mix of local, national, and international topics.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag: On Patience in Youth

In this edition of the mailbag, the tale and of Hamilton came to the forefront.

Listening to the chatter, would have left one to think that the youngster was on the outs having vanished into the background since coming onto the scene with such fanfare. But given his chance, he seized it with both hands (feet?), making the most and proving that he has a future at this level.

Conversation in the comment section included whether the club would stick with the youth, or reinsert the starters upon their return – still a pertinent issue, as well as how the club should proceed during the transfer window, what with the then-recently announced departure of Damien Perquis.

Vocal Minority Podcast – Episode 146 #MuskyGuide

The good folks over at VMP were kind enough to proffer the invite, unaware of what awaited them – a cracking, albeit flimsy, seven-point defence of the egg laid in San Jose where TFC fell 2-1 to an Earthquakes side reduced to nine men by a pair of highly-debatable, later-rescinded red cards.

MLSsoccer.com – Toronto FC's Alex Bono owns up to mistake, while [Jozy] Altidore likely to return

With the debacle in San Jose in the rear-view, Bono acknowledged the gaffe, discussed needing to have a short memory, while proving to his teammates he could be counting upon. It also emerged that Altidore was nearing his return, exciting Giovinco in particular.

MLSsoccer.com – Tosaint Ricketts 'ready to go' after ending wait to sign for Toronto FC

The worst kept secret, and longest transfer saga, in TFC history finally came to a conclusion as the Canadian international was finally able to put pen to paper and join his new side months after coming into the fold.

Ricketts discussed the peculiarity of his situation, what he brings to TFC, and the familiarity of BMO Field, having excelled there with the National Team.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag: On the Realities of MLS Rosters & Damien Perquis

In this edition of the mailbag, a hearty candidate for longest title to date, the difficulties of managing an MLS roster, where both spots and finances make it difficult to make a move without first making others.

As well, a salute to Perquis who departed the club, recognizing one of the presumably many private moments that the greater public does not get to see, hopefully, providing a glimpse beyond the fiery competitor on the pitch.

Conversation revolved around the then-recent announcement of the EFL's intentions to punish dissent more full-throatedly, the projected lineups and their veracity, Perquis as emblem, breaking down opposition defenses in MLS, logical fallacies (only the best), and another deep dive on the rules & regulations, trying to suss out their true meaning.

MLSsoccer.com – Toronto FC vs. DC United

Post-match reactions following TFC's 4-1 win over DC: Giovinco announces 'he's back' with an emphatic hat-trick, while DC lick the wounds of a bad performance in preparation for a return home.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag: On Home Form

And finally, with Toronto in the midst of a four-game home stretch, not to mention six of their last eight matches this season at home, the important of utilizing the advantages of to pile on the points. Up first was a potential-Trillium Cup clinching bout with Columbus.

The advantage of hindsight allows one to say that the club took this message to heart.

Conversation below, although a little muted, saw yet another dive into the dark abyss of MLS rules where swirling eddies of GAM and TAM, flotsam and jetsam, remained tantalizingly beyond comprehension, and a spot of autographing hunting.

MLSsoccer.com – Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew

Post-match reactions following TFC's 3-0 win over Columbus, that saw the side win a second trophy of the season: the Trillium Cup.

For Toronto, the stunning performance by a youthful midfield – Jonathan Osorio, Marky Delgado, Jay Chapman, and Tsubasa Endoh – stole the headlines in the absence of Benoit Cheyrou, who has been the straw that stirs the drink through a difficult month; while the Crew lamented an unacceptable outing.

Seeing as it is already the second week of August, no promises will be made about being more timely with these, though that is the intention.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Beyond POV-FS – June Recap: TFC Injuries, Three Matches, Goalkeeping Situation, Jordan Hamilton, & a handful of WTR Mailbags

So, it appears as though with all the football action going on over the past month – UEFA Euros, Copa America Centenario, & MLS – it has been a while since one of these went up.

Thus, this edition is a long one, covering all the content that went up over that time frame, and it includes a return to Canadian Soccer News with a piece based off an interview with Carl Robinson.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag: On the Value of Trophies

This version of the mailbag saw a slight tweak, using the preamble as a chance to editorialize about whatever happens to be going on at the moment. The topic, ahead of the second leg of the Voyageurs Cup semi-final in Montreal, was what benefit a side could derive from a trophy.

Conversation in the comment section largely revolved around what is needed from the various young players – Jordan Hamilton, Mo Babouli, Jay Chapman, etc. – in order for them to get more playing time.

MLSsoccer.com – No Bradley, no Altidore, but Giovinco back for TFC

Following a ten-day break between matches, Toronto FC may have been without two of their three designated players with the resumption of league play, but at least Sebastian Giovinco would be back in the fold.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag: On the Dividing of Schedules & Rhythm

In this edition of the mailbag, the topic of breaking a schedule down into sections and the importance of finding rhythm as a means of navigating a long season were the points of emphasis.

While in the comment section, conversation involved the possibility of conceding points in the name of keeping depth players fresh, so they can perform when called upon, and an unfulfilled question on why Canada struggles to develop players.

That is a very large question – the mailbag has a way of bringing them up – and one that will be gotten to in time.

MLSsoccer.com – Gio vs. Gio: TFC eager for superstar showdown

Ahead of Toronto's clash with Los Angeles, a team against whom they have struggled historically, the prospect of a Giovinco vs. Giovani dos Santos duel was too appealing to ignore – even though in the end the LA star, and Steven Gerrard, did not make the trip.

MLSsoccer.com – Toronto FC vs. LA Galaxy

The post-match reactions from TFC's 1-0 win over LA: Toronto guided to victory by some veteran nous in Benoit Cheyrou and Drew Moor, who scored the game's only goal; while LA lament the late concession.

MLSsoccer.com – Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – Voyageurs Cup

The post-match reactions from TFC's 1-0 win over Vancouver in the opening leg of the Voyageurs Cup Final: Toronto wonder if, given the lineup disparity, the narrow margin of victory would hold up with the second leg in Vancouver; while the Whitecaps are frustrated with the deflected goal conceded.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag: On Being Hard to Beat & Finding Form at the Right Time

In this edition of the mailbag, Toronto's return to a solid defensive unit, and doing so at the perfect time, is the primary focus.

And in the comment section, myriad topics, including the absences of Damien Perquis and Mark Bloom, Herculez Gomez' ghost salary, MLS financial transparency, goalkeeping depth (a prescient issue), and the potential of summer transfer moves are all discussed.

Canadian Soccer News – On the Other Side: Carl Robinson on his time in Toronto and MLS Growth ahead of the Voyageurs Cup Final

In a long-intended return to the pages of Canadian Soccer News, an interview with Carl Robinson, head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps, about his time with Toronto FC, with whom his new side would be clashing in the closer of the cup, and the growth in MLS since his arrival in 2007 were discussed.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag: On Frustration & Overcoming

In this edition of the mailbag, again, ahead of the Voyageurs Cup finale, the controversial last-minute penalty kick in Orlando is ignored, instead the focus is on how this TFC side, for all their frailties, is never out of a match – the concept of not losing, simply running out of time in a primary theme. An idea that was very much in play with the seconds ticking down later that night at BC Place.

In the comment section, once more the mysterious extended absences were discussed, as were the tendency towards slow starts from TFC and the state of refereeing in MLS.

MLSsoccer.com – As injuries mount, TFC reveal Altidore near return

With all the bad – Clint Irwin, Michael Bradley, and Will Johnson facing long injury lay-offs – there was some positive news emanating from the TFC ranks, as Jozy Altidore was nearing a return to full training of ahead of his return to the side.

MLSsoccer.com – Bono takes reins as TFC cope with Irwin's injury

That injury to Irwin has cast the club into an awkward position, without a true, experienced number two, they have only a pair of youngsters with minimal minutes. Both Alex Bono and Quillan Roberts are highly-touted, but are they ready to start?

MLSsoccer.com – Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders

Post-match reactions following the 1-1 draw between the two at BMO Field: a strong performance from a depleted TFC in their fifth match in fifteen days lacks finishing touch; while Jordan Morris' crucial strike helps build confidence for the floundering Sounders.

MLSsoccer.com – TFC's next big thing? Hamilton finds scoring touch

A feature on Jordan Hamilton, who has scored four goals in eight appearances over the past month or so on the back of some very solid performances after two seasons in the wilderness.

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Beyond POV-FS – The Voyageurs Cup, Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact 1st Leg, & the WTR Mailbag

This week's round up previews both legs of the Voyageurs Cup, as well as recapping the first leg and assessing the possibility of summer reinforcements for Toronto FC

MLSsoccer.com – Will Giovinco be ready for the Canadian Championship?

The good news for TFC fans is that the injury that forced Sebastian Giovinco off in New York was a minor one, but his availability for either leg of the Voyageurs Cup is in question. He missed the first leg, but may just feature in the second one.

In addition, a variety of TFC players – Benoit Cheyrou, Ashtone Morgan, and Jonathan Osorio – speak on the value of cups and addressing a lack of Canadian glory over the past few seasons.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag, Post-Red Bulls, Pre-Voyageurs Cup

After a short consideration of the Voyageurs Cup, the, albeit brief, comment section delved into whether the possibility existed for TFC to consider a summer addition, especially at the higher price ranges, as reinforcement given the spate of injuries at the moment.

MLSsoccer.com – TFC kids delight vs. Montreal: “It's our future”

Post-match reaction from TFC revolved around the impressive outing from a variety of non-starters, coming out to a 4-0 lead, only to allow two late, setting the table for an interesting second leg.

Stellar outings from Morgan, Osorio, Jordan Hamilton, Dan Lovitz, and Mo Babouli, as well as from centre-back pairing, Eriq Zavaleta and Nick Hagglund – not to mention the calming presence of Benoit Cheyrou in the middle, making his first appearance after a long injury lay-off – turned what could have been a disaster into a thrilling night.

MLSsoccer.com – Impact livid over slow start vs. Young TFC team

Montreal's post-match reaction, mainly involving Mauro Biello refusing to concede an inch towards questioning – to be fair, he was probably right – along the lines of his team taking their foot off the gas when the lineups emerged.

Hidden amongst the TFC performance was a memorable night for Michael Salazar, who scored his first goal for the club and a cracking free-kick from Didier Drogba.

MLSsoccer.com – Should Toronto FC turn to vets, or stay with kids?

Heading into the second leg, Greg Vanney is faced with a dilemma: insert the now-available – possibly – players in the form of Giovinco, Will Johnson, Drew Moor, Damien Perquis, and Justin Morrow, or stick with the youth that did so well in the first leg?

In all likelihood, a mix of both will trot out onto the pitch at Stade Saputo this evening.

Bonus Quotes:
Jonathan Osorio on Drogba – “[Drogba] is a big guy, that's for sure. His technical ability, the way he uses his body is like none other. Easy to see why he's been so successful.”

Osorio on Wednesday night's result – “It was nice [to see all the young boys get a run out]. A lot of guys with a point to prove. They want to show that they belong here, that they deserve minutes. So it was nice, to play like that. Guys had a lot of energy, especially being at home, playing in front of family and friends. It was good, a really good game, but that's past now, we have to go into this game with a whole different mentality.”

Jordan Hamilton on waiting for his chance – “It's part of the job, being a young player. I had full trust in the coaches, that they'll know when it's my time. A lot of people on the outside will say 'you deserve to be playing', but the coaches know. That's their job to know when I'm ready. They thought I was ready tonight. Hopefully I proved them right.”

Ashtone Morgan on CanCon in the Voyageurs Cup – “Definitely. Oso and Jordan scoring, Jay getting in, Mo starting. Everybody. There was some good Canadian content today.”

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Beyond POV-FS – Sebastian Giovinco on Italy Absence, Mo Babouli steps up, & WTR Mailbag

A trio of pieces in this past week's, admittedly late, round-up, featuring Sebastian Giovinco, Mo Babouli, and the usual weekly mailbag feature.

MLSsoccer.com – Giovinco vows to find a way back on Italy squad

Sebastian Giovinco spoke on Wednesday in reaction to his being left off of Antonio Conte's Italy squad for the upcoming UEFA EURO 2016 tournament.

MLSsoccer.com – Newcomer Babouli filling in for injured Altidore

When Jozy Altidore went down, many questioned whether Toronto FC had the depth to carry on without the big man. In his absence, Mo Babouli has earned the chance to shine.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag, Post-Columbus, Pre-Red Bulls

In this week's mailbag, there's a deep dive on some arcane MLS roster regulations, including the distinction between Discovery and Special Discovery, as well as how homegrown salaries factor into the cap structure.

Bonus Quotes:

Greg Vanney on Giovinco staying with TFC

“It definitely benefits us, anytime a player like Sebastian is with us, it's always a bonus. We have a handful of important games coming up, including the Canadian Championship. It helps us that he's here, he's an important piece of our team – probably the understatement of the day.”

Sunday 22 May 2016

Beyond POV-FS – Toronto FC vs. NYC FC, Sebastian Giovinco's Italy Future, and Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew SC

This week's round up sees a pair of Toronto FC matches and an uncertain role for Sebastian Giovinco in the upcoming UEFA EURO 2016.

MLSsoccer.com – Youngsters step up for TFC, but can't vanquish NYC

Following TFC's 1-1 draw against NYC FC on Wednesday, performances from Mo Babouli, Jay Chapman, and Josh Williams, stepping into the starting eleven was the focus.

MLSsoccer.com – Vieira: Busy NYCFC “managed” Toronto draw well

Patrick Vieira spoke after the draw about his side managing a difficult week of travel and some bench players – Patrick Mullins and Kwadwo Poku, in particular – stepping up to earn a solid road point.

MLSsoccer.com – Giovinco waiting for word on possible Italy call

After Wednesday's match, TFC's superstar was none the wiser regarding whether he would be receiving a call from Antonio Conte ahead of this summer's tournament.

MLSsoccer.com – Seba takes blame for draw: “Today was my fault”

Toronto's struggle to convert chances into goals reared its head once more on Saturday and Giovinco more than shouldered the blame for his strangely wayward finishing.

MLSsoccer.com – Crew SC pleased with team defense, result vs. TFC

Another match, another visiting coach satisfied with a single-point at BMO Field. Gregg Berhalter praised his side's defensive nous in earning the draw and detailed their plan to shutdown Giovinco.

Bonus Quote – Jay Chapman on getting the start at home after Wednesday's match: “It was fantastic [to get the start at home]. Playing in the new stadium, getting 90 minutes under my belt. The fans were great, the atmosphere was awesome, so it was perfect.”

Sunday 15 May 2016

Beyond POV-FS – Tsubasa Endoh, WTR Mailbag, Jozy Altidore's Hamstring, & Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

This week's roundup includes a piece on Tsubasa Endoh, the Mailbag, Jozy Altidore leaving the pitch injured and post-match content from Vancouver's visit to TFC.

MLSsoccer.com – Japanese FA contacts TFC's Endoh after his first goal

In a follow-up to his first MLS goal on Saturday against Dallas, Tsubasa Endoh reflected on the moment, as did several of his teammates, and he revealed an important call from his homeland.

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag, Post-Dallas, Pre-Vancouver

This week's edition discussed the Kei Kamara situation in Columbus, Fraser Aird's role in Vancouver as a replacement for Steven Beitashour, and Victor Montagliani's ascension to the top role in CONCACAF.

MLSsoccer.com – Another hamstring injury for TFC's Altidore

A quick reaction to Altidore limping off the pitch against Vancouver, looking at how the injury occurred and his history of hamstrings getting in the way of him finding rhythm. The extent of it will only be revealed in the coming days.

MLSsoccer.com – Vanney furious at TFC's 'pathetic' start vs. Caps

Covering a lively post-match press conference from TFC boss Greg Vanney and several players who were dismayed by the woeful start and horrendous play that led to a seven-goal thriller.

MLSsoccer.com – Against all odds, 'Caps win at BMO Field

Carl Robinson was back at BMO Field on a night that honoured Danny Dichio, leading his side to a thrilling win, despite a number of factor weighted against them.

Bonus Quote from Robbo: “I was emotional, standing on the touchline. I've got good memories here. And to top it all off I see Danny Dichio at the start of the game, he made me smile.” And his celebration at the final Vancouver goal made that fact evident.

Sunday 8 May 2016

Beyond POV-FS – WTR Mailbag, The New & Improved BMO Field, and Toronto FC vs. FC Dallas

This week's round includes the standard mailbag, a variety of thoughts surrounding the renovations at BMO Field, and finally, Toronto FC's home opener against FC Dallas on Saturday:

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag

In this weekly feature, after a brief rant readers turned the conversation over to the TFC home opener, in particular, Bill Manning's comments on Sportsnet's TFC Pitchside and then an interesting exchange over the development of Jordan Hamilton, as well as the general nature of player progress in North America.

MLSsoccer.com – 10 Things... Get to Know the New BMO Field

In this countdown-style post, a recount of the features added during the renovations at BMO Field ahead of the opener on the weekend.

MLSsoccer.com – TFC Players Marvel at Renovated BMO Field

Prior to their first training session at the new ground, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, and Greg Vanney spoke about what the now massive stadium meant to the side as they looked to transform solid road performances into home dominance.

MLSsoccer.com – Toronto Officials Celebrate 'Spectacular' New BMO

Recounting the Grand Re-Opening event held at BMO Field on Friday with lines from some of those who spoke about what the ground means, not just for the club, but for the city.

MLSsoccer.com – Toronto FC vs. FC Dallas Post-Match Reactions

In a pair of posts following Toronto's 1-0 win over Dallas, TFC opens up about what the raucous atmosphere during the match meant to them, while Dallas coach, Oscar Pareja, finds reasons for optimism in the midst of a third straight defeat.

Sunday 1 May 2016

Beyond POV-FS – WTR Mailbag, One Moment in Montreal, & Will Johnson

Faithful readers may have noticed a certain decline in the linking to articles that appeared elsewhere – let alone, original content.

In order to make amends for the first problem – working on the second will be more tricky – every weekend an article linking to all the week's content will be posted.

In that spirit:

Waking the Red – WTR Mailbag

Each week Waking the Red issues a call to its readers for their questions in the hope of sparking some conversation, or pointing out concerns that may have missed the writers' attentions. Topics this week included: looking forward to the match in Portland, assessing Greg Vanney's performance thus far, and Garth Lagerway's decision opting for Seattle instead of Toronto.

Waking the Red – One Moment: Toronto FC @ Montreal Impact

In this new column, which time and circumstance allowing, will be a new regular feature, a single play from the most recent TFC match is analyzed, both for its relevance to the game, as well as what it displays about the current state of the club. In this edition, TFC skillfully manages a potential threatening situation by the use of an enhanced collective defensive ethos.

MLSsoccer.com – Johnson Eagerly Anticipates 'Special' PDX Return

And finally, ahead of his return to face his former club, Will Johnson spoke with the media about the experience of facing his old teammates and revealed a little about the growing relationships with his new ones.

Check them out!

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Beyond POV-FS – 10 Things.... about Sebastian Giovinco & Marky Delgado at MLSsoccer.com

A couple more posts went up at MLSsoccer.com earlier this month as part of their '10 Things' series, where some of the premier players in the league were featured.

Representing Toronto FC were both Sebastian Giovinco and Marky Delgado. It was a pleasure to speak with both of them, to dig a little deeper on some of their personality, both on and off the pitch.

Check them out – Giovinco and Delgado

Sunday 20 March 2016

Beyond POV-FS – WTR Mailbag & How You Doin' Sporting KC at Waking the Red

The usual pair of weekly articles went up over at Waking the Red earlier this week.

In the WTR Mailbag, readers are invited to submit their questions to the comments below, where myself and the rest of the staff do their darnedest to respond to the best of our abilities. This week's threads include whether Montreal is for real, an attempt to clarify the opaque MLS roster rules and regulations regarding salary cap hits and whatnot, as well as a discussion about Jozy Altidore's value and the potential of trading a designated player within MLS.

Check it out

And for the How You Doin'? Segment, WTR linked up with SB Nation's Sporting KC site, The Blue Testament, exchanging questions and answers ahead of Sunday's match in Kansas City.

Cody Bradley was kind enough to respond to WTR's enquiries here, while our replies to his can be found at TBT here.

Sunday 13 March 2016

Beyond POV-FS – How You Doin' NYC FC & Weekly Mailbag at Waking the Red

A couple of posts went up over at Waking the Red this week.

The Weekly Mailbag kicked off a few interesting conversations, including over who should take up that left-sided attacking role while Jozy Altidore is out, especially considering that Dan Lovitz looks to have picked up a knock, the role of Benoit Cheyrou and some formation talk ensued, as did an interesting little thread on concerns over the pitch dimensions at BMO Field.

Check it out.

And ahead of Sunday's match at NYC FC, WTR spoke with Jake Gofman of Hudson River Blue for the How You Doin'? Segment, where the two SB Nation sites exchange a series of questions.

Jake's responses can be found at WTR – and he can be followed on Twitter – while WTR's answers are over at Hudson River Blue.

Check them out.

TFC got a huge three points on opening day, another three today would go a long way towards their road-trip minimum. Should be interesting.

Thursday 10 March 2016

Beyond POV-FS – Jozy Altidore, Clint Irwin, Sebastian Giovinco, & TFC 2016 Team Guide: January & February Posts at MLSsoccer.com

As faithful readers will have noticed, I am now doing some writing for MLSsoccer.com. It's pretty excited, getting to cover this team I've been watching so long from a closer vantage point.

Over the past two months, several pieces have gone up, on topics ranging from the impact of Clint Irwin's signing, Sebastian Giovinco raring to get 2016 started, Greg Vanney & Company on bracing for the eight-match road trip and the renovations at BMO Field, as well as the leaner, happier Jozy Altidore ahead of his second season back in MLS.

In addition, the 2016 TFC Team Guide went up as well.

Check them all out, and look forward to the March coverage, which includes some features on Marky Delgado and Giovinco, as well as a little insight into the kitchen at the KIA Training Ground.

Sunday 6 March 2016

Beyond POV-FS – Mailbag & How You Doin'? New York at Waking the Red

A couple more posts up over at Waking the Red this week to note, including the introduction to another new feature: the mailbag.

In the Mailbag, myself and the rest of the WTR staff will be fielded questions from the audience and doing our best to respond to whatever topics may arise. Think of it as a sort of open forum, where staff and readers alike can mingle and discuss whatever issues arise throughout the course of the season.

The first one has gone rather well so far – check it out

As well, with the first game of the season set to kickoff in less than an hour, WTR also sees the return of the How You Doin'? Feature, where questions are exchanged with a sister-SB Nation site.

This week it was Jason Iapicco of Once a Metro who let us know just how the Red Bulls are doing ahead of Sunday's opener. Huge thanks to Jason for his help.

Check it out - as well as WTR's responses at OAM

Beyond POV-FS – Jozy Altidore on Extra Time Radio & Players are People Too at Waking the Red

I put up a post at Waking the Red in the past few weeks called Players are People Too, the first of a new series of columns, weekly is the plan, though hard to guarantee.

It was a gentle call that on the eve of the season, with the festivities about to commence, it should always be remembered, amongst the hustle and bustle of the campaign, that these players, coaches, and the like are all people too.

Fans can get overly involved in their team. It's expected, and for the large part, it's all good fun. Investing in your team is part of the magic of sport.

But sometimes things can go a little too far.

And when that happens, it is good to ground our criticisms, valid though they may be, in the realities of generally being nice to other people.

Further to that point, Jozy Altidore was on Extra Time Radio this past week and he expanded on a quote from earlier in the off-season, where he discussed a similar idea to the post at WTR.

“A lot of the times, as professional athletes, people forget that we're human, we have lives and we go through stuff, just like you do. You have your highs and your lows,” said Altidore.

“I had some highs and lows in my personal life that I had to go through, which is normal,” he continued. “That affected my profession, which is normal too... but it's not so forgiving in my line of work. I've overcome a lot of those things, it's made me a better person, a stronger person, and I'm allowed now to refocus back on what matters, which is my soccer.”

Every player, like every person, has their own way about them. And at risk of playing amateur psychologist, Altidore did have a little cloud over him last season, one which appears to have cleared.

His first interview back in Toronto exhibited a different beast: he was happy, smiling, jovial, and unshackled, as though a weight had been lifted off his back – Carbs man, they're evil (not really; and delicious by the way).

Unfortunately, a muscle injury looks to keep him out of the first match or two, but expect a different sort of Altidore to take the pitch for Toronto FC this season. Should be fun to watch.