Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Absolutely Fabulous

I have been dying for three months. No TFC. And still 2 months until we kick off in Columbus.

My body aches every time I drive down the Gardner or Lakeshore and see Our House"; the big bubble on the field, the snow on the bright red seats, the floodlights standing guard against the metallic grey skies. I want to drink beer in the summer sun and indulge in bitchy sarcasm about our porous defence. I want to huddle with my son in the cold wind and rain coming off the lake through another abject performance and then argue with my wife about why the team's crapness can't possibly affect the number of games I attend. I want to sing and cheer and celebrate with Michael and Sonny and the gang in Section 221. I want my TFC and I want it now.

But my life - no, everyone's life - just got a little bit better with the announcement of the new CONCACAF Champions League, which will replace the Champions Cup as of this year. 24 teams will begin the competition in late August with 16 teams playing home-and-away qualifiers from which the winner will join 8 seeded teams for a group stage lasting through to the end of October. Quarter-finals in February, Semis in March, Finals in April.

But all that's as maybe: the important thing here is that Canada's been given on of the 24 spots. This is somewhat problematic because alone among CONCACAF nations, we have no real national championships. Our three professional teams all play in American leagues,and as fans of Swansea and Cardiff know, international football has tended to look askance at teams playing in one country's league and representing another country internationally.

But what does that leave? The Canadian Soccer League is semi-pro at best, and it clubs are almost entirely from Ontario - and, hilariously, has two divisions: a "national" division of regionally-based teams (one of which - the Trois-Rivieres Attak - is the Montreal Impact's reserve squad) and an "international" division of ethnic Toronto teams - Toronto Croatia, Serbian White Eagles, Italian Shooters, Canadian Lions (I believe a Caribbean team) and Portuguese Supra. If any of these teams were to represent Canada, they would get creamed.

The Canadian Soccer Association, displaying its usual lightning-quick reflexes, put up the CONCACAF announcement on its website yesterday but failed to make any announcement about how Canada's representative would be chosen. A hopeful but poorly-sourced article in the Vancouver Sun suggests that a triangular championship featuring home-and-homes between the Whitecaps, Impact and FC is in the works.

God bless. At a minimum, that means road trips to Montreal and Vancouver this year, plus two more dates on my season ticket. And...miracle of miracles...the possibility of away games in Mexcio, Costa Rica and the Caribbean.

Absolutely fabulous!


Blogger Michael said...

the Trois-Rivieres Attak?!?!? Can we put TFC's reserve team in Belleville and call them something similarly stupid (or maybe just admit our organization's woeful defence and call them the "Retreat"?)

10:35 AM  
Anonymous ursus arctos said...

The Whitecaps are going to pound your sorry parvenu asses.

Oggie! Oggie! Oggie!
Oi! Oi! Oi!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Antonio G said...

Urs, you're both wrong and missing the point.

The point is, I get to take a road trip to Vancouver. Everything else is secondary.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous ursus arctos said...

I'm also being less than completely serious.

You are parvenus compared to the Whitecaps, though.

3:52 PM  

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