This is the 16th part of a series in which we introduce Orlando City fans to the teams our Lions will be facing in 2015 when the team starts play in Major League Soccer. Today we take a look at Toronto FC.
What are the three most important things Orlando City fans need to know about Toronto FC?
Mitchell Tierney: The first thing you should know about our team is that you will enjoy playing us, for the most part. That’s because we don’t win very much, even when the names on our roster would tend to indicate otherwise. The club’s biggest talent has always been finding ways to lose. In eight years in the league we have never made the playoffs.
We also tend to change everyone in the organization at least once a year. It really isn’t worth memorizing any of our players because you probably won’t see them the next time you play against us. That also goes for managers: we have had nine in only eight seasons and there is a chance we could get another this offseason.
Despite all of this, the team has some of the best fans in the league. In fact, the league essentially owes where its fan culture is today to Toronto FC. The fan support has evidently wavered as a result of the aforementioned letdowns, but still remains one of the better atmospheres in the league on game day.
What nicknames, chants and slang are unique to Toronto FC, and can you please explain them if they aren’t readily apparent to the outsider?
MT: The nicknames that are more common for Toronto FC are either TFC or the Reds. As a result, most of the chants that are resulting come from either of these two names. One of the bigger chants in the early years was “This is our House,” but since the team stopped winning at BMO Field, that has become less common. Another is “The Reds Go Marching In,” sung to the classic “When the Saints Go Marching In” theme. We are also a bilingual country, so if you see supporters in the corner pointing at each other, you can assume they are singing “Nous Chantons les Rouges Allez.”
A couple of other pieces of TFC lore have to do with times of the game. During the 24th minute of each home match, fans chant a tribute to Danny Dichio who scored the club’s very first goal. On a less positive note, there is Tobias time. This indicates the last 15 minutes of regulation, where Toronto tends to give up goals that ultimately lose them massive points.
What are the can’t-miss things to do when Orlando City fans visit Toronto FC game?
MT: Unlike the soccer team, Toronto is actually a beautiful and vibrant city. The team’s stadium is located by the picturesque Lake Ontario, which is beautiful, provided you don’t decide to take a dip in it.
The CN Tower remains a large attraction as one of the world’s largest freestanding structures. Complete with a glass floor, and a tremendous view of the city, it is absolutely worth the hype and admission price.
In the summer, the Toronto Islands are a great and relaxing location to spend a vacation. They contain several great restaurants and provide some of the little greenspace in the urban sprawl that is Toronto.
Toronto is also home to plenty of multiculturalism, and therefore has restaurants, locations and events from all over the world.
Who are the key players on Toronto FC that we should know about?
MT: It is hard to say exactly who will be remaining with the team next year, but from what has been rumoured so far, here is who to look for on Toronto FC next season:
He didn’t have a great opening season with the club, but there is no doubt that Michael Bradley has been committed to Toronto FC since day one. The league has definitely been a bit of a learning curve for him, but it was for Clint Dempsey as well and look how his second season turned out. In a better role, Bradley will be an incredibly dangerous player next season.
There are no assurances that he will return, but if Gilberto does he will also make good on the potential that largely got lost in Toronto’s struggles. If Bradley could follow in the footsteps of Dempsey next year, then Gilberto could do the same as Martens. He likely won’t be quite as good, but he is still a very dangerous technical forward.
Jonathan Osorio is the local kid, and for that reason he has been beloved by Toronto FC supporters. He is inconsistent at the best of times, but for his age and experience that is hardly surprising. On his day, he makes a very dangerous combination with Bradley.
Which Toronto players do you think might get exposed in the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft?
MT: How Toronto plays this expansion draft will be incredibly telling of where they move in the future. But as of right now there are a couple of players who will likely be exposed and could be decent pickups for Orlando City.
At times this year, Collen Warner looked like the best player on the field for Toronto FC. That largely changed when he didn’t turn out to be very compatible with Jermain Defoe, but he is a great depth player who is worth selecting.
There are a pair of strikers whom Toronto probably won’t protect this offseason as well, and both would be risky but could pay off. Luke Moore does little more than play his role, but that role brings goals with it. When he is on his game, he is dangerous, even when he doesn’t look the part. Bright Dike is a Nigerian international who was injured for most of the season, and absent for the other part. But in the past he has shown the ability to be dominant in this league.
Ashtone Morgan is a young left back who has seen his role diminished in Toronto, but has enough talent to deliver for another MLS franchise. He likely isn’t a starting left back, but at 23 has the potential to be a more than solid one in the not so distant future, provided his development can rid itself from the branch it is currently stuck on.
We send our warmest regards to Mitchell for dropping his truth bombs about Toronto FC for us to share with you. We look forward to our trips north of the border and to welcoming Canadian snow birds to the Lion’s Den in 2015.
Previous “Meet Our New Foes”:
Columbus Crew SC
New England Revolution
New York Red Bulls
Real Salt Lake
Sporting Kansas City