This week I decided to do something a little different and keep a running commentary of my thoughts and observations during Saturday's Columbus Crew at Toronto FC Trillium Cup match. Some observations are quite serious, others are quite tongue-in-cheek. I'll leave it to you to determine which is which.
00:00 - Toronto's fans are annoying. Just saying.
00:01 - Be still my heart, is that a 4-4-2 I see? Has Crew head coach Robert Warzycha finally seen the light?
3:15 - It's so nice to be watching this game in stunning HD on Fox Sports Ohio. Good on ya, Crew front office. ONN was woefully behind the times and bringing the club down by proxy.
5:27 - Eric Gerhig's hair. That is all.
6:34 - Bernardo Anor often makes me wonder: Robbie Rogers who? (By the way, Robbie's new club, Leeds United, lost to Watford FC this morning. Robbie didn't make the 18, and the corner flags were lonely.)
7:55 - Toronto gets their first shot on goal, right into the arms of Crew goalie Andy Gruenebaum.
10:00 - Kirk Urso gives Crew Nation a heart attack, but Andy G is there to clean up the rookie's mistake. Hey kid, clear the ball all the way away, not five yards up the middle of the box into the opposing offense.
12:45 - Emilio Renteria goes out of bounds and over the boards. When a guy that big carries that much steam into the signage, anyone on the other side had better take cover. We call him The Tank for a reason.
16:55 - Olman Vargas almost gets through on a bouncing ball from Shawn Francis. Vargas, who I think is a 10-goal guy, has to be periodically frustrated with the service from the rest of the team. Give him a good ball and he'll give you a good goal 95% of the time.
18:00 - Toronto may not have the caliber of players that Columbus has, but they make up for it with better organization. But you don't get points for organization in this league, much to their chagrin.
18:49 - Dwight Burgess just said on the broadcast that TFC has some of the best fans in the league. You cut me, Dwight, you cut me real deep just now.
19:12 - We just had the third conversation of the day about the Epic Hesmer Goal of Epicness.
21:00 - Say what you will about Kirk Urso, but he's the best we've had at taking set pieces since a guy named Guillermo. If only his holding mid skills were just a tad better.
23:21 - The Dynamic Duo of Shawn Francis and Kirk Urso strikes again, coming together at midfield like two nine-year outfielders. Where have you gone, Danny O'Rourke?
24:30 - Andy G, and his Krav Maga training, will whoop up on the next guy to come into his box with elbows raised.
26:10 - Duncan Oughton, Color Commentator Extraordinaire, just dropped this knowledge: Eddie Gaven has more MLS goals than the entirety of the TFC roster. Giggles all around.
27:05 - Vargas sends a great ball through the box to...nobody. If only the Crew had someone streaking to the back post, what a world it would be.
29:59 - Once Anor finds his form then he, Vargas, Renteria and Gaven are going to be a serious group of goal scoring threats. So much talent in the attacking third. And that's not even factoring in Dilly Duka or Milovan Mirosevic.
32:30 - Renteria, in rare fashion, uses his butt to hold up for the others and then chooses not to make the obvious pass to Anor on the wing but instead sends a through ball way past a streaking Vargas. If the Crew were receiving points for Through Balls Just Out of Reach, they'd be winning 5-0.
34:45 - The only things that are working in Francis' favor this season are his 1-in-10 immaculate passes and his amazing make-up speed. Other than those, give me Carlos Mendes.
40:10 - PENALTY! Vargas draws a nice PK while trying to chase a ball out of bounds. Why in the world Ty Harden would commit that foul, on a guy running out ot of the box and off the field, is beyond me. But this is Toronto we're talking about.
41:00 - Saved. Awesome. I hate Canada. Silly hat of a country.
44:35 - What kind of ref gives Eddie Gaven a yellow card? Not only is he the nicest guy in MLS, but c'mon, as many fouls as that guy takes, he should have plenty of karma coming his way.
45:59 - Holy Crap, Vargas pulled a beauty of a pass out of nowhere to find a streaking Francis, and then, be still my heart, Shawn Francis put a good shot on goal. Over the goal, but a decent attempt none the less.
Halftime, Columbus Crew 0-0 Toronto FC.
47:59 - Anor ends a Toronto attack by fouling a guy from behind. I guess that's one way to do it.
50:17 - Andy G comes through in the clutch again. Gotta wonder if he'd be forced to make all these saves if the Columbus defense wasn't standing around so much.
55:05 - What is that jacket Warzycha is wearing and where can I get one?
55:45 - GOAL!!!! Bernardo Anor takes off running down the field, gives Vargas absolutely nothing to work with so he promptly gives it right back to Anor, who goes top shelf for a 1-0 lead. Put that in your Maple Leaf and suck it, Canada.
57:37 - The goal conversation here somehow segued from Bernardo Anor and the Crew's Chileans to toe socks and how they cause the girl's toes to be cold, rather than warm. My friends are strange.
66:00 - After discussion of the epic 2001 movie Texas Rangers (starring James Van Der Beek and Ashton Kutcher), Eddie Gaven connects on a breakaway with Emilio Renteria, who puts his shot inches - nay, centimeters - wide of the far post. This game needs to be 2-0 quickly.
71:00 - Andy G saves the day. Again. William Hesmer's starting spot is officially on the line.
74:30 - Options for Barbasol Man of the Match are: Bernardo Anor, Olman Vargas, Chad Marshall and Eric Gehrig. Apparently the FSO producers aren't too familiar with soccer yet, because there's no way Andy Gruenebaum isn't on that list.
77:08 - TFC is throwing everything they have at the goal right now, and though the Columbus defense is bending it hasn't broken.
79:45 - Robert Warzycha brings the pain, subbing on Aaron Schoenfeld* for Emilio Renteria. In my mind, that's like replacing a Howitzer with a Bazooka.
83:10 - Canada broke Bernardo Anor. Canada must die. Mr. Eckersley had better watch his back.
88:30 - Many jokes among the gathered about the relative size of Schoenfeld to everyone on Toronto's team.
90:00 - Four minutes of stoppage. Plenty of time for the Crew to give this away.
90:30 - I'm knocking on all the wood I can see.
93:55 - Whistle. Columbus wins 1-0, series is 1-0 . The second leg, at Crew Stadium, is set for August 11th. Be there or be Canadian.
(Many thanks to my friends for letting me steal some one-liners and analysis, and also for letting me tell the world that they were discussing toe socks during the Trillium Cup.You guys are the best.)
*Correction: The article originally identified Aaron Schoenfeld as Kenny Schoenfeld. This was perhaps because of Schoenfeld's uncanny resemblance to former Crew backup keeper Kenny Schoeni (wait, they look nothing alike. ed., who knows why Chris did it then)