Friday, July 25, 2008

Toronto doesn't represent well

I've had it with the fawning over Toronto fans. At the most, I'll allow that they're better fans of their home team than of anything else, including the game itself. However, the game, the concept of the beautiful sport and believing in its worth and value, is something I hold sacred.

I don't, however, understand the point of Toronto joining an American sports league if they're going to be so freaking rude about it. Booing the U.S. anthem? Singing their own anthem over it? If that happened at a U.S./Mexico match in L.A. (Where mind, the teams would be playing against each other and boorish rivalry would make a bit more sense) people would be livid. It doesn't happen, though. Mexican fans might ignore or cheer over the U.S. anthem at times, but sing their own over it? Not even in Azteca. Because it's rude and unsporting and they respect the game more than that.

I don't buy the "We didn't know our anthem was going to be played." excuse, either. Come on. Half the U.S. stadiums play their anthem even when there aren't any U.S. teams involved - just because they're hosting some event. When has the anthem ever NOT been played at BMO? Did the Canadians simply not trust their own organizers?

The Spanish announcers were simply befuddled during the game to see steamers thrown at Beckham. One questioned, when boos rained down on various MLS players, whether the Canadian fans understood that for this match, which team was the home side.

Sure they did. And they didn't care. If it's not TFC, it sucks, no matter how pretty the crosses of Becks were or the goals by Gomez and Blanco. That's so simple-minded, to not accept the larger concept of league representation, the opportunity to see some of the best players available working together for a common cause. If nothing else, respect the game, recognize and reward good play - but there was little of that from the fans.

It was especially ungracious when so many players from other teams had gone out of their way to say that they were excited to play at Toronto. They weren't talking about looking forward to the turf, either. They were hoping for a good reception from the fans.

If those fans had thought big for just a moment, thought, "Hey, here's a chance to show the world that we can be amazingly supportive fans, give the MLS players so much love that they'll be hoping their next trade is to Toronto, show the over a hundred countries this match is broadcast in that we are classy and appreciate quality play."

Instead, the fans came off like immature idiots who don't give a fig for the game. None of the cheering corresponded to good plays on the field, except when DeRo scored his penalty. Streamers were flung at the corner-kick taker when the MLS All-Stars had a chance to make good on a set play. Streamers were thrown all over the ESPN desk during the halftime show - yeah, it's not like the game needs more exposure on TV, no. (Don Garber, do you still think the Toronto fans are so wonderful when they're aiming streamers at your head on a live broadcast and making you look like a schmuck?) That'll show the world leader in sports to come to BMO.

Anyway, I suppose natural truth and consequences will take place. MLS will realize that the crazy atmosphere is very limited in scope. It is for TFC only and all other MLS events, including the final championship match, should never be held there.

The best fans in MLS? Not by a long shot. Fans who recognize how far the league has come, how far it still has to go, who can cheer generously for both club and league when the occasion presents itself - can you imagine the Fire fans if this game had been held there? They would have blown the socks off the TFC malcontents. DC fans, too. LA fans, RSL fans, heck, even Rapids fans paid more attention to the game and supported the All-Stars more last year.

* Actually, I'm wrong to over-generalize all TFC fans. Clearly, some were just fine. But more than a few made the representation of the whole look bad.

93 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whoa. A professional sports writer not fawning over fans? What is going on? Don't you know they invented the sport! Didn't you know that before there was BMO field, the practice of standing and singing during soccer games was unheard of? You shouldn't forget that the first documented account of a drum being taken into a sporting venue was also recorded in Toronto way back in 2007. You are truly slacking at your North American soccer reporting duties by speaking ill of the mighty TFC fans!

CACuzcatlan said...

If possible, can you add an extra line between paragraphs. With no indenting it makes it hard to keep your place in the page.

CACuzcatlan said...

Don't worry, the MLS Cup will never be played in Toronto because its too damn cold in November to hold an event there.

Nicole said...

Amen, Andrea. I couldn't have said it better.

Toronto fans do, indeed, suck. Big time. And I hope that all the TV announcers in upcoming games will follow your lead and speak about this.

CACuzcatlan said...

Andrea, you have to keep in mind that some Toronto fans come from a culture of "Club over Country". I've heard Liverpool fans saying they hate to see their players play for England because of the risk. I'm guessing there are some TFC fans that are of that mindset too.

"My team winning is all that matters"

Its part of soccer culture in certain parts of the world and I doubt you can change a mindset people have had all their lives.

Anonymous said...

"I've heard Liverpool fans saying they hate to see their players play for England because of the risk."

Weren't the TFC fans cheering for their players to get IN the meaningless/my-players-could-get-hurt All-Star game?

East River said...

I really don't understand were you are coming from on this AC. I thought MLS wanted and needed exactly what the Toronto fans bring and to a lesser extent DC's La Brava Barra group.

Not that I wasn't shocked to understand why the fans were throwing at Becks during his corners. But does it really matter? Its an All-Star game and as you guys said on post earlier this week the who thing doesn't matter. As for the throwing at ESPN and Garber, SO WHAT?! Does that matter either? I would like to let them know what I think of ESPN more then BS coverage.

It seems like you have something against Toronto fans now. First you said streamers shouldn't be thrown on the field now its streamers shouldn't be around period. Talk about TFC fans being out of control but I don't see them getting into fights with othe groups. Or throwing flares on the field like Chivas fans have. Or even igniting flares like DC fans do whicho could blow off someone fingers or kill someone even. But yet you want fans to come down over "toilet paper"?

ghostwriter said...

Soccer fans generally sometimes don't have the best of reputations, eh? English soccer thugs, fans and cops killed during riots in Italy, referees attacked, stuff worse than soft streamers thrown at players, etc. The beautiful game seems, on occasion, to invoke extreme passions that lead to bad (or worse) behavior. Apparently even an All Star game is not completely immune, although (not that it excuses anything), at least TFC fans were merely boorish...

The game, on the other hand, (what I got to see of it) was quite entertaining. Blanco's goal was sweet! I really do think that MLS has a good idea bringing in an international side to play the game and, from what comments I heard or read, the West Hamm players really seemed to enjoy the whole event.

TFC fans aside, it was fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

Please leave DC United Fans out of this Mr. East River. Ok Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the TFC fans came off as out-of-control 7th graders. The crowd shots were particularly instructive when one fan saw the camera & waved his middle finger to the fans at home. The streamers are old, old, old. Love the passion, but grow up.

Thanks for this editorial, Andrea, especially condemning the interruption of the American national anthem, which was petulant & inexcusable.

Laura

Anonymous said...

i wish more MLS supporters would sing their own songs during the national anthems. lame american traditon that needs to be dropped.

East River said...

Want leave DC fans out of it I own a DC jersey. But I don't understand how people think fans should act. Would I throw a bird at TV cameras? NO but I don't understand have some of you can say Toronto needs to calm it down b/c there people do that kind of thing. What exactly amounts to bad behavior that should be ban? Rice-Eccles Stadium banns confetti from RSL fans, Giants Stadium bans flags poles and some would bans soccer fans in general.

But how do you police rowdy fans who throw you a bird? Is it rude?SURE but I would have the security guards kick someone out over it. So the message is be passionate but what constitues too passionate? We have gone from advocating banning streamers on the field to banning streamers in the stands whats next that you don't like? as for the booing of the US anthem, I hate to hear that. But what do peopel expect Toronto's FO to do? Reach out to fans tell them not to do that?

Not that I'm saying Toronto are the best fans in the league I'm not. I would say the best fans in the league are between LA, Houston, DC, and Toronto. But I don't think we can expect that all fans will behave the same way.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't at the game, but the comment from most people there truly believed that their anthem wasn't going to be played. The PA guy announced the US and English anthems, but not the Canadian one. MLS is to blame for this because they're the ones responsible for the blunder. They should have played the Canadian one first and avoided all of this. Even Canadian media that don't agree with the booing felt that the MLS should have done a better job with the anthems.

Anonymous said...

Right on, Andrea. Absolutely classless behavior.

There's a point where you need to draw a line between atmosphere and classlessness.

A.C. said...

MLS went out of their way to ensure that Canada's anthem was played last so that it would be the only one to get television airtime. Besides, the home side's anthem usually gets played last. All fans know this, if they stop to actually think.

Anonymous said...

Andrea - what exactly did Canada do to you this year? You bash our turf (quite rightly) at every possible opportunity yet fail to criticise worse surfaces in Salt Lake, NE and NY in your match reports. You label Toronto fans childish, yet don't seem to apply the same criteria when similar events happen at other stadia.

We get it, you don't like Canada. You don't like a Canadian team getting all uppity in an American league. You wish we would stick to our place and show proper respect. "Just who do those Canadians think they are!?"

Well we're here to stay - we won't stay at the back of the bus, we won't stay in the kitchen - we will continue to be unpredictable, rude, creative, unique, foreign, offensive and Canadian.

We're a different country and culture and what may be proper and reasonable to us is clearly incemprehensible un-american sacrilege to you, even if you "have some Canadian friends".

At least you don't type "offsides".

Anonymous said...

Blame Canada! Blame Canada! There not even a real country anyway...

Anonymous said...

You people are already on the internet, why not take the time and look up rules about the Anthems. If you do, then you'll see that the host nation's anthem is always played LAST. When TFC plays anywhere in the states, the Canadian National Anthem is played first.

I'm all for fan support, but to sing over another nations anthem is down right scummy. Streamers are harmless but you can still look like a total ass and hurt your rep.

In LA, flag poles are banned, standing on the benches are banned, standing in the aisles is banned, flares,smokebombs etc are banned. The FO has allowed us to have maybe 4-6 flags, small ones at that, in our section. You dont support your team with flags and how everyone is matching. You support them through chanting for 90 minutes+ and harassing the other team by bashing them with chants that would make their mothers cry.

Stop being such whiny kids if you think supporting your team is throwing streamers, waving flags etc, its about showing up every home game, going to as many away games as you can and be the 12th man.

jamesey said...

I only boo anthems if the person singing sucks.

I completely understand TFC supporters booing MLS players that aren't on their own team. Why should they support the guys who's job is to make their team lose.

This isn't 1996 where MLS fans had to be fans of all teams to help the league grow. We can hate each other and not worry about the league folding now.

RHYbread said...

It's the All-Star games. It's not about team rivalries, but the best players coming together to celebrate the fans and the league.

Hopefully after this, the league won't ever think of having more events at BMO (MLS Cup). Soon enough, we'll have even more stadiums of higher quality in the US, eliminating the need to ever trek up to the trashy turf besides the games teams are forced to play away in Toronto.

dan said...

Thanks for the editorial Andrea, you're spot on and the fans were a disgrace last night, one that is supposed to present the league in the best possible light.

With a couple Canadian cities in the running for expansion teams, I hope MLS thinks twice in light of the lack of respect for players, teams, neighbors, sportsmanship and the league on display last night in Toronto.

There's absolutely no excuse for booing and singing over the anthem. Even if they hadn't played the Canadian anthem, it would be indefensible, but it is ridiculous to assume the host anthem was going to be ignored. Imagine the fits they would have if DC or NY fans booed O Canada.

The streamers are played out. I don't think Beckham deserves special treatment, streamers have been a potentially dangerous interference from the very beginning, shame on MLS for letting it go so long.

Sean said...

Agree agree agree.

A.C. said...

Yeah, I hate Canada - that's why I'm the only one in the LA pressbox singing along to "O Canada" when TFC comes to play. I was happy the league had gone outside of its borders. Yes, I bashed the turf from the start, because of all the MLS stadiums, its the only one that's permanent - the other turf fields are going to get grass eventually. RSL is going to have grass by season's end. I'm against actions that are against the game and the sporting spirit. I thought the cheers and chants of TFC fans were great, but I didn't like when fans threw the cushions onto the field during a game - hitting players who said those suckers hurt. The streamers on the field during play or delaying play I've always been against. I think any fans of any team should view the All-Star game as a privilege, a rare chance to leave team rivalry aside. That's what the players do, so why not follow that example for one single day. At the very least, if you can't bring yourself to cheer for a hated club rival, at least don't boo them. They're not playing your team, for heaven's sake. They're playing alongside someone on your club, trying to bring a little respect to the league. Booing them is simply lame.

Mon-sewer Paul Regret said...

I think throwing streamers at players is stupid. But I have to disagree strongly with the idea that you should put aside partisanship during an All-Star Game. In 1984, the baseball All-Star Game was held in San Francisco. Steve Garvey, not only a Dodger but perhaps the second-most hated Dodger ever after Lasorda, got more votes than any other player. As a lifelong Giants fan who had tickets for that All-Star Game, I assure you, I looked forward to booing Garvey at the top of my lungs. I don't know why his being on "our" side for one game should have changed that.

A.C. said...

Did you boo every All-Star player then? Baseball is far more isolated than soccer - if a player comes up to bat, then very clearly abuse directed at him is for him. Soccer is more of a team game and that distinction is huge. If someone intends on booing Beckham's corner kick, which say, falls to Jim Brennan and he scores, that's just stupid.
Let's take the first MLS goal, for example. You hate Blanco, lets say, want to boo him, but support Becks and Gomez or at least don't mind them. At what point in the goal-scoring play (Becks, Blanco, Gomez goal) do you boo?
Also, please, the All-Star game is the league versus an outside team for world respect, or a small smidgen of it. NO OTHER ASG HAS THAT. It's just conference v conference, nothing that translates to the world stage. There's a bigger picture here that TFC fans completely missed.

Anonymous said...

AC you're blowing the All Star Game out of proportion, the game is an exhibition and shouldn't be taken as anything more than that. I doubt anyone outside of the MLS fans cared about what occurred on the field yesterday, against a mid to low table English team. Was it a fun game with great soccer, yes absolutely, but to make it seem as anything more than that is ridiculous.

Also the NHL also had a North America vs the World format from 1998 - 2002, and I believe it was the MLS that was influenced by the set-up which influenced MLS to switch from a conference vs. conference ASG.

A.C. said...

MLS did the U.S. versus the World (players within the league) format for their 1998 game as well, so the NHL probably didn't inspire the idea to switch to bringing in teams from abroad. That's still a concept unique to MLS.
Please understand also that because of how the league is viewed as inferior, the All-Star game is the only match many people from abroad will ever watch, simply to watch the other team involved. It is a unique opportunity for the league to showcase its best players in such a format, because people who wouldn't normally watch an MLS game are watching.

Anonymous said...

But you're assuming people outside of North America actually watched the game. You said broadcast in over 100 countries. You sound like NFL heads that say the same thing about the Super Bowl, just because it's broadcast in other countries doesn't mean people in other countries watch them. You honestly think West Ham is that big of a draw?

A.C. said...

Broadcasters don't like to pick up games that nobody watches. The reason that so many pick up the MLS game for broadcast is because people abroad do watch. The email I get around the game from abroad reflects that as well. It might be because the worldwide soccer season is so slow at that point, but people do watch the All-Star game, even if West Ham (which despite recent results, has a large fanbase)is playing. People around the world have also heard of Beckham and Blanco and many knew that this would be the only format they would be teammates - that's also a draw.
You're kidding me if you're arguing that TFC fans were clueless that the game was potentially the league's biggest worldwide audience for a match. If they were really that unaware, that's just sad.

Anonymous said...

Those defending TFC fans' behavior don't have a leg to stand on.

It. was. wrong.

Anonymous said...

Broadcasters don't like broadcasting things people don't watch? Sure they do, it's called cable. Which I'm sure the ASG was broadcast through in most countries. Look we're just going to agree to disagree on this, but unless you have hard numbers, I highly doubt the All Star Game had the gargantuan audience you believe they had.

And if you believe that, and believe that his game would give the league credibility, don't you think people watching MLS' best barely beat a preseason mid-table English team might been seen as a negative to a lot of people? Just accept it as a fun game, nothing more.

A.C. said...

I'm not arguing for huge numbers by worldwide standards, I'm saying it's more than MLS gets for league games, probably the highest audience for ANYTHING MLS this year. That's a simple fact.
You're arguing a side issue about the TFC fan behavior by saying "hardly anyone saw it" without taking an honest look at what anyone who did see it would think.
Don't try to dodge by saying the game was meaningless. I KNOW that, I've written that on this blog before - that's not the point at all. Of course it's a fun game, it's a chance for the players to be rewarded for their good performances to that point, to try to show that even a hastily thrown together team from this league has skill, to try to show the fans a good time and instead many of those fans like churlish fools.

Anonymous said...

in this and age... i don't understand why canadians don't drop on their knees when they hear the us anthem... you are spot on this, ac -- let's bomb ottawa into submission, someone call president bush, weapons of anthem deception

A.C. said...

"It's definitely a dream come true, scoring in a game of this magnitude," De Rosario said. "This game is huge. People don't realize how big this is because this is an opportunity to showcase our talent throughout the world and show them how good this league is."

Anonymous said...

AC, I'm not saying the booing was right, but you're making a bigger deal of it than it is, because yes, I do believe not many people cared enough to watch this outside of our borders. In fact, most of the US media is barely covering the booing as a sole issue or making it the focal point of the game as you have.

You also contradict yourself, you say the game can bring respect to the league, and then say the game is meaningless and that you know that already. So which is it? Is it meaningless or will it bring respect?

Also quoting De Rosario is proves nothing, what is he supposed to say, "I scored in a meaningless All Star Game, big whoop." Of course he's gonna be excited he scored in front of his home town, and I think he said something similar when he scored against Chelsea as well. Big deal.

A.C. said...

Respect isn't something that can be measured in any meaningful sense. A meaningful game is one that counts towards a championship, obviously. Sure, there's a little All-Star trophy they give away, but it's not a real title in the way MLS Cup or the U.S. Open Cup is.
But there is pride on the line, even if its not quantifiable how much respect a team gains or loses. All the MLS players involved say that, and there's the visibility aspect that they refer to as well, because people watch the ASG who don't normally watch MLS.
TFC fans should be glad and grateful that so many reporters at the game (the highest number ever at an MLS AllStar game) apparently chose to focus on the match instead of the support or lack thereof, in the stands. The Spanish broadcast mentioned the boos and things thrown at MLS players in puzzlement, but chose to focus on Blanco after he scored.

A.C. said...

And some news outlets did mention the fan behavior, also. From the MLS website, which perhaps has more incentive than anywhere else to put as positive a spin as possible on the whole event:
The sold-out BMO Field crowd lived up to its boisterous reputation, though perhaps not in the way that MLS fans might imagine. There were a fair amount of support for West Ham and booing of some of the All-Stars from Toronto FC's divisional rivals like Hejduk and Blanco. Even Beckham, making his Toronto debut, received a bit of BMO's trademark streamer shower when the midfielder went to take a corner kick. Chants of 'We Want Brennan!' in support of the insertion of TFC's lone All-Star rep, Canadian defender Jim Brennan, began roughly a minute into the game and continued throughout the first half.

A.C. said...

That article only mentioned Hejduk and Blanco, but I heard Donovan booed, Beckham as well - heck, boos were clearly heard on the broadcast for every MLS sub except for Brennan, Onstad and DeRo. It was painfully obvious, especially since the West Ham sub announcements were met with a better reception - indifference or just a few cheers.

jon e said...

I think the the most frustrating part of the behavio(u)r at BMO is that, despite all the red jerseys, the fans didn't seem to be acting as TFC fans but rather as Canadian fans, especially when--in an access of little brother defensiveness-- they assumed for no good reason that "O Canada" wouldn't get played.

I also didn't hear any of the fans booing DeRosario or Onstadt even though they play for Houston, not TFC.

Although, speaking of misplaced nationalism, I have to admit that I don't know why they played any anthem BUT Canada's. It wasn't a national team game, after all. Not all West Ham's players are English, and only about half of the all-stars are US citizens.

A.C. said...

They play Canada's anthem whenever TFC plays, to respect that the squad is based there. The NHL does the same thing for games with teams from Canada.
At the All-star game, it was an English team, playing a league team (MLS is based in the U.S.) on Canadian soil. Ergo, the order of anthems.

sprechen sie douche? said...

I am no fan of Toronto fans, but in all fairness they were protesting the possibility of BMO being used for CFL by the Argos (hence the black streamers). RPB and others were dedicated to not bringing league support (at least little of it) because of this. The wrong place? Maybe. But a reason; yes.

A.C. said...

No, I don't buy the Argonauts excuse, because if those fan were protesting the stadium use while still supporting the league, the black streamers should still have been thrown at West Ham, not MLS players. It's not a protest against the Argonauts to boo the MLS AllStar players, either. Booing and singing over the U.S. anthem because of the Argonauts, a CFL team? That makes no sense at all.

A.C. said...

From an email:
Andrea, you're being too hard on TFC fans. I was there and people really were confused about the anthems. They felt terrible when they realized that the All-Star game was saving the best for last.
Indeed, the way to show one feels badly about a faux pas, if it was truly accidental, is to then boo the players from that country a heck of a lot, fling stuff at the players on corner kicks and then throw paper trash at the commissioner during a live international broadcast. Nothing says "Sorry, oops" like that does.

papa bear said...

@July 25, 2008 9:39 AM Anonymous said...

Dude, EVERY player says that BMO is the worst surface in the league. As AC pointed out as well, it's also the only one that's conceivably permanent. If RSL's stadium turns out as good as the plans, it's going to be a gem of a park.

@AC: you are 100% right on correct. TFC fans have turned into an utter band of loutish buffoons this year. They have taken to believing all the bullshit hype Garber and some others have been lavishing upon them.
Also, I don't buy their anthem excuse at all. They booed and sang 'O Canada' over the national anthem when they played against Chicago (this was AFTER 'O Canada' was played -FYI) Max Bretos even made a point to point out how classless it was.

The previous 2 ASG's in Chicago and Colorado were great in terms of atmosphere and everything else. Yesterday was an embarrassment. You see more proper behavior in an Eastern European match where all the fans just realized the ref has been paid off to throw the match for their team.

Seriously, the fawning over TFC fans phase should hopefully be over and they should be exposed for the moronic, 'faux English' wannabes that they are.

Oh and I can speak from experience, prepare for a bombardment of lame, off topic, comments from the Poo-Sector and Red Snatch Boyzzz as soon as their bosses at the gas stations let them go home for the day.

papa bear said...

@July 25, 2008 2:54 PM

So basically the person who sent the e-mail is saying they are all tone deaf ignoramuses? I've heard both anthems plenty of times and I have yet to confuse the two. I'm sure I would stop singing after 2-3 bars if I truly mistook one for the other.

I guess since there wasn't a church service to expose themselves to (like they did in Columbus earlier in the year) they have to find some other release for their stupidity.

Anonymous said...

You know I always thought canadians were cool until the U20 world cup last year when canadians booed our national anthem and also booed our players in every game. So honestly, stop with the excuses. You canadians knew exactly what you were doing in the allstar game. Its funny that the canadian U20 team ended up with as many points as canada has class, too.

But now canada wants more than one team in our league; up to five cities want in the league. How about no? If canada can support all these teams and think that they will be "unpredictable, rude, creative, unique, foreign, offensive and Canadian", then maybe you should go be canadian in your own league?

Oh and don't start with the BS that canada has always had teams with US leagues. NHL doesn't count since it was first a canadian league. NFL has zero canadian teams cause canada has its own league. NBA had two teams, now has one team. MLB had more teams, now has one.

So if canada can support all of these teams in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa and Moose ass Ontario, then seriously you should have your own league.

bmantx said...

Sorry AC, I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Toronto fans showed up in numbers like they have since day one. And they did exactly what they felt was in their interest.

They pay good money to do that in case you have have forgotten.

PrimateWrangler said...

Add my vote for denigration of those in attendance who booed the Star Spangled Banner. You only get to boo an anthem if; A) it is yours, B) it is being butchered.

Anonymous said...

I think people are infairly painting Canadian fans as the same. While people can rail against Toronto FC fans, what makes people think that fans in Montreal and Vancouver will be cut from the same cloth.

I remember Detroit fans booing the Canadian anthem in the NBA a few years back, and it happens in hockey all the time as well. Does that mean all American fans are as crude as they are in Detroit?

Jon E said...

bmantx says: "Toronto fans showed up in numbers like they have since day one. And they did exactly what they felt was in their interest.

They pay good money to do that in case you have have forgotten."

--------------------

People are often remarkably wrong about what's in their interest, and even when they're right that's not a good justification for boorishness. "Yes, I know you were in line before me, but it was in my interest to cut ahead."

And "paying good money" is also a bad excuse for bad behavior. "I paid good money to see this movie; I'm entitled to spill my coke on the floor." "I paid good money to put my kid on this team; I'm entitled to throw hot dogs at the ref." "I paid good money for this entree; I'm entitled to call the waitress 'sweet tits.'"

Anonymous said...

Seeing I was at the game, am a staunch TFC supporter, and a F*CKING proud Canadian, I was genuinely confused as to what was going on with the flags and anthems. Being a part of the Soccer community since I could walk, I consider myself well versed in the etiquette of pre-game ceremonies. However, I'm gonna pose the question that seems to have gone by the way-side here...If the roles were reversed...what would YOU people have done??? You Americans seem to be all too ready to fight for everything, I'm all too curious to know how you would have reacted? I'm sure it wouldn't have been with a chorus of "um excuse me...but...um...I think there has been an oversight..."
Get over yourselves...and quit-yer-bitchin...

Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding like Lou Dobbs, I am outraged and disgusted! In the good ole' USofA, we don't have classless fans who boo Santa Claus or boo when players get hurt, or mock players because of their skin color or religion...(see Raider fans, Philly fans, Boston fans, Columbus fans).

But I would like to address a serious topic. Nationalism. Seeing as how MLS is a US professional sports league, started and funded with US dollars for US players... all expansion efforts should be focused on developing the US game and talent pool.

Sorry Canada. Start your own league. If other Concacaf nations can have a league so can you.

It's time to add Portland, Oregon.

BBSC

Anonymous said...

Quit your bitching. We give more respect to US national anthem then you ignorant bastards give to O Canada in American stadiums, so shut the fuck uo.

A.C. said...

Clearly, the many cases of fans abusing "O Canada" at MLS games with TFC is coming back back to haunt the league.
Except, right - none at all.
But do go ahead and tell other people to stop complaining by making false accusations.

bmantx said...

Hey Jon E, it's a shame you weren't around last night to let the Canadians know how "remarkably wrong" they were.

See I didn't realize they were cutting in line, spilling cokes and throwing hot dogs at the refs. That kind of behavior is outrageous. If it's not stopped, the terrorists have already won.

Please tell me you weren't being serious.

A.C. said...

You were being serious about the implication that because the TFC fans paid for their ticket to the ASG, their behavior was fine? That's ridiculous.

jon e said...

bmantx says: "See I didn't realize they were cutting in line, spilling cokes and throwing hot dogs at the refs. That kind of behavior is outrageous. If it's not stopped, the terrorists have already won."

------

Well now I regret mentioning terrorists in my earlier post. I can see that it would have been ludicrous... Wait...

As I think is pretty obvious in my post, I didn't say the TFC fans were cutting in line or throwing hot dogs. I was saying that what they did do was similarly lame.

You said that what they did was justified because it was "in their interest" and because "they paid good money to do it." I said I thought were bad justifications.

I think it's lame when Canadian, US, Mexican, or Andorran fans boo other countries' anthems or yell at players about how they'd like to piss on their wives or do whatever it is that drunk jerks in stands do during games. And I think lame is lame, no matter how much the people doing it enjoy it or how much money they paid for their tickets.

If you think that booing every non-Canadian, booing the US national anthem, and throwing streamers during the game primarily at the MLS team wasn't lame, that it was lovely and fun and happy, then fine, we disagree.

East River said...

WOW 57 comments and counting!

From reading The Toronto Star it does sound like Canadians really thought they were being disrespected those guys get pretty uptight about at times about Yanks dissing them. But I want excuse them for that. I just think you have time and again blasted the behavior of TFC fans from streamers, to a fan running out on the field to this booing thing. Did you comment on the Crew fans fight with West Ham supporters? Did you blast the Argentina fans for cheering a kid running out on the field at Gaints Stadium doing the US and Argentina match? Did you blast that girl who ran out on the field during that US game in Florida and pimped it into a photo shoot in a porn mag? Those are different situations but they deserve your critical comments just as much as TFC fans do.

Suggestion, though it may not be in your budget, but maybe you should go to Toronto and cover a game in person. Do like what Ives has done and sit among the Toronto supports and get a first hand experience of them. Therefore you can make a more informed comment, instead of just blasting them when you only have slices of the story. Maybe it would reinforce your position or change your mind but at least you would have a better basis for your statements on TFC fans.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry Canada. Start your own league. If other Concacaf nations can have a league so can you."

Might I remind you that Toronto was invited to join the league, and were chosen above your precious Portland to field a team.

A.C. said...

East River, when the booing can clearly be heard over the broadcast, and there are reports from multiple sources about the anthem, there's not much point to also being at the stadium for complete verification of the happening. I'm sure you've read my previous posts criticizing Crew fans out for their streamer showers. I didn't comment on the West Ham/Crew incident because it wasn't televised and there seemed to be too much unknown about who started what.
Tell me where I've supported anyone running onto the field - when it happened in LA with Beckham, I was completely against it. I've called out both sets of LA fans for stuff I think is lame (Chivas USA for throwing flares and trash onto the field, LA Galaxy fan for throwing a flag at Kljestan). I have no problem with fans booing and chanting at rivals, but the logic of deciding that a team of players from one's own league is "the enemy" and deserves booing and stuff thrown at them defies logical explanation. I don't have to travel to Toronto to figure that out.

FeRio said...

Wow. Andrea, are you for real? An exhibition game with all your league's stars against a mediocre EPL team can gain respect for the league?

I honestly don't see how, and if you ask me, judging by the back and forth you've had with the anonymous commenter, if makes me think you just say things sometimes to get a rise of somebody.

We'll know the ratings for this game soon enough, and it'd be foolish to think it got drew much more than your normal "Beckham" audience on ESPN.

Bueno comes at me with stats, and a well informed opinion. You come at me with MLS fanboy rants. Step your game up.

A.C. said...

Then all the MLS players who say the ASG is now important to them because they want to earn respect lack facts and statistics. I already said that pride can't be measured. There's an easy solution if you don't respect my opinion or want to read my comments. Luis posts in blue, I post in green. Simple.

East River said...

Did not say you supported those other incidents its just you didn't call them the way you have TFC fans this season.

Its clear from the articles that there were many Toronto fans who honestly believed that their country was being disrespted now was that belief reasonable or unreasonable I don't know. I wasn't there but neither were you.

If it defies logical explanation to you then you should see for yourself. Maybe you would gain a new perspective on them or maybe not. But at least you would have a fuller picture of their behavior. You saying the Toronto fans are classless b/c of what you have seen on TV and read in stories is just as misguided as people who hate on Donovan and call him a punk when they have never met the guy or seen in person but base their position solely off of TV, stories read, and overall persception of who they think he is.

Anonymous said...

Sorry dude, Toronto was never "invited" to join the league.

They simply paid the exspansion fee. Just like Chivas, Salt Lake et al.

Nothing more, nothing less.

I really hope that Montreal is one of the future expansion cities.
That city is head and shoulders above Toronto in virtually every way.

FeRio said...

Its difficult to ignore the things you write because they lack so much objectivity they become ridiculous.

If your mission was to get people talking then you did a great job, but it's for all the wrong reasons.

If an MLS player wants to gain respect, they just need to play the game as they know how, and cash in that Euro paycheck when it comes knocking. Their words don't mean anything if they're coming from the Bull Durham school of athlete quotes. It's the fans and the media surrounding the league that need to get over that inferiority complex when they jump at the chance to say "Look what I can do!".

Not everyone's going to like what you write. I'm sure you're aware of that, but it seams like each time you catch some form of criticism you're quick to say "Fine, whatever, don't read me!" like some sort of immature child.

Anonymous said...

The Canadian inferiority complex is a amazing thing to behold, isn't it?

A.C. said...

You're acting as if I haven't written numerous posts about TFC fans being supportive of their team - I have. I've posted interviews from their players who say the fan support is incredible. Go and read my Toronto posts if you're looking for an overt anti-TFC bias.
I'm talking about the behavior I dislike, and why, more than anything else. I think Toronto fans acted badly in this case. There have been others.
If people read a lot about LD, watch him play and still think he's a horrible player and a punk (and many do) that's their right.
We're allowed to judge off what we actually see. I hope to visit Toronto one day when I can afford to, but I highly doubt that I'll see anything there that will make me think the way they acted at the All-Star game was Ok. The anthem treatment was only part of a poor showing, not an isolated element due to misunderstanding.

L3g!oN Kal!fAs 1908 said...

Personally, we are appalled by the actions of Toronto fans and wholeheartedly condemn these immature, delinquent people. In the future, it would best serve the interests of all to ban toronto from hosting one of these glorious MLS events.

Also, we would like to let everyone know that we will no longer be participating in gang violence or the lighting of illegal Mexican fireworks at Copias USA games.

Thank you.

A.C. said...

I dialog with SV readers all the time, but yes, it is annoying when some act as if my opinion has been inflicted on them - like how dare I say what I think on my blog? If it strikes you as tiresome or immature that I remind people that they are under no burden to come to this blog or to read the posts in green, that's your opinion as well and I support your right to state it.

Jim said...

Andrea, anyway we color code some of the posters? This pattern of vitriol and bitterness is not good for my laid back and relaxed California lifestyle. I would like to skip over some comments because of the pain I see behind the name is really bumming me out.

A.C. said...

Heh, sorry if reading some of the comments is harshing your buzz, Jim! Remember, it's a game, something to celebrate and enjoy. We may love it and revere it (and want more respect for it), but ultimately, it's a game.
O jogo bonito!

Jim said...

Not everyone bums me out. Just one guy really. Obrigado para os pensamentos amáveis.

Anonymous said...

http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Warmington_Joe/2008/07/25/6260791-sun.php

"So much for following the old adage to never assume because it can make an "ass" out of "u" and "me"! "

Jamie said...

Absolutely spot on and thank you for having the strength to say it. Every U.S. international soccer game I have ever been to the opposing teams national anthem is treated with respect.

Anonymous said...

Amen. I was starting to grow tired of the streamer bit, but I let it go because I was generally pro-Toronto. But booing the national anthem and other MLS players has ended that. We're a league fighting for respect, and in the one game we can really show off our talent, the fans act like they're the enemy? Pathetic. Go ahead and put the Argonauts in BMO and let's cancel any plans to expand into Canada. They clearly don't want any support from outsiders.

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely ridiculous to say that Andrea says things to get a rise out of people. She is just defending her argument. If you sing over another country's national anthem, that is wrong. Whether American fans in MLS do it or not (they don't), it's still wrong. So what TFC fans did was wrong.

Yes, in an official sense, the game was meaningless. But regardless of what any of you think, people abroad WERE watching it, and it is a representation of the league. Every game is.

Anonymous said...

At the anonymous poster that said they (being Toronto) were invited into our "precious" league... ponder this:

You can invite your pretty little wannabe-hooligan-club back out of MLS.

There are about 10 US markets ready, willing and able. All of them far more advanced in infrastructure than their Canadian expansion candidates.

We don't need Toronto. Toronto needs us.

Canadians should "man-up" and develop their own professional soccer league... since so many of these posters seem to be so nationalistic and all.

For the record, I've been to Vancouver USL games a few times. Don't try to pull the wool over our eyes. Vancouver plays in a high school stadium worse than the high school stadium I played in during high school. Far worse than Community College standard.

Again, they need us, not the other way around. Developing Candadian soccer is not a US SOCCER duty!

BBSC

A.C. said...

Personally, I'm not calling for Toronto to be pushed out of MLS. My main point was that it was a farce to call them the "League's best fans". Many of these fans planned a protest for what should be a league celebration, which shows no appreciation for the league's consideration in placing the game there (don't say they wanted a sell-out, because the ASG has sold out for quite some time and with Becks and Blanco, it was a given) they booed and sang over the U.S. anthem, and then booed all the non-Canadian players. Throughout the match, even when the All-Stars were playing well, providing the stadium with perhaps the best soccer it's ever seen, they didn't really cheer or support the league team. They threw streamers at them instead, as they did to the commissioner on the broadcast. Best fans in MLS? That's a joke, because what did MLS do to Toronto to deserve such treatment? Let the team join the league? Bent their normal standard of demanding a plan for a grass field? Schedule the All-Star game there to ensure Toronto had a chance to see some of the league's best together? The league certainly didn't have anything to do with the Argonauts plan. Even that misguided protest doesn't explain away booing every MLS player with ties south of the border. People who act like this is about the anthem, well, that wasn't cool, but stop saying, "Forget the anthem!" as if it was the only disrespectful treatment of the league and the players and the game. It was one of many, and they repeated themselves far too often to be considered accidental by any stretch of the imagination.

Anonymous said...

Sorry-- I side with TFC's fans on this one. I hate Blanco, Beckman, and Donovan and I'd boo their appearance. If once on the pitch they did something useful-- I would celebrate it (i.e. Blanco's goal). It doesn't mean I hate the diving whiny punk any less.

The chanting for Brennan-- i get that as well. If the game were in my stadium, I'd want my player to be in as well.

Re: the national anthem. Sure it was rude but its worth the angst and pages and pages that have been written.

A.C. said...

You'd boo every MLS All-Star not connected to Canada? Fine, but I'm not going to consider you a good fan for it.
It's a difference of opinion. What happened at the ASG isn't debatable, it's been widely reported and it was broadcast as well. It's whether or not a person thinks that's a fine way for fans to act, or not.

Anonymous said...

MLS is stupid to choose Toronto to host the game in the first place. If not for the artificial turf, we may see Liverpool and Steve Gerrard instead of West Ham and Dean Ashton. Let Toronto fans boo the empty BMO next time if they want.

papa bear said...

"bmantx said...

Sorry AC, I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Toronto fans showed up in numbers like they have since day one. And they did exactly what they felt was in their interest.

They pay good money to do that in case you have have forgotten."


The Nazis showed up in big numbers in Nürnberg and gassed a few million Jews a few years later per their perogative at their own expense.
See how just because you pay for something and show up in big numbers doesn't mean you can act like whatever sort of jackass douche you feel like?



July 25, 2008 4:29 PM
Anonymous said...

Seeing I was at the game, am a staunch TFC supporter, and a F*CKING proud Canadian, I was genuinely confused as to what was going on with the flags and anthems. Being a part of the Soccer community since I could walk, I consider myself well versed in the etiquette of pre-game ceremonies. However, I'm gonna pose the question that seems to have gone by the way-side here...If the roles were reversed...what would YOU people have done??? You Americans seem to be all too ready to fight for everything, I'm all too curious to know how you would have reacted? I'm sure it wouldn't have been with a chorus of "um excuse me...but...um...I think there has been an oversight..."
Get over yourselves...and quit-yer-bitchin...


Actually the question hasn't gone un-addressed, I posted about 50 pages up that if you hear that it's another anthem you just clam up.
Or once again I ask the question: are Canadians tone deaf and do they think O Canada sounds anything like the Star Spangled Banner? If so; then they are tone deaf in addition to being retarded.

Basically your justification for it all is that you thought O Canada was going to come on, so as gut instinct you just boo anything that isn't O Canada (except that you faux English twats didn't boo the God Save The Queen)
It also doesn't explain why the small handful who showed up for Chicago's ass whipping of your kiddie club booed the anthem there as well.

TFC are a joke and so is any Canadian who thinks their behavior is/was even remotely acceptable.

ghostwriter said...

Anon @ 7/25 3:33 check your facts, brother, original 6 NHL: Boston, New York, Detroit, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto. Hardly a Canadian league. Canadian game? yep; league? not so much. Truth is Canada, for whatever reason doesn't have the market wherewithall to support a full professional league of anything on their own.

Jeez, AC, I hope I never say anything on here to piss you off as bad as the TFC fans...

There were, however, two separate things going on. There was a rowdy partisan fan base who threw streamers and booed and then there were Canadians who figured the Anthem thing was just another example of expected US arrogance.

Asking a fan group like that to all of a sudden see the "big picture" is a losing proposition. They're not gonna change.

There are a batch of Canadians that feel quite defensive about US perceived arrogance in all things. They're gonna be prickly and quick to take offense at the slightest, even sometimes imagined, slights like this Anthem thing. I don't think it was done as anything other than an attempt to stand up for their Country of which they are justifiable proud. They were wrong and too early, but to anybody who's lived along that border and had family in that country can tell you, Canadian "neighborhood" issues with the US are another fact of life. (Perhaps they feel a little like MLS always being put down as third rate compared to Euro first division leagues.)

Did both things "hurt" MLS's attempt to put their best foot forward? Probably. But I honestly don't think it spoiled the effort. The show on the field was a good one. Player skills on both sides were impressive. I think viewers can make allowances for "houliganish" fans and a bit of misplaced nationalism. Could it have been better on those issues surrounding the game? yep, but the game itself reflected quite well on MLS, West Hamm and the concept of this kind of All Star event.

Anonymous said...

Might I remind you that Toronto was invited to join the league, and were chosen above your precious Portland to field a team.
--------------
Hopefully a mistake that won't be repeated.

Genuine english twat said...

May I point out the irony of someone complaining about faux english twats, using the word twat.*

Anyway I'm touched the Canadians didn't boo GSQ, meaning there's one nation more hated than us, yay! (also giving us a target to aim for, post Obama)

*unless that was the joke.

Anonymous said...

FYI, Andrea, those streamers aimed at Beckham were thrown by West Ham United supporters (you know, the same team whose supporters fought with Columbus fans last week). They were mostly in the west stands and numbered in the hundreds. If you were there at the game, surely you saw them cheering at Dean Ashton's first goal and booing the MLS side. Or do you want to lump them in with the TFC faithful as well, and further twist the facts to bash Toronto fans?

For the record, the fans that did so, were wrong to boo the national anthems and sing over them. I sat on the east side stands, and we did NOT boo or start singing until the US anthem stopped. I was embarrassed others did. I was surprised too, because at every single TFC game I have been to (Season Ticket Holder) the US anthem was respected and loudly cheered. So the whole "we thought the Cdn anthem would be snubbed" view is quite reasonable. Would the outcome had been any different in a US city with the US anthem percieved to be not being involved? I don't think so, so you can agree to disagree with me on that.

A.C. said...

No, the fact is I watched the broadcast and Beckham took corners on both sides (and ends) and got streamers thrown at him then. Also, please, since when have West Ham fans thrown black streamers? Are you saying that the streamers thrown on the ESPN desk were from West Ham fans? I think not. I also doubt that all the boos heard for every non-Canadian player on the broadcast were from West Ham fans only. It's interesting that you point out that your section didn't boo or sing over the U.S. anthem, but then point out how understandable it was that others did. If it was so easy to get confused - and I simply don't believe it was, because every home field gets its anthem played last - why did your section have no problem understanding that the U.S. anthem should play without abuse?

Anonymous said...

Toronto should stay out of MLS and start their own league. It would be like TJ been part of the MLS.(egh) Canada get out of MLS and Start your own league. Since Canadians fans get butt hurt about players not representing in a ridiculous game in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Those black streamers were thrown at Beckham in the North West corner, and I say myself that the culprits wore West Ham jerseys. A lot of TFC fans are from our large ex-patriot Brit population, so most of those guys are BMO Field regulars who support TFC on any other day, and are used to throwing streamers on the field.

On that point, alot of the hardcore Toronto supporters in the south stands are also Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City fans, and they have loathed David Beckham since his Manchester United days, hence the shower of streamers at both south ends. I would have loved to see them put that aside and cheer for him and others at the All Star game too, but that is like asking Red Sox fans to cheer for Alex Rodriguez at the MLB all star game. (I can confirm that the North East corner --- on the side I was seated --- had very few streamers thrown, and Beckham took a few corners there in the first half.) I am saying this not to try and change your opinion of us, but to give the facts to those who will read your blog and make wrong assumptions.

Let's set the record straight on something, I never condoned what those fans did during the national anthem. I meant the confusion itself was understandable. We'll agree to disagree on that. One thing I will agree with you, that on a whole, we are not the league's best fans (we never claimed to be). Just remember that there were a lot of fans like me who did not boo or sing over anyone's national anthem, even though we were confused why the English and U.S. Flag made a separate appearance (ESPN's arrangement to sandwich player intros in between two visitor anthems and the local anthem has never been done in a sporting event that I can remember). And a simple announcement to explain the arrangements would have silenced the boorish ones who embarassed the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

RE: those posts demanding TFC get out of the league, get over it, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. Toronto being granted a franchise was a BUSINESS DECISION. The franchise makes money. TFC fans travel to nearby cities and buy tickets to watch the game, which means more revenue for those other teams. MLS will never kick us out as long as the greenbacks come in. We'd love our own league, but our Soccer Association never seriously pursued it (and likely never will).

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for this great article. I was skeptical about adding Toronto to the league, and I'm against adding more Canadian teams. If there's so much interest up there now, let them start their own league. One of the main purposes of MLS is to develop American talent and the game here. How is that served by including divergent elements like this which take away from the spirit of a common goal? They don't seem to share that which the rest of MLS fans do. Most other MLS fans will cheer for their rivals when they're in international competition or players on national team duty. I'm tired of the Canadian attitude, the inferiority complex, the disrespect, the narcissistic press and fans - we don't need more of this.

A.C. said...

Hey, I'm against painting all TFC fans with the same wide brush, let alone all Canadians.
If anything, my harshest criticism is for the league in this instance, which seems to have been seduced by a sold-out BMO and some enthusiastic cheers into granting TFC all sorts of unearned favors, like the All-Star game, not to mention the pass they still get for streamers.
While we can quibble about exactly how many many streamers were thrown at Beckham, I hope that the "best fans in MLS" label can be put to rest. I'm not saying the TFC fans picked that description for themselves - perhaps some starry-eyed media people bestowed it - but it has to be pretty clear that with whatever percentage of TFC fans took part in the worst of the All-Star Game antics, it was enough to kill that label dead.
Hopefully, the incidents are enough to make league administration take a clear-eyed and objective look at all future franchises, wherever they may be, not just at the season ticket deposits. It's important that the next MLS team has fans that really respect the game, and can have fun with it without becoming obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

AC, thank you for your responses to my two comments, and I appreciate that you are not "painting us with a wide brush". I agree with you that the MLS should expand to cities where fans respect the game and their neighbours. If I may make one last point, there is one Canadian city in particular that fits this description.

Our rivals, The Montreal Impact, are a proud, well supported USL team for over 12 years with fans who deserve to host MLS level competition. They built a new stadium with a natural grass pitch so good that the Canadian National team wanted all of their WC qualifying games to be played there. I hope the all-star game antics do not hurt their bid to get into MLS.