For once I am at a loss for words which isn’t really good for a writer. Maybe what I mean to say is that for once, I am actually doubting my opinion. It revolves around the Toronto FC match against the Montreal Impact. I had tuned in to watch a classic football match with the 401 Derby but instead I got a large dose of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors in TFC’s 5-3 defeat.
I have no issues with the loss and will get into why shortly, but what has dumbfounded me is… get ready for it… my reaction to the crowds reaction. Now I don’t want to lump everyone together as fans did behave differently throughout. But I was shocked to hear so many people boo this team. I was actually more than shocked, I was upset and that is what sparked my confusion because I can’t tell whether they were overreacting or whether I was.
The game was horrible from the get go with everything going against Toronto. Every possible bounce went against them and every mistake turned into a horror show. Just 10 minutes in Eriq Zavaleta was under pressure and tapped the ball back to goalie Alex Bono to clear it. Bono kicked it out… except it went off Ignacio Piatti’s backside and into the TFC net. Two minutes later after another Zavaletta give away, Marco Donadel hit a screamer into the back of the net. Just 12 minutes in and Montreal was up 2-0.
The Reds still had plenty of time to regroup and tried to get one back quickly but that made them vulnerable to the counter attack. Sure enough, in the 24th minute, TFC defence were scrambling like mad to get back. A slip here, a fall there and eventually Piatti got his brace as he curled a shot into the far post.
Everyone was stunned. A team that is on a 4 game losing streak scoring 3 goals in 25 minutes against a team that is on a 6 game winning streak, an 11 game unbeaten streak and hasn’t lost at home all year long. Stunning. And yet, if there was ever an MLS team you thought was able to overcome that, Toronto FC was it. That’s why I was just as stunned as to hear enough of the fans were booing them. Therein lies my dilemma.
My initial reaction was to think how dare the fans do that. It is a complete lack of respect for a team that has been spectacular thus far. The Reds have dominated the rest of the league in a manner that has rarely been seen, having a year that may yet be the best in MLS history, and you boo them based on 25 minutes of poor play?
Yes, the bounces weren’t going their way. Yes, they made mistakes and yes, they should have been playing so much better. But this was heading to only their 4th loss in 30 games and their first in 2 1/2 months. The more the boos happened, the more it infuriated me. The game progressed and despite some additional blunders,TFC continued to fight through them and eventually lost 5-3. I credit the fans that continued to cheer the team and supported them in their comeback attempt.
The more I thought about the fans reaction, the more I wanted to know why it upset me so. I fully understand that once you pay your ticket, you can cheer, boo or say what you like as long as it is done respectfully. But I also realized that as a fan base, you also represent the city of Toronto. I was upset therefore, because in my eyes the booing embarrassed the team and our city.
— Steve Gennaro (@_sgennaro) September 21, 2017
Its different than the booing the Maple Leafs had received for their years of futility but it does remind me more of how Vince Carter was booed for years and years after he was traded. It took Toronto fans a decade and a half to let it go. Are we that fickle as a fan base? Toronto fans are great and passionate when things are going well as we have seen a countless number of times. But when things go bad? Toronto fans seem to be worse than spoiled little children throwing out tantrums because they didn’t get what they want. Boo hoo.
So, I took a moment to soak all that in and after taking a huge step off of my high horse (yes, I understand I am being arrogant) I thought, hmmm maybe I am the one that is overreacting? Maybe it’s perfectly fine to boo your home team regardless of how good they have been performing. Again, I have to state that there were fans (I am talking about you south section) that were cheering even when the team was down 5-1 so I don’t want to give the impression I am painting everyone with the same brush. But at the end of the day, the booing still bothered me.
So dear reader, I will ask you. Do you feel that the fans were justified in booing TFC yesterday or did they just embarrass the team,the city and themselves?
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