Thursday, August 5, 2010

TFC should take Champions League seriously

Consider this an add-on to Monday's Toronto FC post.

After Tuesday's 2-2 draw against Motagua in Honduras, TFC's place in the CONCACAF Champions League group stages was confirmed winning the two leg match by a 3-2 aggregate score. Some Reds supporters can be forgiven if they think this is the greatest result in the club's short history, as the greatest triumph still lies ahead.
As I mentioned on Monday many supporters would prefer that Preki make the CCL the lower priority in favour of making the MLS playoffs for the first time in club history. Although I do not exactly share this point of view, I would agree that making the playoffs is ONE of Preki's priorities, but it should not place the champions league completely on the back burner. Making the playoffs would be TFC greatest achievement to date, but you cannot say that if TFC beat Cruz Azul (Mexico) on August 17th at home it would not be a watershed moment for the club.

As underwhelming as many find the CCL, it does place Toronto FC on the international stage, even if it is a bit smaller that the rest. It gives the fans the opportunity to continue building a history around the club, which all great clubs in the world have. It becomes hard to build a history when the teams is not winning or competing in the top tournaments in the region. I can't argue that making the playoffs won't do that either, but champions league nights can become magical events for clubs just like in Europe.

The Tournament also gives Preki the opportunity to play some of the youth squad members that normally would not see a lot of pitch time. On Tuesday Doneil Henry the 18 year old central defender who normally plays for the academy team started at right back in a massive match for the club. As the team tries to balance the squad between league games and CCL matches during mid week young players like Nicholas Lindsay, Oscar Cordon and Henry could find themselves playing major minutes in very important matches.

This can only be seen as a positive for the club who will be able to try and progress through the group stages of the CCL and qualify for the playoff while getting the future of the club some much need match action with the first team.

Onwards and upwards for TFC as they say.


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