What can we hope for in the soccer world in 2009? To be honest, 2008 was alright, but for the most part it was a let down. Toronto FC jumped out of the gate, but injury and international duty killed them through the middle of the season and they did not make the post season. Do I really have to bring up World Cup Qualifying for Canada? I’d rather not. Some of the good includes the 2008 MLS All Star game here in Toronto, the Montreal Impact qualifying for the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Champions League could be the story of the season and Canada’s women’s national team qualifying for Beijing was also something to smile about as well.
So the New Year has already seen changes at Toronto FC, we think. Dwayne DeRosario has been traded to the club from Houston, but he has yet to be seen or heard from in Toronto to comment on the move. We have been told there are no issues with the trade, but one has to wonder why Toronto FC has not introduced their new Canadian star to the media and public. We still figure dollars and cents is the reason why DeRosario has not commented on the trade to his hometown team. The holidays were a good excuse, but there isn’t one now. I hope it does work out. DeRo is a proven player in Major League Soccer. He’s scored game winning goals in 2 MLS Cup matches, 2 game winning goals in MLS All-Star games, and scored two Major League Soccer goals of the year. Not too shabby. There are also rumours on TFC signing a DP sometime soon.
The Montreal Impact will host a quarter-final match of the CONCACAF Champions League. This match will be huge and worth the ticket even if you have to travel to Montreal to watch the game. Considering Toronto FC was tabbed to be the Canadian team heading to the Champions League, the Impact have surpassed all expectations.
Ahhhhhh then there is Canada! The men’s national team had a terrible World Cup Qualifying campaign. Many fans are calling for the firing of Dale Mitchell. I would be surprised if that happens soon. Mitchell will certainly not quit. He would rather be fired and settle on his contract and with the Gold Cup having no significant meaning this year (the winner does not qualify for the Confederations Cup) you might just see Mitchell at the helm. As for the women I certainly hope a new coach brings a new philosophy of play. Pellerud certainly took the women’s game in this country to the next level. If only the men could have their success, but now the rest of the world is passing Canada in coaching.
All in all it should be an exciting 2009 for footie here in Canada. Hey, it’s only January and we are still talking about the sport as the pitches outside are frozen solid.
Lee Godfrey brings an extensive amount of soccer broadcast experience to GolTV where he is the host of the station’s original Canadian news program Extra Time.