UPDATE: Announcement pushed back to 10:30 AM. Garber wasn't done shining Joeys' shoes yet, apparently.
At long last, after insulting and rejecting MLS for years, telling everyone that USL1 is "a better league" and hitting up Dad for a building which makes Crew Stadium look like Anfield, today at 10 AM MLS will announce that it's giving Joey Saputo an MLS team for Montreal.
The announcement will be made live on Major League Soccer Soccer, for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing.
I doubt that Cohiba Don Garber will mention that Saputo drove the original Montreal Impact into bankruptcy despite being lcoated in a city which, we will be assured, is absolutely mad for soccer.
And Saputo will not likely bring up all the times he told MLS to take a hike, including just last year when he dropped out of the bidding for an expansion team because MLS wouldn't discount the expansion fee by the amount he needed to upgrade his stadium.
Instead, it will be all smiles and back-slapping, with a few badly ponounced French phrases tossed in to show everyone that Don knows his stuff.
The hypocrisy will be so deep that if the cameras were to pan down we'd see them all wearing tall rubber waders. Ten years ago, with MLS begging with him to join up for a measly $10 million, Saputo scoffed, telling everyone that MLS wasn't worth the price and, anyway, probably wouldn't be around much longer.
Now, after having taken a seat and watched Toronto prove that it was safe to get in, we're going to hear all about his great confidence for the future of "North America's Top Professional Soccer League".
Still, I'm nothing if not a realist, and if bringing in Canadianite teams because our neighbors to the North are too small and weak and poor that they cant have their own soccer league like every other grown up country on Earth, then Montreal is the best possible choice. As I've said, if nothing else it will immediately become the must-travel road trip for MLS fans. What a great town.
Another benefit, of course, is that despite his crappyass stadium, which will be expanded but cannot possibly be made anything close to nice, they play on actual green growing grass, which at least will allow for better quality games than we're seeing in Seattle or will see in our other expansion prizes, Portland and Vancouver.
And one other huge positive: like everyone else in Canadia, they don't like Toronto either.
Meanwhile, across the Great White North in Vancouver, disappointing news:
Mayor Gregor Robertson has announced that, despite "persistent rumors", there won't be a "Vancouver World Cup" anytime soon.
APPARENTLY THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK around town that now that they're renovating BC place and getting an MLS team, that the next logical plan is to host the World Cup in British Columbia.
Of course even they understand that no single city could host that many games, so they figure they can do it along with Seattle.
Sure. Makes sense to me. Two cities. Two plastic grass fields. Two utterly clueless groups of self-involved egoists.
Mayor Robertson does say that he thinks perhaps some of the talk is "premature" and that they might need to include a few other towns as well, but that having a "West Coast of North America" World Cup would be grand idea.
Unfortunately, he wants people to know that the "West Coast of North America World Cup" will have to wait a bit since the "next available" date is 16 years away.
Personally, I'm guessing it's one hell of a lot farther away than that.
What in God's name are they smoking up there?
Finally, in fairness to TFC, I thought I'd pass along some warnings that were issued by the team and the league in response to the hailstorm of crap that flies from Torontos' stands at opposing players:
"The club said anyone throwing "projectiles of any kind," running onto the pitch or doing anything "that jeopardizes the safety of the players, officials or fans" will face prosecution and be banned from the stadium."
For it's part, MLS also issued a strong statement:
"While we appreciate the tremendous enthusiasm of Toronto FC fans, Major League Soccer does not condone the act of throwing any objects onto the field. We have discussed this with the club and BMO Field management. We are taking steps to ensure that there will not be a recurrence."
Strong words, no doubt. Sounds like they mean business.
Unfortunately, the date on both of those statements is May 16, 2007.
So you'll have to forgive me if I'm a bit skeptical about the statement which TFC Official Paul Bierne posted BIGSOCCER AND OTHER TORONTO FORUMS yesterday:
"…..as a result of the numpty at the Seattle game (and previous pattern of stuff getting tossed) our staff at BMO Field will be instructed to have zero tolerance for items being thrown during the game to impact play. Mainly this is corner kicks but any other time in-game or at players as well….
From today’s game forward, there will be tightened security with regards to objects being thrown onto the pitch at BMO Field. Unfortunately, a bottle was thrown at one of the opposing players during our home match against Seattle Sounders and stadium officials will be strictly enforcing a policy that anyone seen throwing an object onto the pitch will be ejected from the stadium (streamers can still be thrown in celebration as long as they don’t impact the play). We want to keep the great atmosphere at BMO Field but also need to ensure the safety of other supporters and players during matches."
This would sound a lot more convincing if they hadn't said this exact same thing the last 20 times something like this happened.
Maybe instead of issueing threats they apparently have no Earthly intention of enforcing, they could, you know, actually do something about it.
Actions vs. words, boys. Actions vs. words.