Toronto FC Preview and Reader Responses

Good news and bad news. Bad news? I’ve decided to make RavingGreen a Monday through Friday gig, so you’ll have to survive the weekend without me. Good news? I have two action-packed posts for you today. Today’s smorgasbord will start with reader comments and responses, and a quick preview of Saturday’s game against Toronto. The second post is an epic essay on Seattle’s impending Yankeeness.

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Bob commented on Wednesday’s post regarding HGP and the Draft. Bob said:

The blog has been great. So far I’ve enjoyed it! Although why can’t you comment on the articles? I think you give the draft to little respect and the HGP too much. While some years the draft might seem like a wasteland there are others where you can get some real talent out of them. You might get a really good player out of Africa or somewhere, that had a opportunity to go to college in the states. Or just a player that might not wish to be a HGP, or someone who’s development took off in college.

P.s. did you find out how many HGP players you’re allowed to have?

Thanks for reading Bob! The inability to comment is annoying. I can’t yet have comments on the site because of the format I am using. I plan on doing some happy hour homework with a buddy tomorrow to try and build the site on a more legit platform so folks can comment.

I wholeheartedly agree that the draft is still a legit place to discover talent. Maybe I am overhyping HGPs after a year of Yedlin and a glimpse of Okoli. Maybe I’m underhyping the draft after Bates/Duran/Sodade. I could be guilty of both. It just seems the real blue chip prospects are identified earlier and attend the academy to get their 10,000 hours quicker.

Every team is allowed to sign two players a year to HGP contracts and get all the benefits. But there is no limit to how many HGPs you can keep on your roster. Right now the Sounders have Yedlin (2013), Okoli and Kovar (2014) under the incentivized HGP contracts. Next year they could have Darwin Jones as well.

One last thing on HGPs. The rule unfairly helps N.Y., L.A., Chicago, Houston, Seattle. The big cities have a much larger pool to draw talent from than PDX, SLC, or Columbus, for example. That is an inequity right now. A team like Seattle has a huge competitive advantage over a team like Portland. I love it.

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Toronto FC is a bizarro Sounders. Both teams have passionate fan bases and a market that allows ownership to throw money around. Both teams do throw money around, and have been accused of using money to buy respect and legitimacy (this is a foreshadowing of today’s next post). Yet somehow… Seattle has never missed the playoffs and Toronto has never made them.

This weekend I’m excited to see Bradley, Defoe and Dempsey all on the same pitch. Allegedly the two TFC stars are nursing injuries, and Toronto may hold back players due to our infamously terrible, very bad turf. Part of that cheeses me off because “screw you grass elitists.” Part of me is stoked. The reputation of our turf gives us a competitive advantage. It’s like the old concrete turf at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Nothing like having some good old-fashioned intimidation on your side come game day.

Dempsey opening his account would feel good. Beating Toronto and starting 2-0-0 would feel better. I am little worried we could have a letdown after last week’s at-the-death winner. But I am wired a little that way; years of being a Philly fan, always expect heartbreak. Prove me wrong boys, prove me wrong.

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