I'm not a club football sort of man. I support Charlton Athletic over in England, which, as you might have heard, is getting pretty tough these days. My North American side is and has always been the Edmonton Aviators, regardless of whether they exist or not. Even when I moved to the west coast and the siren song of the Southsiders seduced me, I held firm in my resolve. Someone asking me "club or country?" is like someone asking me "kick in the testicles or delicious ham sandwich?".
Yeah, I cheer for Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Thunder Bay, Abbotsford, and all the Canadian sides up and down North America, but I don't really care. I want them to do well out of a general support of Canadian football, not out of any specific affiliation. Most of the time, club football is a pleasing if generic background to my constant angst over which nation David Hoilett is going to play for.
Naturally, I am fervently looking forward to the Voyageurs Cup resuming tonight, when the Whitecaps travel to Toronto to take on The FC (Sportsnet, 5PM PST).
There's no need to be generically supportive at the Voyageurs Cup. Two Canadian teams walk in, one Canadian team gets their brains kicked in! This is (sad as it is to say) the very height of the Canadian game, and the perverse advantage in having only three teams in the Voyageurs Cup is that all three teams want to annihilate the other two and every goal could be the vital one. From supporters bashing each other on message boards to serious, respectable journalist Duane Rollins falling over himself to point out bulletin-board material for TFC, people care again.
I'm in the Whitecaps' corner for the Voyageurs Cup. I always cheer for the underdog so that rules Toronto out, while Montreal hasn't yet earned my forgiveness for their disgraceful support in the Canada - Honduras match last year. But I also think they're the weak sisters of the tournament. Vancouver's been disappointing in the league so far: too many new faces, too many injuries. As the season wears on Vancouver is expected to improve, but the Voyageurs Cup is a magnificently short tournament and two weeks will be too late. I've got Toronto down for a 3-0 win on the plastic pitch tonight, and I'm going to pull a squizz and predict a brace for Chad Barrett.
You know what, though? I don't even care. Canadian soccer is back, baby. Relish it.