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said it is even interfering with South

in RS Sellers Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:07 am
by wxy1123 • Superman | 565 Posts | 5650 Points

Toronto FC Media Day has never been better. Seriously. Seven years of losing has brought many different faces, players and management, to the annual pre-season get-to-know-the-team round up. Unfortunately for those player-media relationships initiated and cultivated, most of the interviewees have been shipped out prematurely. Media Day became a meet-and-greet, followed by a see you later. Tuesdays team time out for Torontos media throng had a much different vibe at the Kia Training Grounds. A good mix of young up-and-comers with a core of veteran leadership has been assembled after an off-season of change, signings, spending and hype. First impressions are just that, but on initial glance, it all felt right. Nothing has been accomplished yet. But every ship needs a sail before heading out to sea. The good news is the mast is up and the TFC ship is heading in the right direction. Hopefully. Finally. Progress, alas. Stability and confidence go hand-in-hand. The revolving door of players and personnel has been TFCs worst enemy. General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko and Head Coach Ryan Nelsen have been busy in recent months filling the gaps and adding genuine quality. Bezbatchenko, hired in September, likes what he has in his group. "Im very comfortable with where we compare with other teams right now," said Bezbatchenko. The roster has coming a long way since end of season apologies and promises. On February 11th, comfortable will suffice. More is to be done, at least one more player is coming in, and more will go out. A work in progress. Here are eight notable notes from the eighth Media Day in franchise history. 1) Brazil Head Coach Felipe Scolari confirmed the seeming inevitable early Tuesday; that goalkeeper Julio Cesar, 34, has in fact joined Toronto FC on loan. The club refused to confirm anything, "I havent spoken to Julio for a couple days, but I think it would be really nice I may have to give Scolari a call," said Nelsen. Give that man a phone! All sources indicate the deal for Cesar to join TFC on a short loan is done. Hes coming. The club will save that announcement for another day, with the five-time Serie A and UEFA Champions League winner in the flesh. Save that ink for another day. A lack of confirmation didnt stop anyone not named Bezbatchenko from heaping praise on the pending new arrival. Nelsen "Hes a gentleman of a man, hes a quality guy, his character is flawless, and hes great around the locker-room. When you see him at work, theres a reason hes played nearly 80 times for Brazil and won everything in the game." Michael Bradley -"Its amazing, speaks volumes for the direction that this club is going. A week ago, if anybody had told us that now another guy like Julio Cesar would come in, I dont think anyone would believe them." Dwayne De Rosario "Hes a winner. To have him here is a great opportunity to learn from him." The excitement is palpable. Although goalkeepers are often times interchangeable in MLS, the Cesar move to Toronto not only adds quality but also further shows the symbolic shift in approach and ambition of the franchise. 2) Last seasons number one goalkeeper Joe Bendik is the potential short-term loser with Cesars arrival. Key word: potential. It all depends on how Bendik takes the setback. Although Bendik wont play much, if at all in the opening months, its his job for the taking long-term. How he handles the situation will reveal whether his mind is on self or team. Cesars arrival is an opportunity not wasted rather than a shot at Bendik. The 24-year-old signed a new contract in December and has to understand this. Regardless, Bendik was noticeably uneasy about taking a back seat to Cesar. "It motivates me. Obviously its a little shot and a bomb to swallow but it cant go badly because I can learn a lot from him and compete with him every day to play. Its a win-win." Bendik has to keep the long-view in mind. He need understand Bendik will be relied upon post World Cup as the team marches towards a potential playoff spot; the time with least room for error. 3) Big money signing Bradley didnt back away from my question regarding the sentiment amongst many MLS analysts saying Toronto FC overpaid for the midfielder. "I think its great, were now to the point with the growth of soccer in North America, a decision like mine to come to Toronto and back to MLS can illicit such a wide variety of responses and opinions it doesnt bother me." Bradley remained poised throughout his time with the media. His teammates glowed when speaking about The Generals presence already in camp. De Rosario even spoke about meeting with Bradley and captain Steven Caldwell about direction and leadership. Bradley ticks all the boxes in terms of leadership and on-field qualities of a winner. Money necessarily spent. 4) Many players believe TFC have become the hunted after years of being the hunter. Caldwell is one of them. "We are probably the team to beat in MLS and its going to be difficult wherever we go." Teams will have undoubtedly taken notice the moves Toronto has made. And its unlikely the Reds will be MLS doormat of previous years. But it takes more than a team on paper to be the class of the league. Caldwell acknowledges as much, that the work is still to be done. Still, the acceptance of expectation is a healthy mindset and speaks to the newfound confidence in the group. 5) The third, often times forgotten designated player, Brazilian Gilberto has set lofty goals for himself for his inaugural MLS season. Through a translator, the striker stated his aim to score 25 goals. Seriously. No hesitation. Camilo Sanvezzo won MLS Golden Boot last season with 22 goals. Perhaps the proclamation was somewhat lost in translation, as the Brazilian says his biggest challenge right now is learning the language. After I wished him luck at learning English, he wished me luck learning Portuguese. Gilberto is a really friendly guy. He will be easy to cheer for, especially if he scores 25. 6) I couldnt resist asking Nelsen what he learned about MLS officiating last season. Nelsen, like many others, grew frustrated by the inconsistency and downright inferior refereeing performances on a regular basis. "They are really good guys, but for me, (they) just need experience at the very top level. In my humble opinion, theyve come to the top rather quickly without the pressure soaked experience. Its tough for them." It will be tougher for Nelsen to bite his lip when officiating goes against them this year. The stakes have been raised. How Nelsen grows from year one to year two in composure and approach will be a test. The manager sets the tone. Consistency will be key and a massive challenge for a manager with questions to be answered. 7) An ongoing worry among the media and diehards is the salary cap situation. Its a rather nerdy habit to worry about a GMs bookkeeping. Bezbatchenko tried to alleviate worries on potential limited financial flexibility. "You can always make room on your team for new players. We do have some space left. We always have space." This is a much different tactic than previous regimes, which overspent on players and used the cap ceiling as an excuse for lackluster play and lack of positive player movement. Bezbatchenkos experience with MLS puts him and the team in good stead in cap management. So dont lose sleep, moves can be made. 8) The clock is ticking on Toronto FCs efforts to resolve Matias Labas future. A loan move within or outside MLS is the most logical step. Laba is in Toronto and the club continues to consult with the player on whats best for the Argentines future. Bezbatchenko is clearly aware of the messy, borderline deceitful break-ups between club and player that have contributed to a negative perception of TFC among agents and power brokers. "Were trying to treat our players a little differently than in the past," said Bezbatchenko. This isnt a shot at past management. Its the truth. Good on him and the front office to right this long-standing wrong. The Laba situation will continue to be handled with kid gloves. Reputations and the future of a good young player caught in the middle of a rebuild are on the line. Thomas Vanek Wild Jersey . Not exactly bursting with sentimental feelings, Matthew Lombardi makes an odd return to the state of Tennessee on Thursday night. Christian Folin Wild Jersey . -- Brian Dawkins biggest contribution Sunday in the AFC wild card playoffs will be with his talking and not his tackling. http://www.wildhockeystore.com/. - Hall of Fame centre Bill Russell was arrested this week at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after Transportation Security Administration officials found a loaded gun in his luggage. Minnesota Wild Jersey . Owens was roughed up in Torontos 20-9 defeat to Montreal on Tuesday, needing treatment twice after hurting his neck and taking a hard shot to the abdomen. In other news from Fridays practice, Jerious Norwood took most of the snaps at running back for Curtis Steele. Norwood also did some returning, although Milanovich said returns would likely be done by committee. Niklas Backstrom Authentic Jersey . -- Josh Smith saved his only 3-pointers for when the Detroit Pistons needed them most.PRETORIA, South Africa - Children chatter about the Oscar Pistorius murder trial at South African schools, startling parents with details about how the athlete fatally shot his girlfriend. Big audiences in South Africa are watching a 24-hour television channel dedicated to coverage of the sensational trial. Turns of phrase from the courtroom the defence lawyers "I put it to you" challenge to prosecution witnesses are creeping into popular culture. The rise and fall of the double-amputee runner, who competed in the London Olympics in 2012 and then killed model Reeva Steenkamp less than a year after that inspirational triumph, is a consuming saga for South Africans that has drawn sheepish comparisons to reality television shows. The more people hear, the hungrier they are for more. Was Oscar on his stumps or wearing prosthetic limbs when he battered the toilet door with a cricket bat? Does he scream like a woman, as the defence suggests, or did neighbours indeed hear a womans screams on the night of the killing? Will apparent missteps by police investigators muddy the prosecutions case? Did Pistorius vomit during graphic testimony about Steenkamps wounds because of anguish, or was he trying to curry sympathy with the impassive judge? Some people turn up their noses at the spectacle, then dive into television or social media to soak up the latest, often extraordinary revelations. The parade of witnesses, some shown in the televised proceedings and some concealed from TV viewers to respect their privacy, gives a glimpse into rich, diverse, flawed and accomplished lives, swept into a single narrative from previously anonymous routines. Prof. Gert Saayman, the pathologist, described Steenkamps wounds and the general impact of gunshots on flesh and bone in metaphor-studded monologues so precise and structured that they were almost lyrical, the macabre contents notwithstanding. Here was a man, clinical and courtly, who had conducted between 10,000 and 15,000 autopsies over the decades. "Death is effectively a process rather than an event, and may take some minutes for it to come to its conclusion at a physiological level," he said. Saayman was followed by witness Darren Fresco, who dropped an expletive while recounting alleged gunplay involving Pistorius, his onetime friend, in the months before the runner shot his girlfriend. Fresco seemed miffed at the defences suggestion that he was wearing tracksuit ppants in the middle of summer, rather than shorts as he claims, during a 2012 incident in which a gun went off in a Johannesburg restaurant.dddddddddddd "If Its got Wheels or a Skirt its Gonna Cost You Money," reads the caption on Frescos Twitter feed. Fast-living image aside, he aptly summarized the intense media coverage, saying it seemed to be everywhere: "It doesnt matter where you look, where you turn, where you go, what you listen to, what you watch." Later came the police investigators, cast by defence lawyer Barry Roux as bumblers reminiscent of the "Keystone Cops" characters from the old silent movies. Col. Johannes Vermeulen squatted awkwardly as he sought to show that Pistorius was not wearing prostheses when he hit the toilet door with a cricket bat, based on the policemans analysis of marks in the wood. "Im not standing on my knees when Im washing the dishes," Vermeulen said to emphasize his point. "Maybe if youre scared of your wife, you can do that," Roux replied, briefly lightening the sombre mood. Pistorius said he hit the door with the bat after realizing he had shot Steenkamp by mistake, fearing she was an intruder. Prosecutors say he killed her after an argument. South Africans are increasingly captivated by Rouxs relentless cross-examination. A producer at the Highveld Stereo radio station recorded a parody rap song. Lyrics include: "I put it to you/that it is true/everything you say/I will misconstrue/Im Barry Roux/And I put it to you/Ten times in a row/Just to confuse you." The 2-week-old trial is expected to run into April. One commentator said it is even interfering with South African democracy ahead of elections on May 7. "The trial will peak at the same time as the election campaign swings into high gear, which means political parties will have to take extraordinary measures to hold the voters attention," Ranjeni Munusamy wrote in the Daily Maverick, an online news outlet. The role of Jaco van Vuuren, the court sketch artist, seems quaint alongside all the high-tech scrutiny. Van Vuuren, who knew Pistorius before the killing, said it was emotionally difficult at first. "I said to him before this court session that Im not there to judge him. Im just there to do my job," van Vuuren told South Africas Eyewitness News. "He understands it. And the first day, he just hugged me and asked me for coffee." cheap nfl jerseys ' ' '

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