This Sunday night the MLS Cup Final will be played between FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids at BMO Field in Toronto, home of the club I love to tolerate, Toronto FC. I was joyous and exulted when the LA Galaxy were drop kicked out of their own stadium by Dallas, and loved it when the San Jose Earthquakes KOed the New York Red Bulls. Any time the Columbus Crew are ceremoniously dumped it’s a great day. So what is the fuss about two teams (Dallas and Colorado) you have no vested interest in, you ask? It’s got nothing to do with the teams, but two players, one from each team, who Toronto FC fans are all too familiar with.
Jeff Cunningham scored all of 6 goals in his 30+ appearances with Toronto FC. His 93 goals in MLS made it seem like Mo Johnston just got us a new striker for the next few years. Cunningham spent most of his time at TFC shooting at the keeper, “just” straying offside, or blasting shots over the bar. Cunningham’s worst moment was in 2008 against the Montreal Impact. With the score tied 1-1 and a CONCACAF Champions League bid on the line, Cunningham had the ball near his feet literally one yard from goal and no one in front of him…..and he managed to just let it drift away in an astonishing miss. Montreal advanced to the CL while I just watched in embarrassment and anger. I’m pretty sure after that I had several irrational posts (not here) on how inept Cunningham was as a striker and I wanted him gone.
Sure enough he was gone, to FC Dallas for a 3rd round pick in the 2009 MLS Draft. As if by magic, he’s bagged 33 goals in 66 appearances with the club, or 1 in every 2 games. Earlier this season he scored the winning goal against TFC. Rediscovering your scoring touch either means Toronto FC was not a fit for his style of play (plausible) or he intentionally went out there and sucked. Whatever the case, after “the miss” against Montreal I have had no desire to see him succeed and still don’t today. Nothing against him personally, but I cannot stand Cunningham as a player.
Marvell Wynne was fast, had the speed to beat you along the wings, but that’s about it. Wynne was arguably the most frustrating player in the history of Toronto FC. For as much as he’d shown flashes of brilliance offensively, he couldn’t cross for crap and as a fullback he’d move way too far up the pitch and get caught out of position on defense. Actually he gave up a TON of room for wingers to maneuver. All of that pales in comparison to his most irritating habit, the penalty.
I’m going off of memory here but these are penalties he committed in TFC colors:
* vs. DC United (5/19/07)
* @ DC United (5/24/08)
* @ FC Dallas (4/19/09)
* @ DC United (5/9/09)
I bet he has more but all of those penalties I remember him conceding ended up being game-winning or game-tying goals. His horrendous habit of handling the ball was a massive liability and after Bob Bradley discovered how fast he was he immediately started him in the USA’s World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica. Wynne played the role of traffic cone and was responsible for losing his man on 2 of Costa Rica’s 3 goals.
Just before the season began, Wynne was traded to the Rapids for midfielder Nick LaBrocca. To my knowledge, Wynne is toggling through fullback and central defender, but he’s still the handball haven I know and love.
TFC fans have ragged on both Wynne and Cunningham for ages, but this is Toronto FC, so fate must work against us. The joke is on us (again) and one of Marvell Wynne or Jeff Cunningham will have an MLS Cup in the stadium of their former side. While we’re wallowing in our sorrows of another early vacation, Wynne and Cunningham have been placed on successful teams that actually have a system. Oh well, I know Jurgen Klinsmann can rewrite the story next season.
I’m rooting for the game to be postponed due to the snow and they keep the trophy with Real Salt Lake.