TFC Free Press
After head coach John Carver finished his media briefing following TFC's 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake, team officials ushered everyone down the hallway, past the locker room to the strength and conditioning room we would be able to interview players as they pedaled their post-game blues away on stationary bikes.
As I mentioned in the entry directly below this one, it's a routine the sports media in Ottawa know well thanks to the Senators, but was foreign to local folks until yesterday.
And once security let us into the room and we saw the starting XI pedaling away on the bikes lining the far wall, a lot of people did what sportswriters do best.
It's highly ironic because just about everyone who covers soccer complains about complaining readers. We all know there are some soccer fans out there that we'll never EVER please. If we don't write about soccer we're ignoring the world's most popular sport. When we do write about it we're just jumping on a bandwagon, or worse yet, part of a sinister conspiracy to drive soccer out of Toronto for good through bad publicity. For some soccer fans, enough is never enough, and we know that.
So after a year spent corralling players as they straggled in and out of the locker room, we finally had a captive audience and still a few folks weren't satisfied.
The fan's too loud.
There's too much echo.
The bikes are too close together so we can't swarm people like we usually do.
Personally, I had no problems, but it's not about me. Seriously. I've learned that since Thursday's post.
It's about you guys and people like you. Readers. Sports fans. Consumers. The soccer junkies who read four sports sections and 40 soccer web sites every day.
You guys stand to benefit most from the new interview format, and here's why.
Last year Danny Dichio shows up at his locker after a game and 20 reporters shove mics in his face and ask him to start talking. Read the stories that come out of that media scrum and you'll find most of them have the same quotes.
It also homogenizes the news, defeating the purpose of turning to different sources for different perspectives on the same event.
This year Dichio hops on his bike and talks to reporters in small groups. He might get bored answering the same questions over and over, but it's not like he's got anywhere to be. He's on his bike. Coach's orders. And more reporters have to craft their own questions instead of depending on a few strong personalities to carry the conversation.
So now 20 different reporters have 20 different sets of quotes.
Now you actually do have different perspectives on the same event.
Break away from pack journalism and you increase the chances that any one reporter has a meaningful quote or anecdote that nobody else will have. Doing that gives readers a reason to look around. Finally they can consult different publications without seeing the same stuff recycled in story after story.
That's the free press at work.
I've got no complaints.
Back to Soccer
Civics lessons aside, I'm pretty sure some of you visit this blog to talk soccer, so let's do it.
Let's talk Marvell Wynne.
If you've seen him play you know he's been one of TFC's most exciting players since Mo Johnston traded for him last spring. I can't think of another player in MLS that can match his flat-out speed. Combine that with his mean streak and I'm sure most wingers think twice about challenging him on balls played deep into TFC's zone.
But check that stat line again.
Fifty-four career games, no goals.
I understand that he's a defender, but it's not like goals never come from the back line. Jim Brennan, Andrew Boyens, Kevin Goldthwaite. All defenders, all had goals for TFC last year.
You can't say Wynne's not trying to contribute on offence. I know you hardcore TFC fans will remember last year's Colorado game, when he nutmegged some guy to set up Danny Dichio's goal. He almost scored against New England, too.
Then today, a minute before halftime he did to an RSL defender what Eddie Johnson did to Kevin Goldthwaite in last year's home opener -- which is to say he faked the guy out of his socks and gave himself a chance to score with his left foot.
But while Johnson unleashed a changeup that dribbled past Greg Sutton's outstretched arms, Wynne's fastball hit Nick Rimando square in his hands.
** Before any of the "football" purists reading assail me for talking baseball on a soccer blog, understand that the references is valid here because Wynne's dad spent eight seasons playing major league baseball...so there.**
In the middle of his post-game bike ride Wynne planted his tongue in his cheek and conceded that he's made peace with not scoring.
"I'm never going to score, and I know this," he said. "That's why I don't shoot. And I'm not going to get an assist for a loooooooooooong time."
Maybe, maybe not, but check out this highlight reel from last Sunday's game against L.A. Specifically, watch Wynne come from nowhere to track down Landon Donovan about 40 seconds in.
If he keeps making plays like that I don't think anyone will even notice, or care, that he hasn't scored in a looooooong time.
Fifty-five games now.
Not that anyone's counting.
-- Morgan Campbell