October 20th, 2000.

Toronto Inferno 2000 Season Thoughts.
by Rocket Robin

My opinions of the Toronto Inferno team changed as the season went on as they were involved in winning and losing streaks. They were placed in the four team Northern Conference with last year's fellow Central Division rivals Rochester Ravens, expansion team Ottawa Fury, and former 1999 Northern Division Laval Dynamite.

home team appears in CAPITAL letters.

First Road Trip:
Sat May 13th Toronto 1 CLEVELAND 3
Sun May 14th Toronto 1 CINCINNATI 5
Sun May 21st Toronto 2 ROCHESTER 0

Well not a great start as Cincinnati was a Division 2 team but it was important to beat their division rivals Rochester (2-14 last year). I had no idea at the time whether the Inferno were using much of the same roster as last year's 3-13 record team.

Sun May 28th TORONTO 1 Long Island 3
Sat June 3rd TORONTO 2 Tampa Bay 0
Sat June 10th TORONTO 2 (OT) Cleveland 1 (OT)
Fri June 16th TORONTO 2 Ottawa 1

Their first homestand but three of these games were held in Oshawa a 45 minute drive from their regular stadium in Scarborough which wasn't ready this early in the year. Attendance was disappointing. The Inferno overcame a tough loss against Long Island by winning their next three. I felt this was the turning point of the season.

Sat June 17th Toronto 1 ROCHESTER 4
Sat June 24th Toronto 0 (OT) OTTAWA 0 (OT)

Another road trip but the Rochester game was the day after their Ottawa game and their transport was by bus. The game was important with Ottawa to deny them points. From the standings, it became clear the Northern Conference was the weakest of the Division 1 groups. Winning the conference was the only way to make the Playoff tournament.

Fri June 30th TORONTO 2 (OT) Laval 1 (OT)
Sat July 8th TORONTO 3 Rochester 1

Crucial wins against conference rivals. Hey, Toronto just might win this division!

Fri July 14th Toronto 1 FORT COLLINS 8
Sun July 16th Toronto 3 COLORADO 2 doesn't count
Sun July 23rd Toronto 2 (OT) LAVAL 1 (OT)

A road trip with the crucial overtime win against Laval. The game against the W-2 Division team Colorado didn't count in the standings for either team.

Sat July 29th TORONTO 4 Rochester 0

This was the a critically important game. If they could win and get the bonus point for scoring three goals, they'd beat out Laval no matter if the Dynamite won in their last game the next day. They won in front of their biggest crowd of the season.

Their record would have placed them between second and fourth in the other conferences but winning the Northern Conference got them into the tournament.

W-1 Playoff Tournament
Fri Aug 11th Toronto 1 Chicago 3
Sun Aug 13th Toronto 1 Boston 6

The Inferno made their first post season appearance. They lost both their semi-final and the third place game.

The Inferno finished with an 8-5-1 won/loss/tie record in 2000 as against a 3-11 record in 1999. Their goals scored was 24 in both years but in 2000 they cut their goals against from 40 to 28. Their defense kept them in more games this year for longer periods waiting for the offence to get on track.

Next year with an eight team Major League Soccer league starting for women, the Canadian teams should actually be stronger because many of the best American born players (and a handful of Canadians) will end up playing in this league dropping the calibre of the W-League a notch.

Let's hope the Inferno can build on their success for 2001!

Rocket Robin

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