It could have been worse, but it should have been better.
This was supposed to be the glamour match of the season. It was a fine TFC effort, but it was a let-down as an event. As a game, it was ok. The patchwork TFC had all of the chances of note, but could not put the ball in the net.
Injuries have clobbered TFC. Ready? Here goes the long list - Dichio, Cunningham, Wynne, Sutton, O’Brien, and Boyens. So it was opportunity time for players who have been way, way down the bench tonight. Marco Reda and Adam Braz were in the back four, Chris Pozniak was in the midfield and Andrea Lombardo played the entire game at striker.
All four of them contributed fully. Adam Braz played his best game yet for TFC. Marco Reda made no mistakes, worked hard and covered well, but his failure to score on a header off a corner kick in the first half was perhaps not the best career move. Pozniak was more active in the first half, but he had a wonderful first touch in the second half . His shot was stopped and he then tried to get the rebound over to Lombardo. Close, but no cigar.
Andrea Lombardo had a chip shot cleared off the line in the first half. It was his finest moment. He was constantly covered by Abel Xavier and you could see the battle going Xavier’s way over and over again as the second half wore down. Lombardo should have thrown more into the attack. He was being played as the only striker, but as the game went on he was playing the ball back to the midfield to readily and nothing was coming of it.
The new keeper, Kenny Stamatopolous had the night off for all intents and purposes. If TFC can keep him this idle, he will love playing here. But you can’t play LA every night.
Toronto looked one step off from connecting all night. A healthy TFC would have had this game in the bag by half time is my verdict. Amazing moment of trivia - up to this point in the post - every TFC player discussed from tonight's game is Canadian. I could mention that Jim Brennan gave his all, but is that only to keep the Canuck comment string going ??
Los Angeles looked horrible. I know they were on the road and you have to defend first on the road, but they had no counter attack to speak of in the first half and little better in the second half. This is a team that won the MLS Cup in recent years (2005 ?). Hmmm....
The Beckham sideshow was a no-show. He watched the game from the bench and was wearing a suit. A nice suit. I think it was a dark suit. He made a brief appearance on the big screen. Neighbours of mine used their binoculars to spot Becks on the bench. I did not have a peek. Peter Mansbridge was also there. At BMO field that is, not on the Galaxy bench. I will not spend a lot of time giving suggestions for improving the Galaxy. That will be on another blog devoted to tall orders.You have to wonder what difference Beckham when healthy will make ? Maybe this was just an off night for LA, or their building a team around Becks is a multi year plan.
I would have given the Man of the Match award to Carl Robinson. He was dominant in the middle defensively and moved the ball around intelligently when on the attack. His free kicks and corners were quality contributions, but fell short. However he must shake the habit of being a pass first, pass only midfielder. He has to make some runs himself to worry the defence. With Lombardo covered like a blanket, feeding him the ball was not the answer. LA was going to allow passing out on the perimeter all night, it was attack and penetration that was required.
Now a personal note - Vacation beckons. I am heading south of the border and will spend time in California and then head off for a Grand Canyon trip down the Colorado River along with my son. So my TFC fandom will be hard to maintain in these next few weeks. The blog must be fed, so I have arranged for friends and family to fill in the game reports and keep this space thriving. Wish me luck on the river and I hope to return to a repaired and rejuvenated TFC. Cheers.