Saturday, September 29, 2007

Flowing faster than the Potomac in DC and then they freeze over in the second half

The first twenty minutes of the game at RFK showed TFC in rare form. Yes, in recent games, Toronto has had stretches of good play, (1st half against the Crew, many moments in Dallas) but this seemed to be a level above recent top gear. The passes were crisp from the back, the midfielders were moving forward with confidence, there just seemed to be opportunities in the air. And sure enough......
Carl Robinson hit a beautiful free kick and scored his second goal of the season. Sure, Perkins was faked, fooled and on the wrong foot, yet the flight of the ball was a thing of beauty.
After the goal DC worked their way back into the game a little. A shot from distance glanced off the cross bar behind Kenny S. DC was able to increase the pressure, but nothing came of it. TFC takes their lead with them to halftime.

Colin Samuel had a solid first half. He was moving with strength and speed, although he does frustrate with his bursts of clumsy ball control, just when you think he is putting his game together.
Marvell Wynne's speed kept getting him into dangerous territory. In the half time interview Carl Robinson said TFC was playing a 4-5-1, was Wynne the striker ??
Andy Boyens was patrolling the right side well, showing some speed and a good sense of position. Even when beat he would find a way to recover.

Well that was all TFC had for the night. All the flow and promise of the first 45 evaporated like the sweat on Dick Cheney's brow (like the way I work in the political angle for a game in Washington DC ?).
In the second half DC scored a scorcher in the 52nd minute from Burch. The ball started to look like it had a magical attraction to DC's feet. Fred added one in the 57th minute, finding the far corner as he shot from a good distance out to right of Toronto's goal.
These are the goals that Toronto never score, finding space and shooting while in the flow of the attack.
Mo makes a change- Jeff Cunningham on in the 61st minute, out goes Adam Braz.
Moreno proves in the 66nd minute that he can score when he sails in way offside and puts it away. Maybe it was expecting the offside flag to go up that contributed to Kenny S. looking less than stellar on the play.
Emilio makes it 4. Gomez hits the crossbar on a free kick and Emilio volleys in the rebound. Must I tell you the minute that this one went in ? Did you think I was standing around watching the clock in the same way that TFC seemed to be standing around watching the ball ? My new tradition must be that I will not report the time of the goal that puts Toronto down by three.
Was all this a result of sloppy defending or was it merely DC United asserting their quality and taking control ? They do know how to score...
Colin Samuel makes way for Andrea Lombardo with maybe 15 minutes to play.
Chris Pozniak off for Miguel Canizalez with less than ten to play.
What is left now ? This must be the moment where TFC finally has been eliminated from longshot playoff contention, isn't it ? Gerry Dobson tells us that "the game is starting to fade away just a little bit". No Gerry, it was fading away two goals ago. It has now left the solar system. Gerry recovers, sounds accurate when he describes the game as "whimpering".
This Toronto FC team has a cruel way of toying with you. The hopeful half precedes the bloody hopeless one. At least they are seldom boring. Next is New York at BMO on Thursday night. Will we get to see Gabe Gala ? How about Wynne and Boyens as strikers ? What new and sweet torture will TFC devise for that game ? Stay tuned.

Monday, September 24, 2007

An End to the Drought; An End to the Playoffs?

An End to the Drought. Cries of joy and relief echoed across BMO field as Toronto FC fans were treated to a fabulous start with a goal-mouth scramble that ended with Canizalez slotting home for his first of the season and the Reds' first in 824 minutes. The sun was shining beautifully and it seemed everything was falling into place. TFC enjoyed good possession early on and the combinations were looking more and more effective as the first half proceeded. However, spurned chances by both Cunningham on a breakaway, as well as a bouncing ball inside the box that was fluffed by an un-marked Edu proved to be costly.

Columbus struck back in the second-half with more dominance in possession but both of the visitors' goals were the result of sloppy man-marking. After the equalizer the fans continued to support the home side but the change in enthusiasm was palpable. It made for great timing as coach Mo Johnson made an unannounced change to the line-up on the field.

Enter The Squirrel. It seemed to have entered the field from the Toronto bench and then proceeded to made a fabulous run down the flank and on several occasions came very near to running between the goal-posts of the Crew. Several of the cheekier fans could be heard to note that the squirrel had better accuracy towards goal than certain of the home team's strikers... In any case, several fans from sections 220 and 221 joined together for a rawkous chant of "Let's go Squir-rel, clap - clap - clapclapclap." This too waned after the away team's 2nd goal, and the game ended in a 2-1 home loss.

Reds fans walked away with smiles though, knowing that the streak is finally over. We got our goal. This poster would like to say thanks to the original blogger for the tix and also to the fab fans of 220 for the friendly welcome. Come on you Reds!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

TFC 0 Real Salt Lake 0

It was pathetic today. I deserve better. Well, I mean all fans deserve better, but I am taking this miserable play personally. Must have been the cold winds off the lake that soured me. TFC needs to find a half dozen players for next season. The goal scoring drought has taken on a life of it's own. Yes. there is an element of rotten luck, but there is also a lot of flaws being exposed.
Real Salt Lake was reduced to 10 players late in the first half. It had been a close, but chippy game. Esky went down like a ton of bricks to trick the ref into the yellow on Boyens. The Real Salt Lake players spent a lot of time talking to the ref and he was putting up with it. You felt they were reviewing their take on the laws of the game and all the ghastly (ghost) fouls that he was missing. In the early going with the man advantage, there were some close misses, but somehow there was a lack of optimism in the air going into half-time.

The critical exposure of the TFC lack of depth started with the second half when a half-time injury to Marvell Wynne meant that Adam Braz was put into the game at right back. Perhaps the Wynne injury was connected to the foul on him from behind that led to the red card? You can go ahead and tease me, I did name Braz my man of the match last week in Dallas, but you got the feeling that Salt Lake's defending stategy was leave Braz unmarked because they wanted him to have the ball. Braz would work the ball up to his winger Miguel Canizalez who would look scared with the ball, go nowhere and manage to lose the ball or scramble it back to Braz. Maybe I am too harsh on Canizalez, the TFC roster on the website lists him as a defender. If that is true, what was Mo thinking ??
So instead of dominating the midfield, Carl Robinson was playing way back to give Braz an option to pass to. If he was needed back there to anchor the d, maybe Andy Boyens should have been sent forward. It seemed defeatist to be playing with five in the back.(Did Caninzalez make it 6 ??)
Hey, how about an overlap Carl Robinson ? He could have been penetrating the right wing, but instead he seemed to be a central gatekeeper, always channeling passes from Braz to Brennan or Brennan to Braz. If a Robinson supplied a pass forward to Edu he was always surrounded by the Salt Lake midfield. How about a give'n go Robinson ?? Follow your pass or make a run. I think I saw Robinson come forward once and that was when Braz came up a with a power pass that flew over everyone into the stands.
The TFC attack down the left (Brennan and Dunivant) did break through and supplied some hopeful crosses. This duo work very hard and try to come up with something- but they are defenders playing out of position.
Andrea Lombardo either has incredible bad luck or has no touch around the net. He does seem to head goalward with the ball, showing little awareness of Colin Samuel or anyone else for that matter. RSL did have veteran Eddie Pope covering Lombardo a lot of the time, so that there was little room for vision. When Jeff Cunningham came on there was more interplay between he and Samuels in a few minutes than we had seen all day between Lombardo and Samuel. A healthy Cunningham must pave the way for Lombardo to spend the rest of the season on the bench.
So a tie and another non goalfest for TFC. The air has gone out of this season. It started leaking in July, but it is gone now. It is next year's squad that is being formed now. I wish that TFC players would stop playing themselves off of that squad, but that is the nature of growing pains.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

FC Dallas 2 TFC 0

The TFC story seems to be on repeat mode. Play, allow the team that you are out-playing to score one or a couple, don't score yourself, lose. This is getting tough to take. The effort of the team is there, but it undermines your confidence. If they pour heart and soul into the game and hour after hour cannot put the ball in the net, it has to raise questions about the talent ? I know it is a matter of finishing, but that is the talent which makes a player, which make a team.....
TFC had plenty of fire and were in attacking mode throughout the first half. Reminded me of their meeting in Toronto, made you wonder which team was play-off bound. Too bad they had nothing to show for it. There was continued pressure in the second half, but the cloud of desperation seemed to grow. When Andrea Lombardo failed to score on his breakaway, the night was over.
The first penalty call was harsh, if Marshall made contact at all, it seemed slight. Forrest and Reed were right to be puzzled in the broadcast booth. If it was a last man foul, why give Marshall a yellow card ? So Denilson scored on the penalty. It seemed that there was two chances to stop the shot, before it hit the post it was out of reach, but it looked like it rolled along the line for a second before it crossed.
The second penalty call was almost kind, keeping hope alive takes it's toll. Joey Melo was caught wrapping his arms around the Dallas player. Dallas scored on the penalty, but that was pre-ordained. I hereby predict that there will be a balance between TFC penalty stops and goals scored by them for the remainder of the season. I am getting grouchy about this.
My man of the match is Adam Braz. Too many nights his intensity scares me and his offensive contributions tonight amounted to nothing (but that would be true of everyone else too). Yet he seemed to be the equal of Denilson's runs down the right and was a solid force in the back.
I am not sure if this CBC broadcast is truly HD, but the red and white hoops of Dallas and the road gray and red of Toronto made for a poor contrast. Time for a third uniform...but players to wear the red should be the greater priority.