Last night at BMO, the fog was a living thing. It was always there, as if being pumped in from offstage, hanging high and threatening to descend to field level and truly wreck the game. It never did, though sometimes it did make play at the north end (far end for us) seem fuzzy. No officer, I was not drinking...just smiling because foggy nights by the lake are one of the joys of life in Toronto.
The quality of the play on the field from TFC was crystal clear despite these trick or treat atmospherics. A team effort, with contributions from many and only a momentary lapse (the New York goal from a corner that seemed to come from TFC's letdown after the Boyen's sending off rather than the play and pressure of the Red Bulls). That was followed by a tightening in the back. Carl Robinson came back into Boyen's central defender role and you will not hear any complaints about Robbo's game from this blogger tonight. In the first half he was mobile and distributed passes all over the field. He and Mo Edu had a grip on the midfield that held all night. Even when down to ten men (Andy Boyens red card was just the ref evening the game after the Red Bulls had Joe Vide sent off) New York seldom had an attack develop down the middle of the field. They had to be happy with nibbling around the edges. You got the sense towards the end that TFC had the utmost respect for Angel and Altidore and always had many back to prevent them from getting space.
Cunningham and Samuel up front both played well. There were some gaps in communication and understanding, but for the most part they looked quick and threatening. It was pleasing to see Colin Samuel make a contribution, he may never be a star but could be a valuble squad player if not for the Senior International limit on the roster.
Gabe Gala, the teenager from Brampton who had his first start last night, looked quick and smart with the ball. The TFC attack has gone without any action on the left wing for so many games that it seems that they forget about that part of the field altogether. Gala brought the left side back into the mix. He deserved the ovation when substituted after 70 minutes.
I came into the game with admiration for Jozy Altidore, both from US U20 play and Red Bull games on the tube. Perhaps I caught him having an off night, but he did seem to be flipping and flopping and hamming up all night. When an attacker puts more effort into putting his knees together and twisting in the air to exaggerate a challenge or foul than he does getting open and shooting........ I am a charitable fellow, an off night for Altidore and I would take him on as a Red(coat) in a heartbeat.
Marvell Wynne bested Altidore tonight. His cross that resulted in the NY own goal was a perfectly placed one. It was destined for the net, it was just a matter of which foot would complete the transaction. I would wax poetically about the Edu goal too, but there was a lot of fog between these eyes and that end.
Moisture on the mind leads to bladder build-up. One of my travelling companion last night, Shotgun C. Lakeshore was new to the stadium, new to the team and new to the concept of standing in line for ages to go to the men's washroom. The team put on a show. the south end performed brilliantly, but the need for more toilets is bordering on the cruel and unusual. Time for an old fashioned trough - all the old places had one. Thanks for joining in on the TFC adventure Mr. Lakeshore, I know you will be back for more. Next time we will whiz in the parking lot pre-game to survive the night in style.