Thursday, March 20, 2008
Canada, the Faroe Islands of CONCACAF......
U23 qualifying semifinals for the Olympics took place in Nashville tonight. The final score was USA 3 Canada 0. TFC players involved were Maurice Edu and Marvell Wynne for the USA and Tyler Hemmings for Canada. Andrea Lombardo came on as a substitute in the second half and Josh Wagenner who recently had a trial with TFC was the Canadian keeper. Ok, I have had time to think about it. Faroe Islands have never finished third in any Uefa tourney. So it was a harsh reaction to just how hopeless things looked against USA.
I have to take back my comments regarding TFC's play in South Carolina. Seeing Edu and Wynne in action tonight was an electric reminder of how much talent those two have and judging the quality of Toronto's play without them is a fool's game. So that makes me the fool. Yes, Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore are the flashy strike force of the US attack, but Edu was always on the ball in behind them. He shows such poise directing traffic and feeding balls up to the front runners. Edu's great leap forward could be the key to TFC's success this year.
Marvell Wynne played a dazzling game. In the first half he was pressing forward from the back and he was the dominant player on USA's right flank. He played more defensively in the second half although I noted at least one run up to the inside of Freddy Adu that almost paid off.
On the Canadian side Tyler Hemmings played well. He was more of a factor in the second half, but it is so hard to attribute his play to anything other than the US playing well back and giving Hemming room to search in vain for a hole in their armour.
I am sure that I am not the only Toronto fan who let out an audible sigh when Andrea Lombardo was added to the Canadian attack. Tonight I officially fell off the Lombardo's " young and therefore could develop" wagon. Not that I was buckled in mind you. I will always be willing to be proven wrong on this as it will benefit TFC and Canada, but I don't see any creative vision or finishing talent there. When trying to run onto the ball he always seems to veer off in the direction the ball is never going to follow him to. His passes suffer the same fate and the less said about his shooting skills, the better.
So come Olympic time this summer TFC will lose two stars for a good stretch of time. Then again it would be a thrill to welcome them back to BMO with gold medals around their necks .....