Saturday, March 15, 2008

Charleston, South Carolina on a small screen

San Jose 1 - TFC 0 ( I think a final score - weather delay due to lightning was the last part of the broadcast)

Is this a new team and a new season ? I think that the play of Toronto FC tonight in Charleston tried to convince me that it is year 1 extended. Last year's sour style, especially the ineffective midfield, was back. Toronto's attack, to be kind, was the dream of any keeper. Yes, Edu and Wynne were missing due to Olympic duty. I am a huge fan of both of those players, but the suspicion is that their return will not be enough to make the difference.
Bashing Mo Johnston has been a road that I wanted to stay away from. I think that it is too easy for the average fan to complain and second guess and nominate players that should be signed. I don't knock the knockers too much, it is what makes the internet hum. I submit that the reality of building a team is more complex than some fan voices are willing to concede. I wanted to rise above the din and look for signs of growth. A performance like tonight's does make rising above more of a challenge.

Mo's words last October at season end were a perfect blueprint for the future. TFC had a core but needed 6 or 7 new players. These words are starting to haunt him. Where are these needed 6 or 7 ? Time seems to be short if you look at the season starting in two weeks. The Mo plan may include signings that will arrive later in the season, but patience is wearing thin. If TFC struggles, it won't surprise me if the vocal fans start to serenade. Mo rhymes too easily with go......

Highlights (if you will)
The San Jose goal was set in motion by a Ronnie O'Brien corner. Somehow, we TFC fans saw that one coming.

It was wonderful to hear Nigel Reed calling the game. Too bad he interviewed the Charleston Battery Coach at length without a second mike. I could hear him, but he did sound like he was in another room.

Julius James looked like he fits in. Cool on the ball and I don't remember seeing him beat one on one. However I cannot be too sure of anything. I use a iMac and the streaming webcast was tiny. The USL site would not increase screen size and the CBC site was worse.
Pacheco seemed ok, Brittain and Dunivant both brought little to the attack on the flanks.
Samuel had a few moments when he came on in the second half, a nice cross in the box and went forward with energy. Then he dashes your hopes by finding a way to step on the ball and lose everything.

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