Sunday, April 6, 2008
Post mortem - week two
Forgive me, but I do not have the heart to go through Saturday's 4-1 loss to DC United with what passes for full analysis around here. If John Carver is a coach with a sense of decency he would not allow his players to watch a replay of this game. Best to treat it as a game already forgotten.
That's the best strategy for allowing your players to move on to the next game, but I will mull over a few points. The heart of a fan does take strength from these low points as they make the high points to come that much sweeter. At least that's the theory..
The TFC defending needs attention. DC's attackers were free and clear in those first minutes. My replay of the first goal had Ty Marshall getting out of the way of a shot (which makes sense since you do not want to deflect and make your keeper miserable) but his action resulted in his being down on the ground, completely out of it, while DC in numbers where descending on the loose ball. Greg Sutton did make some saves sprinkled amongst the goals, but his performance still leaves the role of #1 keeper still to be determined. Brennan and Wynne have better games ahead of them as left and right back, but the Marshall and Velez central combo needs to end. A healthy Julius James will be played centrally and perhaps also fellow rookie Pat Phelan. Perhaps trades will bring in defenders. In the meantime, Brennan could come back to the centre and Todd Dunivant could retake the left back spot.
(Both Dunivant and Samuel were said to have been left back in Toronto due to injuries)
There is always a sense of reality check when TFC meets DC United. Clearly, in my seldom clear mind, they are the class team of MLS and the true measure of Toronto's progress or lack thereof. In season 1 TFC did manage to beat New York and Chicago, tie NE and Columbus but we were never close to DC. So last night one started watching the game with only a faint hope of a surprise result. A battle for a draw would have been reason for wild celebration. The total collapse in the first five minutes followed by the Kevin Harmse sending off was both a worst case scenario and something other than a shocking revelation. TFC is a team with changes ahead of it and I am not the only fan who sees the Lauren Robert signing as just the first of a series.
If we are able to add talent, the lack of finish shown by Jeff Cunningham will end his time with Toronto.
Robert showed a lot of promise in his first game. Although he did not score, his corners and free kicks and his second half give 'n go with Dichio was at least equal with what TFC was getting from Ronnie O. Sorry to bring up our traded midfielder, it does cheer me up to think of Robert on the left as the replacement for Andy Welsh. Robert is such a step up from last year's model of left side attack (Welshy). Lauren Robert is far from the answer on his own, but another midfielder or two and a striker who can find the net will all be wonderful moves. Let's just not play Harmse as a defensive answer to anybody for a while, OK ?
I think the late goal by Edu was the best thing a TFC could have asked for in that situation, After all DC was toying with Toronto for so much of the second half. Playing keep away and then coming forward whenever the mood struck them.
Now Toronto has their first goal, their first goal on the road and the prospect of only one more game before the long home stand begins. Here's hoping that they arrive in LA with at least on more player added to the squad. May this be the sound of scraping bottom with better times ahead.