Marco Velez, tonight's TFC goal scorer in Puerto Rico uniform 2007 ?
A night of mist and missed offensive prowess. First the good news, a large measure of the missing offense was gone from the visiting team. Except for the free kick goal (Dave van den Berghe 39th minute) that eluded both Sutton and the TFC defending wall, I would have to give top marks to the Toronto defense tonight. In the first half, as New York attacked the south end, you were always aware of the potential power of both Altidore and Angel. They were playing together for the first time this year so I guess rust could be expected. It is a challenge to watch them, especially as Toronto fans we are used to the less than subtle Danny Dichio. With New York, when they come forward, you learn to swivel your eyes from the ball on the wing and seek out their strikers trying to slide into space. Thankfully Marshall and Velez were patrolling that space beautifully. Way back in Columbus, if you had offered me a home record of only one goal against in the first three games in Toronto, I would have been dancing with delight. Well, not that I am much of a dancer. I mean it would have sounded great, but frankly beyond TFC. Yet that is what has happened.
After NY scored their tying goal, the Red Bullers seemed to shrink from the attack and countered a few times. I suppose that this is a positive sign for Toronto's growing strength in the league. After all it is solid strategy to play for a tie on the road. We have to be flattered if that is what NY was trying to do.
But alas, TFC was lost in the mist too. It is a team in transition, don't forget, and offense comes along behind defense in this developing times. There are a heap of players still trying to get to know each other. Brennan and Robert struggled as the strangers they are in the first half. In the second half they seemed to be gaining a greater awareness. Robert showed some moxie and pushed a Red Bull over in the early second half (Hunter Freeman). The yellow card he earned did not not limit his play, but seemed to lift his energy level. A few of horizontal runs were promising after that and he did not show the second half droop that has been his recent style.
Ricketts and Wynne also were improving in the second half, it is starting to happen out there. Yet there was no payoff tonight. Carl Robinson was good enough, but clearly a level down from last game. Maurice Edu stepped up in confidence and ball control, although I do think he should be shooting more often.
I had a horrible vision. The wet conditions seemed to not suit TFC at all. Overall their ball movement was not smooth and it seemed that the ball was being stepped on too often. Are these not the conditions that will be encountered come playoff time ? At least there is time aplenty before that stage.
Now why was this fun tonight ? I think that being there ( on such a cold, rainy night) is an opportunity to declare your devotion. You are a member of the tribe, but you are also displaying what level of discomfort you are happy to ignore as you focus on the fortunes of the team. Yes, it lacks logic and that is truly what being a fan must be. The fool willing to go where and when the sane would never follow.
I hope it is warm and sunny when we play Columbus. TFC will play better in dry conditions. Logic makes a comeback.