Saturday, June 28, 2008

Deserving of a point New England 2 Toronto 1

The road performance of TFC is still the problem that won't go away. TFC fans turn on their TVs with far more concern than swagger for these away games. Just squeek a tie was my fondest desire as I settled down to watch. As it turned out, that was almost the result, but the bounces were not going Toronto's way. When you consider that last year's team was twice clobbered in New England, the contest being this close tonight is a large indication of the progress that Toronto has made.
Here's hoping that the solution can be found before it becomes the downfall of the season. You don't have to be a genius to note that a striker who can finish continues to be the top item on the wish list. It is a healthy team that has two keepers that can be called upon. I remain a fan of Brian Edwards, a rookie with real promise. Sure it is my bout of hindsight, but perhaps Greg Sutton could have handled at least one of those goal area scrambles better. A win in New England is on the horizon, I can just feel it.
New England Revolution were the most economical of teams. Nothing flashy or fancy. They were able to strike quickly and take advantage of the two Toronto defensive confusions. They happened too quickly to fully call them breakdowns. Steve Ralston of NE scored twice. Maurice Edu scored the late Toronto goal.
Besides the flurry of late game opportunities (the most notable Jarrod Smith had a header stopped on the goal line late in the game) Toronto had many stretches of alert offensive play. All TFC players made attacking contributions (well, not Carl Robinson beyond some long range passes, one learns not to expect shots from a deep playing midfielder). Guevara was distributing the ball to the wings and making some runs through traffic. He even made smart plays to Rohan Ricketts. In the first half you could see the central role that Ricketts is starting to play on this team. I am puzzled as to why he was replaced by Julius James in the second half. Injury ? Did he blow a defensive assignment and caused the second goal? (I am guessing, I did not see that on the television)
The Cunningham for Dichio switch was only a bad one because you know that Cunningham is not going to contribute much beyond speed. Dichio had battled well and had some touches but no scoring opportunities.
Edu had an encouraging game, his passes were improving and he was moving into the attack more and more. It was good to see him score. Here's hoping that the goals will continue to come.

Negatives ??
Very few...and all related to the goals. Credit to NE for making the most of their opportunities, but on the first Marshall, Edwards and Brennan managed to mess up on the defending basics. The second one saw a hit crossbar shot inspire sloppy defending.
The other concern to close with is the collection of yellow cards (Robert, Edu, Marshall, Guevara I think). Jim Brennan gets the award for best swearing on a televised sports event in a long time. No delay and sideline microphones turned up high could be the next slogan for the MLS.

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