Saturday, October 18, 2008

TFC 3 Chicago Fire 2 - going out with heads held high

Guess it was a roller coaster game to cap off a roller coaster year. I went down to BMO Field today determined not to feel that it was the end. As long as a playoff game was possible I was going to avoid contributing to a negative vibe. It was a beautiful October day, the sun was bright and the temperature was in the single Celsius digits. There was not much wind. A neighbour commented that there was a CFL feel to the air. Growing up watching the Argos play in this part of town (Exhibition Stadium-the old mistake by the lake), I had to agree. It was a good day to be in the lakeside air.
Many hours later I write this knowing that both Kansas City and New York won tonight which eliminates Toronto from the playoffs. As this proved to be the last home game of the 2008 season, well, it wasn’t a bad way to finish up. I had expected TFC to come out blazing as the up-tempo momentum of those recent road games could provide the fuel to ignite the home crowd. Toronto scored early on a well-crafted curler by Amado Guevara. Then TFC was awarded a penalty kick (and how rare was that this season?) Rohan Ricketts’ shot was stopped by Chicago keeper Jon Busch, but then the rebound race was won by Ricketts and he put it away.
Justin Mapp scored for Chicago to make it 2-1. Sloppy defending by TFC on that one, Mapp was so wide open that Sutton never had a chance.

Then TFC played alert football and caught Chicago in injury time with the winning goal. A throw-in from Wynne went to the middle of the pitch and a pass to the wing (from Robinson or Guevara ??) found Ricketts who made a little move and boom it was in. It was wonderful to see Ricketts have a great game. He is maturing as a player, pays enough attention to the defending side of life and seems more comfortable with his part of the attack.
Blanco scored a solid goal for the Fire in the second half, but TFC kept scoring chances for Chicago to a minimum beyond that. There was enough counter-attack and action at both ends that another Toronto goal was always a possibility.

If only, if only, if only…..
that game in Dallas where a win became a tie had gone Toronto’s way and at least one of the 7 ties at home had
been turned into a win – TFC would be a playoff team.

Was the fact that Dichio and Marshall said goodbye to the fans on the field runaround apart from the rest of the team and with their children just something that happened or is it an indication of retirement?? In the case of Marshall, a good pro who has made a contribution in these early years, I think his departure would reflect the inevitable upgrade in central defending.
Dichio ? Remember on the October road trip 3 of the four goals had Dichio play a part in the build-up. It is nice to have a legend grow around an infant club, but I say keep Dichio because he contributes. A player- coach role would be deserved.

Marvell Wynne subbed at half time, injury or tactics ?

Brian McBride is a skilled and solid player who may make the difference for Chicago this year, but I am happy to have Chad Barrett. It would have been fun for all had Barrett scored a goal against his former team……

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