Wednesday, March 11, 2009

TFC in South Carolina 2009 -TFC 2- DC United 1

I have been lucky enough, twice in my life, to spend some time in South Carolina during March. This was before TFC, so it did not involve watching any games, but it is a beautiful time in a wonderful place. So it is icing on the cake that Toronto is adding victories to the southern spring get away of those TFC fans we see on our screens.
Toronto FC continued playing today in the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, South Carolina. They defeated DC United by a score of 2-1 with Toronto goals scored by Chad Barrett and Dwayne DeRosario. It was a webcast on TFCtv , the video portion of the TFC web site. Watching these games continues to be a treat for the average game-starved fan. You know it has been a long winter when you spend some of your viewing time just staring at the green grass.
I don’t want to seem in any way critical of the effort that goes into bringing we fans a televised game, but it is a fuzzy screen that I happily squint at and therefore I could be more of a mess with analysis than usual. Here goes.
Two victories is a great way to start in a three game tournament. Toronto had many scoring chances in the first half and with a little luck could have had a few more in the net. The second half had DC United make plenty of changes to their line-up. The emphasis on speed brought them back into the game. DC had their goal quickly and looked dangerous for a time. The TFC defense managed to slow the game for the most part, although a late shot off the crossbar could have saved DC United’s day.
Adrian Serioux played a more subdued game, no yellow cards and rarely was he beaten. I think that Serioux is a player who appears to have greater vision from the back than we saw from Tyrone Marshall. When Serioux is on the ball he seems just as likely to be looking to supply the strikers with something from distance as he is to just play it out to Marvell Wynne. I look forward to seeing him at BMO.
Brennan and Wynne both contributed down their wings and if caught up were able to recover. Harmse seemed unremarkable, which is a good thing for a central defender.

The midfield operated without Carl Robinson today. This meant Sam Cronin continues with regular playing time. I guess I was anticipating that returning DeRo to the midfield would mean Cronin on the bench. It is wise to give the rookie the time, but I admit I am curious about seeing a DeRo, Ricketts, Robinson and Guevara line-up. Cronin was confident on the ball and had some quality short, quick passes. Maybe it was the fuzzy screen, but Cronin was not supplying the tackles that Robbo comes up with to disrupt the other team. Guevara was his slippery self, providing runs and drawing fouls. Is it just me or does Guevara seem to rarely notice Ricketts? Ricketts will win balls on his own or have passes from the back four, but no gifts from Guevara.
Vitti and Barrett were the starting striker pair and they supplied some exciting moments. They don’t look like guys who just met last month, there was a sense of awareness from time to time. At one point Vitti seemed most upset with a foul from the defender and spent more time arguing his case than pursuing play. He might want to watch TFC games of the past two years, the history is not one of winning a lot of borderline calls. It is fair to think that the more time together, the happier everyone will be.
Sutton was the keeper and played well. It will be interesting to see who Carver chooses to play in the net for the final game of this tourney on Saturday. I have a hunch it will be Frei.

See you Saturday.

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