Thursday, April 23, 2009

Unexpected but most acceptable victory TFC 1 Chivas USA 0

Wednesday night at BMO Field it was the meeting of the hot team and the cold night, but the result was not what many had been expecting. Toronto won 1-0 and every element of their team was functioning at a high level. I take that back, clearly finishing their scoring chances and beating the offside trap are two elements that need work.
If the hot team, Chivas USA, proved to be not so hot, the cold night was not as advertised either. The rain stayed away, the wind was absent (the upper west side seemed quite sheltered from the wind blowing towards the lake) and the temperature was not all that low. It felt colder on the Saturday afternoon of the Dallas game and that was in sunshine.

DeRo’s injury was supposed to create a hole in the lineup. Surprisingly, the hole never appeared. Coach Carver had a few surprises. He shook up his line-up, Vitti, Dichio and Velez were put into starting roles. He also changed his formation as he went with a 4-3-3. You have to give Carver credit for combining both flexibility and his usual trait of loyalty. It seems that sticking with Chad Barrett and going to a three forward system is all to Barrett’s benefit and he shows progress.

Toronto started the game confident on the ball. There was some nice touches between Vitti and Guevara, Dichio was winning a lot of balls and Barrett was showing some winger skills. There was an adjustment period in the first half with the 4 3 3 formation.
The midfielders (Cronin, Robinson and Guevara) were playing very central and there was a huge gulf between the forward/wing players Vitti and Barrett and their respective backs, Wynne and Brennan. More work is needed on the crucial off ball movement that makes an offense tick.
Amado Guevara scored the lone TFC goal and he should have scored more. I guess Guevara was creative in the first half and then Carl Robinson was suitably destructive in the second. That was when Robinson put his stamp on the Chivas midfield. He was always lurking, disrupting their style, anticipating their plan of attack better than they did for one another.
It was hard to pick out stars, the entire team contributed at both ends of the field.
There was one stretch of play in the second half when TFC won a series of corner kicks and you got the feeling that it was a practice. Every time they had a different formation and a subsequent pattern of movement. It was like watching them run through their playbook. Too bad none of them worked.
Pablo Vitti made an impression all night. He also received an impression in the form of
Sacha Kljestan’s elbow landing on his head late in the second half. It was a dangerous move and might have been worthy of a red instead of the yellow that was given. However these things do balance out. Dichio had escaped with a yellow when he could easily have had more on his wild slide in the first half.

Stephan Frei was always well positioned and therefore his saves were efficient rather than spectacular. Marco Velez not only looked strong, but he also redeemed himself. Remember it was against Chivas USA that he had his red card last year when he reacted badly to Eskandarian’s late hit.

It all came together tonight as Toronto played the home game that they have been searching for all month. Just think, if TFC had made this smooth an effort and gained this result from the game against Seattle, they would have been awarded the Cup early by now and be at home.

So now what lies ahead ?
Kansas City visits Toronto on Sunday. Tonight’s strong performance could spark over confidence. TFC began the year looking strong against KC in their park.

So sorry and sad to see the incident of flare throwing in the east stand.
It was beyond stupid. How are you supporting the team by throwing flares at fellow supporters ? How are you making the world a better place by attempting to melt the field that the game is played on ? I truly hope they caught the individual.

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