Saturday, May 9, 2009

DC United 3 - Toronto FC 3 DeRo takes the lead, but then the TFC twist

this ultra cool pic of RFK stadium courtesy of Sean R. Baker of Twice Baked Photography
check out his Flickr page and his website

This game is a hard one to capture. Forgive my scrambled brain, I can't decide if I was joyfully entertained or toyed with.

If you want the simple, positive version of what happened Saturday night, Toronto played DC United to a draw and gained a road point from a stadium where none had come before. Toronto showed off the scoring finish that has been missing of late. DeRo scored two and Serioux headed the other. All three TFC goals were models of efficiency. Scoring with lightning force, more the result of determination than patient buildup. This was a performance of spirit and fire, TFC battled all night. Their road record for 2009 is impressive, a win, two ties and a single loss. They have showed more of a scoring touch on the road than at home, scoring nine goals.

Now it is possible to take the same game and twist the perspective (just like a creepy, twisted David Lynch movie).
TFC had this one in the palm of their hand and they let it slip away. Their defending away from BMO has been suspect, they have now allowed nine goals in four road games. Another late game lapse has one thinking that they are fighting a curse. Marvell Wynne getting called on a hand ball in the box for the second time this year is almost incredible. If you had magic powers and could just alter the location of his arm twice you would have a tie against Dallas and a victory in DC.

I must snap out of this, the siren call of the "what ifs" and those alternate universes must be shunned. I must rest and see if I am still baffled in the morning.
In the morning light, I see the positives are outweighing the negatives. TFC is continuing what they started last fall when they had superb road performances in New York and Dallas. If you are crushed by having the victory elude their grasp, you have truly bought in to the high standard that they have created. The notion that they are snake-bitten, fighting a curse that leads to late game lapses involves ignoring too many factors. They are a young team and on the rise, those handball calls are just bumps on the road to better days...
It is great to see Nana Attakora pushing his way onto the team as a starter through solid play.
The strategy of playing one half with Chad Barrett and one half of Vitti is a pleasing one - even though it did not result in a goal against DC.
Frei's twister save in the second half was a highlight
Serioux's goal showed his strength and correct me if I am wrong, I think it was the first TFC goal from a corner this season
Cheers for De Ro's chutzpah, his first goal was pure determination and a timely touch and his second goal was dazzlling.
It was great to see Dichio in as a late game substitute playing as if scoring against DC is his destiny- even though it wasn't to be

Chris Pontius getting in the double kick at DeRo's head- he picked up a yellow card, but DeRo got one too.
It was tough watching Toronto protecting a lead without Carl Robinson, the defending depth is so absent that Ricketts is a late game substitute when Guevara had run out of gas ?? I guess if Robbo had played then either Harmse or Cronin would have been available on the bench.
Television commentary is a tricky subject. I vastly prefer any Toronto on air folks to what shows up in MLS markets. When Craig Forrest is talking about goalkeeping strategies and defending you would be a fool to ignore his experience and insight. When he said that TFC looked tired in the late minutes, it made me fearful because it was a sound observation. I hesitate to slam Gerry Dobson but he needs to be less of a fan and more of a reporter. He should use his words to paint a picture, stay in the moment and bring us into the game. His comment of "It's in???" on DeRo's first goal is an example of sounding more like a fan than a communicator. Late in the game, after the second DeRo he was talking about where a TFC victory would put them in the standing. Besides the superstition, it is not bringing us into the game to talk about implications. Assume that fans are watching and they are capable of either adding one or three to TFC's present point total on their own. We can hope and worry, but we can't see what you are seeing. I am not sure that I am capturing the distinctions and tone that I am hoping for, but I admit that I would be less critical had TFC held onto the lead.

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