Saturday, May 16, 2009
Toronto FC 0 Chicago 2 - We are now officially ready for the calls to start balancing out...
or still holes to fill and mountains to climb
This game had a sour sting to it. Perhaps a sobering wake-up call that Chicago (and New England ??) are still teams to beat in the East. I have been hoping that the mythical signings to come in the summer will still arrive. However whatever roster changes are ahead, if TFC continues to be haunted by confounding and mystifying ref calls then how can we dream of glory?
A caller on the post game show on Fan 590 had an interesting stat (and I have not had the time to double-check it). He said that Toronto in their existence have had three penalty kick calls go their way at home. In that same time period, Los Angeles Galaxy have had seventeen.
Now I am willing to be rational, Chicago demonstrated that they were the better team today. Not a dominant team or a deserving team, but the no-call on the Chicago hand-ball in the box rattled Toronto and the Fire instantly took advantage. Then they did it again as all those Toronto chances came to nothing.
Maybe TFC were suffering from the Montreal false confidence boost. Watching the first half of today's game against Chicago, echoes of that recent game against the Impact were still part of the equation. Montreal did TFC no favours, offering such little opposition the other night. The Chicago Fire demanded that Toronto move their level of play up a notch and it was proving difficult for the Reds. It was not that the Fire had much in the way of offense, it was just that they were defending. DeRosario was not having his way down the left as he has at the start of both recent home games. The middle of the field was mighty crowded and Toronto was not getting anywhere.
Although it was 0-0 at half time, their was little to choose from between these teams. Yet, you felt that the advantage had slightly shifted to the Fire. When Toronto does not score early, it is a legitimate concern that they will score at all. The second half brought chances for Guevara, Barrett and many wild scrambles that coulda/shoulda...but Chicago scored two goals
TFC line-up observations and random thoughts
Marvell Wynne, as expected, did not dress due to hamstring injury.
Sam Cronin played the first half as a midfielder and the second half as the right back. Nana Attakora played the first half as right back but came off at the half. Kevin Harmse came into the midfield for the second half. All three players made quality contributions.
Carl Robinson did not have one of his stronger games. Yes, the Fire are potent on the counter-attack, but Toronto needed somebody to break the Fire defensive headlock (or is it a firewall?). I thought that the switch of Danny Dichio on for Marco Velez was a good one, but if Robinson just hangs back with the back three, what have you gained?
I am not understanding the 4-3-3 formation, at least not in the fashion it was displayed today. Back in March we saw Dichio and Vitti first play together in Columbus. They looked potent together, a combo of size and speed in two strikers. Now with three up front, they seem too widespread and there is little intertwined movement and passing. Just wing attacks and crosses to well covered targets.
Stephan Frei is a rookie and we fans, perhaps, have been spoiled by his supply of game saving exploits at home in 2009. Therefore seeing him look ordinary today was a comedown. Maybe an inevitable one, but rough either way. Greg Sutton should get a start soon, maybe in Vancouver and Montreal, so that Frei gets a chance to rest.