Jay Heaps showing ref Michael Kennedy his bunnies
Perhaps I am the Eeyore of TFC fans, but I did not rush down to today's game with my head and heart bursting with optimism. Last Saturday's loss to the Chicago Fire had stung and some of the bitterness clearly had lingered for the week since. I have been salivating for too long at that "2 International players to be signed" rumour and I felt that the loss to the Fire had only underlined the striker/central defender need.
Then Shalrie Joseph scored on New England's first serious jaunt into Frei's territory and it was as if the Chicago game was still on. I was very hesitant to be critical of Adrian Serioux on the play. It seems that every week he displays more bandages (today it was a hand bandaged in the Jim Brennan style) and I sometimes think that if we had any defending depth at all, Serioux would be given some recuperation time. It sure seemed that Joseph had surprised Serioux and found room in front and Frei at his mercy. Oh, no - another long afternoon of squandered TFC scoring chances and lightning counter strikes from the enemy. It was maddening that Chicago could do in the seconds (score) what TFC couldn't do in hours) and now Shalrie Joseph was doing the same.
Thank you Amado Guevara for shutting down that gloomy storyline in a matter of minutes. He responded as if TFC were playing a road game. Even before Guevara tied the game with his superb goal, it seemed that TFC had taken a big offensive step forward. They were taking shots at net, shots from every angle. Hell, even Carl Robinson had a shot in the early going and you don't see him firing away very often. Chad Barrett had a low corner effort that was not as enticing as some of his open net groaners, but showed promise.
Danny Dichio had played a large part in Guevara's goal and his knock downs and touches were promising. Then things began to bog down. The middle of the game was very much a stalemate. The shot count dropped off and TFC seemed to slide back into the mode where all touches lead to other touches until nothing comes of it offensively.
Then Dichio turned the wrong way at midfield and sent DeRo on a break and a score. That was the first time this year that TFC had come from behind to take a lead at home. Guevara's second goal (or did Dichio get a head to it? I am writing this before checking the official game summary) sealed the victory. The result was just as surprising as the weather. For all of the contributions of Guevara and Dichio (and DeRo and Barrett), I thought the improved play of both Carl Robinson and Jim Brennan were big factors in the win.
After a steady parade of cool, rainy games, it is a treat to bask in the sunshine and warm weather at a TFC home game today. Yes, fans were wearing t-shirts and shorts. A number of days had passed since the last drop of rain had hit the field (but I did have my two rain ponchos in the bottom of my bag, some habits die hard). I don't know if there had been work done on the field, if the lack of rain was the key or someone has discovered that field lacrosse is the secret ingredient, but I don't think Field Turf was the bad guy today.
I will ramble off after I bore you with my take on today's ref, Michael Kennedy. I am proud to be a Kennedy myself and I often bask in the reflected glory of sharing a world famous surname (y'know giants of the arts, politics, blogging). But ref Michael Kennedy drives me around the bend. I can't recall a huge mistake, it is more his demeanour, his way of talking at length with the players. Now I don't know, perhaps the players are quite fond of him and just can't wait to chat away. "How are the kids? What is the hotel like ? Hey ref what was that recipe for muffins again?"
It just seems so pointless. He will talk at length with some players and unleash yellow cards on players he has been ignoring all game. My gut feeling is that all the talking undercuts his authority. It even strikes me that ref Kennedy is a touch lonely, dare I say it, a touch needy ? Now that is just not a Kennedy trait...