Sunday, June 14, 2009
Some overdue luck TFC 2 NYRB 1
Saturday night at BMO was a balmy, gorgeous evening. The sunset glow on the city centre was the stuff of picture postcards. June in Toronto is hard to beat.
The play on the field was nowhere near as pretty as the scenery. The job was done, the victory was secured, but it was hardly the beautiful game. I hesitate to use the word karma, after all "My Name is Earl" is a cancelled television show. Yet the idea that over time the good calls and the bad calls will balance out started to make good at last. I did not see the New York handball in the box in the early minutes, from my angle I just saw Pablo Vitti throw up his hand to appeal for the call. Guevara took the penalty and in TFC style was stopped by the NYRB keeper. Sam Cronin buried the rebound and Toronto was ahead while the night was young (Cronin 3). Sam Cronin has been such a solid contributer in every aspect of play this year, it was a bit surprising that it was his first MLS goal.
WIth Jim Brennan out injured and Marvell Wynne's international duty continuing, the back line sported a new look. Nick Garcia, the newest in Toronto red was central, active and effective. Nana Attakora played well (though burned on the New York goal) and seemed to be the student to Garcia's teacher. Attakora's speed saved the day a few times. New York's attack plan seems to be either slip Angel through or use their speed on the wings. Adrian Serioux seemed to be both struggling with their speed and getting the worst of every knock. Late in the game Stephan Frei caught Serioux up high with an arm or an elbow. I was convinced that Serioux was going to substituted in the second half just as a mercy move, but he soldiered on to the end. There were times when the Toronto formation seemed to be five across the back. Cronin, Attakora, Garcia, Serioux and Kevin Harmse. Now Harmse was just a deep midfielder, countering the Red Bull wing play. Harmse had a superb game, covered his zone and was able to get forward and make penetrating runs and contribute some worthwhile crosses. He had a second half shot on net that was a true test of New York keeper Danny Cepero.
But dreaming about the Harmse shot has my thinking out of order. The first half saw New York have a lot of possession after the Cronin goal, but not a lot of threat behind it. Toronto countered with a Pablo Vitti breakaway, but the ball seemed to run away from him as the keeper approached. Cepero cleared the ball and it went directly to Danny Dichio who was trailing on the play and he buried a long shot. I am willing to wager that it was the longest shot that Danny Dichio has taken for TFC, one for the highlight reel (Dichio 43).
The second half began with some New York pressure and with Toronto running around like chickens in the back, the Red Bulls scored (Celades from Angel 54) to make a game of it. They never seemed to be truly scary and yet at the same time Toronto never seemed to be truly out of the woods. Frei made some solid saves and yet his kicks were often sailing off into the night. On at least one huge kick to nowhere Coach Cummins could be seen on the sidelines with his arms out in the classic "now what was that" pose.
It was good to have Amado Guevara back for Toronto, but it was not one of his top ten games. Nick Garcia in the back four seemed to free Carl Robinson from playing a defensive midfield role, but Robinson had more stray passes and giveaways than his usual high standard. Dwayne DeRosario was played hard, but New York seemed to be prepared for him and double coverage was thrown at him regularly. Pablo Vitti showed some flashes, but the breakthrough still awaits.
In the second half Vitti gave way to Chad Barrett, DeRosario was replaced by Rohan Ricketts (who had a great run deep into NYRB territory but then faltered when he should have made his move) and Guevara came off for Marco Velez.
There were player sightings galore in the MLSE box above section 120. Ali Gerba was there as expected. Julian De Guzman was there too
Next stop for Toronto FC is Montreal where the Montreal miracle is scheduled for Wednesday night. Next MLS game is a week from then when New York visits again.