“My baby left me, my mule got lame, lost my money in a poker game. Windstorm came, just the other day, blew the house that I lived in away. I’m havin’ so much trouble, so much trouble, so much trouble, I’m about to lose my mind.” George Thorogood – So much Trouble
There is no Manchester United in the MLS, nor is there a Barcelona, Rangers, Juventus or any other prototype dominant European champion that can be counted on to win week after week. Maybe that’s the centralized league with salary cap at work for you. I think Toronto fans have done a lot of complaining about how poorly TFC play. How poor the defence is, how we can’t finish, how we should invest in any number of fantastic players from far flung places to help our game. Yet, now we sit tied for first place in our conference, despite suffering several disappointing losses both at home and away. Well, at least we’re not San Jose!
I should be excited with this away win, yet I’m not. I think it was the third goal that sealed it for me, I want to be excited for Chad Barrett, he beat a defender and the keeper, kept his cool and slotted it into the net. We’ve been waiting for him to do that all year, whingeing every time he popped the ball off the keeper instead of into the netting. Yet, it just doesn’t feel good for me. I suppose it was because the defender went down helplessly with a pulled groin, I guess these things happen, but it just doesn’t feel right. Maybe we’ve experienced enough of these deflating losses to be able to empathise with the San Jose faithful.
The more you watched San Jose, the more you got the feeling that they were helpless to stop what was going to happen. Now, they don’t always play that way, and the last 15-20 minutes of the first half showed us that. They were downright dangerous, and exploited our sometimes porous defence. My question is, how do you leave Darren Huckerby, their most well known and dangerous attacking player, unmarked on numerous occasions? Right now I’m just trying to rephrase questions that have been asked of the defence for the last three years.
Looking ahead, how will Ali Gerba’s arrival affect the team? He’s been very dangerous for Canada, so much so that he won’t be back for the Houston game on Sunday. The two goals he has scored so far in the tournament have had all of us TFC faithful cheering in anticipation. He seems to score the type of goals that we desperately need to be put into the back of the net. Was last night’s superior striker performance due, in part, to Gerba’s impending arrival? Were Barrett and Vitti both trying to show what they’re capable of so that they can keep their place after the big man arrives? Or have they finally started to feel comfortable in their roles? Keeping on the attacking theme, Jimmy Brennan did a magnificent job as the attacking left sided midfielder, getting down the line and putting in some very dangerous crosses, and creating space for the strikers to do their job. Hopefully this experiment will continue.
At this point in the season, I feel that there is a distinct possibility that we will make the playoffs. Will TFC win? Who knows? I am buoyed by the New York energy drink’s unlikely appearance in the final last year. Could TFC go on a tear and find their way to the final? Yes! Could we play like San Jose did tonight in a playoff series and waste a glorious opportunity? Yes!
Which TFC will we see next week? The hard working team we saw today, or the hard luck bunch of sad sacks we last saw in Utah? Houston will provide a stiff test for the Reds, and I don’t expect to see any of San Jose’s lay down and die attitude from them.
In an aside, hopefully Stillkicking is enjoying his well deserved time away from his computer. Don’t get lost in Arthur J’s facility!