Saturday, September 12, 2009
Toronto finds scoring touch - TFC 3 Colorado 2
Saturday’s home game against the Colorado Rapids turned out to be a spectacular day. The weather was glorious, sunshine beaming down, a few clouds scattered across the sky and only the faintest of wind off the lake. You had to look past all this beauty of a late summer day, since it was conspiring to cover the fact that this was a desperate “back against the wall” sort of game. Toronto FC badly needs victories and points to qualify for the playoffs and a home loss would make their long shot chances even longer.*
It was an odd pre-game in terms of the line-up. Carl Robinson went down during the warm-up. Danny Dichio was being saluted as a retired player**. Julian de Guzman, designated player and designated season saver was not playing as his transfer papers were somewhere in a dusty drawer in Spain.
So Amado Guevara took on the holding midfielder role, which I think is a positive as Guevara is more willing to drive the ball forward, through both dribbling and penetrating passes, than Carl Robinson. Although it was announced as a 4-4-2, it became a 4-5-1 with Chad Barrett out wide as a left winger and Ali Gerba as the sole striker. DeRo was playing in behind or in between those two. TFC started on the tentative side and it took them some time to get into an attacking mode. I suspect that there was a Casey/Cummings fear haunting the TFC players until they got going.
DeRo opened the scoring, showing his power and his touch as he gathered, turned and fired. A deflection off of a defender’s leg helped the scoring arc of the ball, yet it was DeRo’s quick turn and fire that made it happen.
It was interesting to watch the match-ups in the Toronto end in the first half. Clearly TFC wanted Attakora to be on the swift Cummings, while Colorado only had eyes on a Cummings/Brennan or a Cummings/Garcia situation. For the most part Toronto’s wishes were coming true.
The other highlight of the first half was watching the Fieldturf and knowing it’s on it’s last legs. The growing prospect of real grass for 2010, c’mon City Council! , could mean plastic turf gone before Christmas. May I be the first to enquire about a souvenir patch for my basement sports bar welcome mat??
Then early in the second half Conor Casey scored for the Rapids. I am guilty of hindsight, but the size of our defenders, in this case Wynne and Garcia, puts the onus on the keeper to be off his line knocking away the looping cross that Casey headed into the net. There are games when you forget that Frei is a rookie, so the rare rookie gaffe can be forgiven.
It was all Toronto attack after that. There were some real chances to score. I thought that Ali Gerba had played his role well and only fate had prevented him from scoring. So no knock against him that the scoring came after his substitution. It clearly was a good strategy to bring on O’Brien White as a fresh striker as he scored the next Toronto goal. Then Attakora sealed the game with a header off of a corner kick.
I will gloss over the dreadful goal that Colorado scored to make the game close when they had no real right to be in Toronto’s time zone at that point.
The shot that DeRo took late in the game that hit the post was a rocket that should have found the corner. There was also a late game move that DeRo pulled down the right wing that I would love to see again on video. I have trouble describing it, it happened right below and it surprised me. I don’t think it was a back heel, but somehow DeRo looked as if he was moving to his left and then the ball squirted the other way onto Guevara’s feet. More of that next week and we will be celebrating the destruction of the LA Galaxy.
* I have fallen in love with the site Sportsclub Stats as it gives you the playoff implications of every game from the perspective of any team. Yesterday’s victory moved the TFC playoff chances from 16 to 30%. Most of the results from yesterday, other than the Seattle victory over DC United (a tie would have been the best thing for TFC) were good news. A victory next week over Los Angeles is a fantastic result as it will provide a huge boost to the chances. If you scroll down the page you see all the possible outcomes for the remaining 5 season games. I have personally picked the 5 victories method.
** I have avoided posting a retrospective or a salute to Danny Dichio on the blog because I do not believe this “retirement” for a second. I am convinced that I will see Danny Dichio play for TFC again. He has one more goal in him. I consider this all a roster/salary cap ploy and shifting DD to a coaching role means that he is still in Toronto and available for emergencies. I only go as far as calling it semi-retirement. We know that the agreement between players and teams is to be negotiated in the offseason and who knows what salary cap rules and roster stipulations will be in place for 2010? Even this year, if you dream on the large side, should Toronto make a playoff run and encounter a combo of success and injuries, I see Dichio on the field again (I am starting a psychic hot line for TFC fans). I will salute his playing contributions then and only then.