Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chris Cummins departs TFC - Mo in charge of new coach search

Today, in a total non-surprise, Chris Cummins departed Toronto FC as head coach. Mo Johnston declared that the next head coach will have MLS experience, but the head coach search must wait until after the MLS Cup game.
Mo also confirmed that he signed a 2.5 year contract extension in August.
Whatever your opinion of Mo, it is clear that this next coach choice is going to be his make or break moment. He messes this one up (say another Carver or Cummins) and it's party over...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New York Red Bulls trounces TFC 5-0, TFC never showed up for their biggest game ever...

That was torture. That was pathetic. Shep Messing on the New York broadcast had the best line of the night. He said that he would hate to see Toronto play a game that meant nothing.

We all know that this was a game where victory would have been a huge step towards TFC making the playoffs. This has to be the all-time low moment in TFC history. What a way to end the year. TFC looked incompetent. A disgraceful display in every aspect of the game. There was no finish from Toronto on a night where New York was capable of finishing anything and everything.
Somebody contact TFC leadership, I want my Saturday night back. I feel cheated for caring, for hoping, for dreaming that Toronto would finally put it all together. When you give your support and then have the team implode like that, you are left with an empty feeling. Empty, empty, empty.
It was tough enough watching ex-TFC player Andy Boyens shut TFC down all night, then word came through that Julius James had scored for DC to put them ahead of KC. It was that kind of night and I guess it was that kind of season...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

TFC hanging on, TFC 1 RSL 0

Today was a little lesson in redemption. I guess it is possible to bounce back. TFC looked a tougher team today, Cummins seemed a smarter coach and I might not have been alone in feeling that I was a more confident fan.

It was cold down by the lake this afternoon. Cold in temperature and cold creeping into the heart as so many elements of this week’s game seemed to mirror chilly aspects of last week’s game. Such as a scoreless first half, a Toronto goal early in the second half and then the visiting team storming the TFC end in the final minutes.
This time TFC got it right and defended to the end. We fans will gladly take the victory, but nobody wanted to witness another tight game. I was hoping for a Toronto goal scoring smorgasbord. Smorgasbord, now there is a fine word that has fallen out of fashion.
Guess who saved us from misery (or is it just postponed)? Chris Cummins, the coach who learns from mistakes, too bad he makes them in the first place.
Nick Garcia benched, Gomez playing was the first sign of hope. Amado Guevara back and patrolling the midfield with skill and stealth was item two. All substitutions were used in a timely manner makes it three (Sanyang in for Chad Barrett, proving that a defensive midfielder was on the bench last week, Lesley Felinga for DeRo and then late with Ali Gerba in for OB White).

Those starting line-up changes and wise substitutions were just part of the improvement. There seemed to be more flexibility in how TFC aligned themselves for different parts of the game. Brennan played more time as a midfielder than in the back four. Sam Cronin did time as midfielder, defender and even a winger up front. In those injury time minutes TFC looked more like a fortress and less like a shell. There was one late play when Brian Edwards came out to challenge for a long ball and managed to get the ball out on the west side. It was not a pretty play, but it was great to see Edwards take charge of aerial balls in his area. It has been a fairy tale finish for the season for the second year keeper. He has gone from Brian “Who” to the star of the show. I expect that even a fully recovered Stephan Frei might find it hard to get back the starter’s role in the New York game.

I extend the full Still Kicking salute to both Red Patch Boys and the U-Sector for the Danny Dichio mega banner. It is moments and efforts like that one that make you proud to wear the red and care for this team. Some days it feels like too much a cliché to call Toronto the home of the best fans in the MLS (and maybe I am just pissed that latecomers and early leavers are constantly obscuring my view of the game), but the banner salute to our first hero was no cliché.
Although the Brennan goal was critical to the victory and Edwards was able to make some incredible saves, I would have been inclined to vote for Emmanuel Gomez as the man of the match. He seemed to grow in confidence throughout the game. He was seldom out of position, played the ball with skill and strength and his ability to make up ground on attackers is a delight to watch. I guess I was looking for a player who brought another aspect
Julian de Guzman reads the game well and his wonderful skills seem to burn brightly from time to time. At the same time it also seems that he has yet to fully join the team. He seems to be too willing to defer to those around him when TFC has the ball. He has yet to grab a game by the tentacles and make it his own. New York could be his kind of town.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New game, same old collapse -TFC in a loop of crummy endings TFC 1 San Jose 1

Again? They did it again? Snatching a tie from the jaws of victory seems to be the perpetual TFC result of choice. It makes me want to swear and spit. I did not sign up for this style of suffering. Give me glory or the promise of it on the horizon. This folding like a cheap suit has to go.
Saturday was game day and we went to the park expecting that the momentum would begin. Toronto hosts San Jose, a team that has been eliminated from post season play and is playing their third game in a week. The stage was set. This was to be the start of the glorious TFC push to the playoffs. Three games = nine points and let’s see if any one can stop them. I guess we found out today that any team can stop them. Just show up and hang around. A little determination and Toronto finds a way to flounder.

The damn thing is – the tie does not eliminate them from the playoffs. If they wake up and win the final two – they have a shot. At the time of writing Columbus is doing Toronto a favour and is winning against New England. Right now it appears that Seattle, Chivas USA and Colorado have the inside track on playoff spots (that is the spots to the best four teams other than the top two teams in each division. New England has the last spot, but they are only 2 points ahead of Toronto, Dallas and DC United, the three teams tied in the out of luck spot.

Part of being a fan is the joy of having faith in your team. You think and feel that they will prevail. This momentum you look for is when those qualities that you have glimpsed from time to time somehow will become dominant traits and the competition will falter.
I am afraid that Toronto revealed their true nature today and sadly it is less than heroic. Tonight I feel that missing the playoffs might be for the best. Spare the fans some misery and put this year to bed.

A few observations – most made before that late goal.

Could we clone Attakora? He scored the goal and defended well all day.
OBW showed determination and energy Where was Ali Gerba?

Do you feel a little like a strange movie fan who keeps attending the same movie in hopes of a different ending? I do.

JDG does not seem to be a full part of the team yet. There were times when his play was reminding me of Carl Robinson at his least effective, you know when he gets pass happy and the defenders are always anticipating. I think that midfielders have to drive the ball forward. Make something out of nothing. Create space for yourself and others. Keep the defenders honest. JDG needed to control the second half and instead he was less and less a force.
His first half was filled with flashes of movement and touches of real quality and you can see progress has been made. It was not enough.
Why did Chris Cummins allow the team to fall asleep in the second half ? They pursued a second goal with drive until Dero had that good chance stopped by the defender.That was it?
What will Chris Cummins being doing for a living in 2010?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ouch, bad timing

The news out of Toronto FC land is painful. Carl Robinson was injured in practice on Tuesday, a facial injury, and was operated on today (Thursday). This finishes his season as the recovery time is 6-8 weeks.
A player on trial was involved in the accident. You have to file this as a new way to not make a team.