Sunday, May 30, 2010

SJ 1 Toronto FC 3 Toronto now owns Buck Shaw Stadium

pic from Steve Rubio's Online Life
Here we sit on the brink of June and Toronto FC is on the rise. Saturday night's victory, their first win on the road in MLS play this year, puts them into second place in the East. Prior to the Los Angeles game two weeks ago, they were a team still in search of a point from their road games. Now they are undefeated in two places, north of the border and within the state of California. Suddenly my anticipation of the visit to LA to play Chivas (not until October 9th) has gone up a notch or two.

A lot of the elements of this team's play are coming together. Defending, attacking, midfield control and goalkeeping are all ahead of my expectations.  Hell, even coaching is looking good as the tactic of resting DeRo and JDG for the first half which was a bust against Real Salt Lake worked like a charm in San Jose. 
Before you accuse me of drinking the kool-aid, I still have concerns with O'Brien White's contributions up front. Other negatives were the Sanyang giveaways and the Saric low profile in the midfield and the vulnerability of Toronto's left side (Garcia and Labrocca) as San Jose made a rally in the late second half. For that matter the North American contribution to the team far outweighs the International component. The second half line-up had Amadou Sanyang as the sole International player on the field (Saric, Usanov, Hscanovics were on the bench). Perhaps the rumours of a DP signing or two come July are supported by the shape of the roster. Clearly, I have digressed.
My man of the match, although tempting to name either JDG or DeRo as they came on like forces of nature in the second half, would be Dan Gargan. He was patrolling his wing with crunch to his tackles and never seemed to misplay a ball all night. The continued strong play of Attakora and Cann was also notable, but Gargan seemed to be playing with something extra. The cameras at the end of the game showed him talking to folks in the crowd and it was mentioned that he is local to the San Jose area. 
Stephan Frei was his usual spectacular self in the net. The goal against was off of a corner kick, with a Quake player ending up unmarked in front. Other than that split-second Frei was never a cause for worry. 
Chad Barrett was a force up front and scored his goal on pure hustle. I am with Craig Forrest on the broadcast saying that it was a matter of "chasing lost causes".
We know that the Vancouver game this Wednesday will be a chance to play subs, academy players and hot dog vendors. The June MLS schedule has the utmost respect for the South Africa 2010 WC schedule, so TFC is home to KC on June 5th and then home again to LA June 26th. That is their entire schedule for June. 
So that means plenty of time to rest injuries (Harden and Gomez spring to mind) and prepare for the summer schedule.
Second place!!

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