Sunday, June 27, 2010

Inspired by the World Cup, Toronto takes the field with the scoring punch of North Korea

TFC 0- LA 0

It was a soggy return to MLS play Saturday night at BMO. 

It was annoying to see the same puzzles remain exactly where they were.

I can see the reasoning behind having Saric and Sanyang on the roster, vet and youngster playing the defensive midfielder role. Yet it seems foolish to play them both at the same time. It means that there is no attack centrally to go along with the lack of attack on the wings.

More tomorrow...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Toronto 0 KC 0 - Playing outside the final third

As today's game was winding down I found myself grateful for the three week World Cup break which the MLS schedule is about to enter. Toronto FC needs the down time. It is not injury recovery time that they seem to require, but some offensive spark. Well maybe "spark" is being too kind, how about offensive firepower. TFC never looked in much danger of having KC take over the game, even when down to 10 men. They also never looked like they were going to turn being the better team into goal scoring opportunities. That is apart from the stunner in the waning minutes when Julian Deguzman sent a volley flying a mile over the crossbar when everyone in the place had expected him to bury the shot low now that he had the keeper at his mercy.

Now the wet, wimpy TFC performance could have been oddly connected to the weather today. It was the first Toronto game of the year played in hot temperatures and strong sunshine. A summer swoon as Toronto FC find ways to cool off is not what the team should be working on. They worked the ball around the field. They defended well against the counter-attack. Stephan Frei was up to every KC shot. The problem was that Frei was handling more action than Nielson, his KC counterpart. Toronto had the play, just not the shots. It was as if the KC goal area never existed in Toronto's plans for long.
I am happy to avoid finding scapegoats for any aspect of the team's performance. Yet I also am realistic. If I am noting a lack of firepower, the Toronto FC big cheeses have to be noticing this too. O'Brien White is a talent that needs tending, but he does not bring much attack with him of late. I think that a striker has been a Toronto FC need since day one (or at least since the departures of Conor Casey and Edson Buddle). Whether through trade or trial or big money player signing, Toronto has to become stronger up front. We will see.
Random thoughts
Ty Harden played the second half as left back and looked solid.
Nick Garcia's red was from a foul that I did not see, so how can I have an opinion?
Mr. Preki was livid from time to time and was unafraid to be up and about in his technical area.
Attakora and Cann continue to take care of business.
Labrocca played the whole game and Peterson just the first half. Neither have moved into the "plays well with others" category.
Gabe Gala looked like he was going to create something out of nothing a handful of times.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Who cares about being soggy when you hoist a cup??

pic by Trout

pic by Trout
The Voyageur's Cup game against Vancouver was not meant to be a contest. Everyone heading to BMO knew that the Cup had already been decided. It was a chance to brave  the elements, get uncomfortable, scout out some Academy youngsters and then partake in a celebration.
Although I enjoyed myself and felt that my attendance was a badge of dedicated fandom, I truly hope that we never have to see such a game again. The teams involved should sit down again and figure out a way to have future cups finish with a deciding cup final.
Since we are talking about the future, I was impressed with Doneil Henry's play in the back four. He looked strong and confident. He spent most of the night paired centrally with Ty Harden and the combo was efficient, seldom beaten and rarely out of place. I am also aware that Vancouver was down to 10 men and had little or nothing to play for, so the potential is hard to gauge.
I also mix my dim view of Nicholas Hunter and Allando Matheson with the fact that we are talking about incredibly young players. One turned 18 in February and the other will turn 18 in September. Therefore the fact that they did not look capable of flying off to the World Cup next week should not be held against them. Patience please, they have some promise.
It is the morning after and my feet have yet to dry. Toronto had the right balance of resting a few regulars, showcasing the very young and controlling play. Too bad the scoring touch eludes too many.
See you Saturday.