Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TFC 1 Salty Lake 1 Feeble effort witnessed by the hardy few

One brief flash of inspiration does not make for an entertaining evening. In the first half keeper Conway caught RSL off guard as he threw the ball  deep into Jacob Peterson's path and Peterson turned his defender and buried his shot. Even as we cheered the goal, we knew that the night required an avalanche of goals. They did not arrive. Other than the first half at home against Cruz Azul more than a month ago, TFC never puts it together. They never look like a team, working together and contributing to a common strategy.
So this is the club that Mo designed. This is the club we will watch stumble through October. Unable to win at home in September, they are out of the CONCACAF Champion League now. It was painful to watch. More tomorrow, if I can take the misery.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tough and smart vanishes TFC 2 San Jose 3

Now if I score, my celebration involves pretending to take cash from my shorts and running it over to the captain.

  I was a hopeful fool going into the Saturday game against the San Jose Earthquakes. The recent games in Houston and Mexico City were positive indicators, I thought. Toronto FC back at BMO would want to come on strong, win back the home crowd, grab points from a playoff spot holder and gather some strength and momentum. It was not to be.
Instead we watched the second home loss in a row and a team that is sinking. The team had moments of fair effort and a never say die element to it. Yet it also showed TFC to be more than a touch ragged under Coach Dasovich. The substitutions seemed to add confusion and a lack of shape. You were wondering who was playing striker and where was the midfield?  Toronto had to chase the game and lacks the firepower for that sort of situation.

The critical difference today was that a single Quake midfielder, Chris Wondolowski scored more goals (3) in this game than Julian DeGuzman, Jacob Peterson, Nick Labrocca, Joseph Nane, Dan Gargan (which is almost all those who has played in the midfield for Toronto, outside of DeRo) have scored combined for the entire season. Hold on, I am cheating a little with that stat. If you throw in Martin Saric, then the TFC midfield has managed 3 goals in 2010 from their non-DeRo players. It was great to see Toronto throw everything, including kitchen sink, Adrian Cann and Tyler Harden, into the attack. Yet it is both desperate and ineffective. San Jose has wingers, TFC does not.

The fact is that Toronto’s attack scares no opposing team, at least no playoff caliber team. Guard DeRo, triple team him and you shut down Toronto.

The more the team needs an attack, the further back DeGuzman plays. If TFC will not bench him, at least let him play left back. Time and time again DeGuzman’s only move was to pass to Nick Garcia. From the San Jose perspective this is happy time. JDG to Garcia to Peterson was a triangle that they were able to contain most of the game
Should you counter that Deguzman is a defensive, holding midfielder and should not be judged by his timid ways with the ball, I would counter that Chris Wondolowski scored 3 goals.

There still remains a mathematical chance for a playoff berth. They could win their remaining 4 games and find a way to squeak in. I will be there to cheer and squirm for the remaining games. Hopeful fools can suffer, but they bounce back and put on the red.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

TFC hang tough and smart- Cruz Azul 0 Toronto FC 0

"It's more than a couple of Canadian guys shutting down Cruz Azul in Mexico City. That's all I have to say about that."

Put that fake quote on a DVD and send it to a prickly former coach.

Perhaps Coach Dasovich has been able to find the heart of this team in record time. I would have argued after the loss to DC United earlier this month that there was no heart to find in the first place. I never would have equated Conway in net and Garcia, Hscanovics in the back four with a defensive struggle in Mexico City, but that is what they came up with. 
It was bunker mentality all the way through the second half for Toronto. A smart tactic when you evaluate both Toronto’s striking ability and the demands of playing at altitude in Mexico City.
Conway was a giant and Cann his equal.DeGuzman continued to play well against this team (can he be hypnotised so that he feels that every opponent
Cruz Azul had a player sent off late in the game and at that point our red dreams became probable rather than just possible.
So now the post firing road trip ends with 1 win, 1 draw and 1 loss. That's so much better than what we were projecting in the second half of the collapse in Utah.
The home game against San Jose was always going to be big. Recovery from the DC disaster, the need to take points from SJ

Saturday, September 18, 2010

DeRo keeps the TFC playoff fire burning - Dynamo 1 Toronto 2

One of unemployed coach Preki’s favourite Canadians, Dwayne DeRosario was responsible for a TFC comeback tonight in Houston. DeRo scored twice in the second half to lead Toronto FC to victory over his former club the Dynamo. Both goals came off of free kicks, with the game winning goal coming well into injury time. Victory at the last gasp.
Toronto had been awful in the first half and they were lucky to be only one down. Chad Barrett was candid at the half time tv interview, saying that this team did not come to play. Full marks to Chad for letting loose and actually saying what he thought.
There was only a subtle change by Coach Nick Dasovich at the half, Martin Saric came in for Joseph Nane. It worked out well, Saric played a strong second half.
 It was a strange night for a fan. There were moments when I was calculating how to give my remaining tickets away for the home games still to come. DeRo made sure that at the end of the night, we were all scrambling back onto the bandwagon. The goals get the glory, but Stefan Frei deserves praise for keeping Toronto in the game. 
 Toronto FC will not let us off the hook when it comes to making the playoffs. This game against Houston was never going to confirm or eliminate, although TFC can’t handle too many losses or ties. The road win puts a smile on everyone’s face and rekindles hope. Toronto now has five remaining games, two at home (San Jose and Columbus) and three on the road (Seattle, Chivas and DC United). Four wins and a loss just might be enough, but it is not a lock. The only way to ensure playoffs is to win all five.

 Random thoughts.

-Didn’t that ref look like John Cusack’s brother?

- Craig Forrest has joined the club. The “what the hell, bench Deguzman” club. Playoffs or not, his time in Toronto is drawing to a close.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New coach, same misery RSL 4 TFC 1 (CCL game)

"Although we are no longer in charge, could we still offer bizarre excuses?"
Would you or I have stayed up to watch this one with the old leadership still at the helm?  Doubt it.
Toronto FC traveled to play Real Salt Lake in a Champion’s League game Wednesday night. TFC has rarely had success in Utah. I recall Collin Samuel scoring a goal there back in year 1. Nothing else springs to mind.
So the only hope was one of those magical mystery games where a new coach inspires the troops. No such luck.
TFC grabbed an early lead but RSL soon equalized. Then Salt Lake scored a second goal before half-time, a goal that the tv crew figured was offside. Then the second half was a disaster and a drubbing. Mista was a substitute who played 6 minutes before being sent off for a hard to see foul on Kyle Beckerman. Salt Lake scored on a penalty kick when Garcia fouled Will Johnson in the box. Then they put on a late sub, a guy named Paolo Jr who they just picked up from Miami a day ago and he scored too. Toronto fans dream of having a player who scores in his first ten minutes of play. Heck, they would settle for somebody scoring in his first ten hours of play.
So we have banished the wicked pair who were the masterminds of this mess. Now we notice that the ship is leaking and the sailors are still going around in circles.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Go, no goodbye, no farewell, just go - Mo and Preki fired

No surprise in this news from the Globe and Mail.
It had to happen, the product was rotting on the shelf. TFC/MLSE bigwigs showed some spine and ambition, at last. Where Toronto FC would be right now had they made this move last November will always be the stuff of dreams.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

DC wins on both effort and talent

I have struggled for hours now on how best to start my report on today’s TFC vs DC United game. I pride myself on not rushing to judgment, I try to present the opinions of a fan, but I also try to stay aware that I am just a fan, not an expert. I know just as much as the next guy when it comes to what playing or coaching talent might be available at any time. So I try to avoid things like the “fire Mo” bandwagon or the sad Toronto tradition of picking on a random player at a lesser level of talent and acting like he is the sole reason for poor performance.

Still, Toronto losing at home to the weakest team in the MLS and dragging to four the streak of games without a goal scored has taken me to the limit. A fan has to have admiration and faith when going out to cheer and care. Today that vanished.
There is a limit to support and belief. I don’t blame the players, they can only contribute with the talents that they have. I blame those who selected them, placed them on the field and tried to sell the result to me as a team worthy of my time, money and support.

This team has a solid keeper, a defending unit that holds up well, a midfield that has no attack other than what DeRo has to offer and forwards that have not produced. But beyond that… goal droughts in season 4?? Give me a break, this team is going nowhere. Why should I go along on the non-journey?

Mo has to go. I think he should be fired today.

Preki has to go. I think he should be fired today.
His post game comments were laughable. He is complaining that 4pm game starts has something to do with his team playing poorly. After Chicago he was worried about a curse. Your team can’t score and at a critical time of the season  its seems to be falling apart rather than coming together.

Julian Deguzman will go. I think he should be benched. I know that he is a defensive midfielder, but his passing is rushed and pathetic. He dishes the ball off constantly as if controlling the tempo of play is somebody else’s job. Do you think after today’s game DC United would be interested in a Deguzman for Julius James trade? No, I didn’t think so.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

0-0 in Chicago - TFC sinking without a struggle

TFC have yet to score in September. Their last three games have been scoreless. The same old story was on display in Chicago last evening. No attack down the wings, no danger posed by the strikers, no subs from the bench that bring a spark. Maicon Santos coming back from injury was better than the supposed healthy, but that is not saying much.
Late in the game, Deguzman takes advantage of a giveaway and darts down the right wing. He has two targets in the box and he manages to cross the ball two metres behind them.
Toronto had the ball for a lot of the second half, but then again that might have been the Chicago defending tactic. Let them have it since they do so little with it.
TFC are now 4 points out of the playoffs with 7 games to play.  Saturday's game at home vs DC United will have to be an onslaught before I am willing to give them credit for turning their fortunes around.