It was a night of firsts. Edmonton's first home game. Toronto FC's first game in Edmonton. The first time in 2011 that I listened to Gerry Dobson (he was ok).
As the night wore on you started to feel sorry for Edmonton. They played an attractive style of football, have mainly Canadian players and did not seem to sag when they went down to ten men midway through the first half.
Toronto started a surprisingly strong 11. Winter named Frei,Williams,Harden, Borman,Tchani,Santos and Gordon- all starters recently. The starters who were more drawn from the bench were Cordon,Plata,Yourassowsky and Eckersley. Even though much of the squad are starting to become familiar to the TFC fan, it is easy to forget they are still mostly players new to each other. There are signs of cohesion breaking through the awkwardness. Toronto started well and had most of the early possesion. Although Edmonton had some attacking quality, they
had sections where they already looked like they were playing with ten men and then it came true- Red Card to Edm and the game shifted for good.
Plata, who had looked a little lost out on the wing, found his way into the middle and fed a ball through to Maicon Santos who scored goal 1.
Maicon Santos almost scored again, heading a ball onto the bar and Gordon tried for the bicycle kick on the rebound and only got a yellow card for his efforts.
The second half began with Dan Gargan coming into the back four, replacing Eckersley. Eckersley looked solid, moved well with the ball in the first half. I expect he will see some playing time with Martina, so I would not be too concerned that Eckersley and Plata played like the strangers that they still are.
The second half was Plata's time to shine.
It did not take long for Plata to play a ball into the box to Alan Gordon, it fell to Cordon who should have buried it, but it fell to Alan Gordon to score the second TFC goal.
Plata showed some dazzling flashes of ball control and pinpoint passing. Maicon Santos looked a little disconnected at times.Amazing that he scored two goals on what was an off night. The second was just a gift from Edmonton's keeper.
Down to ten men and three goals behind, Edmonton just struggled through.
A good result and a solid performance, we will see how rested the team looks in Seattle. Clearly Coach Winter is trying to find the balance in using the squad to get through a busy stretch of the season.