Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blame it on the Ex - TFC 1 San Jose 1

I may take a few days to develop a theory that hit me tonight. The problem with TFC is the CNE. I am of baby boomer vintage and can remember when the CNE was the pinnacle of a Toronto summer. It was not just an amusement park, it was a showcase for the latest and the greatest The world has changed and we know that the old CNE has been left behind by Disney this and Universal Studios that. Amusement parks have themes and parking and a sense of destination. As for the latest and greatest, when we want to gaze at new product we peruse video presentations of them. TFC has been put together in an old CNE carnival style. New players mostly, but there is a jumbled sense to how they look together. Frings is the Horse Palace, strong and functional but nobody thinks of flashy when they are in the Horse Palace. Food Building = Ty Harden, Andy Iro as the human cannonball. Which amusement ride best describes Plata? More to come. PS fleshing out this idea will be more fun than watching the game against San Jose.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lost in Chicago - The Gargan Released

Tonight it was torture by television. Toronto FC lost 2-0 to the Chicago Fire, allowing Chicago to go ahead of Toronto in the standings. It was an odd game, TFC showed a lot of ball control and did manage to hit the post twice, but overall they lacked any finish. It was fitting that Dan Gargan scored against Toronto. It was a combination of sloppy defending and Gargan determination that created the goal.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Toronto wins in Panama - no charm, no style, no ref

The final score was 2-1 in favour of TFC. The word to describe this Champion's League game between Tauro of Panama and Toronto FC would have to be brutal. The play of TFC, the way that Tauro controlled the ball but had no ability to put it away, the way that the ref was calling every challenge a foul, the way that DeGuzman lunged and fouled to give up the penalty kick that resulted in the goal, all of this and so much more - brutal. You can be pleased with the victory and feel that Toronto got away with points against the run of play and the 30 fouls that the ref threw around. You just hope that we don't have to suffer through another spectacle like that for years to come. It will be interesting to see the return match here in Toronto, there should be no excuse for TFC to not tear them apart.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rare win, grab what you can TFC 1 Real Salt Lake 0

 A victory is a victory and each should be valued.  At least that is what I have been trying to tell myself on the drive home. They have been rare enough in 2011, a season where TFC have played 26 games to reach the plateau of 4 victories. Somehow plateau does not seem like the right word. Perhaps it should be 26 games to reach the doorstep of 4 victories.
On top of the joy of a victory should be the double joy of defeating Real Salt Lake, a team that Toronto has not had much success against. Plus the performances of Plata and Kocic were worth the price of admission, so bring on the joy…

 However, I thought there was enough room for concern with Toronto’s performance that the joy is restrained. They seemed to control a lot of the play, yet the lack of finish continues to be a trademark. Koevermans was not firing tonight and could have been taken off the field at half time, says I.

  Let me talk players and positions for a while. I can understand Coach Winter’s thinking in shifting Torsten Frings back into a central defender role. All year we have been witness to the burden the back four plays in Winter’s preferred playing style. There have been games in which it seems that TFC’s back four have the ball at their feet most of the time. Heaven knows that Andy Iro benefits from having Frings nearby and ready. My concern is the midfield hole that shifting him back creates. 

 The midfield tonight was Julian De Guzman, Eric Avila and Matt Stinson. Avila showed some skills, both in tackling and on the attack. His passing to Peri Marosevic was good and seemed to be one of the bright spots of the first half. Stinson seemed to be the odd man out and was eventually subbed by a defender. Which leaves us with JDG. I will give him some credit in defending – he was clogging up the passing lanes, covering and even showed a willingness to take on Kyle Beckerman in a tough tackle later in the game. The trouble is his attacking, or lack of it. Yes, he is accurate when he pushes the ball out to the wings to change to point of attack. He can boot it with ease and it travels to Plata land. But where is the variety? Where is the forward progress? Weaving through the defenders and drawing fouls just never happens. Probing passes, forget about it? Holding the ball up and finding a way to break into space

 We end up watching a sideline game. TFC always has the ball out on the edge. Sure, Plata’s goal was the result of coming in from the wings, but most of the time it just stays stuck out there. JDG seems to think his job on the ball is to take it from being stuck out there to being stuck out the other there.
When you calculate how many times Salt Lake hit the crossbar and how many brilliant saves Kocic had to pull off late in the game, TFC is not going to squeak many more 1-nil victories from this line-up. Cherish the win. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Missed this one - How did DeRo look? DC 3 TFC 3

Missed this one. A Muskoka weekend without cable and I forgot to record. When I heard that DC scored first and then Toronto ended with a tie on the road, I thought it was acceptable.
Then the DeRo hat trick and the Iro blame game took to the air.
Never dull in Toronto FC land, never dull.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Found the group stage, went through the long grass RE 1 TFC 2

Nine banded Armadillo - habitat - the long grasses found within soccer stadia
Late, late last night I watched TFC handle a tame Real Esteli. It was one of those weird media nights. I watched the first half on television and then went onto the TFC chat to see what Asif was saying. Soon discovered that what I had been watching on tv was not live and that I was able to move through time rapidly. Ryan Johnson had scored his second goal and it was just a matter of time. I still watched until the end, but it is a strange tension free viewing experience.
I give Winter credit for a handful of good decisions last night. The playing of Kocic was a supportive gesture to the 2nd keeper. I would not have been big enough to do it. Giving Henry and Morgan playing time was smart and the coaching confidence in Stinson continues.
Earlier the trade of Maicon Santos to Dallas for Eric Avila was announced. I don't know what TFC has obtained, but I know that Santos' went from big cheese to man without a position on the team in a matter of months. There has been a stampede of players in and out and this could be the end of it. However I would not bet on it. The likes of Sturgis, Yourasskowsky, Soolsma could be candidates. Javier Martina was subbed very early last night and look what that did for Santos.