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.