It has taken me a couple of days to post my thoughts. Forgive me, Wednesday night gave us a lot to take in.
I am not a fan of the Rogers Centre. I think it managed to get the ambience wrong, the connection between fan and field is too often missing. It works best for baseball, though even then it has it’s flaws. It is terrible for both soccer and NFL/CFL football. There are yawning spaces that make no sense and from the 500 level you find your eye wandering between big remote field and big remote screen. You can feel that you are watching, but not truly participating.
You have to salute the effort made by the supporter groups. They did more to inject noise, colour and affection for the team into that stadium than some of those cold sections have seen in decades.
The team and the game
I am not sure how I feel about TFC as the season looms. I am willing to make allowances for playing on turf. I am also willing to admit that playing LA in your first legit game of the season is a mountain to climb. Donavan and Keane have been playing EPL, Beckham is healthy and rested and the only offseason changes for the Galaxy that I recall were losing Ricketts ,the keeper, to Montreal in the expansion draft and then welcoming back Edson Buddle.
TFC surprised the faithful with two quick goals to open the game. The Frings to Silva pass that created a goal was a very nice play. If Silva can move into space like that on a regular basis, he will be the answer to our midfield prayers.
Playing Torsten Frings in the back 3/5 was a good move. I don’t expect to see it against teams that have a less potent attack than LA, but Winter’s way demands a lot of ball control out of the back and Frings is Toronto’s best.
I was pretty steamed at Eckersley when LA scored their first goal. He did get caught guarding space instead of the player. I had thought that having Morgan and Eckersley play wide gave Toronto numbers when LA attacked. Instead we had Robbie Keane seem to be free of coverage and then wide open spaces for MCGee to score from.
The possibilities of the TFC defending alignment was further complicated by just finding out that Geovanny Caicedo, an offseason signing, has been released by the club.
Although he scored a goal and played well, I am not a fan of playing Ryan Johnson and Danny Koevermans in a three forward set-up. I think that they both play a back to the net target game and that slows things down. Playing the opportunistic striker between two swift attackers works for all. Having two cagey strikers means that the one swift winger (Plata) can be isolated and smothered.
I am looking forward to the game in Los Angeles. Toronto held their ground and had an overall respectable game at home. Now they can look at the return game as a glorified pre-season game with the pressure off. A tight game with a lucky bounce could put them into the next round. A roaring LA onslaught would not diminish the accomplishment of getting this far.