Saturday, April 21, 2012

TFC 2 Fire 3, not resigned, never abandoning the team, but pissed and steamed...

April is the cruelest month and after today’s game I am developing a scary theory around season 2012.  Every month will be April.
   Is it a Toronto thing to build all their hopes around a savior or is it a Judeo-Christian thing? Go ahead and discuss that for your thesis, you university types. Don’t forget to cite me for both background and inspiration. It might be all the inspiration you are going to find in the TFC world today.
   Now, wasn’t the theme of the week that all would be fine because Torsten was coming back? TFC would be a different team with the captain back. It was a classic TFC moment as seconds after Mr. Frings had first touched the ball, Chicago scored. I am not picking on Torsten Frings, mistakes can happen by the lake. However this is not a team just waiting for a magic ingredient. This is a mess.
   Chicago did not play the role that TFC seemed to desire from them. Chicago Fire being the team that TFC had their first goal and first victory against seemed to be the other theme. The Fire made the most of their chances and then played shutdown soccer when they needed to. 
   I give TFC some credit for fighting back into the game. I can’t be the only one who had a great view from the west stand as Lambe’s first goal was a curving rocket to the top corner.  My pet theory, that when the goal drought ended it would end in a flood of goals, had it’s tiny moment when Lambe scored his second goal. Then it was back to the frustration.
My theme of frustration remains the midfield. It seems like a revolving door out there and Winter is throwing out midfielders until something works. Today's candidates were Dunfield, Stinson, Avila, Silva, Burgos Jr. Santorum, Gingrich and Romney. Thanks to vigilant security and a supremely athletic ball retrieving squad, Rohan Ricketts was kept off the field.
Late in the game when Chicago had all their players back to protect their lead, Frings returned to the midfield and the middle of TFC’s attack looked cohesive for the first time in a long while. The wise men of 220 are saying end this Frings as a central defender strategy, wasn't this an emergency move when Cann was hurt last year?
  Let’s cut the crap, I am throwing this on Coach Winter. Three times TFC faltered today, in the first minute of the game, once they had the lead and at the beginning of the second half when Chicago took the lead again. Although I am not a fan of Winter’s formation and will quibble with his player selections, his is a team that knows how to choke better than anything else right now. Winter seems to combine an inability to inspire with an inability to limit the damage. Allow a goal in the first minute is cruel, but you have time to recover. Rally, recover, rise above your foe, rouse your fans; these are the things that TFC lacks. Heart and spirit in other words. This AIN’T our house…..

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hoping for Clockwork Orange, getting Agent Orange TFC 0 Chivas 1

If season 2012 were a movie, right now it would be firmly in the horror genre. TFC continues to stick to the same script for all their home games. It takes only a quick shot or a lucky break for the road team when the home team never scores. San Jose thumped TFC, and now Chivas took the Columbus route, scoring that minimum goal to take the three points. Now all we need is to add a soundtrack of eye-popping screams and we can break out the popcorn.
You know the sad totals.  TFC have not won a game nor gained a point.  They have not yet scored a goal in Toronto in MLS league play this year. A home record of three losses and a goal differential of -5 is the result. 
 I keep on expecting the team to suddenly burst through and fill the net someday. The trouble is that someday may be in October. To my eye there is not a lack of individual talent or effort, but a lack of cohesion. The players often play like strangers, heck make that always play like strangers. Then when the anticipations and the small passes to set others up fall apart, too many decide to become solo attacking monsters. No decoy runs, no drop back passes or overlaps. Just try to bull into scoring space and hope for the best.

I think Toronto is just too easy to counter-attack. I know, I know, I hate the 4-3-3. Yet, just when do I get to see it? Ryan Johnson charges ahead so often into the striker role TFC always seems to be missing a midfielder or a winger. There are acres of space between Toronto’s back four and their front four. It just takes a bit of anticipation for the opposition to exploit that space and we fans hold our breath for the inevitable strained defender’s breakdown. Dunfield and Silva were forced to cover too much ground in defensive mode. When Silva went forward in the first half I was always looking behind him to see how the defenders were going to fill in the acreage.

Should the return of Frings next Saturday against Chicago change the direction of season 2012, I will be the first to dance around while sighing that huge sigh of relief. Yet I think that the problems are deeper than that. Frings might have TFC looking better in the next game, but they will be a team in huge need of road victories. That is a tough task for a team yet to provide home victories.

DeGuzman was on the bench and stayed there.
The ref called a good game. The yellow for simulation for the Chivas winger who had moved in behind the TFC defender was a wonderful moment.
TFC had a handful of scoring chances in the second half that had you believing that invisible forces would keep the ball out. 
Henry was a second half sub and looked good in the air. I think that Aceval has a place on this team, if Cann and Henry can be the regular central pairing, could Aceval move up into the midfield??

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

TFC crushed in Mexico 6-2

I will use some strength tonight to write softly. I look for the positives and find a few on a night where we TFC fans had a faint hope lifted high in the first half, then crushed in the second.
So positives...
Plata's two goals were both superb. It was a wonderful sign to see him scoring. May he transfer that fire, speed and skill to the MLS.
The refs were fair, they were not the negative factor that I feared.
Soolsma is continuing to show confidence and skill on the ball and be a factor for this team.

TFC next plays Saturday in Montreal. Considering that we are still inside the first month of the 2012 season, there have been a huge amount of big games. No denying that the game in Montreal is a big one.
Keep cheering.