Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Can we play them every week? MTL 0 TFC 3

Incredible, unexpected, overdue and overwhelming, Toronto filled the net in the second half in Montreal. They put three past Donovan Ricketts and looked like they owned the place. The Montreal fans sure hated the Toronto treatment. Make that the "incredibly rare in 2012 Toronto treatment".
Although it has taken until the brink of July to see the kind of style and determination that TFC showed us back in March with the two games against LA in the CONCACAF CL, I suppose it is better late than never. Is this progress? Is this a tougher team that has learned from recent games where wins were lost? If TFC continues to rise and thrive, do we credit new manager Paul Mariner or were things set in motion by departed Winter?
Nick Soolsma added the touch of redemption that I was hoping for on Saturday from Luis Silva. Soolsma was solid, never flashy but always finding ways to connect.
Torsten Frings sparked the game, the first goal of the game was also his first scored for Toronto. Whatever was slowing him down on Saturday did not seem evident on my television screen tonight.
Now New York...
Shocked Montreal fans burn down their town.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

TFC continues to lose ties - TFC 1 New England 1

The aircraft carrying the defending skills for the second half arriving two hours late

Today was the first TFC home game with the new manager in charge.  Paul Mariner was probably hoping, as most of us were hoping, that he could bring to the home field all the energy of the first half the other night in Houston without the collapse at the end of the second half. No such luck.
I am such a fool. Take the same the players who were not good enough for the departed Winter and tweak the formation, what do you get? We saw it today,  a slightly tweaked version of the same old guys. It was great to see two quality goals in the first half, but cheering for Toronto in the second half was akin to cheering all evening for the sun not to go down.

Just some scattered observations.

Credit goes to Milos Kocic  for earning the point today, he made some top drawer saves.
Long before he was taken off, something did not look right about Torsten Frings.

How can you play the possession game when you have deGuzman on the field? In the second half he seemed to be giving the ball away every chance he had.

Ryan Johnson made a full effort in both halves. Danny Koevermans was quality in the first half and invisible in the second.

Doneil Henry looked ragged in the late going. Putting Logan Emory into the central defending role seemed to make little difference .

I thought that putting Luis Silva on in the second half was a gamble that was going to pay off in a big way. Here is a young player who has had his Houston mugshot splashed all over the media this week. Clearly there are no serious consequences as he is in uniform. Maybe I wanted the Hollywood factor to kick in, but he was a step down from Eric Avila. Silva seemed to lack anticipation.
Just how did New England manage to dominate the last 20 minutes of the game? 

I dread the midweek road game in Montreal. I will watch it, but I dread it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Toronto shows fight and firepower Houston 3 TFC 3

The early June dawn broke and it was easy to start the day with a touch of heartbreak. No, not the heartbreak from looking at old photos. The Euro 2012 feast of two “top level” international games a day ended yesterday and what do we have to tide us over until the quarterfinals start tomorrow? TFC, with nightclub fights and arrests still in the air, visit Houston. Heartbreak starts the day and then a sense of dread starts to creep in. My sense of “All for One” came into this game all but done.
 Could you get away with saying that Paul Mariner’s TFC made their full debut tonight in Houston?  Three goals in the first half and only one defensive lapse describes the Toronto first half. Who are these guys? Danny Koevermans was regaining his star status with timely runs and excellent finish. Avila was active and intelligent with the ball. Even JDG contributed a pinpoint cross to create the third goal.
 The second half had less offensive fireworks, which is to be expected from Toronto guarding a two goal lead. Once Houston scored their second goal the tension returned and you had to wonder if TFC would return to their horrible road form. The TFC heart, the fighting spirit and the willingness to sacrifice was thrilling until Houston scored in the 90th minute. Then Toronto was on the ropes. 5 minutes of injury time seemed to be cruel and unusual at that point.
 There has been much speculation, inspired by scandal, with the arrest and suspension pending investigation of the TFC 3 (Aceval, Soolsma and Silva). I think that if a TFC fan is outraged they are  either reacting to a negative story in a negative season or they lead a very sheltered life.
If the story that TFC allowed young Silva to stay with the team rather than attend a family funeral turns out to be true, that would be the poorest decision (TFC management’s that is) made in the whole affair. 
 So it ended with a touch of heartbreak, but bring on the Saturday home game I say.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The losses continue to mount KC 2 TFC 0

What a mess. TFC played for a new coach tonight , Paul Mariner’s debut, but the same old team wore the shirt.  A different formation as TFC returned to the traditional 4-4-2, but the players seemed keen on demonstrating that they can be beaten in any formation. The first half was hard to watch.
KC’s first goal was a case of horrible Toronto defending.  The cross from the KC left wing eluded at least two Reds and fell to an open target in front.
The second goal was a volley from as the KC defender was able saunter onto a corner kick at the far post.
The Avila shot that managed to hit both posts just might be the TFC moment of 2012.

The second half gave us a TFC with better shape, greater grit and fire, but no goal scoring ability.
If the coaching change was intended to give TFC a new direction,  a fresh start so that an element of optimism can be found before ticket renewal time is upon us, nothing new seemed on offer in Kansas City tonight.
 Paul Mariner in the post game interview on GOL TV deserves credit for not kicking his own team when they were down. However he may have been too proud and too pleased with a team that looks a long way from a road victory in 2012.

More fun ahead....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

End of Winter on the 7th of June

TFC's sixth coach fired today
The Globe and Mail website caught my attention as I did my lunchtime headline scan, TFC fires Aron Winter. Not a huge surprise. A little sad that another attempt to set a direction for this club has faltered, but we knew that months ago now. What hope can a fan grab from a coaching change at this point?  A winning streak of historic proportions would eventually get us to .500.
Player changes and formation changes will be the next steps. All to be done on the quiet as everyone turns their attention to the Euro.