|When TS Eliot wrote "April is the cruelest month" was he just a TFC fan in disguise?|
This is painful. Letting victories slip through your fingers is a habit that must be destroyed. If it is going to take blogger anger to end it, so be it. I am spitting mad, so I will start with the stunningly stupid ending to today’s game. There is just no way that Houston should be allowed to dominate a corner kick as they did in the last ticks of the clock. Houston was down a player and did not move their keeper into the attack. Plus the kicker is not going to factor in the play beyond his initial delivery. So Houston has 8 players in the box versus the Toronto 11. Somehow Houston was able to head the ball twice, the first contested and the second uncontested, to bury the ball into the Toronto net and tie the game. That was both sloppy defending and a critical lack of desire on TFCs part. As an isolated event this would be a monstrous goof-up. The fact that it is part of a pattern, the late game TFC collapse that all dread and all expect as regularly as the setting of the sun, just boggles the mind.
I will save my theories for why TFC falters for a future blog (when the sedatives have worn off). I also admit that my section is so far away from the play, so I will temper my criticism. It did seem that Bendik, Lambe and O’Dea were all caught flat-footed at the same game-changing moment. Yet that could be misleading as somebody had to be responsible for marking Warren Creavalle, the goal scorer for the Dynamo.
So, it was another shimmering mirage of a game. It was a close contest in the first half. Toronto was the better team in the second half and fully deserved their lead. It is fair to say that with a bit of luck or against a poorer keeper Toronto could have had a handful of goals. Earnshaw hit the crossbar in the first half and had a great chance foiled by the fingertip of the Houston keeper in the second. Will Braun had a header stopped that looked like a sure goal.
It is still early in the season and positive signs are everywhere in TFC land. We can complain about a series of draws, but it sure beats last year’s series of losses.
The internal heat derived from the ending has caused me to forget just how cold it was today. Snowflakes were spotted at one point. Once you had made the smart decision to wear your ski layers, it was fine. The winds were calmer than I feared.
Both Ryan Richter and Logan Emory had quality games today. It was a pleasant surprise to see TFC depth in the back line. Until Richter messed up a cross in the second half he had seemed stronger with the ball at his feet than I ever would have imagined. O’Dea and Agbossoumonde were solid in the center. Most games you are willing to ignore Hall’s misadventures with the ball because he gives TFC defensive cover in the middle of the field. Never expected him to be our goal scorer today, but even before scoring his passing was improving and he was showing attacking confidence. Ephraim had a stronger contribution today than Reggie Lambe. I still think that a healthy Darel Russell should be given a start down the right wing, especially when we have Eckersley and Richter to choose from at right back.
I am not sure that the substitutions were the wisest (I know, I know – hindsight). Once Lambe had picked up a yellow card I was hoping for Bostock to take his place. Taking both Silva and Earnshaw out of the game was taking too much firepower away. The Emory injury was unfortunate and forced a defensive substitution (Doneil Henry).
Going into the game would I have been happy with a draw? Yes, of course, Houston is a tough team to play against. If this is to be a year of baby steps forward, so be it. See you Wednesday night for the Montreal game.