Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tight game, faint hope, one goal allowed and no reply - TFC 0 Real Salt Lake 1

TFC has been a team that seems to be on the verge of reaching their full goal scoring potential. Trouble is this verge has lasted for months. Deeper trouble is maybe they have reached their full goal scoring potential.
Before I go into my take on offensive woes, let me mention the turning point woe of today (other than the RSL goal).

Doneil Henry needed an extra three seconds of composure today and Toronto could have played with a man advantage to end the game. Instead Henry reacted to the shoving of Luis Silva by shoving the shover (Beltran) and it was a red for each team. I am all for sticking up for a teammate, but don’t throw away a gift. Other than that moment of madness and the split second lapse of the goal, I thought that defending and goal keeping were pillars of strength today.

So let's go back to TFC's offense. Toronto does seem to be playing a more cohesive attacking game. It might be more accurate to describe it as "just short of attacking game" as there is still a crying lack of finish. There is just not enough shots of quality or openings created in close. The first half was filled with smart passing, they move the ball around quickly and change the point of attack well. 

 If you were of the opinion that the return of Danny K would instantly add goals, today gave indications that time is still required. It was Danny K’s first start since the injury of July 2012 and he does have to mesh with a lot of new faces. I was hoping for a Danny K and Earnshaw pairing, but Brockie was an energetic contributor. Just not a finisher.

Osorio and Laba both had solid games in the midfield. Osorio had a strong first half, but faded a little in the second. It seems that Osorio and Richter don't completely trust one another and movement down the right side suffered as a result.
Laba continues to grow. If the summer player moves brings Toronto the long sought attacking midfielder that can mesh with Laba, I predict happiness and fireworks.
So a short rest and a game on Wednesday, and Canadians leaving for the Gold Cup. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Well Played in Washington DC United 1 TFC 2

Did you say 25 minutes of injury time?

A satisfying road win in Washington DC tonight. TFC conceded a dodgy penalty early and DeRo buried his shot. Toronto did not look bad at that point, perhaps vulnerable to counters, but you worried that luck was going to be a factor.

Well, the luck came TFC's way. Earnshaw scored with his head from a long ball. Silva landed a free kick into the box and DC scored an own goal. So Toronto had the lead at the half.

The second half was strong for TFC. Calm in the back, battling hard in the midfield and a few shots to keep DC on their toes. Bendik was strong and only one touch from DeRo looked scary. The subs were useful, Lambe for Convey, Brockie for Earnshaw and Russell for Silva. TFC looked like a team prepared.
The television folks gave Man of the Match to Caldwell, who played very well, but I was impressed with Laba. Laba and Osorio in the midfield seemed to be increasingly on the same page. Energy and anticipation, tough tackling and sweet passing.
It seems that the team we have been waiting for, the gelling and the quality, arrived tonight. Next weekend it is another road game, in Houston. TFC could be said to have stolen points tonight from MLS' worst team. Points in Houston will be harder to come by.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

We will keep doing this until we get it right TFC 1 Philly 1

More cheer than those skies would indicate

Toronto FC allowed a late equalizer again at BMO Field Saturday evening. When does predictable go beyond predictable and into unavoidable curse? 
I would argue that the game slipped away from Toronto in the first half when they were unable to turn extended offensive pressure into goals and then Doneil Henry was red carded (second yellow).
It was a long time to be down a man. TFC threw out a glimmer of hope by taking the lead. Jeremy Brockie pursued a through ball down the right and crossed it perfectly. Jonathan Osorio showed skill and beat his defender to head the ball past the keeper. It is already a candidate for the 2013 TFC goals highlight reel...

Toronto keeps on showing they are not a strong enough team to hold a late lead. I am not sure that Danny K for Brockie was the best choice for a late substitution.

Matias Laba looked more confident today, both in defending and on the ball. Jonathan Osorio starting ahead of Reggie Lambe was an overdue move.

Now two road games, at DC and then Houston, followed by a tough home game against Salt Lake. If goals start happening, will victories be far behind?