Home game #1 in this "bloody big deal season" of 2014. It was a pleasure to walk into the stadium and see the pitch a healthy shade of green. The winter has dragged and dragged and the darkest season needs a good kick from our football team to start the motion towards spring. It was mentioned somewhere that the heaters have been on at the stadium for the past month. From the warm up you could tell that conditions underfoot were shaky. The grass seemed mushy, bumpy areas were abundant and it was a tough adjustment for both sides.
Also both sides have had huge off season changes of rosters, so it was not as if the field was throwing off finely tuned machines. TFC had the better of the first half, but seemed to grab their chances out of fast breaks rather than slow build-up. DC United seemed to be in a bad temper. Quick to give the ref grief over everything, they also were bickering amongst themselves.
The goal was both a great effort by Gilberto and a reminder that TFC 2014 has a multitude of talent. After Gilberto had two attempts on net, the defender must have thought he had cleared the danger. However he just fed Defoe who buried it instantly.
Overall the team looked solid. Cesar was steady but never overworked. A fave moment was in the first half when Doniel Henry misjudged a cross and headed it out for a corner. Cesar was not happy and let Henry know it. It revealed an attention to detail and a passion from our Brazilian keeper. A well informed fan reminded me later that the Toronto game was being broadcast in Brazil today.
The back four were strong. I never saw Morrow out of place, Bloom is a worker and the Caldwell/Henry partnership continues to grow.
I would describe the midfield as a mixed bag. Osorio was less connected with Bradley than the week before. Rey was dribbling the ball down the middle of the pitch too often in the first half. He seemed more a winger in the second half, although I can't quite recall any decent crosses from him. Jackson has potential, but seems more selfish than needed. It is nice to have an ego, but he has to be willing to draw and beat defenders and deliver to the big guns on the team. Bradley looked strong. The boggy pitch did not help anyone's passing and Bradley might have been a bit shy on tackling in the mess too.
Defoe and Gilberto played like the strangers that they are. You could see progress as the game wore on and the goal was their baby. DeRo came on as a sub for Gilberto and he had one break, but other than that looked like he was struggling a little.
Next weekend the schedule brings us a tough game in Utah. Until then.
|Graciously given, gratefully received|