Sunday, March 16, 2014

Seattle sees Red, we see Reds like never before - Sounders 1 TFC 2

We could get used to this...

Ok, I take it back. My preview blog post was a case of shading my optimism with the bitter reality of memory. Memories built around a team that has always started their season on the road and has never begun with a victory. Memories of always struggling against Seattle. Yes, memories of Torsten Frings going down injured in Seattle and the optimistic start to 2012 sputtering into disaster after disaster.

Bad things have happened to TFC in Seattle, but yesterday proved that good things can happen too. Great things, those jump out of your seat cheering sort of things. We had friends over, from those barely aware of the sport/team, those who have a deep love for the game and have long supported greater teams than TFC and those who have suffered through TFC love as much as we have. I dare say that everyone left happy and optimistic about TFC 2014, a new state of mind.

So Toronto FC began season 2014 with a win on the road in Seattle. They were magnificent at times, shaky a few other times, but overall the impression was one of establishing connections and room for more growth than usual. I stated my fear before the game that we were about to watch a shiny new coat of paint on a rusty car. The contributions of Osorio, Henry and even minutes at the end from Morgan had me thinking that perhaps the structure under the paint had merit.

Y'know by now that Jermain Defoe scored both goals. You don't need me to tell you he is a lightning fast finisher, the sort of player our team has been without for too, too long. If this is what he can produce in his first week, his first game in red, surrounded by guys he probably does not yet know the names of, wow.

If Defoe created the highlights, Michael Bradley was the minute after minute creator and destroyer. Solid enough on the ball, the pinnacle was his swift, merciless tackling. He was everywhere in the first half. For the first time as a Toronto fan I would actually chuckle when we lost the ball in the midfield. Losing possession used to be the gateway to confusion and fear (and then picking the ball out of the back our net). There is such a Bradley confidence, he wins the ball back with swift tackling and a domination of territory. It looked like a huge territory on tv. I just can't wait to see him on home ground next Saturday.

Julio Cesar was strong. The goal against was on a counter attack and too many players down our left side were adrift. It was not Justin Morrow's finest moment.

I am not sure that Jackson and Rey are TFC's pure wingers that the formation seems to require. I think that DeRo takes on central runs that mess up the new guys. Jackson had a rough first touch that I am willing to blame on the cold turf. Rey seemed to slow down in the box and Seattle would have a wall of defenders come at him. Rey having no support in behind him or out on the flank made him look indecisive. I think that a healthy Gilberto should be encouraged to flank his midfielders, given their tendency to move inside.
So now the countdown to the first game in Toronto begins.

Step 1. Look at weather forecasts and shake your head at schedule maker.

Step 2. Look forward to seeing friends and familiar faces that get banished from your life by winter.

Step 3. Smile

See you Saturday.

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