Sunday, June 8, 2014

TFC 1 San Jose 0 - A win with no frills

This might have been Nick Hagglund's "could have been, should have been" moment

So TFC leaves Montreal. TFC fans are miffed that Toronto was unable to score a goal and that Montreal took advantage of won the V-Cup mid-week.

TFC traded Alvaro Rey to the Crew for Dominic Oduro on Friday. I thought that Rey was on thin ice as he was not creating scoring opportunities and defending was not a big part of his game.

Walking to BMO Field the question on my mind was could we expect a greater offensive display? Points in MLS play seemed a greater priority and adding Oduro seemed a move to benefit the team right away.

Declaring that TFC "squeaked" a 1-0 win might be a touch too harsh, there were a lot of positives on display Saturday. Putting the ball into the net repeatedly from a number of sources was not one of them. This was the first time that TFC had ever defeated San Jose here in Toronto, so I give them credit for both the timely three points and the historical aspect of the result.

San Jose is not a cuddly team. Former TFC players starting for them were Gordon, Cronin and Harden. Certainly Cronin and Harden are considered good citizen types, but I think that the presence of Lenhart makes them a pain. He was poking, probing, grabbing, shoving and always complaining to the ref. Late in the game he capped it off with runs at Bendik. How does this Lenhart guy survive? It's pleasing to scan down the schedule and see that a visit to San Jose is not part of 2014. One and done suit me fine.

Jermaine Defoe scored the Toronto goal on a penalty kick. There were some scoring opportunities for Defoe and Moore in the run of play, but not much overall. Hagglund, with two cracks at net in the first half and a header that should have been in the second, might have been the biggest TFC scoring threat. Oduro came on later and paired with Defoe up front. Oduro's speed and opportunism just might create space for Defoe.
The back four of Hagglund, Henry, Caldwell and Bloom were solid all afternoon. Bendik only scared the fans once with a mishandled ball in the box. His goal kicks are improving too.

The messy midfield had some signs of improvement. The second time watching Warner in Toronto and he just might be what Tim Bez. promised when we fans were all grumbling about the Issey trade. He defends well, goes forward with the ball with skill and his passing is ok. Even when his passes go astray, you can see what he was attempting. Osorio looked a lot like Osorio 2013. Perhaps it is a matter of getting over injuries and regaining confidence. Bekker was less impressive than Osorio, but he contributed a solid game.
Jackson is coming back from concussion problems, so it was tough to see him fouled regularly in the second half. It was always late, hard tackles that followed his passing the ball well. Still Jackson seems to be unable to feed the ball to Defoe or Moore with any success, as if he remains on a different page from the strikers. This is a problem, especially since he does not seem to be creating shots for himself either. I thought before the game that trading Rey gave both Jackson and Gilberto some time to prove themselves to TFC. Now I am not so sure.
Injury concerns were part of the game. Besides Jackson having a rough ride, Lovitz suffered a head injury in the first seconds of his arrival as a substitute and Gilberto was announced as a starter but neither started nor was on the bench.
So TFC now faces a three week World Cup break. The next game is June 27 at New York. Let the global footy feast begin.

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