Saturday, October 25, 2014

TFC inadequate again as season 2014 ends - New England 1 Toronto FC 0

....lingering headache.

What a stinking mess. I am afraid to find out what the tv ratings for this last TFC 2014 game were. I did wonder a few times who else was foolish enough to be watching this...

It was typical TFC that the New England goal was scored when the assistant ref flagged for offside, a clear offside, and the ref did not call play.

Yet did the injustice inspire TFC to get back into the game? Not a chance. This is a team that had ended their season weeks ago. Look at the squad and their dynamic for the final month of the season. TFC had five games in October - 4 losses and a tie - allowing 9 goals and scoring 2.

Even falling behind by one fluky, undeserved goal was enough to sink TFC. Look at the individuals on the field trying to score a goal.
Collen Warner did not score a goal all year. Kyle Bekker did not score one either. Sure Daniel Lovitz is a rookie, a call-up from Wilmington in May, but he did not score a goal in 2014 in MLS. Gilberto and Bradley seemed disconnected. Oduro and Bloom have yet to become a cohesive pairing.

No wonder New England was taking it easy, avoiding injuries, subbing off their stars and thinking about the playoffs ahead. TFC spun their wheels, Bradley distributed from a distance and his accuracy was poor. At least he was passing better than Caldwell and Henry, but the fact that they had the ball at their feet for any time at all is an indication of how little attack was being generated

The announcers (Nigel Reed and Greg Sutton) danced around the concepts of "wholesale changes" versus "keeping a core together" as the recipe for TFC 2015. I feel their pain as they had to fill the airwaves with something, but what a pointless debate.
If keeping a core is the expected return of Bradley, Bendik, Morrow, probably Gilberto and Caldwell, possibly Luke Moore, then a core will be kept.
If wholesale changes is using your four first round draft picks, filling all of your vacant International roster spots and replacing those you lose and those you send away, then wholesale changes it is.

Coach Vanney tried to play a 4-3-3 and deserves some credit for the effort and energy shown in the first half. That alone does not make him my choice for coach in 2015.

So the season is over and the long offseason begins. TFC are my team, but they are still a stinking mess. I feel that the way to retain some hope is to salute the fans. Watching the game on tv reminded me of one thing - they play that Bacardi commercial enough that it sticks in your head...

Fate threw everything at the TFC fan base.

The firing of Ryan Nelsen in 2014 couldn't stop us.

Nor could a series of earthquakes.

From Prohibition in the 1920s

and then the Cuban Revolution in the 1950's.

The TFC fan base did not just survive, we thrived

Perhaps I got some of the script wrong. This is not goodbye. I expect that the days ahead will provide plenty of material. I have yet to write even a sentence about Jermaine Defoe's mother!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Toronto FC 1 Montreal Impact 1 - the last chapter in the "Why can't we be great?" year of double Tims

The last TFC home game of 2014 and there is just too much information to sort through for one blog post.

Reflections on the season.

Analysis of the game itself.

Ideas on where this team needs to go next (in player terms, not geographical terms).

Anger amongst the fans.

I will stick with analysis of the game itself, but watch out. Other notions are bound to invade my little mind. Which makes the act of writing my blog sound like it's part of a military operation. By the way, I will be on am740 Sunday morning at 9, although I am not sure how much TFC talks I can squeeze into a busy show.

Today it was TFC without Defoe (returning groin injury), Bradley (accumulation of yellow cards) and Hagglund (suspension following red card in New York game). Toronto entered the game still in playoff contention, admittedly in the long shot category (winning two remaining games combined with Columbus losing two remaining games would put Toronto into a tie for fifth place, which is the last playoff spot). Yet somehow the feeling in the air at game time was somewhere well below joyous. You did not want Montreal to thrash us - but you did not think Toronto was capable of thrashing anyone either. Please, let's eke out a win and save the full miracle for the game on the road in New England.
So game on and there were segments of the first half where Toronto looked strong. They were moving forward and the passing was crisp. Warren Creavalle scored the Toronto goal on a volley off of a high blooping ball into Montreal's box. He fooled the Montreal keeper and put it away. At the time Toronto was on the rise and you felt that scoring goals was going to be easy-peasy today.
Then the transmission seemed to grind to a halt and Montreal scored a goal by holding onto the ball and waiting for an unguarded Impact player (Felipe) to arrive in the perfect spot.

So reaching half time 1-1 created a wary feeling. All TFC had to do was win one half of football and their playoff hopes would continue until at least the Sunday Columbus result.

It was not to be. Montreal was reduced to 10. TFC's Osorio was shown red. Montreal was reduced to 9. Heck, you could have tied a potato sack around the lower half of the Impact keeper, Toronto could not score. They could not end their final home game, their game against their derby rival Montreal, their last game with playoff implications with a one goal victory. Sums up the year, donut? Why did they take off Creavalle in the second half? He was contributing and what did we get from Jackson in the last 20 minutes?

Thoughtful fans around me in section 220 felt that if you put aside the rash promise of a playoff spot, it was a year of progress and quality. Therefore it was a reasonable step to renew and be back for 2015.
I am renewing too, but am not quite so charitable. Toronto Football Club continues to lack the royal jelly, the special sauce, the winner's mentality. Have they laid a foundation? Possibly. I would rather enter 2015 with Michael Bradley than without, but beyond him the midfield is a mess. Osorio, Bekker and Warner have all fallen short in the middle of the park. Sticking with the midfield, if Jackson and Oduro are Toronto's wingers for 2015, include me out.
Caldwell, Hagglund, Morrow are a solid defending unit. I am guessing that Mark Bloom will find himself in Orlando, Doneil Henry will get an European opportunity and Bradley Orr will not have his loan extended.
If Defoe stays, Gilberto goes. If Gilberto stays, Defoe goes. Luke Moore leverages his decent Toronto play into a return to the UK in the January transfer window. Hello Jordan Hamilton
Remember that Toronto has 4 first round picks in the January 2015 MLS College draft. They might lose at least one player to New York and Orlando expansion draft. Then again they might pick up a player from the Chivas USA dispersal. Heck, I said I was sticking to game analysis and here I go headlong into the areas of where does TFC go from here.

If you read this blog regularly, I thank you. If you care about the team that I love, thanks too. If you feel that this is a game that lifts your heart some days and crushes your soul on others, join the club. It hurts to think that I will not be in my stadium watching my team until May, more than six months away. I promise to blog through the off season. I feel that I can't stop now, the fun is only starting. Take care and dream big. One more TFC 2014 game and it's in New England. Until then....

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Just about done....New York Red Bulls 3 Toronto FC 1

Time after time, this Toronto team has found a way to lose their way.

What is left to say about this cursed team?

Individuals with talent, but rarely a team.

Hagglund was red carded, so he misses the Montreal game next weekend. Bradley was given a yellow for arguing the call with the ref, so he misses next game due to accumulated yellows.

All fans who think that Jermaine Defoe has already left Toronto raise your hand...

I will attend the Montreal game next weekend, mainly because suffering is what I do best.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned.

I will be on the Naz and Wally sports hour tomorrow morning at nine on AM740 Zoomer Radio. So I need sleep.  Stay tuned.