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....

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