Sunday, May 24, 2015

Starting with the sounds of supporter silence TFC 1 Portland Timbers 0

top left of picture - the fine folks who travelled from OREGON to be banished at BMO
The south end supporter groups wore black, had banners about the 2016 stadium share with the CFL and made no noise until the Dichio song. I salute them (wore black myself) and understand that although the decision may have been inevitable, that does not make it right and the potential for things to go wrong remains strong. A Toronto soccer fan has no obligation to save the CFL in this market (especially when you can argue that the Toronto baseball fan has done lasting damage and that CFL fans have enjoyed 26 years of self inflicted damage). The Argos have been a sinking boat for decades and if you think that being the afterthought tenant at BMO and the ownership of Larry Tanenbaum (who buys the team for a toonie one day and then the next day talks about NFL in Toronto as inevitable) is going to change the buoyancy of that boat, you are hoping to hard. Sorry to say it, but kill TFC and a soccer in Canada dream dies, kill the Argos and most are going to watch and attend Bills games anyway...

Back to the TFC game. It was a frustrating victory. You felt TFC had the potential for a handful of goals in the game. Some credit has to go to Portland keeper Kwaraesey who made some solid saves to keep his team in the game. It was frustrating, in a twisted way, to see the improvements in just a few weeks. They played in yesterday's game in the manner you had hoped for in the opener against Houston. Benoit Cheyrou played the part of midfield maestro throughout the day. He makes everyone around him better, frees Bradley from having to track back too deep and picked out Giovinco on an incredible long pass in the first half. I was going to describe Giovinco as the high profile star of the day and Cheyrou as the stealth star of the day...but then some online sources had Cheyrou as man of the match...

Vanney move #1 TFC fans moved to the edge of their seats with ten minutes to go - anticipating the TFC defending letdown that would gift Portland a point. One of the reasons that TFC did not give up that expected late goal was Coach Vanney's substitution of Nick Hagglund to play with five defenders in the back. It means that the team sits back and goes into a shell, but it worked. We will take ugly over deflating any day.

Vanney move #2 It seems that the TFC wingers are a rotating squad, Osorio, Warner, Creavalle and Jackson all had some playing time. Warner was subbed at halftime and it must have been injury related because he was a solid presence. Warren Creavalle played well, he was regularly intercepting Portland passes and had a sizzling shot at net.

Idle trade talk MLS has wisely changed their rules so that the trading window aligns with the summer signing window. So TFC can't trade again until July. So I am speculating weeks ahead, but does the solid play of Chris Konopka in net put Joe Bendik in trade jeopardy?

Portland's fans banished?
It used to be that visiting supporters were kept together and made secure in the top north east corner of the stadium. Now that a new section has been built above the old one and the top north east seems to be a mile further up. Why put Portland fans that far up? It actually looked funny at the end of the game when Timber's players were saluting their fans. It looked as if they were clapping for fans above them in the clouds. It think that part of the problem is the pricing of the new eastern upper deck tickets. TFC needs to make it a better bargain. Forget about distance from the field. Fans will soon learn that for most game times you spend the game staring into the setting sun. Nice for tanning, not so nice for viewing.

Final utterings
Where was Osorio going when he blocked Gio's shot that had already passed the Portland keeper? Osorio played a good game, but being in the way of a sure goal ends up being the lowlight of the game. Ashtone Morgan continues to play well. He was given a plaque before the game to honour his new status as TFC player with the most games played.

Next game - the friendly vs Man City

No comments: