Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Barely friendly TFCll - 1 (Osorio) Sunderland - 2 (Defoe)

I don't want to give this friendly game with Sutherland more attention than it deserves. I watched the game on youtube and thanks must go to TFC for putting up a stream and having a play by play. I watch, I blog.

 TFC looked competitive for the first 25 minutes with a strong enough starting 11. Sunderland seemed to be in an ill temper. I forget who wiped out Jackson early on, but it was Larson who got a yellow card for a rugby tackle on Lovitz's head. I felt that Lovitz got a yellow for trying to push him off.

Vanney was smart to limit his starter's minutes and had a change of 8 players in the midst of the first half.

So by the time that Jermain Defoe (remember him?) scored his two goals he had been playing against TFCII (plus Osorio, Creavalle and Morgan) for more than 25 minutes.

Bono made some strong saves. Manella and Chapman play well together. Glad it's over and done with.

Hello Columbus on Saturday.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer heat burst TFC 2 Philly Union 1

Is it just me or does the future seem shady?

Put aside that it was a hot and humid Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC only matched the temperature with some scorching play for a short stretch of the game. TFC had that first half spell where they scored their two goals and seemed capable of scoring more. Delgado from Giovinco and then Altidore heading it to Giovinco. Gio took the blast of the shot AND beat three defenders to the rebound to tuck it away. The temperature did not cool down much, but TFC did. There were sporadic bursts of attack, but the lack of Bradley had it's affect. Not that Cheyrou and Delgado were not superb in the middle of the middle...but the threat that Bradley poses was missing in the barren second half.

Morgan and Osorio played solid games. I am not always happy that Morgan seems to have a green light to play as a winger and Osorio has to mop up from time to time. The two do connect and combine well. Morrow seems to struggle with the right back spot. Or is the attacking obstacles of Warner and then Jackson at fault? Joe Bendik was back in net. His one goal allowed was a big improvement over the four allowed by Konopka in NYC last Saturday, but his distribution skills never seem to mature.

I don't mean to be too critical of Coach Vanney, he makes some good decisions and presently has the team in second place in the East.
Yet, I do get frustrated at some perceived trends, such as delayed second half subs. You can see that the team is wilting in the heat, but Vanney is always slow (imho) to make changes. He seems to have a schedule for subs that seems too rigid, pre-set and never reacting to the tempo of the game . He needs to take control of the game and the team by trying something different. Two subs at once might be a start.
Walking away from the heat of the stadium I would say the present state of this blogger is cautious optimism. The schedule only gives TFC one home MLS game in July before a deluge in August. 6 road games, 10 home games is the remainder of the year. I had to wonder why neither team seems to have a light coloured third shirt, both teams looked uncomfortable in dark colours. What happened to kit that was mostly white with stripes of red? Now it seems only all red or all onyx.  You wonder why.....
Cautious optimism...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

NYCFC 4 TFC 4 new chapter in Vanney coach textbook "point on the road"

A tie on the road is a result to embraced. When TFC are missing Bradley and Altidore (plus Morgan and Osorio) a tie on the road is wonderful. Or, if you shake your head and recall the drubbing last Saturday in Los Angeles, a tie on the road is a great change of direction. And yet....Giovinco scores a hat-trick, sets up the fourth goal and everything victorious seemed possible. Things seemed bleak indeed around the time that Giovinco caroomed his first penalty kick off the post in the early going. Toronto was already down 2 and nothing was going well in the Toronto end. Chris Konopka got a hand (two?) to the Villa free kick, but it still went in. The penalty kick from Villa was saved by Konopka, but the rebound eventually hit Perquis' hand and went in. A repeat of the Los Angeles experience seemed to be looming. The remainder of this report could all be ravings about Giovinco. He is a brilliant attacker. He now owns the first TFC hat trick in MLS play. Well deserved.
I have to salute a few players who usually raise my ire....Warner, Jackson and Findley are the trio I have in mind. Gio's goal that was set up by a long probing pass from Warner and a classy back heel from Jackson was the moment that TFC fans probably threw their collective despair out the window. The cross from Findley that Gio turned into his third goal was also a great play . I rarely give credit to refs, but Unkel called a fair game, was not afraid to award penalty kicks and allowed the game to be a true contest. The contrast with the foul fest that NYCFC bestowed upon TFC in their visit to TOronto in June was remarkable. Maybe foul fest is not the best description for the previous game, that ref seemed blind to calling anything.

The nail biting section of the game really kicked into gear when Perquis left the game with an injury.
 A back four of Lovitz, Hagglund, Zavaletta and Morrow is not anyone's idea of superstars, but the job was done and the point was gained.  Message was given - greater depth required.....
A mention of Benoit Cheyrou has to be made as well. Cool and calm on the ball, well positioned and tough when defending, he would be worthy of top billing if the team did not have hat trick Gio running the show.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

LA Galaxy 4 TFC 0 or the things we do for love...

That old pop song (by 10cc) popped into my head as I trudged off to bed early Sunday morning. I had watched the entire drubbing of TFC by LA Galaxy. In this multi-media world I had also followed along on Twitter and visited the RPB forum to capture the TFC zeitgeist throughout the night. Wow, you can watch Warren Creavalle make defending mistakes and still wonder why some are so quick to hate him. He's a solid MLS utility player. Perhaps his starts at right back for TFC this year have earned him a spot on the bench, but he has

The things we do for love was both the tune and the sentiment after watching such a one sided game from the pacific time zone. I had missed out on the DC United game (attended Solid Sound Festival - see previous post - passion outside of TFC world begins with Wilco). So I felt that watching the LA game was rather important for getting back onto the blogging track. You can tell I am fully into the boomer category when I write of staying up late on a Saturday night as an effort and a sacrifice. On the soccer side then, I had low expectations. Missing Bradley and Altidore just seemed too big a hurdle to overcome against Los Angeles.
I wish the Vanney brave enough to give starts to Delgado and Chapman was also involved in the playing time decisions for Jordan Hamilton. Why Hamilton was not given 20 minutes is a puzzle.
Seba Giovinco was looking lonelier and lonelier as the game wore on.
The road ahead is away to New York (for an ankle kick fest), home to Philly, away to Columbus to close out July. Stay tuned.

Sub Robbie Findley for Luke Moore for actual starting 11

The trading/transfer window is about to open (July 8th?) and I figure it is a good time to review the squad.
TFC keepers are all keepers in my books (unless a crazy multi-player trade involves Konopka or Bendik).
TFC defenders are a curious mixture of players all very new to one another, so expecting a cohesive approach might have been asking to much in these early months of season 2015. However improvements are required for the tough months ahead. Caldwell and Hagglund and Simonin have all been forgotten of late. I think it is a touch unfair to be critical of the central pairing of Perquis and Zavaletta. One is learning the league and one is learning the position and they have done well considering. I think that trading for a veteran MLS central defender makes more sense than an international signing, but if we have to put up with both, then do it.
Midfield - I have been of the opinion that TFC's greatest need this season has been wingers. The Vanney approach of four central midfields in a diamond and asking the right and left backs to fill the wings stretches the back four way too much. May I point out the back pass from Justin Morrow to Robbie Keane that created the third LA goal last night is the result of forever stretching those backs (and bad decision making).
Forwards - The trio of Altidore, Giovinco and Moore could be the best in the league (yes, Moore has his critics). I am not alone in being unimpressed with Robbie Findley. Bright Dike is a mystery and Jordan Hamilton needs playing time. A reduction in the striker ranks makes more sense than an addition...

TFC 0 DC United 0 - soccer insights nil

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

I did not attend this game. Instead I went on a journey...
I should have been more proactive and asked somebody to share some insights into the match. Sorry TFC fans....

I attended the Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts.

This was the fourth Solid Sound Festival
I have attended every one of them.

My fondness for Wilco has (years ago) reached overflow and now covers Solid Sound and MASS MoCa and North Adams and the Berkshires. The music flows. The setting is an incredible jumble of natural beauty, industrial abandonment and artistic expression. If the American Dream is a multi-faceted jewel of entry points, this festival and the music of Wilco is an entry point that I cherish. Every single day we Canadians are exposed to a media barrage of a demented and hurt America. It takes a guitar chord reaching my ears while I stand in Joe's Field to remember that their is a healing and hopeful America too. I am intensely grateful to be a part of it, surrounded by family, friends and fellow Wilco devotees...

All acoustic set Friday night

 I did not take this video...but wish I had...

TFC 3 Montreal 1 or Tim L.'s dream come true

Banish thoughts of last Saturday (where TFC were mauled by NYCFC), TFC looked strong last night.

Bradley scores in the first half and that has always been a recipe for success. Bradley can start setting up others once he has established his goal scoring potential to 10.
Sure the TFC goal came after falling behind to Montreal. I give credit to the ref who established himself well and closed the door firmly on the NYCFC cheap shot strategy of days ago.
Second half was Tim L.'s TFC dream of both Altidore and Giovinco scoring to put the game away.

I am inclined to argue many a matter with Tim Leiweke. I am also inclined to put debating aside. On a night like this I walk away from the stadium thinking - if this is what he is selling, I'm buying.

May this victory establish a pattern that resumes after the Gold Cup. It is easy to imagine that this TFC will grab a top playoff spot. Now, can we play Montreal every week?
One anthem nights = sweeter victory