Monday, September 7, 2015

Late Night West Coast strange brew Seattle 2 TFC 1

Forgive me. It is days later and I am still trying to wrap my head around the TFC news from the Labour Day weekend. Jozy Altidore scores two goals for the USA in a friendly on the same weekend that Toronto FC lose by one goal to Seattle? Clint Dempsey scores the winning goal for Seattle? Am I crazy to think that somebody needs to be grilling the Garber man on this mess.  The need for MLS to align their schedule to the FIFA international schedule only grows with the years.

I did not watch this game live. Since I am lucky enough to have a Labour Day traditional get away (thanks to great friends and their wonderful Kawartha Highlands cottage) I had updates passed along from the family member with cell phone service. I blame my almost radio silence on my Labour Day memories of 2014. TFC alerts and the Nelsen firing and Tim Bez press conferences had my tech devices buzzing away. Getting away to the cottage 2014 had meant skipping that home game (remember Bez's must win game?), the 3-0 loss to New England that so many described as Toronto's worst. All these jumbled memories contributed to deciding that 2015 cottage weekend was going to be info-tech free. Sun and rocks, swimming and beer, chips and laughter, tequila nights under the Milky Way. You came to this blog expecting soccer talk?

Now back home and with highlights and some pvr time, I can tell you this.
TFC were missing - Altidore (international duty), Giovinco (injury taking away his international duty), Morrow (family), Cheyrou (injury), Perquis (injury), Jackson (injury) and Warner (league suspension).
That's two designated players and a handful of starters wiped off the board. It makes you wonder why did TFC bother to have Michael Bradley skip his US duty? Then you read that Bradley is joining Altidore in Chicago for the Tuesday night US friendly vs Brazil. I suppose Capt. Bradley gone for one game is potentially safer than gone for two.

The TFC starters out in rainy Seattle were...
Gomez       Moore         Findley
Morgan Osorio Bradley Delgado
  Simonin Williams Zavaletta

On the bench Bendik, Chapman (subbed in for Gomez at 74), Kantari(?), Hamilton (subbed in for Simonin at 81), Mannella.

I am not usually one to give credit for a close loss on the road. No points from a game in September is going to be a concern in the crowded playoff picture. Yet, with the long trip west behind them, TFC face a season end of 6 home games, and road trips to New York City and Montreal. If the reasoning for the strange alignment and playing depth players was to ensure a fully rested and healthy lineup for the home game next weekend against New England, we fans are all for it. That next home game is huge for TFC. It could help determine whether Toronto is making an October run for a top Eastern playoff spot or scrambling.
Coach Greg Vanney post-game 
Vanney arrives at the Labour Day weekend I'm sure with unique memories of 2014. His cell phone must have been buzzing with more than just scores and news.  A job offer and a press conference invite. One year under Vanney and you don't want to jinx anything by saying that TFC look a year ahead, but in so many ways they do. Giovinco in the place of awol Jermain Defoe is the largest example. There are plenty more (Cheyrou in place of Bradley Orr is my fave).  This rapidly approaching New England home game is Vanney's chance to fully establish his grip on TFC 2015. It needs to be the reverse of Nelsen's last game as TFC coach. A solid victory in Toronto will have all of us forgetting what the Seattle result was and have Vanney in the driver's seat for the playoff push and beyond. A disaster against the Revolution will have the critics wondering just how far Vanney has taken the team.

I can't wait for this rare Sunday game ahead. Just keep Tim Bezbatchenko away from any "must win" statements to the press this week and keep thinking red and grey...

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