Sunday, August 28, 2016

No idea as to why TFC have no ideas - TFC 0 Montreal 1

Is it a statistical blip? A trivia fact in the making? "Did you know that in TFC's Championship year of 2016 they never won a game with a man advantage?"

Or is this a darker omen? Could this be their Achilles heel? A window to a deeper problem, both on the strategic side (coaching) and the execution side (playing). A team that can't score when it truly needs to can have the greatest goals against statistic, but that won't get the job done.

For the third time this summer, TFC experienced having an opponent sent out of the game with a considerable amount of time to play. Every time they have had an advantage for the entire second half. If my memory serves me, Justin Morrow scored soon after the first sending off in San Jose. Since then TFC have gone a minimum of two hours and fifteen minutes (three 45 minute halves of football) of not scoring a goal despite having an advantage in players on the field. 

I think this was the first time it had happened in a home game. It was a thundering disappointment of a game.  TFC arrived after a very successful run of three road games, two victories and a tie. They went into the game as top team in the East (still there, but NYCFC could catch them with victory in their Sunday game). They had never lost to Montreal in a MLS game in Toronto until last night. The fans seemed poised to take TFC support to the next level. Instead, TFC came up with a clunker. Now 2016 has seen Toronto lose to both Montreal and Vancouver here at BMO Field. It is not a good trend that TFC falter in heated rivalry games.

When you lose a player against TFC, when you have to bunker down or "park the bus",  you know who provides the attack. Giovinco and Altidore. Scoring potential from the midfield? Bradley, Osorio and Cheyrou all share the season stat of ZERO goals scored. Johnson, Delgado and Endoh each have scored two goals this far into the season. So you smother their two forwards and dare them to come up with penetrating runs or dangerous crosses from out of the midfield.

Here is my idea, for what it's worth. The next time TFC face a team with a player sent off, go tough, go ugly. Shift Michael Bradley to forward and put on Nick Hagglund and play him as the other forward. Drop Jozy Altidore into the withdrawn striker role and put Giovinco out to the wing. Place the scoring emphasis entirely on midfielders. Stop this endless deference that is displayed by the likes of Endoh, Osorio and Delgado. If, with the ball at your feet, you present no scoring threat - then the other team will treat you as a perpetual passer. Passing last night got them nowhere. Montreal let them switch the point of attack as many times as TFC wanted. After all, it was not leading to much of an attack. I suspect that the hope that the recent signing of midfielder Armando Cooper would provide some attack in the middle of the field is in the category of wishful thinking without evidence at this stage.
Now TFC get a break in the schedule. No game on the Labour Day weekend. Away game to Chicago the following weekend and then September 18th return home to play NY Red Bulls.
September needs to be a "scoring goals" step up month for a host of TFC players. Or the promise of summer will be turning into a fall for TFC's autumn.
Nothing happening near the goal in this stage of warm-up, could also have been applied to the game...

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