Wednesday, November 23, 2016

TFC stumble early, but leave poised - Impact 3 TFC 2

On the morning after the game in Montreal, I am struggling to get a grip on the Impact -TFC game last night ( leg 1 Eastern final for the Audi MLS Cup, if you need the full title).

I watched it on tv. It was a game that sometimes seemed to be played on an icy parking lot painted green (and only Dominic Oduro had shoes with any grip to them).
I am always hesitant to blame a player based on the narrow vision presented by tv cameras, but I have a hunch that Nick Hagglund wishes he could replay both early Montreal goals. He slipped as the through pass went by to Dominic Oduro and I felt he was caught napping on the cross coming at him that became the second goal. I still had faith, courage and perspective after that second Impact goal. Plenty of time in the game, two goals against early is not insurmountable...

I think every TFC supporter felt an incredible sinking feeling on the third Montreal goal. The Impact defender Oyongo strips the ball (from Giovinco?) and proceeds to push into the Toronto half as if he had been granted diplomatic immunity for the night. Nobody challenges and with all the time in the world he shoots and he scores. Montreal scoring three goals against TFC in the playoffs was a return to nightmare territory.

From those depths came first the Altidore goal (and I was so ready to sub him for Ricketts at halftime) and then the Bradley goal (after I had complained that he had become as predictable as Osorio in the "never take a shot at goal" category).

By the end of the game, I was so rejuvenated by the two goal comeback it was hard to feel that TFC had lost.

I ended the night feeling INCREDIBLY optimistic about TFC at home next Wednesday night. My reasons for optimism include:

1.  The critical leg 2 game will be played on grass, not that substandard green stuff that the Big Owe uses. A playing surface that hopefully (more than fingers crossed) survives the Grey Cup Sunday. I will watch the Grey Cup on tv with a startling new perspective. I will care very little for the humans in helmets and will cheer for every blade of grass. Hold your breath, field of ours, it will soon be Wednesday night!

2. The following players will rebound from their wonky ways in Montreal - first half Altidore, Osorio ( I would start Osorio and give him the first half for his confidence, but sub Will Johnson for him at halftime), Clint Irwin and Nick Hagglund.

3. Sebastian Giovinco is right where we want him, taking the field in Toronto with something to prove and a bit of fire in his belly.

4. The cloud of a second yellow in the playoffs meaning a subsequent suspended game is now lifted. That let's Toronto play a tougher, no goals against style of game.

And the last reason for optimism is more emotional, more spirited, more hope than tactic.

I blogger and fan, we fans, we brave and hardy souls, those who have raised their voices and opened their hearts over the decade to such as Adam Braz, Mista, Nick Garcia, Marco Velez and multitudes lesser and greater, now stand one game, one resounding victory short of playing for the cup. After watching Seattle- Colorado late last night, I have resigned myself to the probability that Colorado will win the second leg and put themselves in position to host the MLS Cup. We will know on Sunday as that is when they play their second leg. Whether we stand in our stadium with the chance to host Seattle on December 10th or knowing that we travel, it could be the greatest ending to TFC's already greatest season.

Until then, TFC!

Salute Montreal for support, but image of painting delay is just too painful/delightful for me to avoid

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