Thursday, May 4, 2017

Varied, but valued victory TFC 2 Orlando City 1

TFC had a sparkling first half against Orlando City last night. They continued the excellent passing and movement that had dominated Houston just days ago. Vazquez was distributing the ball beautifully. Delgado, Edwards, Beitashour on the wings were taking defenders on and making things happen. Giovinco and Altidore were getting the ball in good attacking spaces. Seba Giovinco scored both goals and it was possible to dream of a goal fest.
Then the tide turned.
I have a lot of respect for Orlando, they have built a solid team. You have to respect a team that gets a  very late first half goal from their superstar, Kaka, and then gets stronger in the midfield when they replace him for the second half. Toronto seemed to shrink a little as Orlando played a more muscular style of play and their midfield dominated. When TFC dominate ball possession they have the players to dazzle with. When the opponent takes over the ball, TFC seems smaller, weaker. Dare I say it, they lack a Will Johnson. Subbing Osorio in for Vazquez improved the defending in the midfield, somewhat. Cooper for Edwards was for defending purposes too, one supposes. TFC preserved the lead and grabbed the victory, so they withstood the onslaught. It was always in doubt though and that diving slap save from Alex Bono in net, as the ball looked a sure goal for Orlando, was the most memorable moment from Toronto in that half.
If the night was one part exciting passing and motion and one part experimental rugby, I must give some credit for the grappling rugby portion to ref Baldomero "baffling decisions" Toledo. Jozy Altidore in particular was impeded, grabbed and muscled and somehow Toledo found a way to make calls against him. I am all for ref respect, but I wish I could find a way to have Mr. Toledo impeded as he does his job the way he allows TFC forwards to be impeded. Perhaps a drone buzzing his butt while he makes his mysterious calls.
pre-game Coach Conway warming up game saver Alex Bono

A fan blogger salute to Coach Greg Vanney who coached his 100th TFC game last night, the club record (which might say more about the club than Mr. Vanney, but I quibble). I feel like an old-timer to recall the start of his era, in on the heels of the firing of previous coach Ryan Nelsen (who has gone onto?) back in September 2014. Who thought then Coach Vanney would last this long? Or qualify for playoffs in his first full season? Or take TFC to the MLS Cup final in his second full season?
It is time to clear away those old clouds of doubt and salute the accomplishment. Greg Vanney, longest serving and most successful TFC coach. Long may he reign win.

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