Thursday, June 14, 2018

Not a pretty picture TFC 4 DC United 4

(Quickly now) I throw together a bloglet of my thoughts from last night's game with DC United. The World Cup Russia 2018 is about to hit all of us with a tidal wave of games, so I write hurriedly while watching game 1 Russia v Saudi Arabia...
I am still struggling to come towards some grasp of what happened.
Yes, it is possible that TFC felt that DC United were a struggling team and therefore all Toronto had to do was show up and waltz through the game.
Yes, it is possible that the wrong defensive alignment was part of the woeful TFC first half. We could blame the wind. Too many times this season we have seen other teams cut through the Toronto backline like a hot knife through butter. The Zavaletta / Hagglund combo just seems to invite fast attackers to let loose. A healthy Chris Mavinga is required. It was great to see a healthy Justin Morrow get second half playing time. A return to Morrow and Mavinga down the left side and the new combo of Auro Jr and van der Wiel on the right will calm the defensive waters. Question still remains about the central roles.

My big concern is a lack of attacking play in the middle of the pitch. It was true of the first half than the second half last night, but it has been a concern. It seems that the book on defending against TFC is allow the ball to stay wide and crowd the middle. Osorio, Vazquez and Giovinco had trouble moving forward in central traffic. It seems that combination short passes too often go astray and giveaways abound. Ricketts is not the right sort of player for weaving passes and dribbles. Marky Delgado has vanished from the bench and Ager Aketxe does not get the call from the bench.

So a point was gained when TFC was down 0-3. If the Columbus Crew comeback was a negative for TFC fans, then one has to grant credit to the comeback effort. The standings still look grim for playoff purposes.
Let the World Cup distract all and a fresher TFC greet us come Canada Day.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Road victory Philly Union 0 TFC 2

TFC grabbed their first road victory of the 2018 season. Ok, it was a week late. It should have been that disaster in Columbus last Saturday night.

Jonathan Osorio was the scoring star with a goal in each half. Alex Bono made the timely saves that I had felt he had been lacking of late. He also had the spectacular fortune to have Philly's best shot go off the crossbar.
The back two pairing of Hernandez and Hagglund had a few clunky moments. TFC needs to develop Drew Moor's future replacement. Perhaps it is Hagglund, or Mavinga. I should not be squawking about defending after a game with a clean sheet. Can we play the Union every week?

It was also good to see Agar Aketxe get into the game and play some productive minutes. He needs playing time and a chance to learn the league. It seems that the TFC midfield has both established roles and unsettled ones. Osorio has grabbed his role, Auro Jr has the right flank and we expect a healthy Justin Morrow gets back to the left. Bradley as DM and then a mixture of Aketxe, Fraser, Telfer, Hasler and the Marky Delgado comeback? It almost helps that Victor Vazquez gets his spot as striker.

I am throwing the cat amongst the pigeons here.
The time to sell Seba Giovinco (in my so subtle opinion) is sooner rather than later. 
He has lost a step, does not beat anyone 1v1. Philly is hardly a lockdown defending team, but Seba was smothered. The second goal (his assist on Osorio) was a gift, Philly threw the ball to him wide open.
He is also not showing any maturity, coolness or leadership. After the contact to his face in the second half, he did not get his head back in the game for minutes. If Toledo did not give him a yellow card on his payback tackle, we are in strange territory. Toledo more restrained than our striker. He is not earning a pay raise out there. 

Sure, the return of Altidore, Morrow, Mavinga and Moor will make a huge difference to this team. My opinion is that Giovinco has not expanded to fill the leadership vacuum

Maybe a loan during the offseason? That would be a way to establish whether he has value and reveal to him that if he wants a future in Toronto, it has to be on Toronto's terms.  Maybe a contract offer that allows TFC to sign another striker?

Healthy Hagglund Helps

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Crewsing along, wheels fell off Columbus 3 TFC 3

I waited until the morning after before writing the blog post. I would have been spitting fire from the keyboard. Instead I devoted my energy to yapping on Facebook and Twitter.

It hurt to watch TFC on television squander a 3 goal lead on the road.

It hurt to watch Michael Bradley make some questionable decisions on the ball in critical moments.

It hurts to see Marky Delgado, in only a short time playing as a late substitute, play without confidence and give away the ball.

It hurts to see another team get into Alex Bono's head and have him not make timely saves that were such a huge part of 2017 glory.

I know that TFC injury list continues to be a factor. TFC are missing Jozy Altidore, Justin Morrow, Drew Moor, Chris Mavinga and many more and that the vacancies are huge. Osorio had to leave the game early due to injury.

I chirp about this too often, but TFC still lacks a character guy. A replacement for Benoit Cheyrou and/or Steven Beitashour. Somebody who knows the league, teams and stadiums. Somebody who comes into the game in the late stages and calms the troops, quells the storm, makes the contributions required. Liam Fraser, the TFC rookie midfielder, played a solid first 60 minutes. He and Ryan Telfer have shown plenty of potential, but they are the sort of players who get replaced in the final 20 minutes by a character guy.

TFC need a winning streak. Defeat Philly, DC and NYCFC and I can see myself at the Canada Day game with a renewed sense of hope. But, as I said on twitter last night, it will take months before I gradually, grudgingly take consolation in last night's point on the road. 

to add insult to injury, each of these guys scored last night...