Archive for April, 2009
Thursday, April 30th, 2009
By: David Alter
TFC Striker Danny Dichio was hurt during training and at first glance it looked to be pretty serious. Dichio went up for a header and fell to the ground awkwardly, appearing to have taken a foot to the Achilles, and had to be attended to on the field for approximately five minutes. Dichio eventually walked off on his own and addressed the media shortly afterwards saying it was nothing serious.
“(I) should be ok tomorrow” said Dichio. “It’s just a little land on the back of the Achilles. I’ll ice it all day today and see how it is tomorrow.”
Dwayne De Rosario took part in his first full training session in about two weeks since suffering a hamstring injury, and while playing a full 90 minutes is ruled out for this Saturday, De-Ro is optimistic he could see some time against Columbus, even if that means coming off the bench.
“Hopefully I’ll be ready” said De Rosario after seeking post-training treatment “Obviously not the 90 minutes, but give me spot duty and hopefully get my foot in there.”
With TFC perfect without him in the lineup, it certainly presents a difficult decision to make. Coach Cummins says De Rosario will not play unless he is 100% healthy.
Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
By: David Alter
While it won’t become official until Wednesday afternoon, 1st Assistant Coach Chris Cummins appears to be set to become Toronto FC’s Interim Head Coach.
Cummins led the reds to a 1-0 victory over Kansas City on Sunday. And while it will be either Cummins or former Canadian national player and TFC assistant Nick Dasovic, Cummins says it was just business as usual during training.
“Nobody’s talking about to be honest with you” Cummins said after the team’s Tuesday training session. “Obviously a decision will be made tomorrow and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Cummins was also on the field during Carver’s last game with the reds where the former Head Coach watched from high above. That game gave TFC their first home win of the season.
After Sunday’s win, Manager Mo Johnston told the media that the immediate successor to John Carver would be either one of two current TFC Assistant Coaches and were not going to go with an external hire for the interim basis.
With the team alone in first place in the Eastern Standings, nobody is expecting a dramatic change. Dasovic says TFC post-carver has been virtually seamless.
“There is no transition as far as I’m concerned” says Dasovic. “Obviously J.C.’s not in there but we carry on and that’s what has been good about it.”
Meanwhile, Cummins says he hopes to have midfielder Dwayne De Rosario back this weekend should his hamstring injury be healed enough.
“He’s done some light jogging, I think he’s got a chance for the weekend if I’m honest with you” says Cummins. “We’re not going to rush him, I’m not one to be playing players if they are not fit.”
An official announcement on the next Toronto F.C. Interim Head Coach will be made at 1pm on Wednesday.
Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
No De-Ro, no problem!
Head Coach John Carver has taken a tongue-lashing from many around the city for tactics and what-not, but I’m sure they’ll be kept quiet for the next couple of days after watching Toronto FC’s 1-0 win over league leaders Chivas USA.
Although Carver decided to watch the game from upstairs (leaving Chris Cummins in charge), he changed up his formation going to three strikers in Dichio, Vitti and Barrett. Kevin Harmse was on the bench with his position taken by Marco Velez and Sam Cronin shifted to a more defensive midfield role alongside Carl Robinson. Did the gutsy move ever pay off.
By far, TFC played there best game of the season, controlling most of the play while defending to a tee. The reds kept the ball on the ground (which was nice to see) and held most of the possession throughout the contest, while Amado Guevara needed to come up huge with De Rosario out of the lineup and tonight he most certainly delivered. Guevara’s creativity vanished in the back-to-back with FC Dallas, but tonight, Guevara saw plenty of the ball, twisting, turning, doing what he does best. Oh, and he scored the lone goal of the night, thanks to a lucky bounce and a nice Dichio header into the box.
Chad Barrett was a horse, running his tail off, doing things well on both ends of the pitch. He also had a chance to make it 2-0 before the 1st Half was finished, but Chivas keeper Zach Thornton made a nice save. Meanwhile, Pablo Vitti made his long anticipated home debut and delivered. As Chris Cummins said, when Pablo gets the ball in his feet, he makes things happen. I can understand why Mo Johnston paid big bucks to bring this kid over. He simply has talent. And we have to give Dichio some props for going the full 90 minutes tonight. Danny won balls in the air, battled hard for 50/50 balls and distributed very well. He certainly gives TFC a different look and tonight, his tenacity was needed.
Other observations on the night. Sam Cronin looked pretty comfortable alongside Robinson in there defensive midfield responsibilities. I felt having those two sit in front of the back-four made it that much tougher for Chivas to breakthrough. Cronin also has a knack for sending a teammate ahead on a break which is a nice luxury to have for the TFC coaching staff.
Marco Velez got the start in place for Kevin Harmse (who according to TFC didn’t play to rest up) and did his job well. Although this team still needs another CB, Velez breeds a ton more confidence then Harmse does, and it’s not Kevin’s fault as he is a natural defensive midfielder. As for Adrian Serioux, he continues to be the MVP on this team. The guy doesn’t make a mistake and made a number of clutch tackles to help preserve the clean sheet for rookie Stefan Frei. As a whole, the team closed down on Chivas, limiting them to barely any space when holding on to the ball.
Simply put, TFC’s excellent ball control held Chivas to a whole bunch of nothing tonight. It felt like 2008, watching TFC dominate at home, frustrating the opponent like they did.
Next up, Kansas City at home this Sunday (FAN 590 at 5:00pm). Can somebody tell Davy Arnaud that the game has been re-scheduled for Monday? I’m scared of his wicked good talent and what he may do this weekend.
– Alex Seixeiro
Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
It’s time for the players on TFC to stop talking about playing 90-minutes and just do it!
We are not splitting the atom here when stating TFC need better marking in the back, better finish by the goal, and more heart for the entire 90-minutes.
With De Rosario out for this weeks games and maybe as long as four weeks, there is no saviour to lean on now. The players who are fit, who make up the rest of TFC have to focus. Mistakes I have witness from my view in the broadcast booth have simply come from a lack of focus.
Marking effectively and talking to your teammates is focus. Direction should come from on the pitch, leaving coach Carver the chance to sit back and watch his professional players execute what he has asked of them all week in training.
I have watched rookie goalie Stefan Frei show more command of his teammates on the pitch than you would expect from some veteran players. I am not saying there is no communication, after all I am all the way up in a booth with headsets on. But you can tell by the way a team marks up defensively if players are talking to one another enough and at the right times.
We all have our likes and dislikes about how to play the game. I must admit, whether its TFC or your Sunday morning league. I am never a fan of goalie gets ball, goalie kicks ball way up the pitch, even when its been obvious most of the match your front runners are not winning first touch on the ball. You work so hard for possession and you just punt it into hope. I don’t know if TFC have the horses to do it but I am a fan of play being developed on the floor, players showing for passes and making those cutting runs into space.
I would rather give the ball over at midfield or on the attacking wing with an errand pass than a boot up the field. At least with the failed pass or build up, you can read the defence, how they played you on that attack and go at them again with that knowledge.
I am told that despite Chivas’s standings atop the league, they are far from unbeatable. I will trust my more league knowledgeable friends with that one for now.
I do feel its time for me to reach back to our first game of the season and my first road trip with TFC. It is time to reach back into my bag of words for “its time for TFC to stage a three boner” In other words, three points and just win baby! (if you need explanation for the three boner reference, you will have to go back into the archives, as I have another 20/20 update to tend to)
Thanks for listening and being patient while I take my first tour around MLS!
Monday, April 20th, 2009
Close in the MLS does not get a team the three points it so desperately needs. Right now TFC is in danger of sliding into the desperate ballpark after thier 3-2 heartbreaking loss in Dallas Sunday.
Toronto did not come out sharp in the first half. Missed passes, players seemingly on different pages.
After falling down 2-0 through 44 mins, TFC came back min the extra minute of the first have on a goal from a set piece corner. Nice play by Carl Robinson to hammer the ball from the far side of the 18, into the top of the six and off teamate Adrian Serioux, 2-1 Dallas at the half.
TFC came out well in the second. A tad more aggressive on the ball, and then the goal TFC fans have been waiting for. Chad Barrett finally converts on a great chance in the box and it is 2-2.
Heartbreak would come when a penalty kick was awarded to FC Dallas late in the game when Marvel Wynne was caught with an unfortunate hand ball in the box. |The ball deflected off Wynne’s arm as he tried to change his direction defending in the box. Kenny Cooper made no mistake, 3-2 is your final.
Coach Caver was steamed at the officiating afterwords and made no bones about it talking to the Fan590 and gol tv post game.
Despite the loss, this team has showed character this season in coming back when down. I know it does not soften the blow of the latest loss or the standings in the east. But if TFC can find their way, the character they build through both good and bad games, will be a major part of any future championship.
If you didn’t get a chance to hear it over the weekend, check out my interview with with FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman regarding his team: [audio:http://qml.quiettouch.com/files/radio/fan590/hotaudio/SchellasHyndman-DD-20090419.mp3]
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
There are always holes in any team’s line up that would be nice if they were filled by a quality player.
TFC is not the exception to the above stated rule. However I am far from a cheerleader here but I am also far from being paranoid about TFC’s season after two home games and only one point.
The season will be be a roller coaster ride. This is a third year team! This is a rebuild in progress, with many good pieces put in place this past off season. Time is needed to have it all come together or to fail. That verdict can not reasonably be made already.
After the 1-1 draw at home to FC Dallas, callers on our post game show were concerned the team is not moving forward. fact is, it is moving forward.
If you were to ask yourself TFC fan before the season, would you like to have your fortunes change on the road and things maybe level off at home, you likely would have said “yes please” Fact is, that’s what has transpired so far.
Four points from the first two road games is a nice little nugget that will help TFC make a playoff run. Stubbing your toe at home one game and then tripping over your shoe laces in game two at BMO is not a major concern for me. Not yet!
The effort was there vs Dallas. An unfortunate lack of marking on the tieing goal, and a missed empty net header were the difference between the tie and three points for TFC.
The problems are fixable. Not any one player added would have changed the outcome of the two aforementioned plays. Unless they were both a striker and defender in one.
Chad Barrett is a player who I think needs to keep loose, but stay sharp. Have fun playing the game and the goals will come. Chad’s effort against Dallas was outstanding, unfortunately the results still were not there.
Faud Ibrahim was a delight for me to watch run the wing against Dallas. I think his speed and endurance will definitely help TFC going forward. I am a big fan of stretching the pitch out to the wings. You must have that presence to run the line to open up the middle. Faud seemed capable of the run and the cross when needed.
A big test for TFC in Dallas, a game they know they can win. Marking and finish will be key points to work on at practice this week.
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
Attended TFC practice today where Dwayne De Rosario was absent, recovering from a tight hamstring which forced him out of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with FC Dallas.
I had a chance to join Dan and Bob in the broadcast booth for the 2nd half of the game, and I did notice just minutes before Dallas scored there tying goal in the 88th minute that Dwayne was signalling to the bench that he needed to come off. Unfortunately for Head Coach John Carver, he didn’t have enough time to sub Dwayne off, and Dallas then went on to score.
Good news is that TFC have an extra day of training, so hope is that De-Ro suits up in Texas this Sunday.
Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Central Defender Jose Luis Perlaza continued his trail with TFC today. I had a chance to speak with his agent who said TFC had to make a decision on the 27-year-old by today. He’s a tall lengthy defender, who played for Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup and it looks like he may be able to help Toronto FC, if they want his services.
When speaking to Head Coach John Carver, I sense that he’ll give Chad Barrett another opportunity to start this weekend in Dallas. Chad is clearly in a funk and perhaps one goal will see him find the back of the net a bit more often. But there will come an opportunity where Pablo Vitti gets in to the starting XI. Perhaps it’s this Sunday.
– Alex Seixeiro
Monday, April 13th, 2009
It was good to see the three young kids contribute over the weekend in TFC’s 1-1 home draw with FC Dallas.
I thought Sam Cronin, Fuad Ibrahim and Stefan Frei all looked comfortable in their specific roles. Cronin was thrown in on the right side of midfield (a position he didn’t really play in NCAA) and helped create many chances with clever through balls and cross pitch lobs. Cronin also had a great chance on goal in the second half but saw his powerful opportunity fizz just right of the Dallas goal.
With Dwayne De Rosario playing just off Chad Barrett, I thought Ibrahim brought some much needed creativity on the left flank. Sometimes you forget that he’s just 17 years old, but he was able to beat defenders, get crosses into the box and generate chances in the 75 minutes he spent on the pitch. Something that Rohan Ricketts couldn’t do in the first three games. The opportunity was there for Ibrahim to take, and at least for one game, he’s done a good enough job to keep his place.
Meanwhile, as our man Bob Iaruschi said during the broadcast, it’s so important for a team to solidify a number 1 keeper, and that Toronto FC has done with Stefan Frei. He got the start over the weekend, recovered from his back ailment, and was tested all the way through dealing with 7 shots on goal and 8 corner kicks. His best save probably came in the first half (as FC Dallas had the strong wind at there back) when Andre Rocha hit a great strike headed for the top left-hand corner, but Frei leaped and pushed the ball out of play.
As for the ‘Others Not’ part of this blog, I’m not going to pin the loss solely on Chad Barrett, but not finishing on a number of glorious chances has at least given Pablo Vitti the chance to start in Dallas this Sunday alongside De Rosario. Barrett’s best chance of the game came in the 7th minute when the ball sat between his feet in the box. All Chad had to do was pick a corner and he would have been off the mark, but instead, his low dribbler went right into the hand of Dallas keeper Ray Burse Jr. As John Carver said, at least Barrett was in position to score goals, but the monkey on his back is still looming large. The door has been opened for Vitti to prove his worth.
Watching the FC Dallas goal over and over again, it’s clear that both Danny Dichio and Marvell Wynne were in the area of goal scorer Ricchetti, but the flick from Ricchetti was worked very well and Frei had no chance to make the save. TFC sat back too much in the 2nd half and allowed the visitors an opportunity to leave BMO Field with at least a point. What was clearly missing on Saturday was that ’2nd’ TFC goal, which would have demoralized the FC Dallas.
Next up, a rematch with Dallas this Sunday in Texas. Kickoff at 7:00pm, live on The FAN 590 with Dan Dunleavy.
– Alex Seixeiro
Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
By: David Alter
With Head Coach John Carver in Dallas with TFC’s academy squad, Assistant Coach Chris Cummins led the Reds latest session.
But those who did not take part in full training included striker Chad Barrett and midfielder Amado Guevara. Barrett sat out with his waistline taped up suggesting some sort of upper body injury, while training staff taped Guevara’s right ankle with ice.
“He’s got a slight knock” said Cummins. “He’ll be fine for the weekend, it’s just a precaution, we’re keeping an eye on him.” Cummins said the same thing regarding Barrett’s status but we’ll keep an eye on that.
Meanwhile it was the first chance that media got to see Carl Robinson take part in training, and he looked rather sharp. Robinson officially retired from international play when Wales was eliminated from any chance at qualifying for the 2010 World Cup with their 2-0 loss to Germany last Wednesday. Robinson says it was decision he had made months prior.
“At the start of the campaign I thought about it” said the Welsh midfielder. “Last five or six months, I’ve been thinking about if we didn’t qualify, then I would call it a day.”
TFC opener result due to nerves?
A lot of players felt they may have felt too much pressure in their home opener against a very solid Seattle team. Defender Jim Brennan was among them.
“Maybe because it was a home opener there was a bit of nerves there and guys wanted to do well playing in front of their friends and family. It was just a tough game.”
Sounders FC’s goals made the TFC defense look quite ordinary, and a lot of the drills that were worked on in training were aimed at playing tighter on D.
Saturday, April 4th, 2009
Toronto FC Head Coach John Carver was dead on when he said that ‘The better side won’ when referring to Seattle’s 2-0 win over TFC this afternoon.
Once the whistle blew on the start of the first half, the expansion Sounders looked poised, in control and comfortable, and they looked all of that without striker Freddy Montero who was supposedly out of the lineup dealing with the flu. Seattle’s midfield outplayed Toronto FC’s midfield big-time, winning those important second balls while keeping things simply on a very windy day at BMO Field. No lob passes but quick timely passes.
Their first goal was worked very well between Nate Jaqua and Freddie Ljungberg, who’s 1-2 confused the heck out of Adrian Serious and Kevin Harmse. Both CB’s were exposed on Ljungberg’s first MLS goal which gave Seattle the early lead, deflating the home faithful. Seattle had most of the possession early on because TFC gave up the ball way too easily. John Carver’s men couldn’t string together any decent passes, and the odd time that either Chad Barrett or Pablo Vitti had a look on goal, Seattle’s midfield/defence did a nice job getting into shooting lanes, altering shots.
The real kicker came late in the first half when Seattle doubled their lead in the 44th minute. Both Kevin Harmse and Rohan Ricketts were exposed when Steve Zakuani put the visiting Sounders’ up by two goals. Freddie Ljungberg should have never been able to get that ball in the box and Ricketts had an opportunity to clear the ball but couldn’t do so.
John Carver went to a 4-3-3 for the start of the 2nd half, taking the dissapointing Ricketts off for Sam Cronin. TFC looked a bit better but still couldn’t really test Seattle keeper Kasey Keller, who rhad to make one difficult save all afternoon. Chad Barrett was also ineffective and was subbed off for Danny Dichio, who did give TFC some sort of spark up front.
You can’t use the high winds as an excuse because the Sounders showed they could play in difficult conditions. Heck, they’re from Seattle. But Sounders coach Sigi Schmid should take a lot of credit for getting an expansion side 3-0-0 early on in the season.
TFC have a lot of work ahead of them, and I wonder with the poor efforts from Ricketts and Barrett, will Carver’s starting XI look different next Saturday against FC Dallas?
— Alex Seixeiro