Archive for June, 2009
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Call it altitude, early travel, or just plain not ready to compete, TFC was schooled in Utah. The first 20 minutes looked like The Reds would be equal to the home team at worst for a road point. But the pace increased as the game worse on and TFC just was seemingly second to every ball. Credit real salt lake for running and sticking in against Toronto. The back and midfielders and keeper were all on each other in frustration. That happens when you are getting beat to the ball. The worry here should be the pattern of giving up three goals on the road to teams that are not called Red Bulls. Back to the drawing board after all all day travel back home via Dallas and then to Toronto. I think this will be a quiet pair of flights.
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
First off, I apologize for the late post as I was on vacation last week in Las Vegas. I proposed to my girlfriend and she said yes! Boo-yah! So while we’re away, not only does the Judge in the Coyotes case rule, not only does ESPN actually show the Jays on there main network, but TFC pulls off a giant miracle to win the Canadian Championship, scoring six goals to beat the Impact.
Now, let’s not forget, this has been a season of many up’s and downs, many inconsistencies and many frustrations, but last week’s win in Montreal is undoubtedly a type of result that can turn a season around for the better. Head Coach Chris Cummins said yesterday that nobody really gave TFC any chance of grabbing their first trophy in franchise history last week, and Cummins was right. But the fact the TFC kept battling, even when down a goal early in the first half meaning they needed five to win the title, showed me a lot about the fight and hunger of this club.
There’s no question that Dwayne De Rosario did his thing, scoring the first ever hat-trick in club history, but the one player who impressed me the most was Amado Guevara. The Honduran international has been TFC’s best player this season and he showcased himself once again last week when he his team needed him most. Is he hot-headed at times? Yeah. Can he disappear from games with the best of them? Yeah. But last Thursday night at Saputo Stadium, Guevara never really lost his composure, kept applauding his teammates for chances that were missed, and scored two goals, one which was a dynamic free kick from just outside the 18-yard box. Guevara has without question resurrected his career at Toronto FC and if he keeps playing the way he is now, TFC may be able to make that run to the post-season that look so grim a month ago.
The question now is, does one win change a season? Maybe, time we’ll tell. But the Reds have another great chance to put up three points when hosting New York tomorrow night. Another weekend went by in MLS where not a single Eastern Conference club was able to pick out a full three points, and that’s good for TFC who didn’t play last weekend. So Toronto FC have a chance to close the gap on conference leaders D.C United, who sit 4 points up on TFC with 2 extra games played. Cummins’ men need these points now, considering 10 of the final 15 games for Toronto FC will be played on the road against tough opposition.
Meanwhile, onto some other business. Ali Gerba was at practice on Monday wearing a full-on jacket in hot, hot weather. He must have gotten his sweat on. Everyone is still waiting for the official announcement of Gerba’s signing, but it’s believed the league is holding everything up. Even when it becomes official, Gerba won’t be able to play until July 15th, when the transfer window re-opens. That means Chad Barrett and/or Pablo Vitti will get another chance here or there to prove they belong. With Gerba in the mix and O’Brien White close to making his long-awaited TFC debut, someone will have to go. Vitti seems the logical choice as his hefty contract is not guaranteed.
Amado Guevara (toe) and Adrian Serioux (ankle) did not train Monday morning with the team. Guevara had the problem before the Montreal game but had an Impact player step on his foot, making it a bit worse. Serioux has been a stud in the back-4 and has really played all season injured. He was noticeably limping around for most of the game against Montreal and had to be subbed off in the second half for Marco Velez. Cummins says both are in doubt to play Wednesday night against the Red Bull, but that they’ll be checked out by team doctors again today. Marvell Wynne is still with the U.S men’s national team at the Confederations Cup in South Africa after the States advanced to the semi-finals against Spain. There is a small chance that Wynne may return this Saturday against Salt Lake. Look for Nana Attakora to start on the right side of defense tomorrow night.
Here is Cummins’ media scrum after Monday’s training session:
We’ll have Wednesday’s clash at BMO between Toronto FC and New York on our website, FAN590.com beginning with the pregame show at 7:00pm, first kick at 7:30pm. Dan Dunleavy will have the call. I’ll have the privileged to join him in the broadcast booth, working some colour.
Monday, June 8th, 2009
TFC are not as bad as they are playing right now, nor are they likely as good as some thought they might be at the start of the season.
I have seen this team on the road come out of nowhere and score unexpected goals to snatch a point from the jaws of defeat. At home I have watched this team play ordinary soccer at times.
Thank goodness it is a long season because right now TFC players are looking for the mirror to take a good long hard look into it. The question now is, “how badly do we want this to work?” Is it the pitches fault, is it the GM’s fault for not providing his coach with enough depth to win during the back half of the season. Is it the star players fault for not taking the team on his shoulders yet and making a difference in every single game he plays?
These are lofty expectations I know. But the difference between being another team in a 15 team league, and being the champion is dealing with all of the above questions. Ask Dwayne De Rosario. He and Adrian Serioux have won MLS cups. There is no big secret here. Depth is just not there right now, or at least we have not seen it to this point.
I still don’t see many working any harder than Chad Barrett but he can’t seem to shake the huge Toronto lakeshore condo that sits on his back when it comes to finishing or even just looking like he is having any fun at all playing the game.
Pablo Vitti is lovely to watch with the ball at times but as frustrating when he does not show the killer instinct you wish to see with a striker who can finish!
The back line can’t continue to give up balls through the middle like they have been. You just can not, and expect to win a title. I know the players and coaches know this, but what is being done? What can be done? Is the personnel there to do anything about it?
The natives are restless, as are the players.
Monday, June 8th, 2009
I was one of the many who believed before the start of the season that Toronto FC would be able to grab hold of the franchises first post-season birth, but almost halfway into the season, I’m not so sure anymore.
Following Week 12 in MLS, TFC currently sit second last in the Eastern Conference, tied on 16 points with New England, Kansas City and Columbus. It’s been a constant log-jam in the East, but with Taylor Twellman back with the Revs and Columbus and D.C turning it on at the right time, Toronto FC have gone from top of the East to the near bottom.
There’s no reason harping on the Canadian Championship because that’s over and done with, but all TFC have left to play for this season is that MLS playoff birth. The Reds lack of scoring and questionable defending has hurt them both in the Canadian Championship but also in league games at BMO Field, a venue which will make or break the 2009 campaign.
Toronto FC’s home record to date this season is 3-3-2, meaning they’ve dropped 13 points already at BMO Field. Take this into consideration. 10 of TFC’s final 15 games are on the road, where the club has won 5 games out of 35 in club history. Even with a full lineup, Toronto FC haven’t shown this season that they’re able to go to places like Houston, D.C, Dallas, and win. And Chris Cummins’ club still have to make stops-off in Chivas, L.A, Seattle, Chicago and New England. If this team can’t get the job done at home (with a back-to-back coming up against the worst team in the league in New York) then this season can almost be thrown right out the window.
Chad Barrett can’t score, Pablo Vitti is soft all over the park and still hasn’t grabbed his first goal of the season, and after an impressive start this year, Marco Velez is starting to show some holes in his game that popped up from time to time last season. Factor in Marvell Wynne may miss the entire month of June with the U.S National Team and Jim Brennan’s right ankle injury, the rest of the 2009 campaign may be a gruesome one.
Meanwhile, I can’t say I remember watching TFC teammates during a game, yell at each other as much as last Saturday’s loss to the Galaxy. It was quite interesting to watch. Amado Guevara was really, really, really missed last weekend.
TFC supporters want a new CB and a new striker. I agree. But where will the funds come from? With Vitti, De Rosario and a third keeper on the roster, it appears that money may be an issue. The transfer windows opens up on July 15th. We’ll see what Mo Johnston if anything, has under his sleeve.
– Alex Seixeiro
Thursday, June 4th, 2009
By: David Alter
While it’s been known for awhile, it is now official, Toronto FC will take Real Madrid on August 7th at 7:30pm at BMO Field.
As part of the agreement, A temporary grass surface will be placed on top of BMO’s current fieldturf at the request of Real, something which TFC midfielder Dwayne De Rosario is calling a double standard.
“Real Madrid is coming here and we put grass in? What does that mean for myself as a player for TFC? We don’t get that respect?” De Rosario continues to rant. “We work hard everyday here (BMO) and we try hard day in and day out, we deserve grass. I don’t think because a team comes in, we have to suit their needs to get grass. I think we should keep it.”
It’s a feeling that seems unanimous with other players and staff, after deciding to hold some practices in Oakville and various locations where there is natural grass.
Frei’s status up in the air
Toronto FC could be without their top keeper for the weekend. Stefan Frei sat out Tuesday’s Canadian Championship loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps, and his status for Saturday’s game against L.A. is in doubt after missing the latest training session.
“Stef has got a foot infection and we waited until the last moment to see if he was fit and unfortunately he wasn’t fit” says Head Coach Chris Cummins in response to why Frei sat out on Tuesday. “He’s on some antibiotics at the moment, and as it stands at the moment is questionable for the game (this Saturday).”
This means Greg Sutton would see his first action on back-to-back occasion since late March and early April, where he was subbed in place of Frei in TFC’s 1-1 draw in Columbus, and then the Reds’ home opening 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC seven days later.
Monday, June 1st, 2009
TFC midfielder/forward Dwayne De Rosario put it best of the game Saturday night in Houston.
You can’t win a game 3-1 and just show up the next outing expecting and not outworking your opponent to win.
I am not suggesting TFC did not work hard in the heat in Houston vs. the Dynamo. But the Dynamo did work just a little harder, enough for a 3-0 win. Torontoremains win-less at Robertson stadium.
Case in point, the midfield was owned, and I mean owned by Stuart Holden. Stuart was everywhere the ball and space were. I thought TFC’s hardest worker in the heat was Amado Guevara. Amado was all over the pitch right until the final whistle.
I liked Marvell Wynne used up front as a winger on the right but I don’t know if that’s the best way to utilize his speed. Think of this. You have your quickest player wide right. As a defender, what are you thinking? “this guy is fast I am already aware of this, and I know I will need to call for help on my shoulder as I run and chase him to the corner”.
If Wynne is set up more as a midfielder or even from his right back position, now when he comes forward I am thinking it is tougher for the midfielder, or forward playing up in attack to retreat to cover his run up the line when he pushes forward then the defender.
This is not a knock against the way in which coach Chris Cummins set up his team. I was excited to see Wynne up front. But nobody seemed to be able to team up with Marvell and get a ball over the defender to his feet to utilize why he was pushed forward, his speed! This is all hindsight thought going forward from a very much non member of the TFC staff, lol.
TFC players still feel very good about their play this season and the good news is to a man, the club seemed ticked off at the loss. That is what you want to see in your teammates. If you are a Fan, a coach, a manager, those are the emotions you try to build into your side. Hate to lose. Don’t settle for “we played ok”. You can say it to the media when we come through the door if you like. After a game like the 3-0 loss in Houston. Every member of TFC should be angered and driven by that loss to be better next time out.