Archive for July, 2009
Monday, July 27th, 2009
TFC does not have to waist a lot of it’s time sitting around wondering how to be a better team anymore. The offense is better than last season; the goaltending is solid and will only get better the more Stefan Frei plays. After giving up three goals on the road once again, against a team that is not last in its conference, I would think this teams General Manager and coach are combing for a defender.
The signs were clear to me in Columbus that Coach Chris Cummins is not comfortable with any of his defensive substitutes. Otherwise why would you bring Danny Dicchio and O’Brien White onto the pitch when you wanted desperately to preserve a tie on the road, against a team that is now unbeaten in its last 19 at home?
The addition of Ali Gerba is already a success. You could see at Crew Stadium his style of play is hard for defenses to contain all night. I thought Chad Barrett worked well with Gerba. Showing both players can be on the pitch and be effective, instead of a one or the other scenario.
The loss of Amadao Gueverra hurt in the midfield no doubt. His creativity, along with Pablo Vitti and Dwayne DeRosario sets TFC up as one of the most potentially threatening teams offensively in MLS.
However, none of that matters in the end if the team gives up three goals every road game against teams that are near them or better than them in the standings. I can already hear the talk in the off season. “We need to address out team defense. If that means a new player for the back line, we will go find him.”
Give The Crew credit. Lenhardt and Garey just kept coming and coming all game. Toronto contained them well enough for most of the match, but obviously not the entire match.
I don’t see offense being an issue in New England this week, but I am not able to say the same about the team defense until I see proof.
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
By: David Alter
Toronto FC will be without the services of defender Nana Attakora as the team heads into Columbus.
“Nana hurt his hamstring last night (Against TFC’s penalty kicks loss to River Plate) from what I’m hearing so really really disappointed because he’s had a real good run with the team” says Head Coach Chris Cummins. “He’s out for the weekend, and I don’t know how long he is going to be.”
Adrian Serioux is questionable with a knee injury.
The Reds head into Columbus where Ali Gerba is expected to see some action a Crew team has yet to lose on home turf this season.
Sitting just one point behind Columbus in the MLS East standings, the Reds could jump back to first place with a win…But Dwayne De Rosario says unlike last week, any kind of result in Columbus is acceptable.
“I think a draw would be ok but a win would obviously be best” says De-Ro. “We should have had the win against Houston, but hopefully we can get a win in Columbus and balance it out.”
Both games between Columbus and TFC this season have resulted in 1-1 draws.
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
July 22nd, 2009 — Alex Seixeiro
6:30 — After spending 50 minutes en route from Mississauga, I’ve successfully made it to BMO Field, fighting through traffic and a temporary garbage sight in the process (lousy strike). Tonight’s friendly with River Plate marks the 2009 Carlsberg Cup, the first mid-season exhibition this year for Toronto FC.
Head Coach Chris Cummins will take the night off, handing over the reins to former Canadian international and TFC Assistant Head Coach Nick Dasovic. The starting XI hasn’t been made official just yet, but we do know that both Ali Gerba and O’Brien White will make there Toronto debuts at some point tonight. Backup keeper Brian Edwards will get the start in goal as Stefan Frei gets a much deserved break.
For the 33-time Argentina Champions, River Plate will more then likely field a starting lineup of reserves, as they begin a 3-game pre-season tour of North America. Some of the more notable names playing for River Plate nowadays include former D.C United player Marcelo Gallardo and former Valencia, Parma and Sampdoria striker Ariel Ortega.
We should be receiving lineups about 30 minutes before kickoff, which is set for 7:30pm. Talk to you then.
6:46 — Lineups have arrived early!
Toronto FC — Edwards, Wynne, Gomez, Velez, Brennan, Robinson, Guevara, Vitti, Gala, Gerba, De Rosario. Ali Gerba, Gabe Gala, Brian Edwards and Emmanuel Gomez all make their first starts for TFC this season. On the bench — Frei, Attakora, Garcia, White, Dichio, Barrett, Serioux.
River Plate — Chichizola, Musacchio, Archubi, Coronel, Domingo, Orban, Abelairas, Afranchino, Gil, Diaz, Bou. On the bench — Marinelli, Pezzela, Villalba, E. Fernandez, Lamela, A. Fernandez.
7:06 — About 24 minutes until kickoff. Although I had dinner before I left for tonight’s game, I couldn’t pass up on the free chicken pasta that the fine folks at BMO Field are offering to members of the media. I feel really fat right now.
7:22 — The Carlsberg Cup is standing on a table between both benches. From up here in the press box, it sort of kind of looks like the FIFA World Cup trophy.
7:29 — Both teams have made their way out on the pitch. TFC are dawning their full red kit while River Plate are wearing their typical white jersey’s with a red stripe. BMO Field seems to be more then half-full at this point.
7:33 — National anthems have just been completed. There’s a small contingent of River Plate fans in the crowd.
7:36 — Referee Silviu Petrescu blows his whistle and the first half is underway!
2′ Ali Gerba, wearing #10, gets his first touch on the ball as a TFC member. That’s about as exciting as that play gets.
3′ Gabe Gala sends in a decent ball from the left but it’s scooped up by River Plate keeper Leandro Chichizola. TFC have some early possession.
5′ Good movement by River Plate as Gustavo Bou tries from 28 yards away but his shot goes well over the bar of Brian Edwards.
11′ Gabe Gala is fouled setting up a decent free kick on the left side of River Plate’s goal. Amado Guevara sends it in and the ball is bobbled around in the box before the Argentine side clear the danger.
13′ Jim Brennan sends in a directional ball into the path of Dwayne De Rosario who runs it down but sends it out for a goal kick. Ambitious try.
15′ A third of the first half is gone and either keeper hasn’t been tested of yet. Seems like both teams are still trying to figure each other out.
19′ Nothing comes out of River Plate’s second corner of the game. Ball is whipped in and headed out of play by defender Mateo Mushacchio.
23′ Carl Robinson sends in Ali Gerba alone on goal but he’s judge to be offisde by the linesman. Good call. Gerba was off by quite a margin.
26′ Gerba does well to win the ball, holding off his defender, sending in De Rosario 1-on-1 with the keeper but Dwayne is called offside. Not sure about that one.
28′ TFC should be leading 1-0. Toronto FC have numbers in River Plate’s box and De Rosario sends a ball over to Ali Gerba who’s wide open. All Gerba has to do is tap the ball into the empty net but he misjudges his timing and completely misses the ball. What a great chance for Gerba to net his first goal in TFC colours.
30′ Gala does well once again on the left side to gain a TFC corner kick. Nothing comes out of it as Guevara’s ball goes up and over everyone for a goal kick.
32′ Terrible giveaway by Gomez leads to a quick break by River Plate. Marco Velez does well to push Gustavo Bou to the outside of the box as his shot is saved well by Edwards.
39′ After some great work on the right side in the box, Pablo Vitti finds some space and crosses into Carl Robinson who is unmarked and watches as his header is saved by Chichizola. Gabe Gala tries getting to the loose rebound but to no avail.
44′ Another great chance for Gerba to hit the scoresheet! De Rosario sends in a beautiful ball into the box as Gerba beats the offside trap. Gerba lets the ball bounce and volley’s it with power but Chichizola is up to the task again. TFC are unable to make good work of their corner kick.
Halftime! A good first half for Toronto FC who really made more of an impact through the first 45 minutes. Gerba should have at least one goal and River Plate are lucky to enter the break in a 0-0 game.
8:28 — Just spoke with Michelle Lissel (Toronto FC’s Public Relations manager) and she says TFC and River Plate will actually be allowed to sub off players and let them re-enter in the second half. Seems like both teams have agreed to put that in place, so we may see players come off and go back in.
First half stats: Shots = Toronto FC 6-2 River Plate. Shots On Goal = Toronto FC 2-2 River Plate. Fouls = Toronto FC 10-7 River Plate. Offsides = River Plate 2-1 Toronto FC. Corner Kicks = Toronto FC 3-2 River Plate.
8:40 — Second half is underway. O’Brien White is making his TFC debut, subbing on for Ali Gerba. Danny Dichio, Nana Attakora, Chad Barrett and Nick Garcia are also coming in. Marvell Wynne, Marco Velez, Pablo Vitti and Dwayne De Rosario have taken a seat.
48′ River Plate defender Maximiliano Coronel seems to take an inadvertent elbow to the nose. The stretcher is brought out as he goes to ground but Coronel is back on his feet.
51′ A decent strike on the left side of Brian Edwards goal byMauro Diaz goes wide of Edwards near post.
56′ good ball whipped in from the left by Abelairas finds the bald head of Gil who nods it up and over TFC’s goal.
57′ This wouldn’t be a game without Danny Dichio fouling somebody. It just happened in the middle of the pitch. Dichio is awesome.
58′ TFC keep pouring on the pressure. Gabe Gala is found alone inside the box and heads Marco Velez’s perfectly placed cross just over the River Plate net. There wasn’t a River Plate defender to be seen around Gala.
61′ As we mentioned at the break, Toronto FC are allowed to bring back sub’d players on the field. Jim Brennan and Dwayne De Rosario come back into the game, replacing Carl Robinson and Amado Guevara.
65′ River Plate make a substitution, but really, who cares. It’s some River Plate reserve for another .
66′ I sense that this game is lacking something of importance. Hmmmm, what could it be??? Oh yeah, I know. A goal! Let’s go folks, put the ball in the back of the net.
67′ River Plate win a corner about 25 yards away from TFC keeper Brian Edwards. Mauro Diaz steps up and curls his attempt into the hands of Edwards.
69′ Gomez tries to make a tackle on Villabla but instead of winning the ball, Gomez elbows Villabla right smack in the nose. River Plate are awarded another free kick from some distance but TFC clear the danger.
72′ Great footwork and passing from River Plate who show their creative side. Score still stands 0-0 but the visitors are beginning to pick up a bit more of the play.
76′ TFC Head Coach for the night, Nick Dasovic, makes 2 more changes. Marvell Wynne and Pablo Vitti make their way back into the game, replacing Jim Brennan and Dwayne De Rosario.
78′ Erik Lamela tests Edwards with a cheeky chip, but his attempt is pushed over the TFC bar by Edwards.
83′ This second half has been none too exciting. Ali Gerba re-enters the game for Nana Attakora who immediately heads down the tunnel to the TFC dressing room.
86′ Lamela shakes off a few defenders and tries a shot from outside the box, but it’s blocked by Emmanuel Gomez who is quietly having a strong game at the center of TFC’s back-four.
88′ 2 minutes plus extra time until the final whistle is blown and BMO Field is starting to empty.
Fulltime! It’s time to settle this game via penalty kicks. Your keepers will be Brian Edwards for Toronto FC and Leandro Chichizola for River Plate. The fans are loving tonight’s end to this game as it should provide the most excitement of the night.
Penalty Kick List:
1. River Plate #7 — Matias Abelarias = GOAL (bottom right hand corner)
2. Toronto FC #10 — Ali Gerba = GOAL (top right corner)
3. River Plate #17 — Eric Lamela = GOAL (bottom right hand corner)
4. Toronto FC #9 — Danny Dichio = SAVED (Chichizola goes to his right and guesses right)
5. River Plate #19 –Augusto Fernandez = MISSED (shot goes off the crossbar)
6. Toronto FC #8 — Pablo Vitti = MISSED (well high and over the net)
7. River Plate #15 — Daniel Villabla = MISSED (high and over. We’re level again)
8. Toronto FC #19 — Chad Barrett = GOAL (blasts his shot into the middle of the net)
9. River Plate #5 — Nicolas Domingo = GOAL (top right hand corner. TFC need to score)
10. Toronto FC #6 — Nick Garcia = GOAL (Garcia finds the top left hand corner of the net. We go into extra’s)
11. River Plate #16 — Gustavo Fernandez = GOAL (Edwards guesses wrong again as Fernandez goes down the middle)
12. Toronto FC #4 — Marco Velez = MISSED (Up and over from Velez as River Plate win 4-3 in penalties)
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
By: David Alter
With Canada now out of the picture at the Gold Cup, TFC will get their first good look at striker Ali Gerba.
Gerba wants to forget about the disappointing loss to Honduras which was marred by a controversial penalty in a box. While it subsequently led to an early exit for Canada at the tourney, the Montreal native had great things to say about the national program.
“We showed people that we’re a good soccer team” says Gerba. “We can play the ball on the ground, we can compete with the best. We’re still working on it and getting better everyday, day in and day out.”
Gerba will play one half in Wednesday friendly with River Plate. If Coach Cummins like what he sees, Gerba could start Saturday in Columbus.
Edwards to Show His Stuff in Net
Having been the number three keeper until Greg Sutton saw his release, Brian Edwards will finally get to make his debut with the Reds.
Although it will be a friendly, Edwards feels he has a lot to prove. While it hasn’t been fun sitting on the bench, Edwards says he’s keeping motivated.
“You know with [John] Carver here, he kind of did some things that he thought was best for the team and that meant me being the third string at the time.” says Edwards. “I definitely feel I’m capable of playing at this level. You just have to keeping working…it’s a job.”
Meanwhile striker O’Brian White will also see his first action for TFC against River Plate. The Red’s first selection at this past MLS SuperDraft has been recovering from a knee injury since his collegiate days.
Thursday, July 16th, 2009
By: David Alter
Sitting at a tie atop the East Standings, Toronto FC look to try and avenge a loss againsttop MLS West team Houston this Saturday afternoon.
On TFC’s side is the momentum of a stellar road performance against San Jose, and Houston will be without top players Brian Ching and Stuart Holden who are out due to Gold Cup duty.
Coach Chris Cummins says while that should play into TFC’s advantage, things don’t always follow according to script.
“I think it’s a good time to play them” says Cummins. “We’ve got a couple missing as well [Ali Gerba and Sam Cronin] but it doesn’t always go like that. We went to Colorado last year with a team of no-hopers as people were saying and we got a result there. We’re going to go into the game nice and positive, we’re going to take them seriously.”
Ching set up a goal and Holden scored one, in the Red’s 3-0 loss back in May to the Dynamo.
Four teams are separated by just one point in the East with TFC among those teams trying to pull away from the pack.
Reds captain Jim Brennan says just because the race is so tight…you’re only as good as your last game.
“We had a great result in San Jose there and if we don’t get anything out of this Houston game, then that game means nothing” says Brennan. “We know it’s a must win for us. We need the three points to carry on the momentum and stay atop.”
The return of Marvell Wynne last week saw Brennan move up to midfield from defense, and it worked well against San Jose. Brennan says it’s fine with him should they go with the same lineup against Houston.
“It’s not new to me, I’ve played there throughout my career. It’s another position I’m playing here for the team.”
Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
By: David Alter
Dwayne de Rosario has been named to the MLS All-Star first 11. But due to conflicts with CONCACAF, de Rosario will not take part — and instead help the Reds advance to the next stage of the champions league when they take on the Puerto Rico Islanders of the USL on July 29th.
DeRo says it’s regrettable that he will not be able to take on Everton, and that CONCACAF and the other organizations should avoid these conflicts by any means necessary.
“The All-Star game should be something that should be respected in terms of not scheduling games around that time” said De-Ro after Tuesday’s training session. “It’s also a time for players to get an opportunity to get a little rest. It’s frustrating but it is what it is.”
What it is for de Rosario, is helping his team rather than going to MLS’s showcase event.
Barrett’s recent play means tough decisions ahead
After a two-goal performance on Saturday and MLS player of the week honours, striker Chad Barrett is playing his way to a regular starting role. And that could throw a wrench into TFC’s plans for striker Ali Gerba when he comes back from Gold Cup play.
TFC Head Coach Chris Cummins says nobody is safe on the team in any situation –and if you leave the team under any circumstance, you aren’t guaranteed your place.
“It’s up to the lads that are in the team to stay in the team” says Cummins. “When Ali [Gerba] comes back and Sammy [Cronin] comes back they have to fight their way back to the team.”
The Gold Cup wraps up on July 26th.
Monday, July 13th, 2009
It was a while coming but it came. The bus ride from the stadium at Santa Clara was much more a-buzz with chatter and laughter after a 3-1 win vs. San Jose. Yes the Earthquakes are the bottom place team in the western conference. But that fact does not belittle the points earned, nor the effort put forth by TFC.
It was cool to see Steve Nash’s jersey hanging in the rafters at the Santa Clara gym, alongside Kurt Rambis for the former Piston.
The stadium was intimate, a little dusty with a dirt trac around the outside of the pitch. My first trip to California, let alone with TFC as the play by play voice. Pinch me.
Now back to the game.
I mentioned to Chad Barrett after the game, only you would score two and still leave me to comment that you should could have had three. He took the comment face to face with a smirk and half smile. Easy to do after a win and a two goal game.
Fact is TFC had many more scoring chances than San Jose Saturday night in California. Fact is Stefan Frei made one if not two game changing saves again.
Fact is Amado Guevara had two glorious set ups to score and sailed both over the bar. Fact is Dwayne De-Rosario was a buzz saw all over both sides of the pitch. Fact is Jim Brennan played a very knowledgeable game at left midfield. Jim Stretched the play as he did when he was a younger left winger, and sent crosses in with regularity.
TFC seems to play either a world beater of a game or the other end of the scale. There does not seem to be an in between for this team. The good news is the club will get stronger with roster additions ahead. At least one for sure in Ali Gerba.
As Chris Cumming told me after the game, TFC wants to win now, but also want to build a winning attitude and reputation that will attract the better players in the game to Toronto for many years to come. A few wins over teams level with them or above them in the standings, and a playoff run, would serve that goal just fine. But for now, one game at a time. Up next, Houston at home Saturday the 18th of July.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
By: David Alter.
Toronto FC are said to be in hot pursuit in attempts to acquire midfielder Julian de Guzman.
The Canadian national has confirmed the offer according the various reports, saying the money offered certainly got his attention but feels he still something to prove in Europe.
Head Coach Chris Cummins elected to take more of a wait and see approach on the matter.
“Mo [Johnston] is in talks with lots of people at the moment” the TFC boss said just after the latest training session. “If Julian is one of them and he comes in then great. He’d be a great asset to the club, he’s a fantastic player. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
Reports also suggest that the offer could be so high that the Reds would actually have to assign him as their first ever designated player under the salary cap. Each club has one player they can designate as a franchise player which does not get accounted for under the MLS cap.
Garcia Questionable for Saturday
After a week off, the Reds find themselves relatively healthy looking ahead to their next match in San Jose. But defender Nick Garcia did suffer a groin injury during a training session. Garcia doesn’t expect it will keep him out for this weekend..
“Little bit of a knock” said Garcia after training. “We’re taking all the precautions here this week to get me ready for Saturday, so that’s what I plan on doing.”
Acquired from San Jose in a trade last month, Garcia says he still has some loose ends to tie up.
“I still have my house there and trying to get rid of that and make the full move out there and my family is out there” says Garcia. “It will be bittersweet going back and seeing some familiar faces both on the field and in the stands. But I’m over San Jose, I’ve got to move on professionally. It was a great place while it lasted but I’m happy to be here.”
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
My good buddy Kristian Jack from The Score is reporting today that Julian De Guzman is closing in on a deal with Toronto FC. Here’s the story: http://my.thescore.com/footyblog/archive/2009/07/07/20726.aspx
I’ve got mixed emotions about the news. On one hand, De Guzman, at 28, is currently in the prime of his career and is undoubtedly the best soccer player that this country has to offer. His speed, ability to read the pitch and booming shot make him such an attractive player and if you ask me, slapping the Designated Player on De Guzman would be just fine. There’s been a history of the ‘Designated Player’ failing in Major League Soccer, but I can’t see that happening with De Guzman.
The problem I have with the news is a recent interview De Guzman conducted yesterday with the gentleman from ‘It’s Called Football’. During the interview, De Guzman said at one point in his career, he would love to dawn the TFC red and white, but he doesn’t think that time is now. He pointed out that he’s now spent around 12 years in Europe and believes he has another 4 to 5 years left to offer overseas. Spain, Holland and England are said to be countries from where interest is being generated with Spain being the country that De Guzman wants to remain in after ending his relationship with Deportivo La Corunha.
De Guzman would bring a ton to TFC. Another local born player who the club could market. An offensive piece that may put TFC over the top. Also, a player who could land TFC a ton of money, if De Guzman plays first-team soccer and re-generates European interest.
TFC’s camp has always suggested that MLSE are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to make Toronto FC a winner and if Mo Johnston says he can bring De Guzman to BMO Field to a multi-year contract worth 7 figures, then I have to believe that MLSE will be give their blessing.
– Alex Seixeiro