Archive for August, 2009
Sunday, August 30th, 2009
The only way TFC will make the playoffs is if they play their best game in Denver this Saturday.
The only way TFC had a chance at keeping their playoff hopes alive this past weekend was by playing their best game to date. They did that over the first 45 minutes of a 0-0 tie with the Sounders.
The Sounders supporters numbered over 32-thousand at Qwest field Saturday afternoon. That fact seemed to work for TFC and in particular it’s younger players. The youth took the vibe from the sold out lower bowl on the west coast, and turned it into energy that went straight to their legs and hearts.
If not for some hard lines in the first half, The Reds could have taken a 2-0 lead into the room at the half. Chad Barrett ran hard Saturday and with purpose to strike goal as well as defend in the midfield.
Amadou Sanyang showed great poise as well as confidence playing a place on the pitch normally reserved by veteran Carl Robinson. Sanyang defended, and stepped up to distribute through the attacking midfield with near fear.
Nana Attakora was not afraid to play a physical game on the back line. Stand up for his position on the pitch against some big and talented players in light/lime green.
Once again Stefan Frei proved his worth with game saving stops, and one of them came in extra time to preserve a point.
Marvelle Wynne was strong on the right side of the midfield. His speed and willingness to take the ball wide to open up space is necessary. Add to that, Wynne is able to drop back and defend if a point is in the balance as it was Saturday.
Danny Dichio did not see any minutes. Ali Gerba came on for Barrett in the second half. Chad still seemed to have legs and this change did leave me wondering a little. Dicho told me in Seattle he would like to have played more minutes than he has so far this season. But in the same breath said there is no rift between he and coach Cummins.
The fact Toronto got into Seattle an extra day ahead of the game in think helped the players relax in the new environment, and come game time were loose and better able to attack the Sounders rather than play tight and sit back trying not to lose.
TFC got their point in Seattle, and played better than they did the week previous in LA against |Chivas. If Toronto reverts back to a sub par effort in Colorado, coach Cummins will be left scratching his head. IF TFC continue to play as they did in Seattle or better, a playoff spot will very much be in their immediate future.
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
Coaches are perplexed, players seem confused. I can only imagine what the GM and the teams owners are thinking after watching TFC lay an egg at The Home Depot Centre in LA.
The 2-0 loss to Chivas last weekend was horrible. From where I watched the game, I saw a team that was rarely first to the ball, and when they were, there were far too many times the quality was not good enough. The evidence is of-course in the outcome of the game.
Soccer is a hard game to get it back on track when it falls off. Players start to play as individuals, and build up collapses. To be successful in this game you need buildup from the back four, through the midfield and then through to your strikers who make their timed runs.
If one aspect of that build up collapses, effort, quality of passes, timing of the run, you are done! That is what happened to TFC vs Chivas. The scary part of all this is we have seen it too many times on the road this year.
What seems to be lacking here is the ability of one or more players to step up and take this team by the jersey-necks and lead them back on track before they fall down 2-0.
TFC have some very dangerous players in their line up. Toronto should be threatening other teams more often than they did the other night in LA. Not one quality chance on goal, and far too many wasted possession with bad passes or bad receiving.
As simple as it sounds, I think TFC need to have more fun, bring more flow to their game away from home. Playing not to lose leaves your team tight, afraid to make mistakes. You play tight in the other teams stadium and you might as well mail the points and save the five hour flight out.
There seemed to be a point this season TFC was building that come back character after a couple games earlier in the season. It’s not there right now. Is there time to get it back? Sure, but that time is not within the next four games, that time is now.
In Seattle TFC will be without Adrian Serioux and Carl Robinson. Last week Toronto was with it’s captain Jim Brennan. Players have to start thinking before they challenge, how they challenge and where and when. Is it worth it to get a yellow card that knocks out out of a must win, if that card is in the midfield? NO! Definitely not. You can not even argue the point. Its selfish play.
The mix of youth and experience on this team is good if the leadership is there. The experience certainly is. Now it’s time for the coach and his staff to surround the young players with the right kind of selfless leaders, at this, the most important time in young franchises history.
Thursday, August 20th, 2009
By: David Alter
With nine games to go in the regular season, Toronto FC get set to embark on a three-game road trip with their first stop in Los Angeles to take on Chivas USA.
Last week the Reds used a balance of veterans and youth to snap a three-game winless streak, but as the game play changes when you play on the road, head coach Chris Cummins says he won’t necessarily use as much youth as he did against DC United.
“We’ll look to different personnel and anybody who doesn’t play, there will always be a reason behind it” says Cummins. “I will always take each player aside and say these are my thoughts. If you do see more experienced lads in there, it will be for the right reasons.”
TFC will be without captain Jim Brennan who will serve a one-game suspension for picking up his second yellow card.
De-Ro On Fire
Dwayne DeRosario has been on fire for the Reds as of late, scoring in his last four league games and is on pace for a career best in goals.
In this his ninth season in the MLS, De-Ro says he developed some good habits along the way which have allowed him to get better with age.
“I go back to Houston and San Jose and picking up really good habits there” says DeRosario talking about his prior two teams in the MLS. “You reap what you sow, if you work hard in training it pays off in the game and you definitely get rewarded for it.”
DeRosario has nine goals through 19 games. His career high is 11 set back in ’06.
Monday, August 17th, 2009
TFC coach Chris Cummins waited long for players who make big dollars on this TFC side to make a difference on a game in and game out difference. While young, unproven talent await a chance on the bench to show they belong in MLS.
Saturday Cummins, in part of out necessity and also I will assume here because of lack of results from some players, decided to play some youth and see what he can call upon as the team hits the road for the next three games.
Once again young Gomez in the back proved he can play at this level. So calm on the ball, and not too pretty in the back, but with enough flare on the ball to carry away from danger as well as clear.
White was marvelous uo front Saturday. Good wheels and hungry for the ball in tight spaces. O’Brien has a knack for finding a lane to to goal. His fitness will only get better as he plays more often.
Ali Gerba is a talented striker, Chad Barrett is still a talent waiting to be harnessed and controlled at times. The depth looks good for Cummins as the team heads to LA this week for a Saturday date.
Sanyang played pretty well in the midfield. I think he got better as the game wore on. Sam Cronin’s play once again was outstanding. Sam sees the game so well and defends as well as he can set up an attack.
All of this youth is good news for the future and for this month for TFC. But make no mistake, the fate of the team lies with the play of #14, #20 and #24 , 33, 15 11. These are your leaders as i see it for TFC. If they communicate, stay positive, and show the way to be proper professionals for the youngsters, TFC could find its way into a playoff game this season and each coming season.
Sunday, August 9th, 2009
The 22,000 at BMO and those who watched on Gol TV couldn’t have asked for a better friendly to take in when Real Madrid beat Toronto FC 5-1 this past Friday. The weather was great, the city was buzzing and Madrid put on quite the show.
MLSE really hit a home run bringing in Los Galacticos in this specific situation. Madrid Head Coach Manuel Pelligrini is dealing with a team that have recently been cobbled together over the last month or so (Ronaldo, Kaka, Benzema, Albiol, Alonso, etc) and needs as many pre-season games as possible to create some sort of chemistry between his men. I would have to think that Ronaldo and Kaka will more then certainly find a way to absolutely confuse opposing defenses together. The friendly would have been much more boring if Real made a tweak or two to their team over the summer, meaning a whole bunch of their young players would have seen time on the pitch at BMO Field.
Ronaldo played just over 60 minutes, Kaka got in one half in his Real debut, Diarra and Benzema played the entire game while Xavi Alonso also made his Real Madrid debut coming on for the start of the second half. When you break it all down, it’s pretty neat that all of this happened in Toronto, a city that didn’t have a soccer team or stadium 2 and a half years ago.
As for the game itself, Real obviously showed the technique and skill that’s needed to participate in Spain’s ‘La Liga’. There passing in tight areas, lovely touches, runs on and off the ball and finishing make you appreciate just how much talent there is overseas.
I don’t blame Toronto FC for anything that happened on Friday. Yeah, they allowed 5 goals, but Gabe Gala scored (which was a great story) and TFC should have taken the lead early in the 8th minute, but Pablo Vitti was stopped by Iker Casillas inside the 18-yard box. The entire team were exposed on many different situations and you wouldn’t expect anything else when looking at the sheer talent of Madrid. If anything, the players and coaching staff should take a lot away from the game in positive a respect.
Now for TFC, there entire focus shifts back to MLS where a very important game looms next Saturday at home against D.C United. The full week rest should do Toronto FC a world of good and I would expect the reds to come out firing against D.C. There are still very much in the playoff hunt, but they’ll need results both home and away, including all 12 points from there remaining 4 home games.
– Alex Seixeiro