Archive for September, 2009
Monday, September 28th, 2009
By Dan Dunleavy
Saturday in Chicago was not TFC’s worst outing of the season by any means, but some troublesome signs from where I sat.
First the good! Great jump starts to the first and second halves. I liked the early goals, nice pace and determination. Tells me someone said something in the locker too to get the boys fired up.
The bad! Are you kidding me? Another guy gets behind the defense when your team is up on the road and scores an unchallenged header?
Not sure who let who down on that second Chicago goal but as a team, the defending is just not right yet. I sensed TFC was backing up when Chicago had guys bringing the ball off the wings and into the middle of the pitch. Maybe it is just me but I don’t give the ball carrier the middle of the pitch. He can have the wing and the line all he wants. Score from there if you can! Perhaps TFC want the ball brought to the middle and into more defenders. I can not speak for the coaching staff’s plan of attack on defense. Nor would I dare to try.
It is hard for me to be tough on Stefan Frei. I have never played goal in my life. There are moments I do wonder if Stefan can come off his line with a little more determination and knock some of those balls away before the forwards can get a head on the ball in the box?
As luck would have it for TFC, even with the one point out of Chicago, they are not out of the playoff chase yet. I have to stand true to my prediction, even if I am wrong in the end. I still feel TFC needed to win that game in Chicago. Two key Fire players were out of the line up. Twice TFC had the lead! When you are on the outside looking in on a playoff chase and you do not have games in hand, you need those points. Also worth mentioning is this, TFC is the worst team in playoff contention when it comes to the first tie breaker, goal differential!
So TFC can not tie anyone for the last playoff seed, they must have more points.
Sunday, September 27th, 2009
I think that I’ve been one of the more positive thinkers when it comes to the 2009 version of Toronto FC. From the get go, the acquisitions of Dwayne De Rosario and Adrian Serioux were two moves that needed to happen, TFC were supposed to have the best midfield in the league and I was excited to see how the rookies (Frei, Cronin, White, Gomez, Sangyang) would pan out. There was a certain sense of excitement around this team then of the previous two years.
But since the start of the season, John Carver quit as head coach. Chris Cummins took over. Rohan Ricketts, Johann Smith, Marco Velez and Greg Sutton all left the scene at BMO Field. Dwayne De Rosario, Adrian Serioux, Ali Gerba, Julian De Guzman, Pablo Vitti, Nick Garcia and Lesley Fellinga were brought in. The whole grass debate grew larger and larger. The emergence of Nana Attakora pleased many a TFC fan.
This hasn’t been an ordinary season for a Major League Soccer franchise as GM Mo Johnston has tried to re-tool as the campaign has gone along. There have simply been too many changes in one season for Toronto FC to represent as a legitimate threat in MLS. Chris Cummins talked last week about TFC needing to play a game where everybody is on the same page and looking at the schedule, the last time that this club put together a solid 90 minutes, was back in July against San Jose. Since then, it’s been one good half here, 25 solid minutes there, etc.
Saturday’s 2-2 draw in Chicago is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Toronto FC scored two goals on the road. TWO! That’s huge, considering the team has only two road wins all season long. But the one time where they finally cracked the net twice on the road, Nick Garcia perhaps plays the worst game of his life. In the first half, Garcia was hesitant on two separate balls that entered the 18 yard-box, with the second incident leading to his own-goal, just minutes after Dwayne De Rosario opened the scoring. This is crunch time! You simply cannot afford to let your team down at crucial point such as that. This is not meant to be a ‘bash Nick Garcia’ blog, but I even think Nick will tell you that he’s been disappointed with his overall performance this season and he hasn’t been the dominant figure that TFC have been looking for in the center of defense. Chicago’s second goal came on a beautiful cross off the left-foot of Justin Mapp that found the head of Brian McBride. The cross was lovely, no doubt. But Garcia didn’t close up on McBride who had all the time in the world to leap up and head home the equalizing goal. Another game rolled by where everyone on the pitch was not on the same page. Another game rolled by where individual mistakes cost Toronto FC very important points.
Toronto FC lack a pure goal-scorer. Toronto FC lack a commanding presence in the center of defense. You infuse those two pieces into this current team with the likes of De Rosario, De Guzman, Guevara, Frei, Cronin and Attakora, and you have the makings of a pretty good team.
With three games left in TFC’s regular season, the reds sit two points back of the final wild-card spot, currently held by New England who have two games in hand on Toronto. Even if TFC sweep the final three games left on the schedule, there’s no guarantee that 44 points will get the job done. TFC’s last four road games were all winnable, but they’ve managed to grab just two of a possible 12 points from them. In my humble opinion, time has simply run out on this year’s team to make the playoffs, and it’s a damn shame for those who support the club through thick and thin.
There’s always next year.
– Alex Seixeiro
Thursday, September 24th, 2009
It’s been released and Toronto FC will begin next year’s campaign against the Crew in Columbus on March 27th. MLS remain scared that a late March day in Toronto could be a cold and snowy one, hence the reason that TFC begin another season on the road.
The home opener will actually be determined based on the ability to get real grass into BMO Field. TFC have said that make an announcement at a later date regarding TFC’s first home game.
Meanwhile, defender Adrian Serioux is doubtful for this weekend’s tilt in Chicago after re-aggravating a neck injury in training today that forced him to miss last week’s game against the Galaxy in L.A. Nana Attakora will get the start in central defense and with the way that Nick Garcia performed last week against the Galaxy, I’d have to think that Emmanuel Gomez could start alongside Attakora.
With four games left, TFC sit just two points out of the playoff picture. There’s no doubt that Saturday’s meeting in Chicago will be a difficult one, but just like against the Galaxy, it’s a winnable game. It’s just of matter getting everyone on the same page for a full 90 minutes and we all know that hasn’t happened for a quite a while.
It would say a heck of a lot of Interim Head Coach Chris Cummins could get his players to grab the full three points against the Fire.
Don’t forget, you can hear Saturday’s game in Chicago live on fan590.com with Dan Dunleavy at the helm. Kick-off goes at 8:30pm.
– Alex Seixeiro
Monday, September 21st, 2009
Based on my expectations, Toronto FC’s performance in Los Angeles last Saturday night was a lot better then what I thought I was going to see heading into the match. TFC kept possession for large chunks in the first half, had some quality chances on goal and were still in the game until Edson Buddle’s goal late in the second half put the game away for the Galaxy.
Having said all of that, TFC did waste a huge opportunity to move up the standings, considering every single team there chasing for a playoff spot was unable to pull out a victory over the weekend. With four games left, TFC sit two points back of the final playoff spot in Major League Soccer.
Is it possible for TFC to win three of there final 4 games and sneak into the post-season? I’d say it’s possible, but again, with the results this team has put together over the last month or two, it’s hard to see a three-game winning streak appearing out of thin air. TFC are in Chicago this weekend, then home to San Jose and Real Salt Lake before ending their regular season in New York. You’d have to think that a win is a must against the Fire, unless the teams that TFC are chasing once again fail to nab three points, then a draw wouldn’t be so bad.
I thought Julian De Guzman’s Toronto FC debut was a pretty good one, all things considered. He hadn’t played a full game since July with the Canadian Men’s National Team at the Gold Cup and didn’t get a chance to practice all that much with his new mates. Julian was on the ball quite a bit and played a role in-front of the back-four, while also joining the attack on a number of occasions. The only thing we didn’t see was Julian’s crazy good shot. It’ll come in due-time.
The task is huge for TFC but with four games left, they remain in the hunt for a playoff spot. I don’t think many TFC fans would have believed that, if you asked them a little while back.
– Alex Seixeiro
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
It is called “Can-Con” in our business. You are required in Radio and TV in this country to help showcase Canadian talent by playing the music written, produced, and performed by fellow Canadians.
Ever since MO Johnston came to TFC he has said he wants to raise the level of Canadian talent on this TFC team. Argue with moves any GM makes or his motives, but make no mistake about it. Mo has delivered in this regard. Is it what TFC needs to sell tickets or win an MLS Cup? There lies a fair discussion.
After what we saw from Attakora and White on Saturday, it’s moving in the right direction. (Is there an echo in this blog?)
Julian de Guzman will be available to coach Chris Cummins Saturday night in LA vs Beckham and The Galaxy, in what once again, is a season determining game. (FYI, there is no radio, or web-cast).
De Guzman in the same midfield as Amado! It will be fun to see when the team moves onto Chicago and back on the Radio one week after the make or break in LA Saturday.
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
He is already the “big man” within the ranks of TFC, both with teamates, MLSE soccer staff and fans.
While Dichio’s playing career will not grow anymore, his legacy will always grow within the ranks of the Red Patch Boys and beyond as they sit and talk over pints about that first ever Reds goals and the seat cushions that flew as a result.
The important part of Danny’s soccer journey begins now. What number nine can give back to the game is almost immeasurable. Dichio is about to embark on a journey of sharing knowledge while still feeling the fire to win. Danny will be someone for all incoming TFC players and future staff member to literally look up to.
You can not help but like the soft spoken big man. His determination is evident dispite his quite demeanor. Many an MLS defender can attest to the elbows and knocks number nine has both taken and delivered back.
Recently yours truly came under some weak and uninformed fire from people who don’t put their names to their thoughts, for not being aggressive enough in dealing with Danny Dichio and coach Chris Cummins when Danny did not make the trip to LA to play against Chivas. I realize those who throw stones don’t walk this side of the job as a journalist who travels with the team. There are things you know and report when you are with the team in airport and hotel lobby’s, and there are moments where you respect the team and players space and privacy. I chose the latter quite often, because these are people we are dealing with. If you wish to be the one to throws stones without knowing the entire story, you would fit in well with the likes of TMZ and any other rag that makes money off other peoples missteps. I will always choose to get to know the entire story before I report a story or comment on a situation that does not occur on the pitch.
Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
|Fact is, THE FAN 590 first learned and confirmed news of Danny Dichio’s imminent retirement Tuesday afternoon September eighth.]
THE FAN 590 confirmed Danny’s move away from the pitch and to the teams staff, in order to make way for the incoming Julian de Guzman.
Over the past weekend sources told THE FAN 590 of de Guzman’s presence in Toronto, while a deal was still being finalized with TFC.
In order to show respect to the players and management involved in this process, THE FAN 590 respected the players and clubs privacy, until all facts were played out and in place for today’s official announcement of Danny’s retirement at BMO field.
Monday, September 7th, 2009
Not that one man would completely turn TFC’s fortunes around but seems many people think the signing of Julian DeGuzman would be a huge feather in the cap of GM Mo Johnston. I knew Sunday Julian was in Toronto and soon to meet with the team. The Scarborough product must be close to signing with Toronto. Why else would he be in Toronto at this time of year. Mo Johnston so far has had no comment on the rumours and speculation. There are reasons for that one can assume. In order to bring DeGuzman on board TFC has to make another move. Stay tuned to the Fan590 for the facts, not rumours on this possible transaction for The Reds.
Monday, September 7th, 2009
The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde TC showed up Saturday in Colorado.
There is not much to say about what I witnessed in Denver other than to say, this team does not appear to know itself yet.
From good in Seattle to “what on earth was that” in Colorado. I gave my own two passing grades to both Sam Cronin and Stefan Frei. Both players did nothing to hurt their team and both were first to the ball and showed when called upon by teammates.
That said I am tired of watching Frei and TFC waste balls with long kick up the pitch to players that just don’t win possession enough to warrant that they keep doing it.
The lack of confidence and touch when passing the ball at times from this group bewilders me. Each player is talented, each player athletic and gifted to be an MLS player at this point in their careers. But something is lacking with this group.
I am not in the room so I can not speak to it. I have been on and around teams that both win and fail. Hence I go back to my Jekyll and Hyde reference at the beginning of this short piece.
There is NO TIME left for failure. If TFC do not beat Colorado this weekend they will become the other Toronto sports franchise that failed this season. Yes Mo Johnston is building this team for longevity, and that is what he has to do. But it is up to the players who are here now, to win now, and start cutting a path of expectations, and success for those who will follow their early years at BMO field.
Outings like the one last weekend in Denver don’t build anything, rather the lack of total team commitment we saw, does plant seeds of doubt.
Friday, September 4th, 2009
My good buddy Kristian Jack from The Score has a pretty interesting scoop regarding Julian De Guzman and the strong possibility that he may end up in TFC colours before the 2009 season is over.
Obviously, as Kristian points out, the move still hasn’t been completed, but the fact that Julian has decided to play in Canada after coming up short in regards to European interest, is massive news.
I’ve always been a firm believer that De Guzman in this midfield makes TFC a much better and more dangerous offensive group, considering their struggles this year. Also factor in that he’s only 28 and De Guzman would make the perfect first Designated Player in Toronto FC history.
– Alex Seixeiro