Archive for April, 2010
Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Toronto FC go into Salt lake City Utah with some pretty good habits slowly making their way into the game.
Over the last two wins, TFC has done a much better job in support on the ball. Over the first few games, Julian DeGuzman would take the ball from the back four, turn and see everyone running away from the ball.
But since the second half of the home win vs. Seattle, Toronto FC attackers are coming back for the ball and in turn are being rewarded with return passes. The communication is getting better as well. This factor needed some time and will need more time to get to a point where coach Preki is completely happy with it.
I like what I see fro Adrian Cann each game. A very steady and solid player on the back line in the middle. Header balls are his and his alone. A weapon in defense TFC has long waited for. The European newcomers are starting to show signs of settling in their game. The key going forward from here for the new left and right backs will be to play aggressive but not get into fouls trouble.
What can you say about Dwayne DeRosario? He scores, defends, and is now the vocal leader of the club. Who knew #14 had another level to his game?!
Hope you can tune in Saturday night at 9pm, for live play by play of TFC at Real salt Lake.
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Sorry I got behind on the blog folks. A nice day Monday and I spent it Tilling my lawn and gardens in preparation for May 24 weekend, which is finally in sight.
Perhaps what is also finally in sight is a light at the end of what looked to be a long TFC tunnel. Toronto put together a decent effort to win at home over Seattle on the weekend.
I say decent because it was far from perfect. The boys in “white” did have their moments of togetherness. Boy was that nice to watch.
You don’t have to be a fan of any team to appreciate “one touch” football/soccer. In the second half of TFC’s win over Seattle, there was some lovely “one touch” soccer/football to be seen.
That game should give the lads confidence going forward. The challenge for coach Preki now is to remind them how hard it was for them to get there. The work it took to find those few minutes of togetherness on the pitch. It wont just come back by showing up for the next game. Work equals results.
The concerns still exist and in saying this I do not suggest this team will ever be perfect. If not for Stefan Frie vs. Seattle, the game should have been 3-2 Sounders. But Frie is back there to make saves and he did that. Three unmarked chances, one on one vs. Frie and Stefan won each battle. Those odds are not likely to happen every week no matter how good Stefan plays, and he is good!
Someone other than Dwayne DeRosario scored. I don’t have to say much more about that. Preki said post game he likes Chad Barrett and thinks the goals will come. We have all hoped for Chad’s sake that the goals will come. Chad is the best example of how hard work does pay off. I like Chad’s effort, do not know him as a person, but that is not my role with this team. I call what I see. With Barrett I see a guy who does care what people think about his game and his desire to win. I still think if Chad can find the balance between playing the game for fun and with that same “get out of my way” edge, he would be an even more dangerous player.
Monday, April 26th, 2010
I didn’t have a chance to watch the Toronto FC-Seattle game live as I was attending a cousin’s communion, hoping to avoid hearing the score until I got home. But once again, the FAN 590 breaking sports alerts got me again, as I opened up my email during the sit-down dinner and there it was: “Toronto Blanks Seattle”.
It was pretty clear that TFC played by far there most complete game of the season, working hard in the midfield, generating a good chunk of possession, finishing there chances while getting some great work in goal from Stefan Frei. If it wasn’t for Frei, I’m convinced that this game could have looked a lot different. Right off the bat in the early minutes, Frei had to come out of his goal and make a great one-handed deflection, as Brad Evans was all alone to receive a cross from the right-hand side. That was the first of four game-saving stops from Frei who was even better in the second-half.
We first saw Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso in last season’s home opener for Toronto FC and on that cold, rainy afternoon, he dominated the midfield with his impressive passing ability and vision for the field. Yesterday, Alonso wasn’t as effective and cost his team the first goal when fumbling with the ball in his own 18-yard box. Alonso tried getting cute, but couldn’t clear and ultimately lost the ball to Dwyane De Rosario who scooped up the mess, made a slight turn to his right and fired past Sounders keeper Kasey Keller. Make it 5 goals in 5 games for De Rosario who’s playing out of his mind.
Later in the second half, TFC received a bit of luck from the referee. Midfielder Martin Saric was already on a yellow card when he committed another head-scratching tackle, by shoving the Seattle player to the ground with no intent of playing the ball. It almost seemed like one of those ‘last man situations’ and for whatever reason, the referee didn’t even hand out a second yellow to Saric. He’s got to stay under control or else Preki may have to go with Sam Cronin soon, or now. On the second goal, it was a sloppy turnover from Tyrone Marshall that set-up O’Brien White’s first of the campaign. Nice play from Dan Gargan to spring De Rosario loose who found White all alone in the box. It’s important for White to get off the mark as I feel he’s going to play a major role with the team this year.
Meanwhile, Julian De Guzman continues to get better. Even though De Guzman made the ‘wall’ gaffe two weekends ago in Colorado, he showcased on that Sunday that he’s starting to play to his potential and we saw it again against Seattle. De Guzman was on the ball quite a bit, playing mostly on the right side of midfield. He was creative, always dangerous on the ball and was always involved. Adrian Cann had another solid performance at the heart of the defense while the two fullbacks played much better then we’ve seen in the past.
Of course, it helped that Sounders coach Sigi Schmid made 6 changes to his lineup that drew 2-2 in Dallas last Thursday. It was very surprising to see Montero, Zakuani and others on the bench, but you can’t fault TFC for taking advantage of the opportunity. There was nothing sexy about Sunday’s victory but Toronto FC gave a workman-like performance, the type of team game that Preki has been preaching since he arrived at BMO Field.
– Alex Seixeiro
Monday, April 19th, 2010
After having his contract terminated in early April, former Toronto FC striker Ali Gerba has spoken out for the first time since being released by the club.
One of the best soccer personalities in the business, Kristian Jack of ‘The Score’, had an opportunity to speak 1-on-1 with Gerba, where the Canadian international had some interesting things to say about Mo Johnston, Preki and the state of Toronto FC in it’s fourth season.
– Alex Seixeiro
Monday, April 19th, 2010
Yes, Toronto FC didn’t play all that well on Sunday in Colorado but I’m not going to begin ripping this team after playing 2 games in 4 days, traveling out west in that span and also having to play in altitude against the Rapids.
The most furious part of watching the game was that TFC did enough to hang around, but petty mistakes cost Toronto FC the point(s). I got the sense that when Dwayne De Rosario scored his fourth goal of the season, via the penalty spot, perhaps that would give Preki’s men enough encouragement to play for the point, but when Julian De Guzman leaped up and out of the wall on Jeff Larentowicz’s free kick, that pretty much sealed the deal. I feel bad for De Guzman because he was TFC’s best player all afternoon and by all accounts, he shouldn’t have even been in that wall in the first place (Stefan Frei told The FAN 590′s Dan Dunleavy that Dan Gargan was supposed to position himself in the wall, not De Guzman).
TFC played a poor first half for the second straight game, with not much movement off the ball and not many passes being strung together. Having said that, Toronto FC were hard done by on the penalty call against Adrian Cann, as the ball clearly went off his forehead and not his arm as the referee indicated. As Jason deVos pointed out on the broadcast, the referee was pretty far back of where the play happened and perhaps wasn’t in a clear position to make such a call.
The second half did bring a few more positives. Chad Barrett didn’t really get one crack on goal for his 60-plus minutes, but his lovely through-ball to Sam Cronin (who got hauled down by the Rapids keeper, setting up De Rosario’s goal) has to be commended. Although Chad does struggle to score on a consistent basis, he can create and also delivers a good ball into the box with both his left and right foot. I’m also very interested to see what Jacob Peterson can bring on a game-by-game basis. We’ve only seen sample sizes from Peterson (who’s working his way back from injury) but in the short time he’s put on a TFC jersey, Peterson is showing that he likes to go at defenders and attack with the ball. Aside from De Rosario right now, there’s nobody else on this team that has shown they can challenge a defender.
But there was still too many individual mistakes, including on the second Colorado goal. The Rapids free-kick was set up by an unnecessary foul by Martin Saric and then the break in the wall allowed Larentowicz’s strike to blow past Stefan Frei. On the third Rapids goal, Conor Casey’s PK goal was set up after he was hauled down in the box by Maxsim Usanov. Why the smallish right-back is covering Casey on a cross into the box is beyond me. That’s a total lack of communication.
Four games in, new coach, new players, new system, and Toronto FC sit 1-3. This is still a huge work in progress.
– Alex Seixeiro
Monday, April 19th, 2010
Toronto FC continue to make life hard on themselves with lapses that should not be happening in the mindset of a professional player.
The loss in Denver this weekend typifies what kind of energy is hanging around this team, and has since late last season. Penalty kicks called against on calls that fall in the “grey area” of penalties.
Even with that being something you can not change, what TFC can change is how they mentally prepare themselves and challenge themselves for each and every minute they are on the field doing what they are paid to do, “compete”!
The 2-1 goal was the back breaker for Toronto in Colorado. Julian de Guzman was in a four man wall guarding the near post for goalie Stefan Frie. Jeff Larentowicz was the shooter, who has a heavy shot. Stefan Frie told me after the game the confusion came after Martin Saric was subbed off for Dan Gargan in the mid field. Gargan did not come back to take his spot in the wall, leaving Julian in a role that was not designated for him.
That fact aside, no player in their right mind is supposed to stand in a wall, then jump and turn sideways when the shot is delivered. Larentowicz took full advantage and went near post and beat a shocked and surprised Frie.
Whatever it is with this group of players that they can not keep their heads as a group, in the game on the road for a full 90 minutes, has to be corrected soon. This team has away games coming up vs. defending champion Real Salt Lake, and against rival Montreal in the Canadian Championship series.
Friday, April 16th, 2010
There’s no question that Toronto FC caught a number of breaks in last night’s 2-1 win over the expansion Philadelphia Union, which kick-started their 2010 home schedule. Let’s go through the three main breaks that TFC received:
1. Danny Califf’s red-card. The Philly captain’s nonsensical red-card foul on Julian De Guzman put the Union down to 10-men, for about 55 minutes. Califf played a simple ball back to his goalie, but felt like he had to shield the on-coming De Guzman, in order to give his keeper enough time to clear the ball. At the time, Califf felt like his back-pass wasn’t strong enough and that De Guzman would challenge for the ball, unless Califf interfered. What Califf didn’t know was that his pass to the keeper was actually a good one, and thus putting his arm up and catching De Guzman in the face was one of the more puzzling plays you’ll ever see, in the game of soccer.
2. Chris Seitz’s brain cramp. Make it two straight games where the Philadelphia keeper has made a terrible mistake. Last weekend against D.C United, Seitz simply dropped the ball on a corner kick, allowing D.C to score. Thursday night in Toronto, Seitz was just as guilty of creating a goalkeeping blunder. After Califf’s red-card, Dwayne De Rosario stepped up with a free-kick from distance and smacked the ball through the wall, right into the hands of Seitz. The Philly keeper couldn’t corral the ball and watched as it spun past the goal-line, allowing TFC to open their account.
3. Curious second-half substitution. With the game tied 1-1 in the second half and the Union down to 10-men, Philadelphia Head Coach Piotr Nowak looked to make some changes in order to generate a more defensive minded group that could possibly hold the draw until the final whistle was blown. But out of all the changes to make, Nowak subbed-off 18-year-old Columbian midfielder, Roger Torres, who in my eyes, was the most creative player on the field all night. Torres has speed, an excellent left good and an eye for goal. It was the lovely cross by Torres, which set up Philly’s tying-goal late in the first-half. If anything, Torres was creating a lot of problems for Toronto FC and if you’re Philly and you’re looking to take off an offensive minded player for a defensive one, then either Sebastien Le Toux or Alejandro Moreno should have been replaced.
As for the rest of the game, Toronto FC played a horrid first-half but competed better in the second-half, with the substitutes (Chad Barrett, O’Brien White, Jacob Peterson) playing a large role. I mentioned during the broadcast on FAN590.com that O’Brien White has a very underrated shot, but it was his pace that led to him being fouled in the box, which set up Dwayne De Rosario’s second goal of the match and third on the season. As Preki told me after the game, White was very ‘lively’ in the second-half and caused a lot of problems for the Philly back-four.
Once again, Preki decided to keep Sam Cronin on the bench. When pressed after the game if Cronin’s hurt or ill, Preki said Cronin is fine and that he makes his lineup decisions based on the way that people conduct themselves during training. Make of that what you will.
I thought Adrian Cann’s TFC debut was a good one. Perhaps he can form a partnership with Nana Attakora going forward. The experiment to play Julian De Guzman up the pitch in the first-half, did not work last night. The more I think about it, the more I realize that De Guzman needs to play in-front of the back-four, in order to link-up play with the rest of his teammates.
No rest for Toronto FC who continue their busy week, Sunday in Colorado (FAN 590, 5:00pm). Dan Dunleavy will have the play-by-play.
– Alex Seixeiro
Monday, April 12th, 2010
The title of this blog is a quote from coach Preki after the loss in New England this past Saturday night. Two very different teams played and lost 4-1 to The Revolution.
The first 45 minutes saw Toronto FC defend well, and attack enough to take a 1-0 lead into the half. From that start of the second half on, I witnessed some of the worst professional soccer I have seen. (save for Stefan Frei’s ability to make stunning saves).
As someone who has coached and played this game, I could see the meltdown happening after Nick Garcia gave the ball away fro a second straight week, as the last defender back. This time it cost a goal, while two weeks ago it did not. From that moment on, Toronto Fc were done! I mean done!!!! The team stopped communicating before that breakdown play, but it got worse from there.
Players went back to running away from the ball instead of showing for a pass and meeting the pass. The Rev’s did all of that, and as a result won most challenges, and continued to counter attack. Even up 3-1, New England could not help but continue their attack, as Toronto FC made it too easy.
Preki said afterwords there is an air of defeat that seems to come over this team when they give up a goal, and its something that he feels is his biggest challenge to rid this team of. I agree. I can not put my finger on it over just two games with “this” group of players. But there has to be someone who steps up and flat out leads this team. Dwayne DeRosario does that with his skill and effort, but in my mind Toronto FC has to make changes on the back line and make then NOW.
It’s not my place to make line up judgements or calls, I leave that to you the fan and the coach. However, I am confused as to why Ty Harden is brought in and then sat for an entire road game when the back your are clearly struggling. Why Sam “I never stop working” Cronin sits to watch an entire game all of a sudden.
Back to being positive for a moment. Frei’s saves in goal. Dan Gargan played a fine first 45, and the line the rest of the back line seemed to struggle, and flat out “ball watch” at times. Joseph Nane was alright in the midfield in the first, not sure he is a left back, which is where he played in the second half.
The new Latvian left Back Raivis Hscanovic was good in the first half and I think will be a tough nut to play against for wingers in the first 45 mins. Raivis has to avoid the early card, which he took in New England. takes his aggressive style of play away from him.
It’s a huge week for Toronto FC. The Jays are in first and fans will start going to Rogers centre more often than BMO field if this team struggles. Mark my word. I saw it with the Toronto Rock. This team wants a winner. They do not care what sport it comes in right now. If you fail, they will bail.
Monday, April 12th, 2010
As my good friend Gareth Wheeler points out in his Toronto Sun article this morning, with the immanent signing of Russian right back Maxim Usanov, Toronto FC Head Coach Preki will have brought in 11 new players since arriving last November while shipping out 9 others. That is a drastic change for a team who right now, are clearly going through the motions.
After watching Saturday’s 4-1 debacle in New England, it was pretty obvious to point out what when wrong and surprisingly, team chemistry wasn’t the issue. It was individual mistakes in the second half that plagued TFC after what seemed to be a fairly organized first 45 minutes. In the second half, the new left-back (Raivis Hscanovics) was caught out of position on the 1st and 3rd goals, which led to easy crosses and easy finishes from Zack Schilawski. 2010 First-Round pick, Joseph Nane, was simply too soft on an attempted back-pass to Stefan Frei, which Sainey Nyassi slotted past the Toronto FC goalkeeper. But the ultimate dagger occurred in the 51′ minute.
When Schilawski scored his first of the game to tie things at 1′s, TFC didn’t look too out of place and actually moved the ball up the field with some success, but when Nick Garcia’s blunder in the back led to the 2-1 goal from Schilawski, you could sense that this was game, set, match for the Revolution. Heads were down, the body language told the story and from that point on, there was no way that TFC could fight there way back. It’ll be interesting to see if Preki pulls the plug on Garcia after this latest gaffe, but who else can he slot alongside Nana Attakora? As Preki said after the game, ‘amateur’ mistakes can’t be tolerated and you’d have to think that he’ll sit Garcia after another blunder. If you ask me, give Ty Harden another shot.
As for the positives from the weekend, there weren’t many. Dwayne De Rosario did all he could, but again, just doesn’t have enough around him. O’Brien White barely had a clean look on goal (with the exception of one open header in the box) and with Julian De Guzman starting the game with on the bench with an illness but then coming on in the second half, well, I can’t even begin to understand what’s really going on there. I’m also interested in Preki’s decision to sit Sam Cronin, who by all accounts, was fine and wasn’t dealing with any injury.
Either way, Toronto FC don’t have much time to re-group, as their home opener goes this Thursday against the expansion Philadelphia Union (7:00, FAN590.com). Remember what happened in last year’s home opener? An expansion team (Seattle) played their first road game in team history and left BMO Field with the full three points. If the Union find a way to pull that off on Thursday, look out.
– Alex Seixeiro
Saturday, April 10th, 2010
Good morning from New England. As travel days go yesterday was not terrible but it was close to getting their. TFC left out of Toronto pretty much on time on Porter Airlines into Logan in Boston.
The bus ride was an hour and a half, on a 1980′s rugged ceiling coach with its Windows fogged up as the rain heaped down on traffic congested downtown Boston. The bus ride was longer than the flight!
It will be an honest challenge for the lads to get the proper rest and preparation in today after that crappy ride and a slightly bumpy ten to 15 Min’s on the flight which may have unnerved a few people. Nice landing though boys!
Toronto FC has signed and will have available for selection as of today, Latvian left back Raivis Hščanovičsack. Five feet-eleven inches tall. Will be interested to see how he handles this league. Problem I see with Toronto FC this season already is these guys are going to be hard pressed to find the team unity or chemistry with players coming and going on a game by game basis. (in fairness they have played one league game).
At some point you need to settle this thing down and stabilize the group.
Off to grab a bite to eat, and will check in this afternoon.
By the way, there are a lot of TFC supporters here for this game, which should make for a great atmosphere at the stadium tonight.
Listen in at fan590.com for the play by play.