Archive for May, 2010
Monday, May 31st, 2010
Wake up this morning, check the MLS website and there it is. Clear as the sky this morning, Toronto FC, alone in second place in the eastern conference.
Level on games played with third place New York and a game in hand on fourth place New England. This is no mirage folks, it is the real deal. When it comes to MLS, Toronto FC is no worse off than any team in the east, and can still play better than they have so far this season.
Toronto will settle in at BMO field for the next four MLS games. Five games if you count this weeks Canadian Championship meeting with Vancouver. But don’t count that one. ok? However, only one of those next four MLS games are against an eastern conference foe (KC-8pts-6th place). The others are against the Galaxy (leading the west) then Houston and Colorado. The latter two games are as big as eastern match ups because of the way the MLS playoff format is set.
Two top teams from each conference, east and west, go through. The next best four also make the playoffs. Right now Houston is level with Toronto at 16 pts, as is Colorado. But the rapids from Denver have a game in hand on The Reds. Toronto has a game in hand on the Dynamo from Texas.
The formula is simple now. Earn points at home over the next four games, three of which will be very tough. The go to Philadelphia and take care of business against the feisty expansion side, and you are in business when it comes to the playoffs down the stretch.
Then let’s see what type of excitement this city has with regards to soccer. Not just the 20-thousand who buy tickets. I mean the rest of you.
Sunday, May 30th, 2010
It is proving to be the real deal, this Toronto FC turn around.
This is a different looking team on and off the pitch than the one we saw at the start of the season. Still a long way to go, but coach Preki has the ship pointed in the right direction.
The win in San Jose was not born from the efforts of one man (although Stefan Frei was a game saver again in goal), rather from a group of players who are starting to know one antoher.
After the game defender Nana Attakora told The FAN590, its not necessarily verbal communication that is improving game by game, but the players trust and instinct of knowing where the other should and will be. That said, there are still cracks in the wall that Preki will continue to work the team towards repairing. Still some ball watching late in the game, unmarked men leaving defenders to have to choose who to cover at the back.
At one point it looked like Nick Garcia left Wondolowski open at the far post. Replay showed Nick had two men to mark as the outside back. That should never happen.
Cann was a rock again for Toronto. A couple headers were less than his usual brilliance, but Adrian is the leader on the back line. Nana Attakora is right beside him. Nana played a solid game.
Set pieces, silly cards, all can be eliminated still. Both put your team in a “spot” it could have avoided.
San Jose took advantage of one set piece with their header goal off a corner.
Chad Barrett was again a charging horse in San Jose to get the opener. Nice touch with the finish around Joe Cannon in goal for San Jose.
Derosario and Deguzman took the game over when they came on to start the second half. Toronto owned the ball for the first 20 mins of that half.
I can not say anything bad about the efforts of Labrocca and Peterson on Saturday. Petersons speed was brilliant at times to slow down San Jose transition.
Toronto survived a push from The Earthquakes and fly home today with three points, second in the east, and a Canadian championship trophy waiting for them when they play Wednesday infront of the home fans.
Saturday, May 29th, 2010
Saturday, May 29th, 2010
Saturday, May 29th, 2010
Saturday, May 29th, 2010
As a costume party surrounds the hotel TFC is in this weekend in San Jose, coach Preki is perhaps disguising his line up for Saturdays game. When asked after practice a on sun soaked field at Santa Clara University, about the status of Julian DeGuzman and Dwayne DeRosario, coach was coy.
DeRosario is travelled and has not been home since May 11th. His trip to Argentina from Vancouver was a marathon that included being forced to turn back to Houston due to a medical emergency aboard the flight he was on.
DeGuzman looked good at practice but Preki would say “we will see”
DeRosario talks about his game with team Canada on Saturdays TFC broadcast. Also on the broadcast , San Jose, and former Canadian National Team coach Frank Yallop, defender Jason Hernandez, and TFC coach Preki.
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
At the airport with Toronto FC as the team embarks on another west coast trip, this time to San Jose via San Francisco. The game to be heard live on THE FAN 590 Saturday night starting at 9:30 with the pre game show.
Toronto FC took care of business early in this years Canadian Nutrilite Cup series. Points in the series vs. Montreal and Vancouver in all three matches played to date were enough to win this years edition of the tournament, possibly the last year of the three team format. More teams are expected to compete in coming years, although nothing has been announced.
On the whole, the Canadian Championship may not have much zing for the average sports fan in Toronto, but it has a lot of zing for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Toronto’s big league sports and entertainment company will now watch as it’s soccer team continues the path along the club championship route for a second straight year. Toronto will now play in the CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round in late July against Motagua of Honduras – a team that features former Toronto midfielder Amado Guevara.
Toronto is expected to host the first leg of this knockout round. Toronto won the title thanks to a Vancouver/Montreal tie in Montreal last night. The Reds will get a chance to hold the trophy high for their fans at BMO field next week when Vancouver visits for a new meaningless game as far as the tournament goes. Look for some young players to get a good look over 90 minutes.
Dan Dunleavy with Chad Barrett at Pearson airport heading to San Jose:
First up though for Toronto FC is a huge challenge in San Jose. Toronto looking for it’s first road win of the season and its first win away from BMO in MLS play since they last visited Buck Shaw Stadium at Santa Clara University last summer. I will be in touch once we arrive in San Jose. Toronto will practice tomorrow in California and THE FAN 590 will be there.
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
What is going on with sports these days? Toronto cheering for Montreal? Is it just me or is this happening more and more of late.
Tonight Toronto Fc can win a second straight Canadian Championship is Montreal holds Vancouver to a tie or if they can defeat the Whitecaps at Saputo Stadium.
Just a few days ago I found myself looking for reasons as a Toronto born sports fan to dislike the Montreal Canadiens. Aside from a few rioting idiots, I could not, and found myself cheering for the Habs vs. The Flyers. My connection to the Habs and with many NHL teams now is admittedly connected to world junior grads. This year I was very much in the routing section of PK Subban. A great young man from an amazing family.
Tonight Toronto FC fans will be cheering for a team and city they likely could never imagine routing for. That is unless you feel like rolling the dice for a winner take all match up vs. Vancouver next month at BMO field.
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
It’s a BTO classic, and it works. When you work a little overtime at anything, you are likely going to improve at whatever it is you do. There in lies the secret so far for coach Preki and TFC.
This years edition of Toronto’s Football Club is far from perfect but with points in their last five games played, perfectly fine so far.
Many areas need to improve in order for this team to be feared on the road as they are when they play at BMO field.
It is clear teams will start to attack any area not near Adrian Cann on Toronto’s back line. So the improved play of Nick Garcia is very important. The player and coach both get credit for Garcia’s turn around in his play since a shaky night in New England this year. The player for refusing to say it’s over, and the coach for showing faith in a guy who keeps working hard at practice and has been both quiet and upfront with the press when times got tough for a couple weeks.
To win without DeRosario, and DeGuzman in the line up is a huge character builder for this group. The make up of this team is completely different from what I witnessed last season. Not one players fault from that team, but collectively, it was not working.
Preki takes a team into San Jose this weekend, the site of the clubs last MLS road win. A loss now might set the course back a notch or two. A point or a win will keep this version of TFC moving in the right direction.
Its important I feel for this group not to get too high nor too low at this time of year and on this current run. Aside from DC united, this year MLS is a league all abut parody.
As you watch the standings this season, keep an eye on the west. Even though Toronto is in the east, if they don not finish in the top two, the rest of the west seems to be the competition right now.
This last fact makes Saturdays game in San Jose that much more important.
Nutrilite Championship notes courtesy of our friend Luke Wileman from TorontoFC.ca:
Toronto FC will win the Nutrilite Canadian Championship tonight if Vancouver Whitecaps fail to beat Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo. After last week’s 0-0 draw against the Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium, Toronto remain top of the standings with seven points from three matches.
The Whitecaps have two points from two matches and will need to win both of their remaining games to deny the Reds the chance to lift the trophy for the second straight year. Should Vancouver win tonight in Montreal, the tournament will be decided at BMO Field on Wednesday, June 2 as the Whitecaps and TFC face each other. Toronto won the right to host the first and last matches of this year’s competition because they won the cup in 2009.
Tonight’s match will be broadcast live on Rogers Sportsnet East and West channels.
The winners of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship will qualify as Canada’s representatives in the CONCACAF Champions League and will play Motagua of Honduras in the Preliminary Round in late July.
Sunday, May 16th, 2010
By Dan Dunleavy
The coming together continues for TFC. A strong team effort Saturday in LA paced TFC to a 0-0 result with the leagues best team to date.
To name one player who stood from the rest would be a diservice to the team that came to LA to prove a point. They succeeded! TFC can play well on the road. Now for coach Preki comes the next step. Ensuring the players continue with the same effort, if not more, to continue to improve. TFC is slowly proving to be a team that is tough to play against. Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle were held at bay. As Molly Hatchet would say, Toronto was only “flirting with disaster” a couple times in the game.
Toronto pushed and could have led at the half. Chad Barrett and Dwayne DeRosario both had excellent oppertunities on the night. Coach Preki raised some eyebrows, including his captains when he pulled DeRosario from the game with 20 minutes to go. Gabe Gala and Jospeh Nane did well as subs, as did Jacon Peterson. The hounds can lay off the bones of Nick Garcia. The veteran defender had some good stops as part of the backline.
Toronto is in Vancouver wednesday, where TFC has a chance to wrap up its second straight Canadian championship.