Archive for August, 2010
Sunday, August 29th, 2010
There was a time when a scoreless draw against one of the best teams in Major League Soccer would have felt like an accomplishment worthy of a pint, or Gatorade, whatever the boys in red drink after a good outing. But now is not that time.
I am not here to rain on a parade that may have started after a scoreless draw Saturday night with Real Salt Lake, but, the fact remains Toronto FC is now seriously flirting with disaster. Not making the playoffs in the season they host the leagues championship game.
Another tie at home means two more points left on the table and that has been a huge bugaboo (love that word) for Toronto this season. As Toronto’s road record fails them this season as it has in the past, TFC don’t even have the home record to fall back on. Yes Toronto FC set a nice home undefeated mark of 17 unbeaten at home until NY Red Bulls put a stop to that In this August of 2010. Fact remains Toronto has left ten home points on the table with five ties at BMO field.
Even if Toronto has won three of those five games, allowing for an unheard of two losses at BMO field, The Reds would be the sixth seed in the playoff race instead of being on the outside looking at as the ninth seed where they are today.
The effort was definitely there from a thinned out Toronto team against Real Salt lake, but the finish still lacks. Injuries to Barrett and Santos are really starting to show their mark. In particular Barrett. When Chad was healthy and running defenders all over the pitch and scoring his six goals, he along with Dwayne DeRosario were a handful for defenders to deal with.
Mista seems to be a very clever player and adds quality to Toronto’s set up in attack like no other when it comes to his touch and the way he sees the field. However, he is not Chad “bulldog” Barrett when it comes to getting to the ball and battling for it like number 19 was doing.
There was a time when a tie at home was OK, but not now. There was a time when missing Chad Barrett from the line up was not a big deal, but definitely not now.
Playoff standings are below. Top four are top two from east and west. They would be in if season ended today. Next four are the Wild Card teams as of today and would also be in the playoffs. Then there is TFC. If the season ended today MLSE would host a championship game in November with absolutely no hope of any city wide interest whatsoever because TFC would not be part of the playoff tournament.
1.LA 43 22gp
2.Columbus 41 22
3.RSL 40 22
4.NY 37 22
5.Dallas 37 21
6. Seattle 32 22
7. Colorado 31 21
8. San Jose 29 20
9. TFC 27 21
10. KC 26 21
11. Chicago 24 19
12. Houston 23 22
13. New England 21 21
Friday, August 27th, 2010
By: David Alter
Toronto FC will be short several players when they host Real Salt Lake. In their only prior meeting this season, Toronto FC played without Dwayne De Rosaro and Julian de Guzman in the the starting lineup. Both should be in the starting 11 for this one and with Toronto FC on the bubble in terms of the playoffs, Preki says they must take advantage of home field.
Chad Barrett, Maicon Santos and Amadou Sangyang will not play as all three continue to rest hamstring, knee and concussion symptoms respectively. In Barrett’s case, his injury isn’t new so he has to take all the time necessary to get back to full health.
Also not available for the match will be defender Nana Attakora who received a red card in TFC’s last league match, which means Ty Harden will take his spot on the back line, which is just find for teammate Adrian Cann
Attakora along with Julian de Guzman and Dwayne De Rosario have been called up to the Canadian International squad for the first week of September which means Toronto FC will be without all three players for at least one and as many as two matches during a critical stage of the MLS season.
Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake kickoff at 7 o’clock Saturday night at BMO field. Pregame beginning at 6:30pm on THE FAN 590.
Friday, August 27th, 2010
Not sure what Toronto FC General Manager Mo Johnson is thinking when he says he is onside with Team Canada coach Stephen Hart calling up and taking away three of Toronto’s starters in the midst of a playoff chase. This is no ordinary playoff chase. Toronto is going to host the MLS Cup this November. How is the General Manager of the team not kicking and screaming that his coach needs three of his starting eleven in the line up next week at Dallas.
It is not as if Toronto Fc exactly know how to win on the road with a record of one-six-and-one. With the team in ninth place today and out of the playoffs, and a majority of their remaining games to be played sway from BMO field, now is not the time to play “Mr. nice”.
If Canadian soccer is to improve to strengthen talent pools for future world cup qualifiers, Toronto FC and Vancouver and Montreal need to be successful in MLS. Not almost playoff teams, these franchises must provide their fans and that includes kids playing soccer in those communities, with a reason to believe Canada can be better than it is now on the world stage.
These friendlies are ill timed for TFC’s liking, and are hardly going to be a huge building block for Canadian soccer. I argue that a Toronto FC playoff run would ignite an imagination and a fire to compete for Canada in many young players. If Canadian coach Stephen Hart needs to see Attakora, De Guzman and Derosario play, then he has not been doing his job. I can tell you they all belong on the team. Use these games to give more minutes to players you should be scouting, and let these leaders lead Toronto FC at a time when their leadership is desperately needed.
Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Toronto FC’s latest venture in Champions League play was not so brilliant, nor fun to watch.
I settled onto the couch with my laptop up and running and was bored to death watching Toronto FC lose 1-0 to Urabe Unido inPanama.
First the goal. Terrible marking after a terrible back pass eventually led to the corner that created the goal.
The refereeing was suspect at best. But we all knew that could be the case going into the game. There were more players acting as if they had never been hit in their lives, or as if they had been shot. I want to reach through the screen, pick the player up, look him in the eye and scream, “get up, and man up!”
Toronto FC coach Preki seems to have decided well before this game he would set his team up to survive the trip. His captainn was on the bench until the second half and Adrian Cann did not see any action.
Spaniard Mista was left on the bench after a reported but not confirmed falling out with the coach after the first 45 minutes of Toronto’s home loss to NY Red Bulls on the weekend.
Preki is forced to manage these Champions League rosters with greater precision now that Toronto is the ninth seed in MLS and if the season ended today Toronto FC would not be in the playoffs.
Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Way to go Sis!
My sister Vicki Dunleavy is a pretty special person. A childhood cancer survivor, even doctors who tended to Vicki’s muscle cancer when she was eight years old were surprised she survived!
This fall my sister and mother of two wonderful girls is telling her story of survival and raising money for childhood cancer research in the “Sears National Kids Cancer Ride”.
Vicki and 43 other riders from Canada are riding coast to coast to raise money that will go directly to initiatives aimed at fighting childhood cancer.
If you have the ability to donate to my sisters courageous ride and her efforts to help people affected by childhood cancer, I invite you to find her at the rides website.
Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
It is not often you can look at any teams body of work and say back to front “they were spot on”. But looking back at Toronto FC’s Champions League opener vs. Cruz Azul, a top flight Mexican side, I can say Toronto FC was “spot on”.
The team defended well, the midfielder and forwards pressured the ball constantly, not allowing Cruz Azul time to set up their quick one-two-three passing plays.
Jon Conway made some big saves in goal and was fooled only on a 90th minute free kick that hid and bent around a large wall atop the 18 yard line.
Mista was brilliant with the ball. Calm and creative. Martin Saric’s return from injury was wonderful to watch. Still obviously aggressive at times, but his hard-on marking in the midfield was missed. Saric and Mista scored for Toronto, who take the first three points available in this series.
The club managed to win without Chad Barrett in the line up and with maicon santos not yet ready to return from his obvious to my eyes anyway, ligament tweak.
Max Usanov and Raivis Hscanovics were both strong outside backs and Adrian Cann led the way again in the middle. Cann and Orangeville’s Nana Attakora are forming quite the tandem in the middle of Toronto’s defence.
The stadium was not sold out but it was a loud 15 thousand on hand. Seemingly all proud Canadians on a night when in the past, the visitors fans would have made it seem like a home game for Cruz Azul. Not on this night, and not anymore in Toronto. This city has turned a huge corner in that regard. This is OUR HOUSE, and WE Canadians are proud to be loud about it finally!
Here’s some of the media scrums after the game:
Head Coach Preki
TFC Defender Adrian Cann
TFC Defender Nana Attakora
Thursday, August 12th, 2010
They can’t get the breaks with the referees decisions it seems and Toronto FC still can’t score on the road unless they fly to Honduras and bus five hours to the game!
Maybe that is the answer. Maybe life is too comfortable for this group of players? I don’t know? I throw it out there tongue in cheek because I do not know how a group of men go what TFC went through to get to Honduras and then score twice. While in MLS soccer Toronto FC cant score away from BMO field often enough to even earn the odd point, forget three!
Again in NY, Toronto gets jobbed on the first half by suspect refereeing, but that was not the game’s defining moment. There was no defining moment because Toronto never forced Greg Sutton to make a save all night. Sutton had a ball of two come to him, but Greg was let off the hook for his first start in a Red Bulls uniform and his first start against his former team.
Toronto I thought did well to not back off and push the NY back line into making mistakes up into the midfield. It worked, but TFC could not finish the opportunities given up as a result of that pressure.
What a treat for a soccer fan to see, talk to and call Thierry Henry on the ball. In his 30′s, this man can still play the game. I don’t see how other players from Europe won’t soon follow across the pond to North America when they see how their talents can make them more money when their careers on the slide at home. I hope they come, because Henry was fun to watch along with Juan Pablo Angel of the Red Bulls.
Toronto lost Chad Barrett to a hamstring tweak, played without suspended Dan Gargan (yellow cards) and injured Maicon Santos (possible ligament strain from my eyes only when the injury occurred vs Chivas. The team has not confirmed my guess).
Tuesday nights champions league game vs Cruz Azul will be broadcast live on The FAN590.
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
As far as my eyes have seen while traveling with him this season, the current head coach of Toronto FC is a likable, cerebral, never complacent kind of man. On the sidelines he is a quiet bomb soon to explode with passion in form of direction hollered or critique (often of officials). I like the man. Even though I don’t spend much time trying to figure him or anybody out. Just not my nature. When I do think about it I do find Preki to be the kind of coach that loves to talk about the game, and less about specific players when it comes to media conversations. Preki is about the team, and if you are not, you don’t play until you figure that out or you are out period!
On Tuesday night in Jersey, at the New Giants Stadium, in-front of 70-thousand people, Preki was welcomed into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Below is an article written and posted on Majorleaguesoccer.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Predrag Radosavljević was a wide-eyed 22-year-old kid in 1985, an unknown indoor soccer player hoarding 25 pounds of bananas in a Tacoma, Wash., grocery store because they only appeared on the shelves once a year in his native Yugoslavia.
He arrived in the United States carrying only a toiletry bag, and he spoke no English. He ordered chicken from the local diner every day for three weeks, because he didn’t know the words to order anything else on the menu.
But on Tuesday, the man so lovingly known now in American soccer circles only as Preki was able to reflect on such trying moments with delight, inducted as part of the 2010 class of the National Soccer Hall of Fame during a ceremony at New Meadowlands Stadium.
“It’s been an incredible journey for me,” said Preki, now the head coach at Toronto FC after one of the most celebrated playing careers in league history. “When I first stepped foot in this country, I knew this was the place I was going to stay. I knew this was the place I was going to find success.”
Preki was inducted along with Los Angeles Galaxycoach Bruce Arena, NASL star Kyle Rote Jr., two-time US World Cup veteran Thomas Dooley and soccer reporter Paul Gardner.
A career that began as a youngster for Red Star Belgrade took a fortuitous turn when Preki was first spotted by Bob McNab, a former MISL coach with the Tacoma Stars. McNab – who introduced Preki on Tuesday – likened his first glimpse of Preki as “a match between Fred’s Leather Shop and Joe’s Pub,” but eventually brought the youngster back to the US more for his skills with the ball than for his physical fitness.
“At the time, fitness and him weren’t closely associated,” McNab said. “I made him run the 10K, which he absolutely loved, and I made him go back in the afternoon for sprints. And I learned a few Yugoslavian swear words.”
Preki played five seasons with the Stars and eventually suited up for both Everton and Portsmouth during the 1990s, but his glory days began in earnest with the formation of MLS in 1996. He spent all but one of his 10 seasons in the league with Kansas City, leading the team to its only MLS Cup in 2000 and earning two league MVP awards while playing in eight consecutive MLS All-Star games from 1996 to 2003.
His first league MVP award came in 1997, but his second crowning in 2003 was perhaps even more impressive, dubbed the league’s best player during a season when he turned 40. When he retired at 42 years old in 2005, he was a member of the league’s All-Time Best XI team and the all-time league leader in points scored.
He also found glory with the US National Team, capped 28 times after becoming an American citizen in 1996. He suited up for the US at the 1998 World Cup in France, but more famously scored the game-winning goal to beat Brazil in the semifinals of the 1998 Gold Cup.
Preki thanked his family and former MLS and US teammates, but added that McNab’s eagerness to pull an unknown player from Yugoslavia was a singular act of faith that reverberated well beyond the Tacoma Stars.
“It says something, that I’m sure a lot of kids in Serbia and Yugoslavia now have an incredible chance,” Preki said. “And there are so many of them over there who would take that chance.”
Preki’s career has turned to the sidelines since his retirement, first as an assistant with Chivas USAin 2006 and then as the MLS Coach of the Year with the Goats in 2007. He joined the ranks in Toronto prior to the 2010 season.
“If there was no game of soccer, we truly wouldn’t be here today. We wouldn’t be talking about all these things,” Preki said. “Hopefully, so long as I live, I will be involved in some capacity in the game, and hopefully I will be able to give back what the game has given me.”
Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
From New York, site of Toronto FC’s next road game wednesday night at FAN590.com….
FOUR RED BULLS GET INTERNATIONAL CALL UPS: Red Bull New York announced that four players have been called up by their respective national teams: defender Roy Miller, midfielders Rafa Marquez and Dane Richards and goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul. All four players will be unavailable for the team’s MLS regular season match against Toronto FC on Aug. 11.
Miller has been called in for Costa Rica’s friendly against Paraguay at Defensores del Chaco in Asunción, Paraguay. Miller, who has one assist in 15 appearances this season, has earned 14 international caps for his country.
Newcomer Marquez will join the Mexican National Team as they take on Spain on Aug. 11 in Mexico City, Mexico. Marquez has earned 94 caps, scoring 11 goals, his most recent coming in a 2010 World Cup match against South Africa
Richards has been called in for Jamaica’s friendly match against Trinidad and Tobago on August 11 in Macoya, Trinidad. Richards has 16 caps for the Jamaican national team. With New York this season, Richards has tallied one assist in 15 games.
Coundoul and Senegal will take on the Cape Verde Islands in Dakar, Senegal. Coundoul has played every minute for the Red Bulls in MLS play, earning a 1.24 goals against average and six shutouts. He has earned two caps for the Senegalese side.
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Two road goals sealed the deal for Toronto FC and The Reds are onto group play in Concacaf Champions League. Toronto fell behind six minutes in when former Toronto midfielder Amadi Gueverra scored with a brilliant yet unmarked header. Toronto tied the game in the second half when Dewayne De Rosario scored once he got behind the shaky Motagua defence.
Gueverra put the home team ahead 2-1 shortly after as TFC sat back, and was guilty of giving the ball away instead of keeping possession.
Chad Barrett scored to tie the game and cement the win for Toronto, who played much better possession football towards the end of the game.