Archive for June, 2011
Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
A week that could be the season for Toronto FC is upon this club. After a hugely disappointing loss at home to Seattle in extra time, TFC went on the road to Real salt Lake and were soundly beaten in Sandy Utah. No Shame in losing to RSL, a team I think can win the MLS Cup. (there is a stretch). But in the bigger picture this team and any progress is going in the wrong direction once again.
I have been witness to this before since arriving on the scene with Toronto FC and it pains me to watch. A team lacking depth in personnel, battling best its players can each and every night, but it’s just not good enough to be a threat right now. With Alan Gordon out of the line up, it is remarkable how different Toronto FC looks and plays on the pitch. It is clear evidence that this team can succeed if management would go out and sign some character players to lead this team.
I am not questioning for a moment the current rosters desire to win games, nor their character. But I won’t be sold by anyone that this team has a leader, outside of Stefan Frei, that can take the club by the throat and will them to play better football. So two wins on the season. Vancouver in town and clearly already a rival who is out for blood from their fellow Canadian side. One game between the two for valuable MLS points and the other for Canadian Championship bragging rights. A Whitecaps sweep would be demoralizing for Toronto and one must honestly wonder how much longer once again ownership can sit back and watch this franchise whither a season away.
Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
Recently while calling a Toronto FC game in Major League Soccer I was saddened and sickened by what I witnessed on the pitch a few times.
I have been seeing it in every game played almost now in MLS this season.
I am here to plead with the men who play soccer in North America. Stop Diving now! let me change my tune a little. Man up and knock it off! If I see one more guy fall to the ground in MLS when he is not touched I am going leap from my broadcast location, run onto the field and grab you by the scruff of your jersey and scold you like the little baby you just acted like.
I get “winning at all costs” but win with honor gentlemen. Lose with dignitity. Grow a pair!
Toronto FC and Seattle were both guilty of humiliating this game, and this league with their actions this past Saturday.
Let me say this to the players who still think faking theatrics are an integral part of the game, you look like an idiot doing it!
I can’t believe teammates are not taking their brothers or sisters, aside and telling them to stop it! What about the guy who takes a legitimate knock? I would be up off a stretcher to break my teammates leg if he embarrassed our franchise and team logo with fake falls and screams and dives.
How dare any coach or player criticize MLS referees until these clowns are stopped by the their own teammates.
Friday, June 17th, 2011
There are some good signs within Toronto FC’s ranks of late that could see this team sneak its way into: The Playoffs?!
Did I hear me right? Did I say playoffs and TFC in the same sentence? How on earth did I even come close to that conclusion? Let’s delve deep into the mind of this TFC radio and part time TV play by play man a moment and see what it is he is smoking of late.
Here we go, stepping inside the grey matter. (Lot’s of it). Ok I see here Dan is thinking that Doneil Henry, an 18 year old defender out of Brampton looks like the real deal. Dan is thinking its only fair to expect Henry will make mistakes, most of them ball watching errors in some games ahead, but when it comes to a defender attacking the ball and winning it before the opponent does, Henry is the real deal. He has speed; he can leap, and seems pretty smart at playing angles. With Cann gone for the season, Henry is a nice piece of the future to fit in already.
Ok, where else is Dan thinking TFC can be a playoff team? Shows here inside this guys head that if Alan Gordon can stay healthy, and he feels that might be a big if, Toronto will continue to have chances to score and no longer will opposing goalies have a day off when they face The Reds! If Maicon Santos can stay true to potential form and lay off well with Gordon and find space for his lethal left foot from 30 yards out and in, Toronto offers a legitimate one-two threat. Not the leagues best, but legitimate. Add to the mix Joao Plata’s learning curve moving in the right direction and Dan figures this as another reason to believe.
Stefan Frei’s name comes up in this cluster of brain cells as well. Seems Dunleavy thinks Frei’s progression as a shot stopper and his accurate long balls up the pitch are another reason to think TFC should start playing better, particularly on the road. Toronto has chipped away at earning points away from home in 2011, and that is a break from the norm of the clubs very short history. If the team can find a way to salvage three points from the rest of their home dates, the playoffs are a real thing.
Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
Can one man be that valuable to Toronto FC? Well right now if your name is Alan Gordon, the answer is a resounding YES.
Careful not to overstate one players meaning to any team sport that has 11 players on the field at a time, Alan Gordon is TFC’s heartbeat right now.
It is fair to ask, would Toronto earn the magical point they did earn last weekend in LA vs. the first place Galaxy if Gordon continued to rest his nagging groin injury as he told me in training at LA he very well could and maybe should be doing?
Toronto FC has been waiting for a defining moment this season. Home opening wins vs. expansion team don’t count as a season character setter. The way in which Toronto never gave up, right down to the final whistle in LA is the stuff character is formed from. What TFC need next is to follow up that unexpected point by at least being hard to beat in New England, if not steal another point away from home.
The Reds have given up too many points at home some think to make the playoffs in 2011. This would be true and an easy prediction unless that same team finds the character and effort it takes to steal points on the road.
Will I be vilified for suggesting Toronto FC has played its two best games on the road (Colorado and LA) without the services of its lone designated player? If so, I can take it. Just stating a fact based on what I have witnessed with my own eyes. I am not saying TFC is better off without the very talented midfielder. I am suggesting in my opinion, 1.7-million dollars clearly could be better spent within this teams ranks. (on its play by play broadcasters for example, lol). This fact is brought up more as a credit to the play of Nathan Sturgis than as a shot at Julian, who has played his best soccer for TFC this season.
I have been waiting all season for the likes of Santos and Gordon to be on the pitch at the same time. Santos can hold the ball so well and as he proved on the game tying goal with 30-seconds to go in extra time at LA, can lay it off for a finish, just as well as he can hammer that left foot of his from any distance and be a threat. Gordon’s tenacious runs off ball and Santos ability to hold till Gordon finds the hole could be magic for TFC down the stretch.
Toronto FC fans are crossing their fingers now more than ever over the health of one player.
Monday, June 6th, 2011
Not sure how I am supposed to get all excited over MLS games that don’t feature in some cases, the teams best players.
With many stars off to play for their country in the Gold Cup, MLS fans are left with “subs for their ticket stubs”.
Call me old fashioned but anytime you purchase a ticket based on who a team trumpets is in their line up, you should see who you paid for (injury or personal situations aside).
The upside with the likes of Landon Donovan not being available to their teams is that some rookies are getting some invaluable starting minutes.
Upside in a 0-0 score line for Toronto FC at home? There was once a time when it was unthinkable in their short history that Toronto FC would be giving away so many points at home. A scoreless result with road weary Kansas City this past Saturday is all of a sudden a positive step in some eyes. After a 6-2 drubbing a week earlier at BMO field, TFC had to make any kind of positive statement. Tough to argue against a clean sheet. I don’t care who you are playing. To keep a clean sheet is an accomplishment. Peter Vermes the head coach of Sporting KC was very respectful leading up to the game in Toronto. Suggesting any team can win any week in MLS play. His comments came on the heels of keeper Jimmy Neilson saying honestly when asked about TFC “well, the used to be a good club”. Now remarks out of ESPN in LA that Toronto is likely the worst side in MLS this year. How is that sitting with ownership? TFC seems to be the team everyone wants to play all of a sudden, at home or away.
Toronto plays three of its next five on the road. Despite being just three points back of the fourth seed and a tie for third on points (more games played), Toronto has to live with the fact going forward that BMO field is no longer feared by MLS foes. That is likely the teams biggest loss over the last two seasons.
Friday, June 3rd, 2011
The talk around MLS this week was not about Gold Cup call ups. Talk around MLS locker rooms this past week was all about Toronto FC giving up six goals at home to the Philadelphia Union. (Union had eight goals for before coming to Toronto last weekend).
KC goalie Jimmy Nielson was asked about playing in Toronto this weekend and he responded with “they used to be a good team”, and when asked about their own goal scoring woes going into Toronto. Nielson replied with “hopefully Saturday in Toronto we can make a copy of Philadelphia and score six goals” Are you serious? What soccer player ever says aloud to the media before going into another teams stadium?
That being known, if Toronto Fc players don’t show up with a huge effort defensively at home to Sporting Kansas City Saturday night, I am suggesting you can count this team out of any playoff chase. Take note, I did not say must win, I am saying effort. If head coach Aaron Winters team does not show up looking to prove a point to themselves, and the rest of the league with a better defensive game, what Else are we supposed to think about this group?
Yes the team needs to find better players. yes the team is dealing with injuries and Gold Cup call ups. Breaking News….”so are many other teams in MLS”. As a competitor you have to find a way to compete at your highest level each and every game you play. Athletes and any of us doing what we love to do for a living, need to be reminded at times, how much hard work it took for you to get where you are today and how much hard work it will take to stay where you have gotten yourself to. Coaches are there to remind athletes of this every time they step on the pitch. Not to beat them down and build them up constantly, but to remind them they are only as good the amount of effort they put into a practice, shift or game.
Its going to be a tough go for Winter and company in June. But when the going gets tough, champions get tougher.
TFC hosting Sporting Kansas City at 7pm Saturday June 4th on Sportsnet radio The FAN590 @ www.fan590.com