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TFC 2010 | Week#1

And So The Campaign Begins

No Surprises

Toronto FC have never beaten the Columbus Crew, so my expectations were low for this first match with our 3/4 roster. Add in the fact that there were guys on the bench and field who barely had time to join the team before kick-off, and an ‘honourable mention’ ribbon would have been an adequate escape. A 2-0 loss is disappointing, but to be fair it was more like a 1-0 game.

Don’t get me wrong, the game today was frustrating. The back line looked more solid in some respects, but the whole team put more into moving the ball sideways and backwards than into pressing ahead. We had a few moments of creativity and a few scoring chances, but ultimately our offense never looked especially threatening. Columbus was quite content to run interference for the short-passes we played through the midfield. It’s hardly a surprise we didn’t score.

The Only Clear Conclusion

Nothing looked more obvious than the consistently reckless play Nick Garcia contributed this afternoon. Bad decisions, poor coverage, missed passes and clearances resulted in inexcusable freebies on goal for the Crew. This is hardly the central defending leadership Garcia is supposed to bring to our squad. If anything, the evidence on field today suggests its time for this horse to retire. It might be too late for pasture, the glue factory might be the better option.

Upside?

Neither De Rosario nor de Guzman had much shine in this match. The latter had the best of four decent scoring chances, a goal that would have proven his value in the attack. Alas, it was blocked – as was much of the creativity our key duo might have contributed.

Preki’s system may have the team sticking together and grinding better, but our transitions rarely gained momentum. Harden looked good today, and mostly covered for Garcia’s gaffes in back. The second half saw some better build up and play-making with Sanyang, Cronin and LaBrocca contributing opportunities. O’Brian White came close a few times too. It looked promising. Nothing to cheer about yet, but there are signs our side has some backbone and some eye for the attack.

Hopefully, Johnston and Preki won’t wait until mid-July to acquire the missing pieces for our team. They could wait for seasons in Europe to wind down and the World Cup to play out before anything consequential is moved on. Until then, our side may well struggle as new coach, new system and new bodies take time to synchronize. It’s not going to be pretty or consistent over the next few months. Real Salt Lake’s championship last year proved, however, that in the MLS a team barely qualifying for the playoffs can still be a contender. Here’s hoping a weak start can still leave us in contention.

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