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TFC 2010 | Week#9

TFC Push Whitecaps to the Brink

Vancouver Whitecaps 0  –  0  Toronto FC

Not A Victory, But Not A Loss

From the outset last night, Toronto FC played like a team that was determined to hold its ground. For a tired team on a road trip, resting starters on the bench, TFC executed the game plan of not conceding a goal or falling behind. The only tactics on display beyond that appeared to be the rotation of substitutes through the line-up. Preki was clearly content to ease off the gas in favour of saving something for the weekend MLS match against New England. With Dwayne De Rosario away to play for Canada against Argentina, along with Julian de Guzman, injury permitting, the Reds will be missing their two most talented and experienced players on Saturday. With the two wins against Montreal as a cushion, Toronto FC could afford to lay back provided the defense could hold the Whitecaps off.

And so they did. It wasn’t pretty, but it was another grinding team effort with few real mistakes and only the odd lapse. Vancouver has been struggling to score this season in all competition, so maybe this was a smart calculation. Exiting Swangard Stadium with a tie, Toronto FC remain in the lead and the Whitecaps now must win their final two matches of the competition away from home.  The odds of this now seem quite low. A big victory would have been sweet, but sealing the deal at home in front of our fans in BMO will be far more satisfying.

Demonstration of Dull

Toronto FC put some effort into attack in sporadic pushes last night. Mostly they were content to let play bog down in the midfield, where much of the match was passed by both sides in alternating rotations of give-aways and failed momentum. There were a few nice plays in build up from TFC, but most of our attacks stopped short of beating the Whitecaps defenders. Dwayne De Rosario notched the Reds first shot on target in the 82nd minute of play. And the more defensive-minded Amadou Sanyang had our most dangerous looking shot from 25 yards out late in the 2nd half as well. Goal-scoring seemed possible, but unlikely, through most of the 90 minutes.

The Whitecaps threw more into attack as the match went on. Though unwilling to expose themselves too much at the back, they saw the chance to squeak out the home victory with a single goal. Fortunately for TFC, the Whitecaps seemed impotent when it came to closing the deal. Time and again they made their ragged runs up front and pumped balls across Toronto’s goal and area. The MLS veteran, Jon Conway (TFC’s new back-up goalkeeper) was never really tested and most of Vancouver’s opportunities came up well short of meaningful.

Savy Strategy for the Big Picture

A win would have been nice last night, but Toronto FC remains in a commanding position for the 2010 Voyageur Cup. Vancouver has not put together the pieces of its offense yet this season. To contend for the Canadian title, they’ll have to beat Montreal and Toronto on their home turf. Stranger things have happened in this event, but for now I think the Reds have shown themselves to be the better side. A roster of substitutes and road-weary legs held Vancouver fairly soundly last night. Hell, we even replaced Nana Attakora with Nick Garcia and they couldn’t beat us.

After Saturday’s match against the Revolution, Toronto FC will have a week off before their next match – a luxury they haven’t enjoyed in some time now. That rest and recuperation has been well-earned over the past few weeks. Well done lads. May you keep your game on this upswing, because it has really started to look promising.

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