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Pre-Season | TFC 2011

Dynamo defeat Reds

Dynamo 3 – 2 TFC

In the absence of TV networks interested in broadcasting the MLS pre-season, it’s great that the game streamed online on torontofc.ca last night. The chance to watch the Winter-ized new system applied against real MLS opponents actually had me a bit excited.

It was short-lived. Not because it wasn’t fun to watch, just that it was hard to keep up with all the new faces on the pitch. Trialists, TFC Acadamites, draftees oh my. There were no names on our jerseys either, so there wasn’t much digesting of player by player performance for this observer. Instead, I tried to absorb the big picture; the effort to retain possession, ball movement, tactics in build-up and, of course, off the ball in defense.

Overall, it was a fair glimpse at what the season ought to bring. This new style of play will be more satisfying (as promised) to watch, even if it doesn’t guarantee a more winning record. I thought that the TFC side, filled by interim and perhaps fleeting players, demonstrated some good movement with the ball and was geared toward taking probing attacks at the Dynamo. Sadly, they also seemed to have some trouble holding things together at the back-line, giving up far too many chances to Houston than would be ideal.

I hesitate to pry too much more deeply. Without a real starting 11, and with new management still getting their feet wet in the MLS, I think some critical distance is deserved. This is a period where the roster is far from solid. The ebb and flow of various new faces in and out of the game means quality match-play was bound to be fleeting. Lots of those involved were either just getting warmed up or racing to get up to speed and into the flow of the game. It was also my perception that Houston was not nearly as trialist-ized.

The highlights were few, but at least there was action on the score sheet. Jacob Peterson scored a nice goal from open play. And DeRo put one in from a spot-kick. Frei had some nice saves, and gotten beaten by a few he had little to no chance of saving – including an almost perfectly curled over the wall free-kick from Houston’s Brad Davis.

For me, this marks the beginning of the 2011 Season. It wasn’t a horrid result for a test-match against league opponents with less than month before the opener in Vancouver. My strongest impression is that the roster has gaping holes in it. No surprise, really. Decisions need to be made, and everyone needs to get on with getting it together. Here’s hoping the Ides of March are kind to our Winter.

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