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TFC 2012

Business in the front, No party at the Back

vs  

30 minutes short

Whatever the tally on the scoresheet and the standings the table, Toronto FC have been playing reasonably well. Until this week, the CCL performances had been more complete and tenacious. Wednesday, the Reds gave a solid 55 minutes before the increasing pressure of Santos Laguna caused the Reds to make a few fatal errors. This was more like the MLS matches we’ve seen up to now from TFC. It was sad to watch, but in the big picture the Reds are due for some better luck and more favourable results.

Tik Tak…

And lots of chat about the 401 Derby this week. It’s the first of three matches TFC will play against the Montreal Impact and sees both clubs looking for their first win of the season. For Toronto FC, it would be their first points too. The Reds might be Frings-less, but they’ll have more bodies to draw on today. Good thing too, because this is not the Impact team of the past. While they may still be struggling for traction, Montreal managed to assemble an admirable roster for their first season in the MLS. Today’s match will certainly not be an easy contest.

Business in the Front, No Party at the Back

TFC have looked creative and dangerous in attack in 2012. Unfortunately, the final pass and critical finish have remained frustratingly elusive. At some point, this invisible blockade will end for them in MLS contests. It would be nice to see some goal production too, because the story on the other side of the ball is not nearly as encouraging.

Without Torsten Frings to calm things down and clean things up, the Reds are frighteningly vulnerable. Playing a high-line and offside trap have shown TFC willing to risk disaster for some extra pressure in the middle of the pitch. And disaster has struck on multiple occasions.

As Aron Winter noted after the loss in Mexico, individual errors have been the team’s undoing. Most of the Reds defensive lapses would fall into this category. Often, these have been one on one contests lost through bad positioning or errors on the ball when it has fallen to TFC feet.

Perhaps we’ll see Adrian Cann make an appearance today, to relieve some fatigue in the back line. Though he was burned by such mistakes against Columbus, I thought Logan Emory was looking like a very solid choice in central defense. Cann and Emory would be an interesting look, though I doubt Cann has a start in him yet. I would presume Harden or Aceval will get the job.

The past week has made me reconsider Miguel Aceval. Beauty of a free-kick aside, he has looked more like a liability than an asset. He’s not so quick on his feet. And, he has proven to have a knack for putting himself on the wrong side of his marks. Finding a consistent pairing back there would be a big bonus for the Reds. If that were the outcome of Frings’ extended absence, then the quality of TFC’s play would surely improve.

Solid 90

For my money, there have been few complete performances from the Reds this season. I would be pleased today if that found a way to tie it all together. Some goals on the board would give some room for the odd mistake in defense. Of course that wasn’t enough on Wednesday, but we’ll pretend for a moment that the Reds will do better at holding off the Impact.

As a team, Toronto FC have been defending decently. It’s been a tragedy of silly errors undoing that hard work. A shut-out today would be a big point of improvement. Keeping a clean sheet, even at the cost of not scoring, would be boost for this side. Breaking the goal drought would be nice too, of course. I’m guessing that’s more likely than holding the Impact scoreless.

Prediction:

TFC  1  –  1  MIFC

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