TFC 2010 | Week#5

Toronto FC Win Again

2 – 0

More Game Off-Field Than On

In the days since Sunday’s victory, there have been some storms brewing about the Club again. It seems former Interim Head Coach Chris Cummins unburdened himself to the Canadian media (in an interview for The Score) and Mo Johnston has replied (in the National Post) with the threat of a lawsuit. Worse yet, TFC fans’ malfeasance at the Seattle game – tossing a full bottle at Sounders’ star Freddie Ljungberg as he lined up a corner kick, and tossing beer at Sounders’ owner Drew Carey during an interview – has led to an examination of Toronto FC fan misbehaviour online and the conclusion that it is consistently the worst in the league. It’s enough to make your Canadian gland throb, and panic to seize you as you duck for cover beneath a blanket of apologies.

It’s All About The Result

All this distraction and sideshow spectacle obscures the simple point that Toronto FC won for the second time this season. It wasn’t beautiful play from either side, but this is to be expected of the Preki format. We’re going to see more of this kind of game going forward, where the Reds tenaciously stick together and clog up their opponents’ attack for most of the match. Goals will come, as they did Sunday, by working hard and wearing down the opposition and forcing errors. To diminish the victory because our goals came on our opponent’s errors is to miss the point entirely. Just as we fell to our mistakes in several games this season thus far, so too will others suffer this fate. That is sport. And this week, we can claim the triumph.

Match Highlights

The game was a solid outing by Toronto FC, with a lot more to cheer about than previous weeks. We saw some strong goalkeeping from Stefan Frei, more inspired and creative play from Julian de Guzman and something other than penalty kicks from Dwayne De Rosario. DeRo deservedly earned the MLS Player of the Week title for his 1 goal, 1 assist day. Most importantly, the Reds stood together and didn’t break down when the Sounders pushed for an equalizer and subbed in Steve Zakuani and Freddie Montero. The second goal from Toronto FC featured a nice feed pass from Dan Gargan to DeRo and a sweet cross into the path of O’Brian White for his first of the season.

It certainly wasn’t all roses. We had moments of disarray in front of our own goal, took some terrible fouls (and cards) and were lucky that Seattle didn’t capitalize on their few decent chances. The team didn’t look unbeatable or supremely well-tuned, but it was definitely an improvement over the performance through the first four weeks. While there will be more defeats ahead, Sunday’s game was the first time there was evidence of an improved team effort. More encouraging yet, it was a 90+ minute performance that didn’t seem like it was going to cave in on itself under a bit of pressure. Even if we don’t win all our games, Preki will have my confidence if he can keep Toronto FC from lapsing back into the habit of expiring between the 75th minute and the final whistle.

Going forward, this was a good game. It was Toronto FC’s first victory over Seattle. It also avenged a loss last year to the Sounders at BMO Field, and it sets up the chance of us returning to Seattle to spoil a home outing for them later this season. Hopefully, the Reds can take some of this strength, confidence and consistency on the road. Nobody will complain about setting a strong example on our home pitch, but the capacity to win away would be an indisputable advance over seasons past.

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