TFC 2011 | Week#6

Total Spanking

0  –  3  

Forget the score. It was deserved. Three critical and tragic errors committed. Three well finished plays on our goal.

Winter says he’s ashamed by the team’s performance. The result may have been humiliating, but the game wasn’t the worst we’ve seen. The team, to their credit, gave it a go for the majority of the match – even after falling two goals down in the first ten minutes and playing a man down for most of the second half. There were even some good moments of attack. Toronto FC, for all their heart and hubris, just couldn’t find the goal.

The weirdest aspect of the match, to me, was Aron Winter’s choice to leave a hobbling Alen Stevanovic on the field to walk out the final 15-20 minutes of the game. Perhaps admitting that a point was beyond reach, it made it a game of 11 on 9. Perhaps he saw it as so futile, it wasn’t even worth risking another injury by giving a substitute some minutes to run. Either way, it was a graceless finish to a frustrating evening.

Critical Failures, Limited Successes, Some Excuses

Toronto FC is choking on their trouble in the back. Turnovers around mid-field and within our own end continue to result in fast counter-attacks that best our defenders’ individual and collective abilities. When the Reds finally do cross halfway with the ball in their control, they look better. Sadly, the outcomes aren’t successful enough from the build up going forward.

The Reds play flashes promise, though, especially when they hold the ball up deep in their opponents end. Occasionally, it allows them to retain possession long enough to roll their attack from side to side, stretching open the defense. Sadly, it’s still too inconsistent to be effective. We’re not achieving sufficient service into the area. And we simply aren’t looking dangerous with our attacks through the middle when the ball is on our feet.

These teammates are still new to each other and/or the new system. The result is that there are too many miscues and giveaways, and most attacks fizzle out too quickly, and altogether impotently. Toronto FC’s forward progress often unwinds with players stranded without options. Thus, there are many heroic but improbable individual missions. Far too often, the Reds ball management ends with them coughing up possession from clever but poorly executed passes. It can make the Reds look completely inept.

Nevertheless, it’s not all disaster. The team can be lively breaking down the flanks. And many times we move in numbers into the area to attack the crosses that sail in. Toronto FC had the edge over DC in time in possession, and definitely out-attacked their opponents. Several of these plays looked certain to be goals, ulimately to be knocked away by DC defenders.

Tough Schedule

Saturday’s spanking by DC United was an unfortunate finish to a long week. Three matches in seven days was a tall order. The Reds looked physically tired and mentally seemed off their game on the weekend.

A week of rest and training will give them a chance to collect themselves. They’re going to need it. Starting with this week’s home stand against the Columbus Crew, Toronto FC will play seven games in three weeks. Beyond this spell, with its numerous home games, the season becomes much more road-oriented. To remain any kind of contender this season, the Reds will need some points in the near term.


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