Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TFC Corner

With the world's soccer attention focused in South Africa I've been neglecting our Toronto FC. Granted MLS was on a world cup break for 3 weeks but TFC made their return to the pitch on Saturday against the Landon Donovan/Edson Buddle-less L.A Galaxy.

The last time we saw the Reds they were involved in a dower 0-0 draw with the Kansas City Wizards. This result brought TFC's unbeaten run to 8 games in which they have only conceded 4 goals. For a team that looked like they couldn't stop anyone from scoring at the beginning of the season, head coach Preki has moulded the team into one of the strongest defensive units in the league. However there was a slight concern that TFC could not wrap up what should have been 3 points against a woeful KC.

Saturday would prove to be a stiffer challenge as the Galaxy came to BMO Field with the best record in the league. What the 15,000 fans saw was another dower 0-0 draw which produced very few chances and sloppy play. Credit must be given to the Reds back four and keeper Stefan Frei who once again were strong when called upon. However there is now a concern that TFC is lacking a bit of a offensive spark upfront.

In training sessions Preki preaches the elements of two touch passes and quick movement of the ball in order to create openings in the defence. However this is not translating to the pitch on match days as at times the attacking play looks lost and punch less. Many including myself have been looking for Preki to play a formation closer to a 4-3-3 that would emphasise the attack. This in theory could be done with O'Brian While in the centre flanked by Chad Barrett and Dwayne De Rosario upfront.

This of course would fly in the face of Preki's desire to build a strong game plan from the back out, but he must realize that too many draws could be just as damaging to a playoff run as losses are.

Although the team is right up against the salary cap it might be time for TFC to look for a offensive DP player to help the team's attack and boost their playoff chances. Earlier this year I made a case for the signing of French star striker Thierry Henry. It seems now Henry is set to sign for conference rivals New York Red Bull, which would leave Toronto behind in the arms race so to speak. This obvious issue would be trying to convince a either aging or about to be aging football star to sign in Toronto. Some suggestions that with a large Portuguese population in Toronto, former Portugal international Nuno Gomes would be a fit with the club. I can only see a move for him as a positive, first it will help you on the field in regards to quality; but second and maybe most importantly he can help develop a young striker in O'Brian White who is still improving his link up play.

Now a move for Gomes is just wishful thinking on my behalf at this time, but TFC will have to address this issue at some point in the near future if it hopes to score more goals and qualify for the playoffs for the first time in club history.


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