Monday, April 25, 2011

Toronto remain winless against Columbus Crew

Tony Tchani his own dimise.

Tony Tchani had a day to remember on Saturday as he scored his first goal for the Reds since being traded for Dwayne De Rosario, and then had his first sending off all in the span of a minute as TFC remained winless lifetime against the Crew drawing 1-1. Following the recent comments from David Beckham and other MLS players in regards to referees and their influence on games all eyes were on the officials this week, and in some ways they did not disappoint.

The talk going into the match was the manufactured rivalry against the 2008 MLS Cup winners after incidents at Crew stadium sparked fights outside the stadium that same year. Tough the "Trillium Cup derby" as it has been called packed little punch as only about 20 Crew supporters made the journey north. With the home support in full voice the game's first 20 minutes were scrappy with TFC gaining the upper hand in possession. Alan Gordon had the best chance early on with a sliding effort that Crew keep Will Hesmer saved well.

5 minutes later the Crew should have gone in front as Crew striker Emilio Renteria beat out Decoy Williams on the byline and fed the ball back to Robbie Rodgers however the American international fired his placed shot wide of the post.

Things almost threatened to kick off in the 34th minute when TFC right back Danleigh Borman was fouled hard into the visiting bench by Kevin Burns. Tchani flew in to defend his teammate and both he and Burns had a shove in. Both players were cautioned which would have a major impact on the game just 5 minutes later.

After a wonderful lay off by Gordon, Julian De Guzman played a precise chip pass to the streaking Tchani who buried the ball pass a diving Hesmer. The jubilant Tchani jumped the partition and into the first row of section 127. For this referee David Gantar gave the 21 year old midfielder his second yellow and his matching orders. TFC for the second week in a row would have to play a significant portion of the game down a man.

The second half saw the Crew dominate possession as expected and in the 50th minute they equalized though and excellent glancing header by the dangerous Renteria. The rest of the second half saw little in actual goal scoring chances, though TFC showed much more fight then they did in last weeks poor display against D.C United.

As the full time whistle blew for full time the major talking point was the Tchani sending off and if really warranted a yellow card.

Hi his post match comments TFC head coach Aron Winter had no issue with the card being shown, but took some issue with the ref over the first card and the overall consistency of calls.

When asked about the sending off, Winter replied "It's stupid, you know you're on a yellow card and you know when you jump from the pitch into the crowd you're going to get a second" (Yellow card) He added that "He was emotional because it was his first goal at TFC, but it was not clever, he feels bad because he let his mates down, but let's hope he gets some teachings from this".

Winter also took issue with the consistence in the application of the celebration rule, noting that on three separate occasions this early season , Alan Gordon, Charlie Davies of D.C and Terry Dunfield for Vancouver have jumped into the crowd and have not been booked.

Winter looked to the positives in the game especially the start that TFC made in the first half. It has been an issue with the first year manager all season which culminated in the horrid 3-0 defeat to United last weekend. If Toronto are to start making a push up the eastern standings the team must continue to play with the same intensity they did in this game.

NOTES: Nana Attakora missed the game with a groin injury...Toronto FC have never beaten Columbus (0-5-7)...CB Decoy William made his full debut for TFC after one sub appearance. TFC new signing Richard Eckersley made his debut as a sub in the 63rd minute.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Epic Cup fail! Sergio Ramos and the destruction of the Copa Del Rey

Now I'll never call myself the most co-ordinated person on earth, however watching Sergio Ramos on the top of an open top bus with the Spanish Cup makes even me look like Fred Astaire!

I laughed a lot when I watched this the first 6 times, but then I started to wonder if this is a bad sign for Madrid. With a Champions league tie against their hated rivals Barcelona coming up, was the destruction of the cup they had just beaten Barca for a sign of bad things too come? It just might be, and we'll have to wait and see for next week's first match of the tie, but for now sit back relax and watch the Epic Fail of Sergio Ramos!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Two amazing goals in this weeks Champions League quarter-final ties

Normally I don't like to post a ton of goal videos unless they are really, really good...or if Messi scores..because most of his goals are highlight reel worthy. This week however there were two outstanding goals that I have to share with you.  The first goal was in the Inter v Schalke match on Tuesday from the San Siro. In fact the goal with in the 1st minute of the game and is a stunning volley from 55 yards!

The second is a sexy strike from a player I had tipped for big things in my players to watch post last year, Angel Di Maria. The Real Madrid winger put the dagger in the hearts of Tottenham players with a bullet just outside the box.

I won't talk too much as pictures speak louder than words, but if you can't appreciate the beauty of these goals you may never really love football.

The Dejan Stankovic volley is in the first few seconds, this video is a highlights of all the goals scored in Schalke's 5-2 win.

Inter Milan v Schalke 04 by specsoccr

Di Maria's bullet curler against Spurs. The goal is a minute into the video.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Unlucky but sloppy TFC draw 1-1 at home to Chivas USA

Things looked to be going against the home team early as Alejandro Moreno scored off bad TFC defending in just the second minute, however former Chivas striker Alan Gordon tied the game in the 36th minute off a whipped in set piece from midfielder Jacob Peterson.

64176294Much of the buzz around the stadium had little to do with the match however as club supporters were still coming to grips with the Dwayne De Rosario trade. The reaction seemed to be split down the middle, one half believing that the trade needed to be made made as the player was asking for money the club could not pay. Or the other belief, that the club has once again let the supporters down by trading the club Captian, best player and home town boy. Coincidentally both Danleigh Borman and Tony Tchani, the players that were sent in return for De Rosario from New York made their club debuts in the starting 11.

The first half was a display of sloppy football by the home side, a poor giveaway and bad marking by the usually reliable Adriab Cann allowed Moreno to dribble though the defence for the opening goal just 2 minutes in. In his post match comments Head Coach Aron Winter was shocked at his club's sluggish start in the first 25 minutes "We seemed to be asleep for the first 15 minutes. We had two new players in the team and they struggled for the first 10-15 minutes".  As TFC struggled to complete even the simplest of passes Chivas heaped on more pressure and could have made it two as Justin Braun missed a good opportunity.  The California side were soon made to pay for their missed chance as off a free kick Jacob Petersen delivered an excellent ball into the box were Alan Gordon was left unmarked to head home the equalizer.

This seemed to spark the home side as they started to have better control of the ball and in the 44th minute looked like they had taken the lead when new Captain Maicon Santos headed in from close range. However the goal was disallowed by the side judge as offside, though the replays showed otherwise.

The second half was evenly played though lacking a cutting edge for a decisive goal. The introduction of club designated player and Canadian international Julian De Guzman at half time was a welcome and unexpected sight for Reds fans who were now looking for a new home town hero. He came on to a loud ovation and made a difference in the teams ability to keep possession of the ball, though his lack of match sharpness showed at times. He commented after the game that "There were a couple of early runs in the game where I felt the physical side of things needed to be worked on but that will come naturally," But I was very pleased to have 45 minutes with no pain, and the knee feels great."

The only significant chance of the second half came in the 66th minute as Santos would miss a glorious chance after he beat the onside trap and was sent in alone on Goats keeper Dan Kennedy. Santos rounded Kennedy however it allowed time for former TFC defender Andrew Boyens to put him off and slide his effort wide of the post.

As referee Toledo blew for full time the attention once again shifted to De Rosario. Winter wanted to make it clear that "We gave him a very good offer for 3 years but he turned it down". He also added that the former Captain requested to be traded during training camp as he wanted to be made in to a DP and make the larger salary. When pressed on how the club will use the extra cap room or who will be brought in to help score goals, Winter indirectly answered by saying the club will explore their options over the next few weeks. He also inadvertently hinted that the opening of the European transfer window will be a prime target.
 Although in the immediate future no signings were planned.


Friday, April 1, 2011

The face is gone: DeRo had to go

Dwayne De Rosario
De Rosario in his last game for Toronto FC

It sucks...plain and simple, no football supporter even wants to lose their clubs best player, leading goal scorer and icon at anytime, but especially at a time in which the club is forging a new identity. However this is what has happened again to Toronto Football Club supporters. After today's confirmation that club Captain Dwayne De Rosario had been dealt to New York Red Bulls it was clear to all that didn't already know, the club was heading in a new direction.

For those who follow the club closely this trade is not a total shock. The deal had been rumored for the past 10 days or so, and NYRB manager Hans Backe has made it clear he was looking for an experienced number 10 to fill out his already stacked roster. Most TFC fans hoped he was looking somewhere else for his midfielder.

Now that the trade has happened and there has been some time to swallow the news, TFC fans should take a step back and ask is this a blessing in disguise for the club?

It was clear from the start of training camp in February that De Rosario was not happy with the club. He was promised something from previous GM Mo Johnston that never materialized. Until we hear from DeRo we can only speculate, was it a promise of Designated Player money? was it the promise of high profile signings? a quick route to the playoffs? whatever the reason(s) were he was not pleased to be here. As I had mentioned in a previous post the equation of a disgruntled player and a rebuilding club equaled a parting of ways. What I and many supporters knew as TFC dilemma was What's more important? star and drawing power? or building a strong nucleus for the club?" I leaned towards the latter stating that dumping his salary cap hit would allow the club to bring in players that could help the club both in the short and long term. Bare in mind I wrote that post before Winter was hired as TFC manager so I did not know what style the club was going to be playing. But clearly Winter, director of player development Paul Mariner and the rest of the TFC brass thought the same way.

It didn't help the Canadian international that he wanted more money after signing a 4 year deal paying him $420,000 after one year. No one could argue that he was the clubs best player, but was he worth DP money. After the acquisition of Julian De Guzman on DP wages he clearly thought was. Yes admittedly he scored goals and won games for the club, but he was also known to be a cancer in the dressing room with many calling him a Captain in name only. He also at times on the pitch played for himself, taking shots when a pass would have been the better option, or trying to dribble past three defenders to create a chance.

Did the club lean on him too much to score and create? Yes, did he make things worse by feeding into that? Maybe. However both sides clearly needs this separation, DeRo needed to be on a winner and TFC needed to find some young players with potential for depth reasons. No one knows if Tony Tchani or Danleigh Borman will proved to be good buys for TFC but one thing  is for certain the club will be out of excuses if this season turns into a complete failure.