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Host Germany defeats Nigeria 2-0 to win FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.           Spain is the new FIFA World Champions after defeating Netherlands 1-0 on Andres Iniesta's goal in overtime.                                              Spainwill play Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final after defeating Germany 1-0 in their semi final, while Netherlands beat Uruguay 3-2 in their semi final.              Paraguay became the 4th South American team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup 1/4 finals in South Africa when they defeated Japan 5-3 on penalty kicks after the teams were scoreless through regulation & overtime.                            Brazil and Portugal advance to the round of 16  of the FIFA World Cup                  Slovakia advance to the round of 16 after knocking out defending champions Italy  in a  thriller at Ellis Stadium in Johannesburg. They will advance out of Group F with Paraguay.    USA and England advance out of Group D, while Netherlands and Japan move on from Group E.    Uruguay and Mexico advance out of Group A, while host South Africa was eliminated. Argentina and Korea Republic advance out of Group B                                                           Canada wins CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship and a spot in FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup by beating Mexico 1-0 in the final.                               Canada U-17 Women upset USA 5-3 on penalty-kicks in CONCACAF semi final to clinch a spot at U-17 Womens World Cup in T&T, while Mexico defeated host Costa Rica 3-1 in overtime to join Canada at World Cup.                                                 USA U-20 Women win CONCACAF Championship             Argentina's Lionel Messi and Brazil's Martha were named FIFA's 2009 Male and Female Player of the Year.                                    T&T native  Stephen Hart was named as head coach of Canada's men senior team.                        The cream rose to the top as Lionel Messi wins Europe's Footballer of the Year                               Switzerland shocked host Nigeria to win FIFA U-17 title        USA, Mexico and Honduras will represent CONCACAF at FIFA 2010 World Cup South Africa.                                Mexico defeat USA 5-0 to win 5th Gold Cup title.                       In FIFA Confederation Cup action Brazil defeated USA 3-2 in the final to win th 2009 Cup.        Toronto FC will represent Canada in Champions League after winning Nutrilite Canadian Championship with 6-1 win over Montreal Impact.          Jamaica defeat Grenada 2-0 to win Caribbean Championship.           Cuba, Grenada, Guadeloupe, and Jamaica qualify for CONCACAF Gold Cup 2009 with Digicel semi final berth

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Stars Soccer Review (SSR) Match Coverage

Reds defeat Cruz Azul in Champions League Opener                             Toronto FC make noise before small crowd 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto FC, under first year coach Preki, is making its mark in the CONCACAF Championship League by beating Cruz Azul of Mexico 2-1 at BMO Field in its first group game. The Reds advance to the group stage by getting pass Motagua of Honduras 3-2 on aggregate in the preliminary round series after a 1-0 win at home and a 2-2 tie in Honduras.                                                                                                                                        One area of concern after the big win last Tuesday, was what seem to be the smallest crowd at BMO Field since the Reds inception. But, in spite of the crowd, the Reds played inspired ball and jumped all over Cruz Azul from the first sound of Jamaican referee Courtney Campbell’s whistle

After pressing forward the Reds took the lead on Martin Saric's header in the 3rd minute of play. Saric pounced on a rebound from a Mista header, which was blocked by the Cruz Azul defense.

The early lead gave the Reds added confidence that a win against the two-time CONCACAF finalists from Mexico City was possible.

Surprisingly, it was the Reds who pushed forward, and could have increased their lead had captain De Rosario capitalize three minutes after Saric’s goal. With Cruz Azul goalkeeper Yosgart Gutierrez at his mercy, Dero shot wide of the target.

After the Dero missed, the tempo of the game picked up noticeably, and the play went from end to end. De Rosario was the Johnny on the spot again, with his second chance. But he opted to pass, instead of taking a shot from close range with his left.

Obrien White, was late in picking up his run, and the scoring chance turned into a throw-in on the far side for Cruz Azul. In fairness, it was White’s first start in quite some time and I think his runs off the ball and confidence needs some work.

Coach Preki only started White as a replacement for the injured Danny Barret who was out with a tender hamstring. But give Preki credit, he did well in juggling his player personnel to fill in the blanks. Left footed Brazilian midfielder Maicon Santos was also out due to a knee injury.

Peki started Raivis Hscanovics (a natural left footed) at the left wing back position instead of Garcia. This turned out to be a master move. I was not a fan of Hscanovics prior to this game since he had a tendency to lunge at opponents and yellow cards were the name of his game.

 

There was no bigger save than Conway’s reflex save on a redirection from Cruz striker Alejandro Vela in the 40th minute, to maintain Toronto's 1-0 lead. The Reds responded with a score by  Mista to double its lead to 2-0 to the half.

The goal occurred when Hscanovics moved up the left flank and slipped a pass to Mista at the edge of the box. Mista then released a powerful left footer, which goalkeeper Yosgart Gutierrez partially blocked, before it trickled over the goal line between the post and side netting.

Toronto Faithfull’s were in frenzy since it was a rare occurrence. The Reds was now taking back to back 2-0 leads into the half at BMO Field.

A week earlier, it was Chivas USA who was under the gun, and now it was a shell shocked Cruz Azul team being welcome to BMO Field.

Home advantage is a given advantage in the win column, but it is refreshing to watch the Reds on defense. On both occasions, Toronto FC has played solid defense while maintaining shape to allow for a transitional offensive surge.

However, I am a little concern with captain Dwayne De Rosario present role. He is dropping back deep in the midfield and he is undoubtedly the most prolific scorer in the team. Defense is not his strength and in the deep midfield he is lost and is also losing the edge that is needed to score.

Last Tuesday’s game against Cruz Azul is a good indication, when Dero was creating scoring chances out of nothing in the second half. But he was hard pressed to make precise passes in subsequent plays which would have set up team mates to put the game away.

Julian De Guzman has finally found his game and is playing a significant role in maintaining the consistency of the Reds, game in, and game out. However, I am still waiting for De Guzman to score his first goal as a Red, and it is beginning to look like it might come sooner rather than than later.

With playoffs the big target for the Reds fans, the Reds have been in third place in the Eastern Division for quite some time and Saturday’s game against second place New York Red Bulls at BMO Field at 1pm is pivotal.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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