Stars Soccer Review (SSR) Match
TFC talent search ends with Academy Players.
Under new head Coach Nick Dasovic, Toronto FC
went into the club’s Academy team of young
talents to defeat Arabe Unido of Panama 1-0. The
Reds finished third in Group A schedule of the
CONCACAF Champions league with 8 points, behind
Lake and Cruz Azul, which advanced to 1/4
The Academy call ups coincided with the return
of Captain Dwayne De Rosario who was on a one
game suspension and sat out last Saturday game
for an accumulation of yellow cards. In turn the
Reds finished its 2010 home fixture with an
important win, but before a sparse crowd of
10,385 at BMO Field.
The Reds hit rock bottom in last Saturday’s 2-2
draw against Columbus Crew, in a game which
certainly reflects their disappointing season.
The Reds fell behind Columbus from a ball that
ricocheted off the crossbar, and hit goalkeeper
Jon Conway in the buttocks and into the Reds
After clawing back to take a commanding 2-1
halftime lead, the Reds gave up an equalizer at
the end of the match. In a bizarre set of
events, the Reds allowed Columbus Crew
goalkeeper Will Hesmer to come out of goal on a
corner kick to score in injury time.
In all my donkey years of watching outdoor
soccer, I can’t recall seeing a goalkeeper score
during the run of play. But judging from their
last game against Arabe Unido, all may not be
lost for the Reds after the impressive play of
their young talent.
Defender Nana Attakora, a former Academy
signing, scored the game winner in the 30th
minute with a neat header from a set piece in a
season where there are only three players in TFC
with more goals than one goal. Attakora out
jumped the Arabe Unido defense to give TFC the
Another Academy standout for the Reds in
Tuesday’s win was left back Ashtone Morgan.
Unlike left back starter Raivis Hscanovics,
Morgan can actually move into the attack with
the ball under his control, and was unlucky not
to score his first goal but goalkeeper Jose
Calderon made a brilliant reflex save on his
Astone may be a chip of the old block since his
farther Wayne Morgan was a good attacking
midfielder/striker with local Clubs Soca, and
Parkdale in the Caribbean Community leagues.
Other academy players than performed well were
rookie defender Doneil Henry in the central
defense and midfielder Oscar Cordo in substitute
for Designated Player (DP) Julian De Guzman in
the 66th minute.
Recently signed Academy forward Nicholas Lindsay
and goalkeeper Jon Conway also made consecutive
starts for the Reds, abut a quick fix and
Interim coach Dasovic magic, cannot take the
Reds out of the present predicament and into the
The sad state of affairs with Toronto FC is that
the Reds faithful is on an all time low, and the
fact that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE),
the Reds management, announced an increase to
next year’s season ticket holders, spells
The long awaited milestone (playoffs) cannot be
accomplished until October of 2011 and as such a
price increase is not what the doctor would have
ordered for the #1 fans in the MLS. The Reds has
now missed the playoffs fin their 4 seasons, and
is yet to appoint an official coach, G.M., and
Director of Soccer.
The bar has been raised high, since the Reds
opened the season with a 15 game undefeated
streak, and after dangling in third place behind
Red Bulls they took a yellow for diving. But in
retrospect the cookie crumbled when Thierry
Henry and New York Red Bulls embarrassed the
Reds by a lopsided 4-0 at BMO.
After the New York loss, the Reds went on a
7-game winless streak and has just one win to
show in its last 14 games heading into last
Tuesday’s contest. Toronto FC’s 2010 season has
had the most peaks and valleys of any of its
previous three seasons.
Though there were peaks, the troubling effect
was there were no good things from the valley of
Ho-ho hos as the Green Giant commercial since
the Reds was booed at home after an embarrassing
loss to Eastern Division table dwellers DC
The #1 Fans in the MLS have not been vocal in
support of the team but has been waving large
green dollar sign flags for the last two games.
The friendly confine of BMO Field is a place of
unresolved tension and frustration with the MLS
Cup final slated for November 21 at BMO Field.
The reality is the supporter’s club members, is
the image of the Toronto FC and cooler heads may
have to prevail for the MLS Cup to be
After losing to table dwellers DC United at home
Manager and Director of Soccer Operations Mo
Johnson and coach Preki was released. The Reds
had the unenviable task of manufacturing wins on
the road to make the playoffs hence a lost at
the friendly confines of BMO Field is
Reds defeat Cruz Azul in
Champions League Opener
Toronto FC make noise before small crowd
year coach Preki, is
mark in the
Cruz Azul of
at BMO Field
in its first
group game. The
to the group
after a 1-0
home and a
2-2 tie in
big win last
what seem to be the
crowd at BMO Field
spite of the
ball and jumped
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
The early lead gave the Reds added confidence
that a win against the
two-time CONCACAF finalists from Mexico City was
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.
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
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.
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
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.