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Toronto FC 2012 Season Update  

Toronto FC ends MLS record losing streak

TORONTO Ė Toronto FC ended its 9-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union. Substitute Danny Koevermans' goal in the 88th-minute was the difference in a game which turned in to a suspense drama for the Reds faithful as the time elapsed.

 

 The MLS record losing streak came to an end at BMO Field in Toronto on Saturday May 27, 2012 where Toronto FC shutout its second opponent in as many games for its most valuable 3 points ever gained in the dying stages of an MLS game. 

 

There was a certain inevitability of the team ending the losing streak after the Reds early season success in the Champions league but as the weeks past the unanswerable question was when was it going to occur?

 

Facing a divisional opponent with the second worst record in the league, the Reds were under the microscope to win or expect changes. TFC Coach Aron Winter and his Reds team had to prove that unlucky explanation though valid would not be a valid excuse in front of the home fans. 

 

Watching the Reds missed the easiest of scoring opportunities in the early part of the Philadelphia game, it seemed like it was going to be a case of missed opportunities was going to come back to haunt the Reds, especially when Philadelphia hit Toronto FC crossbar against the run of play.

 

But give Aron Winter and the team credit for their efforts, after pitching a shutout and sticking with the task to score the game winner with only two minutes remaining in regulation time. The only bad part of TFC game was that the four missed chances did not even go to the target.

 

But good teams make their own luck and this was the types of game that the Reds had to force the issue to get the much needed result. With fresh legs and points very much the focus the Reds managed to score and win the game.

 

The Reds is on a two week lay off after back to back shutout wins to secure a championship and gain its first points of the MLS season. Making the playoffs is a remote possibility and it is for this reason that coach Winter should implement a wide open offensive game plan from his 4-3-3 formation to finish the season. Toronto FC back four has improved drastically with the inclusion of 19-year old Doneil Henry at the central back with Adrian Cann.

 

Winning its fourth Canadian Championships may have been a major milestone to many but a loss to the Philadelphia Union would have certainly diminished the team's Canadian Championship accomplishment and add to the already strange developments of the 2012 season.

 

In a 19 team league Toronto FC is now the team with the worst start to a MLS season. The diehard Reds supporters are still optimistic that the Reds can go on a phenomenal run to make the playoffs. If not, the players and coaches will have to prove that they are worth keeping after such a disastrous start.

 

Whatever the assessment, one thing is for certain in my mind, the Reds got caught up in the moment of playing before their largest crowd of 48,658 at the Rogers Centre and rode the momentum to eliminate Beckham and the LA Galaxy and lost focus.

 

Their all important MLS home opener against San Jose Earthquakes resulted in an embarrassing 3-0 shutout loss in front of their fans at BMO Field. The 3-0 against San Jose was not just the home opener loss it was also an eye opener to the tendencies of the young Reds team.

 

Toronto FC as inspired for the next match semi final against Santos Laguna in the Champions League and held the powerful Mexico team to a 1-1 draw at BMO Field. But before playing Laguna the away leg in Mexico the young Toronto team suffered another devastating 1-0 loss at home against Columbus Crew.

  

The 1-0 should have been a reality check for the Reds coaching staff since the Reds was not favored to return from Mexico with a win. To everyone surprise including the Laguna home fans the Reds went into Mexico and took the action to Laguna, but blew two leads before succumbing 6-2 to send their season tumbling down.

 

Until last Saturday it took the Reds 7 games to finally figure out how to win in the MLS. At the end of the day it is the Reds fans who suffered the most from the roller coaster season. Coach Winter has showed his appreciation for the fans after every home game he and his players walk over to the stands to acknowledge the fans as an appreciation of their support.

 

The last two walks were the most enjoyable as it included the lifting of the Canadian Championship and the first win of the MLS season.  During the losing streak Winter was under intense pressure from the Toronto media.

 

Coach Winter is a calm and calculated individual who is unflappable when it comes to sticking with the positives, but his reluctance to get into the negative side created an irritation for the local media who in fairness may have felt they were being objective with the team on a losing streak.

 

Like most I am of the belief that competitive sports is like life, you lose some and you win some but one show always try to win more than you lose. The coaching job is entirely different in that regard since you can win and still lose your job.

  

My question remains, how is Toronto FC suppose to get to the next level when some of the local types continue to make slight comments (technically) about certain players who have been contributing to the team?

 

In sport the best of athletes have a bad day so it is just a matter of time before these targeted players have a mediocre game and coach Winter be put under pressure to demote them from the starting line up.

The last time I checked the responsibility of a head coach was to select the best available players to help his or her team win games and Winters has been at his best in regard to situational substitutions for the last five matches. Stay Tuned!!! 

 

Toronto advance to Champions League semi  finals

Toronto FC allows win to slip away against Galaxy

 

 

The Champions League quarter final clash between Toronto FC and LA Galaxy was played before a sold out crowd of 47,658 at Rogers Centre, in downtown Toronto on Wednesday. It was an electrifying atmosphere and the Reds responded with an early goal in the 12th minute of play to get the already pumped up crowd going.  

 

Ryan Johnson released a crashing left footed roofer as the finishing touches to a rebound from a melee in front of the Galaxy goalmouth. Johnson jump-kicked the corner flag as part of his goal celebration before being mobbed by his teammates.

 

The crowd was hardly settled from Johnsonís goal when Luis Silva doubled Toronto FC's lead in the 18th minute. Silva goal was from a right side cross by Torten Frings which he redirected with his head into the far post. The goal was one of those which goalkeeper Josh Saunders would have liked to have back after diving late and over the ball on a clear header. 

 

The majority of TFC fans were overjoyed and I'm sure also a bit surprised. No one (in their right mind) catered for Toronto to be leading the Galaxy 2-0 with less than a half of the match played. I thought the Reds would have won going into the match but the they took their feet off the pedal and it gave Galaxy the room in which they can operate effectively.

 

The added space was deadly since LA was already having a lot of offensive success down their left side from the opening whistle and that had nothing to do with a few unforced errors in TFCís defense in the early part of the match. Surprisingly no noticeable adjustment was made to solidify TFC soft spot.

 

Los Angeles players were reaching the edge of Toronto FC's 18 yard line with options to dribble or pass, but to the right side defenders Richard Eckersley and Ty Harden's credit they did not allow a clear shot to be taken. However, it was just a matter of time before LA broke the shutout.

 

Needless to say Mike Magee scored in the 28th minute to cut the Reds lead in half and the score remained unchanged to the half. It is safe to say that defensive coverage was the main topic of conversation in the dressing rooms since both teams scored rather easy in the first half.

 

To the coaches credit both teams played close to their best defensively in the second half but the trade-off seemed to be a disinterested in scoring. Maybe Coach Bruce Arena did not want to give up early goals like the start of the game and on the other hand Coach Aron Winter was pleased with the Reds lead, either way, most of the second half game was played in the center of the field. 

 

As a result Toronto FC supporters provided most of the entertainment in the second half. Every time David Beckham went to take a corner kick, the fans would throw streamers in an attempt to break his concentration. Other than the supporters, the Galaxy began to take control of the midfield. In the last 10 minutes of the game David Beckham and Landon Donovan were creating space and getting most of the touches on the ball and it seemed like Toronto had resigned to hold on for time and time was not on their side on this day.

 

Beckham was bending it on every set play and that was a little more than Toronto fans would have liked since Galaxy finished with an advantage of 11 to Toronto's 2 in free kicks and 9 to 6 in corner kicks. Toronto FC and goalkeeper Stephan Frei got a heavy dosage of in-swingers and out-swingers in the late going until Captain Landon Donovan found a way to pounce on a loose ball from in close to tie the game 2-2.

 

It was a game that the home team was in the best position to win and should have won. But Toronto FC has beaten FC Dallas in Dallas to reach the quarter finals and can beat the Galaxy in Los Angeles next Wednesday in the rematch, providing that they can maintain the lead for the full 90 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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